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Fayetteville Manlius Football

Tradition

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FM FOOTBALL - A TRADITION OF PRIDE AND EXCELLENCE

Before 1953 the Villages of Fayetteville and Manlius had two separate school districts and separate football teams. Not only were the teams smaller in size, but they played against smaller suburban and rural schools in and neighboring counties. With the merger of the two districts the newly formed F-M teams started to play against bigger city and suburban schools, thus establishing new rivalries and traditions.

The school teams' colors changed to green and white and the football team began play on the field south of the existing Wellwood school building which then served as the first High School for the new district. Legend has it that the nickname for the new team-the Hornets-came from the existence of many hornets nests in the massive oak tree in front of the Wellwood school.

F-M's football fortunes also improved with the arrival of Coach Al Vedder in 1959. A former player at Colgate, Coach Vedder guided the program for 25 years with the able assistance of coaches like Tom Hall {long-time varsity men's lacrosse coach), Jim Hennigan and Tom Hayes.

During the 1960's the Hornets were perennial contenders for league titles and they won the County championship in 1962. Players on those powerful teams included Tommy Myers-later an All-American at SU and All-Pro for the
New Orleans
Saints, Dale Drypokher, Jeff Smith, Doug James, and Pat Walker.

After the High School was moved to the new campus in the early 1960's, the field for home games moved to the present stadium. Due to the combined efforts of the booster club and the district, new stands, a press box, lights and a snack shack were added to the new field.
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In the 1970's F-M continued to display excellence on the field, with names like Twichell, Savage, Pomfrey, Robinson, Rayder, Bahouth, Whitehead, Sweeney, and Bladen leading the way. The 1971 team was led by Tom Rafferty who went on to
Penn State and then to star for the Dallas
Cowboys for 14 years.

The 1973 and 1977 teams won County titles and in the 1975 season, kicker John Dwyer kicked several field goals including a 50 yarder against Fowler.  In 1977, star QB Gordie Whitehead passed for 1092 yards and ran for 503 yards accounting for 25 touchdowns.  He was named All-upstate MVP and went on to start at quarterback for the University of Virginia.  In Coach Al Vedder’s words “He’s the best we’ve ever had here.”


For several decades F-M's main rival was Jamesville-Dewitt. Large crowds flocked to the annual battles between Al Vedder's F-M teams and J-D teams led by Carl Bjork, who was often assisted by Tom Muench-father of F-M's current coach Paul Muench. Later on Coaches Scott Robinson and Matt Steenberg coached many F-M teams to victories against J-D and others. But in the 1990's the rivalry ended with league realignments based on school size.

F-M's standard formula for victory-stingy defense and a strong running game-changed in the early 1980's. Starting with the aerial attack of Lyle Buroker to Dave Evans and John Cunningham, F-M started filling the air with passes. Jim Harris and Greg Rinaldi set Section III records for completions and passing yardage during the 1983 season. Harris went on to star at QB for Lehigh and the roster for the NY Jets. The 1984, 1987 and 1988 teams played several play-off games in the Carrier Dome.

The 1990's saw several outstanding efforts from teams and players like Joe Watt, Fran Bogle, Jason Osier, Alex Fountain, and Hani Rimlawi, but the team's greatest successes were reserved for later in the decade. Under Coach Craig Chiesa and Assistant Dan Rayome the 1998 Hornets won the Section III Class A title and advanced to the state semi-finals at the Carrier Dome. With players like Ken Osier and Chris Rowland leading the charge the 1998 Hornets ended with a sterling 11-1 record blemished only by a tough loss to Rochester Aquinas.  In 1999 FM moved up to Class AA.  Dan Rayone was the head coach and the Hornets, after losing 19 players from the 1998 team made the AA playoffs for the first time in school history.

With F-M's ascent to class AA and new Coach Paul Muench's arrival from
Oswego the Hornets stepped up to meet new challenges. In Muench's first year the team went 6 - 3 and reached the playoffs. This was a sign of greater things to come as the 2001 squad became Section III Class AA and State Regional Champs before finally falling in the semifinals of the State playoffs to powerful Webster.

