ESM shows their strength, beating Fulton 58-33

The Fulton varsity football team knew they had their hands full when they took on East Syracuse Minoa Oct. 11.
Not only is East Syracuse Minoa considered one of the top 10 teams in Section 3, but they are also ranked among the top 20 teams in all of New York State Class A.
But the Red Raiders still battled respectably, finishing with a score of ESM 58, Fulton 33.
A week ago, ESM held Jamesville-DeWitt to only 7 points in a 14-7 win. Many feel Jamesville-DeWitt could finish the regular season behind East Syracuse Minoa at #2 in The Section 3, Class A-American Division standings.
So, on paper, Jamesville-DeWitt’s struggles to score against East Syracuse-Minoa would suggest that Fulton would meet a similar fate. However, The Red Raiders quickly showed that they didn’t get that memo.
Fulton received the opening kickoff and returner Dallas Bradley excited the Red Raider faithful when he took the opening kickoff from left to right on a fake reverse. He proceeded to forward the ball up the sidelines towards midfield.
Sparked by Bradley’s impressive return, Fulton made the most of the opportunity solid field position brought them. With 7:01 left in the first quarter, The Red Raiders took a 6-0 lead when Quinton Jackson muscled his way for the score from a yard out.
ESM quickly displayed the advantages they had in size, speed and strength during their first offensive possession of the game. Nearly one and a half minutes after Fulton scored, ESM took the lead when they spread the field with quarterback Sean Richardson in the shotgun.
In a fantastically designed and executed route, Richardson found Pat Bryant breaking loose over the middle and for the 54 yard touchdown pass that gave East Syracuse Minoa a 7-6 lead.
After The Red Raiders went 3 and out on their ensuing possession, East Syracuse Minoa struck again. Set up by an impressive play action pop-pass play, ESM took a 14-6 lead when K’Hari Flagg barreled his way in for the 1-yard touchdown with 3:01 left in the first quarter.
ESM got the ball back after forcing Fulton to punt after six plays during their ensuing possession. As the first quarter ended, ESM was on the move with a 14-6 lead.
Shortly into the second quarter, East Syracuse-Minoa expanded its lead to 20-6 when Fred Johnson ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 11:54 left in the second quarter.
But it wasn’t long after East Syracuse Minoa’s score that Fulton found its mark. Senior running back Mark Pollock took a counter up the middle 67 yards for the score to cut ESM’s lead to 20-13 with 11:36 left in the second quarter.
On ESM’s ensuing possession, the Red Raiders forced a punt which allowed them to tie or even take the lead against this impressive opponent. But, ESM intercepted a Cody Green pass on a 3rd and long play.
With great field position following the interception, East Syracuse Minoa made the most of its opportunity. A couple of plays later, it seemed as if quarterback Richardson had scored on a 22-yard touchdown run.
But a holding penalty negated Richardson’s run.
ESM would not be denied and with 7:40 left in the second quarter, Richardson found Anthony Townsend in the left corner of the end-zone from 15 yards out to give East Syracuse Minoa a 27-13 lead.
It seemed ESM would get the ball back after the Red Raiders promising ensuing drive came to a halt. However, East Syracuse Minoa’s punt return attempt was fumbled and Fulton recovered the ball deep in ESM territory.
A few play later, Fulton cashed in on the opportunity when Cody Green tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Jones over the middle to cut ESM’s lead to 27-20 with 3:54 left in the second quarter.
Back again came ESM.
With 3:07 left in the second quarter, East Syracuse-Minoa took a 33-20 lead when quarterback Richardson scored a 6-yard touchdown run off of a play action bootleg play to the left side of the field.
The Red Raiders were on the move during their ensuing possession when they faced a 4th down and 2 near midfield. Fulton was the victim of a botched play when Green took the snap and ran the option play to his left while his running back went to his right.
Green pitched the ball and the ball was deflected and recovered by ESM near the Red Raiders 40 yard line with 1:19 left in the second quarter.
East Syracuse Minoa added to its lead before the first half ended. Richardson threw a screen pass to Anthony Townsend along the right side of the field and 30 yards later, Townsend was in the end zone and East Syracuse Minoa was taking a 39-20 lead into halftime.
East Syracuse Minoa received the opening kickoff for the second half and went right back to work. After a substantial drive, they scored again when quarterback Richardson took an option keeper to the right side of the field and scored from 18 yards out.
With 10:19 left in the third quarter, East Syracuse Minoa now had a 45-20 lead. Fulton was on the move during the ensuing possession when another miscue occurred.
The ball was stripped from Keyshon Carver and recovered by ESM at its own 30 yard line. However, The Red Raiders made up for it on the very next play. ESM quarterback Richardson took the snap from the shotgun formation, faked the handoff in an attempted to lure defenders such as Seth DeLisle towards the line of scrimmage to set up a quick pass over the middle.
But DeLisle appeared to have read Richardson’s eyes and hustled back towards the secondary. He was close enough to make an incredible one handed interception of Richardson’s pop pass and returned the ball deep into East Syracuse Minoa territory.
With 8:15 left in the third quarter, Fulton had the ball back with tremendous field position. The Red Raiders would once again take advantage of an opportunity they were given.
On the very next play, Mark Pollock took the counter for a 13-yard touchdown run along the right side to cut East Syracuse Minoa’s lead to 45-27 with 8:11 left in the third quarter.
After ESM got a solid kickoff return during the ensuing possession, Fulton stopped them on downs deep in their own territory. With the chance to cut into East Syracuse Minoa’s lead while possibly making the game even more interesting, the Red Raiders went to work.
But ESM recovered a fumble by Fulton running back Quinton Jackson deep in its own territory with 2:53 left in the third quarter.
Shortly after recovering Jackson’s fumble, ESM delivered a crucial blow to the Red Raiders.
Quarterback Richardson took the snap and rolled to his right. Then, he tossed a 90-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Bryant to give ESM a 52-27 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
The miscue bug bit Fulton again on the first play of the ensuing drive. Quarterback Green attempted to run the ball on a read option play to the right side of the field, but he coughed up the ball and ESM recovered it at Fulton’s 21 yard line with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
A few plays after the Green fumble, East Syracuse Minoa delivered the final blow, as Jose Sanchez took the option pitch 18 yards to the left for the score. Fulton now trailed 58-27 with 2:01 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter on the Red Raiders ensuing position, they were faced with a 4th down and 5. Quarterback Green’s pitch on the option play was deflected and recovered by ESM defender Steve Brooks on Fulton’s 37-yard line.
After ESM was unable to further add to its lead, the Red Raiders got the ball back. With one more chance to cut into the deficit, Fulton didn’t disappoint. Just before the game concluded Quinton Jackson ran for a 2-yard touchdown which brought East Syracuse Minoa’s lead to 58-33.
The Red Raiders were led by Quarterback Cody Green, who was 7 for 10 passing for 67 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Following Green was running back Mark Pollock who ran for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries.
Defensively, Fulton was led by Seth DeLisle, who is credited with his one handed interception. Dylan Smith had 8 tackles while David Hursh had 6 tackles for Fulton.
The Red Raiders now have a 1-5 overall record. Up next, Fulton’s regular season concludes with a game against Carthage in its annual Senior Night Oct. 18. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton.

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