Heart and togetherness.
Those two things kept the Fayetteville-Manlius football team in the game when the scoreboard said it wasn’t and led to the furious comeback that fell just short in its 40-35 road loss to Indian River.
With nine minutes left in the non-league game it had once trailed 34-0, F-M (3-2, 3-1) was down just 12 points and was on the nine-yard line and Indian River knocked the ball loose from the hands of Trevor Fallon and gained possession of the pigskin.
After Indian River (5-0, 4-0) drew a blank on the ensuing drive, Mitchell “Seabiscut” Seabury, who rushed for 313 yards and four touchdowns in the game, scored to get the Hornets within five points with 2:17 left in the game. But an unsuccessful onsides kick ended the rally.
While it was alive, the rally made the Hornets feel like they were going to win. They scored on four straight offensive drives, including the one-yard rush touchdown by quarterback Mikey Porter on the final play of the first half and Seabiscut’s 61-yard run into the end zone on the opening play of the third quarter.
Still, a few scoreless drives later, Indian River worked the lead back up to 12 with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.
This non-league contest featured two teams that saw this as an opportunity to get better, which is just what F-M used it as. The Hornets may not have come out with the result they wanted, but they showed spectators what football is all about.
That happened a third of the way through the second quarter, when F-M made decisions that changed the game and possibly its season. When the Hornets were down 34-0, nothing was going their way until head coach Paul Muench solved Indian River’s puzzle and the players decided that they weren’t going down without a fight.
Muench and his assistant coaches brought that to their team’s attention after the game. They all agreed that the Hornets have a lot to be proud of while encouraging their team to stay hungry and reminding the players not to get discouraged.
Defensive coordinator and lineman coach for F-M, Dan Conley, grasped each player’s attention and said that he’s as proud as he’s ever been of them and how they didn’t quit or turn on one another even though it would have been the easiest thing to do.