FB : Incoming Syracuse freshman trio helps lead Downstate to 3rd straight all-star game victory

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on June 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 Commentscenter_img Redemption was sweet for Wayne Morgan.The highly touted SU recruit got burned for a touchdown on his first play in the Carrier Dome, but early in the fourth quarter, the Downstate right cornerback cracked Upstate quarterback Tyler Johnson to force a crucial turnover.Morgan put his helmet directly on the football, jarring it out of Johnson’s right arm and flying into the air. Teammate Marquis Burrell recovered to set up the game-winning drive and from there Downstate held on for its third straight victory in Sunday’s Upstate-Downstate Football Classic, an annual New York high school all-star game.‘It feels real good just to keep the trend going,’ Morgan said. ‘We’ve won three years in a row, so it just feels good to keep the trend going and not be the first loser.’Morgan was one of three incoming Syracuse freshmen who kept the trend going, along with right tackle Omari Palmer and running back Devante McFarlane. Morgan and Palmer factored heavily into Downstate’s 27-23 victory Sunday afternoon in the Carrier Dome, while McFarlane suffered a right shoulder injury on the opening drive and spent the remainder of the game with his arm in a sling.Upstate defensive end Pancho Barnwell, who will attend Nassau Community College in the fall to improve his grades and potentially join the Downstate trio at SU in 2013, recorded 2.5 sacks and four tackles.‘It’s tough,’ Downstate head coach C.T. Chatham said. ‘They haven’t played a football game since what, late fall? It’s always a challenge, but I think our kids rose to the challenge at the end and I think it’s great for New York football that the game was so close. Quite frankly, that’s the kind of game you want.’McFarlane and Palmer gave Orange fans a potential glimpse of the future SU running game on the opening possession. McFarlane took a carry right side, and used a Palmer lead block to pick up 15 yards.While that was it for McFarlane – who Chatham said is ‘going to play a lot of football – Palmer kept opening up holes for all 48 minutes. He can be credited in large part for Downstate’s 185 total rushing yards, despite frequently matching up with Barnwell, Upstate’s starting left defensive end.‘(Barnwell) had to have been the better – I’ll just say it the best d-end I’ve gone against in a while,’ Palmer said. ‘… Right now it really seems like he wants to go (to Syracuse). We were talking – I was talking to him during the week – and it seems like he’s going to be there in two years.’With an early 6-0 lead, Palmer pancaked Upstate defenders on three consecutive plays. First, on a sprint right, Palmer got to the second level and cleared out a linebacker. Then, the 6-foot-3, 330-pounder pulled to lead a counter left, discarding another Downstate player. And finally, Palmer pushed his man straight over on a draw right.Three plays later, his second push powered quarterback Rich Czeczotka into the end zone for another Downstate touchdown.‘I haven’t won a championship in my whole life in anything,’ Palmer said. ‘It feels good to finally win.’The rest of the game didn’t go as smoothly as the first quarter. Upstate went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter, starting with a blunder from Morgan.Sidelined for the opening 12 minutes after missing practice from Wednesday-Friday, Morgan trotted onto the field oozing confidence. Wearing a red cleat on his left foot and a black one on his right, a full white sleeve on his right arm and a red skull wrap underneath his helmet, he swaged his shoulders and turned inward lining up at right cornerback.Across from him stood standout wide receiver Marcus McGill. McGill sprinted ahead 10 yards before turning back to the ball. Morgan hopped the route, but the throw never came. McGill took off downfield and hauled in a 36-yard touchdown pass, so far ahead of Morgan that he was able to turn around and wait for the late pass in the end zone.‘I was focused on No. 7 (McGill) when I saw he kept running the stop (routes),’ Morgan said. ‘So I tried to break on the ball, but it was a great move. He did a hell of a job so I tip my hat to him.’But Morgan got the last laugh.His forced fumble ended an Upstate drive deep in Downstate territory. Then, with Downstate leading 27-23 and Upstate trying to put together a last-minute comeback, Morgan waved his arms to pump up the crowd.The Upstate offense stalled as Johnson threw three straight incompletions, and Downstate prevailed.‘When I’m playing football I’m just so focused on the game,’ Morgan said. ‘I want the crowd to feel just like me. Once the crowd feels how I feel, I’m going to make the play.’[email protected]last_img

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