by Batavia Daily News Sportswriter Brian Hillabush
The Canisteo-Greenwood football team had never won a sectional
playoff game before last weekend. The Redskins will be waiting until next
fall to try for that second win because powerhouse Le Roy had little problem
doing what they do best, winning come sectional time. The top-seeded Oatkan
Knights made the plays that an experienced program would make and the
Redskins made a big mistake late in the game in leading to the 21-13 Le
Roy win in the Section 5 Class C semifinals at St. John Fisher College
Were a disciplined ball team, lineman Tim Dieffenbacher
said. They showed that they are not a disciplined ball team. It
matters a lot when you are disciplined. Obviously they werent and
it worked out for us.
The Le Roy defense forced Canisteo-Greenwood to punt with just 7:37 left
in the game, and then it was time for some clock management with a heavy
dose of Andrew Fox. The senior running back had four straight carries
on a drive that took the clock down to 2:54 before Redskin linebacker
Lyle Ellis stopped Fox at the line of scrimmage on a fourth-and-2 at the
C-G 21-yard line.
That was huge because it took a lot of time off (the clock),
said Fox, who rushed for 137 yards on 28 attempts. We were able
to take time off the clock because our offensive line was blocking great.
When you are in that situation, you want to score obviously,
said Le Roy coach Brian Moran, whose squad is now 9-0. But you still
want to run the clock and get out of here.
The Redskins moved the ball with Jay Kothen throwing pass after pass,
but an intentional grounding was called on the quarterback, setting up
a second-and-27 with little time left on the clock. Canisteo-Greenwood
couldnt convert and the Oatkan Knights will move on to the finals.
We played our hearts out and we are where we want to be, Dieffenbacher
said. This is what we worked for, we want a sectional title.
The first 26 minutes of the game were ugly, but the Oatkan Knights were
able to run the ball and not turn it over after an early fumble in the
second half. Fox fumbled that ball on Le Roys first possession after
halftime and Kothen picked up his second fumble of the game and returned
it 25 yards. Lyle Ellis scored on a 6-yard run a few plays later.
It was a rough game for me, Fox said. I only fumbled
once during the regular season and I had two in this one game. It was
a problem, but the team is so positive and they picked me up. I was able
to work through it.
But Le Roy answered back with the game-winning touchdown, a Fox 15-yard
scoring scamper on a fourth-and-2. Mike Farabella had 10- and 20-yard
runs on the drive. Fox was stopped at the line of scrimmage, but kept
his legs moving and got in the end zone. I wanted the ball and I
wanted to prove myself. That just picked me right up, Fox said.
Turnovers were the story of the first half. The Redskins fumbled the ball
away on the first possession of the game and Mark Bennetti scored on a
7-yard keeper. Canisteo-Greenwood fumbled on its second drive as well
when Ellis coughed up the ball in Redskin territory. Fox recovered this
fumble and Le Roy drove 53 yards on 10 plays with Fox capping off the
drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge.
The Oatkan Knights then let Canisteo-Greenwood back in the game with a
turnover of their own. Bennetti fumbled the ball twice on one play. He
recovered the first one, but Devan Bertch jarred the ball loose a second
time and Kothen picked up the ball and ran 21 yards for a score. The kickoff
was muffed and the Oatkan Knights had to start the next drive at their
own 10-yard line. Mike Farabella had a 17-yard run but Nick Clark stripped
the ball from Foxs hands on a second-and-7. Bertch recovered the
ball, but the Redskins were forced to punt.
Le Roy couldnt mount much of a drive and had to punt, making the
score 14-7 at the half. Farabella had 126 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Phil Niccloy led a LeRoy defense that allowed just 27 net yards of rushing
with 7 tackles. Teammate John Whiting registered 5 tackles and Mike Pacer
4 tackles and a sack. The Oatkan Knights will play Marcus Whitman at 5
p.m. Friday at St. John Fisher College in the finals.