By: Eric Belair
FULTON, NY – The (New Hartford) Spartans marched in and conquered Fulton 53-25 on the Raiders’ homecoming on Oct. 4.
New Hartford came into this Class A football crossover battle on a three-game win streak, with much credit to their offensive specialist Stephen Tomaino.
“Steve is just a great athlete who works well in space,” said New Hartford head coach Todd Hobin. “Part of my job is to make sure I give him enough touches because he’s going to spring a couple.”
Tomaino finished the game with 11 carries for 96 yards and two catches for 23 yards. The plus side for the Spartans was that he found the back of the end zone three times.
This shifty, do-it-all type of Spartan rushed for New Hartford first three scores of the game. After two possessions of three and out, Tomaino had seen enough. He broke a 69-yard run that put his team up early.
The next two touchdowns were short runs of 7 yards and 5 yards, respectively. These both came in the first quarter to give New Hartford a 19-0 lead.
New Hartford’s following drive, which started the second quarter was a bizarre play that went for a huge gain. Tomaino dropped back for a deep pass that was intended for David Han. The ball was a bit out of reach for the receiver, but he got a hand on it and unintentionally tipped it to teammate Jesse Ondrako.
This drive ended in another touchdown for the Spartans, but this time it came on airmail from quarterback Adam Zogby. Dustin Deon was on the receiving end of this 31-yard touchdown.
Zogby finished the contest with 118 yards on 6 for 8 passing.
Fulton finally had an answer for the Spartans. The Raiders got on the board with a 68-yard touchdown scamper by Mark Pollock. Pollock broke through the line of scrimmage and the second tier of defenders, and then he put on the afterburners to pull away from the chasing Spartans.
This put the Raiders down 26-7.
New Hartford scored once more before the half was over for a 26-point halftime lead. Mike Nole found end zone on a 3-yard goal line carry.
Nole finished the game with one more touchdown in the third quarter. He tallied 30 yards on 6 touches in the game and led the defense with an astounding 15 tackles.
The Spartans’ two fourth quarter touchdowns came on run of 3 yards and 32 yards, Dominick Pfisterer and Joe Ondrako scored, respectively.
The New Hartford ball club played a fundamental and disciplined game as they scored on five of their seven first half possessions.
It took the Raiders until the final quarter to find the back of the end zone again, but the squad did manage to score three times in the fourth.
Pollock found the promised land again, but this time it came on a bit shorter of a run, 6 yards. The running back led his team with 93 yards on 10 attempts.
Raider quarterback Cody Green came out throwing on Fulton’s final two drives and he racked up some passing yards. Green dropped back and heaved a deep pass to wideout Chris Jones for a 53-yard connection. Jones was tackled at the 1-yard line, but running back Quinton Jackson scored on the following play.
Jones rounded out the game with two catches for 66 yards to lead the Raiders.
Fulton’s final drive resulted in a touchdown pass of 12 yards from Green to Brian Hudson. This score was set up by 35-yard reception by Dallas Bradley.
Green completed 8 of 13 passes for 123 yards for the game.
The Raiders scored these late touchdowns to cut at the deficit, but it was too late as the Spartans stomped over homecoming for a 28-point win over Fulton.
Fulton will play host next week to another team of Spartans. This time, the Raiders will face East Syracuse-Minoa in a league battle as they will look to snap a four-game losing streak.
“We got to keep practicing hard every day of the week and playing hard to get back winning,” said Pollock. “We got to get better and put our best guys out on the field Friday night.”
On the other side, New Hartford improved its record to 4-1 and has two tough matchups coming up in Whitesboro and Indian River.
One good thing about both of these games is that the Spartans will play host in both of them.
“We have to be at the very top of our game, so any little mistakes we need to look at them to get them corrected,” said coach Hobin. “You are always going to learn, from any game you play.”
(Editor’s Note: Eric Belair is a journalism student at Le Moyne College and formerly a student at G. Ray Bodley. He wrote and was sports editor for The Raider and RadierNet Daily.)