The past few years have seen an impressive group of Hornets move on to post-graduate play including Elliot Goode-Wisconsin, Damien Rhodes-Syracuse, Nick Feightner-Kansas State, Justin Esposito-Ithace, Ryan Twichell-Union, Josh Hite-Ithaca, Zak Carter-Buffalo, Jon Allen-Buffalo State, Nate Harris-Hamilton, John Breault-Colgate, Matt Abdo-Hargrave, Steve McKinney-St. John Fischer, Jeff Neal-Butler and Zack Zazzara-St. John Fischer.

In 2002, the Hornets were 5 and 3 on the playing field. The team prospered under excellent senior leadership and an offense that averaged 27 points a game and a defense that held its opponents to an average of 17 points per game. Two of the three losses came in very close games while four of FM's five wins were dominating performances.

Unfortunately, the team was prevented from defending its Sectional and Regional titles by a mid-season decision by Section III based on an obscure eligibility rule. As a consequence, FM had to forfeit its two victories over West Genny and RFA. Not deterred by this sudden turn of events though, the 2002 team rallied to win its last three games against Edison Tech of Rochester, Oswego and Liverpool.

Coming off very successful 2001 and 2002 seasons the 2003 Hornets looked forward to the upcoming season with great anticipation and a desire to show that they too are a top shelf team.  However, since the Hornets were a very young team and returned only five starters from the 2002 squad, the rapid development of the returning players and underclassmen is crucial to a successful season.  Off-season work-outs, pre-season camps and teams practices showed that the talent is there but the true tests will be the games played by the Hornets in Section III's competitive AA division.  The 2003 Hornets started slow but finished strong, after a 0-3 start the Hornets had won 4 of the last 7 games and had been very competitive in the three losses. The 2003 Hornets had left a mark bigger than their 4-6 record and had put the league on notice.  The 2004 Hornets, with many skilled players returning and a talented class moving up from an undefeated JV team would be a force to reckon with in the fall. 

 

2004 was a great year for Hornet football.  The team opened in the Carrier Dome with a big win against Mckee/Staten Island Tech, had an exciting goal line stand against Central Square and an impressive win against Utica Proctor.  This young group went 6-4, won two exciting playoff games against Baldwinsville and RFA, earning a trip to the section III finals where they met eventual state champion CBA.  The lessons learned in '04 about hard work and discipline helped lead the Hornets into a fantastic 2005 season.

 

The 2005 season began with high expectations as a veteran senior class led by captains Chris Anderson, Issac Bailey, Bobby DeForest and Collin Simmons anchored the Hornets. FM stomped on most of the teams they played averaging over 40 points per game on offense. They had a big come back at Utica Proctor and beat an always tough Henniger team twice, ending with a perfect 9-0 record.  The team finished up undefeated AA-2 champions and once again earned a trip to the sectional finals.  The sectional finals ended disappointingly as the powerful CBA Brothers defeated the Hornets in the Carrier Dome for the second year in a row.  ALL in all, it was a great season with FM capturing its second league title since 1974.  The 2005 Hornets included the CNY Player of the year, 3 All-state selections, 6 All-CNY selections and 7 players went onto play college football.  They will always be remembered for their big plays under pressure, dramatic games and for the wide support the community gave the team.   The 2005 team will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in FM football history.

 

The 2006 Hornets were faced with an arduous task of replacing the stout ’05 senior class and then contending with an extremely difficult schedule that included the 2005 defending State Champion Monroe Woodbury in week 2.  The Hornets started 0-3 but fought their way into the Section III playoffs, defeating along the way, an undefeated RFA. These scrappy Hornets then shocked the Central New York football world by defeating two-time defending section 3 champion CBA 43-35 in the opening game of the playoffs.  The next week, the season ended with a disappointing 21-14 loss to eventual State Champion Auburn, in a very exciting game not decided until the final play.  By all measures the 2006 season was one to be proud of.

 

With a rich tradition behind them, and pride in the accomplishments of those who went before them, the 2007 Hornets look forward to writing their chapter in this proud history.

 

 

 

2005 Varsity Scores

FM 47  Maine - Endwell  6

FM 30  Union Endicott   0

FM 30  Utica Proctor   27

FM 67  Oswego  0

FM 63  Central Square   6

FM 21  RFA   7

FM 28  Henniger  20

 

Playoffs

FM 49 CNS  21

FM 26 Henniger 22

 

Section 3 Championship 

CBA

 

 
 
 
 
He who endures, conquers.
                 Persius, 64AD

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FM Football

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HORNET FOOTBALL, OUR STING MEANS PAIN!