I tuned in to WCDO FM’s Saturday afternoon broadcast of the Tioga-Unatego Section IV Class D championship game. My old friend, play-by-play man Harry Graves, was on the air killing some minutes during halftime. Before heading to commercial, he announced the score at halftime: Tioga 59, Unatego 12. Huh? I thought I misheard Harry until he repeated the score before the third-quarter kickoff. Wow, I thought, then quickly concluded that this was yet another blowout for the Tigers, so I switched the channel. Sorry Harry.
You may be wondering why am I devoting space in my blog to two teams with only tangential connections to Chenango County football. The answer lies in my affinity for statistics – and Tioga and Unatego beat a couple of our area teams this season quite handily.
Saturday evening, I looked up the final scores of Section IV championship football games (there were other games scheduled other than Tioga-Unatego). As expected, Chenango Forks rolled past Waverly in the Class C final, and U-E and Vestal’s clash in the Class A title game ended in a close U-E win. As for the Class D game that I wrote off, the final was 80-53. I told my stepson the score, and he asked me if Tioga’s basketball team was good. The implication: He thought I was giving him a hoops score.
The basketball season is still three to four weeks away for most teams, and I’m not sure if Tioga’s basketball team is any good, but I know its football team is among the favorites in the state playoffs this year. That despite the amazing second-half statistical performance of Unatego’s offense.
Granted, the Spartans amassed a large chunk of their points – and yards – against Tioga’s second and third string defense, but those statistics are straight out of a video game. Tioga’s numbers were pretty darn impressive as well, especially with the starting unit calling it a day after two quarters.
For the game, the two clubs racked up over 1,200 yards of total offense in 48 minutes of play. That equates to 25 yards of offense per minute and projects to over 1,500 yards of offense in an NFL-length game. Tioga’s first string offense scored on its first seven possessions accumulating nearly 400 yards in the first half alone, and it rushed for over 600 yards in the game. Mind you, the second unit had over 200 rushing yards in the second half.
On the flip side, Unatego was in hurry-up pass mode the entire second half, all of it engineered by sophomore quarterback Josh Feyerabend. Feyerabend drew raves from our area coaches this past season, and all he did was set a state record for passing yards in a game. Feyerabend completed 12 passes in the second half for 356 yards, and he finished with 581 yards passing and seven TD passes. According to reports, five Unatego receivers had at least 80 receiving yards, and four of those TD passes went for 45 yards or more. Best stat of all; Feyerabend is just a sophomore. “The scariest thing about (Feyerabend) is that not only a sophomore, but he’s that calm and that good,” said Unadilla Valley varsity football coach, Mark Segina. “Granted, (Feyerabend) has a couple great receivers, but he throws the ball on the rope, and he can also gash you on the read option.”
Segina, whose team lost to Unatego last month, said he has studied Unatego’s offense, and says has no problem filching plays from the Spartans to make his club better. Sounds like a good idea.
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