Vestal High School football coach Tank Anderson’s goals were simply. Get a win. Play well. Avoid injury. Get ready for next week’s showdown with Union-Endicott.
Mission accomplish. Vestal thrashed an undermanned Oneonta team, 60-22, at Dick Hoover Stadium on Friday night. Vestal, who improved to 3-1 this season, jumped out to a 41-0 lead at halftime, and Anderson was able to rest his starters in the second half. Oneonta (0-4) dressed less than 25 players for the game.
Vestal came off a 21-7 loss to Corning last week at home, and they’ll play rival Union-Endicott next week.
“Being only 21 kids on their team, we knew, I think, that we could take over the game at the end,” Anderson said. “I tried to challenge the kids to come out strong in the first quarter just because I didn’t want them to let down. They responded, everybody. I can’t even single anyone out.”
Vestal had a very balanced attack senior running back Marshall Case ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on just five carries, while junior quarterback Nick Wegmann went 3 of 6 passing for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore back Justin Dennis hauled in two passes for 71 yards receiving and a touchdown to go along with a 70-yard kick-off return in the second half. Mike Furminger ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
After both teams traded possessions early on, Vestal finally took advantage of great field position on its secon possession. Case had a 39-yard touchdown sprint wiped away by a holding penalty, but Zach Clark ran for a 44-yard touchdown on the next play to give Vestal a 6-0 lead (the point after try missed) with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter.
“As soon as I made that touchdown, I set the tone right there,” Case said of the run that was called back. “Everyone was happy. Our defense was excited. We knew we were going to come out and beat them. Luke (Wright) had some really good hits on defense. Zach had some really good runs too. We played really well.”
Oneonta went three-and-out on its next possession, and Vestal went for the jugular on its possession. Facing fourth-and-eight from the Vestal 23-yard line, Wegmann’s hit Dennis in stride in the corner of the end zone. Vestal’s lead expanded to 14-0 following a two-point conversion pass from Wegmann to Pat Carlin, and the floodgates burst wide opened for the Vestal offense.
Vestal scored four second-quarter touchdowns, including a 66-yard sprint by Case with 1:13 left in the half, to take a 41-0 lead into halftime. Oneonta recorded just one first down in the opening half and gained just 40 yards of total offense. Vestal sacked Oneonta quarterback Brendan Lord four times, defensive lineman Desmond McCoy had two of those sacks.
Vestal scored the first touchdown of the second half to go ahead 47-0, and the starters got to watch most of the half from the sideline as they started thinking about next week’s game against U-E.
“It’s a huge rivalry,” said Wright, who intercepted a pass in the first half to set up a touchdown. “We know our record, Vestal and U-E bad blood, history. We’re up 31-30. We’re going to try to make it 32-30. We’re going to do a lot of preparing this week. It’s been in our mind since the beginning of the season.”