Vestal finally gave up its first points of the 2012 high school football season on Friday night, and not long after endured its first loss as well.
David Smith rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns as Corning overcame a turnover-plagued performance to get past Vestal, 21-7, in a non-league contest at Dick Hoover Stadium.
Ty Timmerman added a team-high 97 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Hawks (3-0), who piled up 420 yards of offense but couldn’t shake Vestal (2-1) until the waning moments of the game.
After Luke Wright’s 80-yard touchdown run brought Vestal (2-1) within 14-7 with 5:13 remaining in the third quarter, the Golden Bears had two chances to tie or take the lead following a pair of Corning turnovers.
But both times, Vestal failed to pick up a first down and had to punt, and Corning finally sealed the victory with a 10-play, 63-yard drive — one in which the Hawks converted a pair of third-down plays for first downs — capped by Smith’s 9-yard touchdown run with 1:56 remaining that made it 21-7.
“You have to catch a few breaks, but I’m proud of our guys,” Vestal coach Tank Anderson said. “From where we were last year (2-7), to being 2-1 and playing against a state-ranked Class AA team and giving them a battle like they hadn’t seen yet. Our guys should feel pretty good about it.”
Corning, ranked 22nd in the state in Class AA according to the New York State Sports Writers Association, moved the ball with ease in the early going, only to have its first two drives end with turnovers deep in Vestal territory.
The second of those came just as Corning looked as if it would score the first points against Vestal this season, but Jordan Prisella lost a fumble at the Vestal 1, the ball recovered by John Edwards with 9:12 left in the second quarter.
Corning, however, finally broke through on its third possession, as Timmerman rumbled up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown with 5:36 remaining in the second quarter. Jon Michael Tokar followed with a two-point conversion run to give Corning an 8-0 lead.
Vestal, which had opened the season with victories over Ithaca (25-0) and then Horseheads (44-0), drove to the Corning 7 on its ensuing drive, but quarterback Nick Wegmann was sacked for an 8-yard loss to the 15, and he threw incomplete into the end zone on fourth down to end the scoring threat.
Corning then drove 85 yards in less than two minutes, capped by Smith’s 1-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left in the second quarter, to take a 14-0 lead.
“We played a big strong team, they bend a little bit but once we got down near the end zone we couldn’t punch a few of them in,” Anderson said. “If we got on the board earlier, get some momentum, it could have been a huge deal for us.”
Wright finished with a game-high 110 yards rushing for Vestal, which gained 261 yards of offense.