MARCELLUS — After winning the state Class C title last season, the Skaneateles football team was welcomed back to Class B by rival Marcellus.
The Lakers used their aerial attack to amass 35 unanswered points in the first half and cruised to a 42-9 victory over the Mustangs in the season opener at Marcellus High School Friday.
“They’re very physical and they were jamming our receivers, and it took us a while to adjust to how physically they played,” Skaneateles head coach Joe Sindoni said. “We’ve got some talented guys and they made some plays, and I was really happy with the way the defense flew around the field. I thought the defense was the star of the show.”
Patrick Hackler, who set a state record for touchdown passes in a season last year, threw five touchdowns and rushed for another. The senior finished with 319 yards passing.
“I judge him to a higher standard than an average kid coming in, but I thought he made some very, very good plays and I thought he made some plays he wishes he had back,” Sindoni said. “A couple of those throws were beautiful, and he knew he was going to get hit some of the time and he stuck in and took it. He’s a playmaker and he made some plays.”
Nick Wamp finished with 160 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while Nate Wellington finished with 128 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Areh Boni was all over the field. The senior had 69 rushing yards, a 31 yard touchdown reception, 11 tackles and three assists.
“We made some plays and the defense they played was high risk, high reward defense,” Sindoni said. “Once we figured it out, we were able some plays over the top on them.”
Skaneateles scored on their second possession on Hackler’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Wamp and the Lakers held a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Lakers put up 28 points in the second quarter.
Hackler started the second quarter with a pair of long touchdown throws. The first was a 49-yard strike to Wamp, and after the Lakers recovered a fumble on the next kickoff, Hackler connected with Wellington for a 54-yard touchdown pass.
Skaneateles’ offense continued to click, with Hackler capping an 85-yard drive by punching it in from the 2 yard line midway through the second quarter.
After forcing another Mustangs punt, Hackler connected with Wamp for an 85-yard touchdown on the first play of their next possession and led 35-0 at the half.
“I thought the guys made good adjustments and the line did a good job adjusting too,” Sindoni said. “They brought pressure every single time, and I thought we did a good job of keeping Hackler upright.”
Skaneateles’ first drive after halftime was two plays spanning 62 yards in 46 seconds. The possession was capped with Hackler making a short pass to Boni, who galloped the rest of the 31 yards for a touchdown.
After going up 42-0, the Lakers began to rush the ball to run out the clock for the rest of the second half. The Mustangs scored a touchdown with 4:26 remaining and the Lakers had a safety two minutes later, but the Marcellus comeback fell well short.
Skaneateles (1-0) hosts Homer, the only team to top them last season, on Sept. 7.
“The next game is always the biggest because it’s the next one,” Sindoni said. “Homer is a team that we have not had success with since we’ve been here, and they’re always good and well coached. … We need to tighten things down and be a better version of ourselves next week.”