For the second year in a row, a game against LeRoy left Frank Brown
with a very cold feeling down his spine. Only this time, it had nothing
to do with a 69-point loss or even the cold weather. It had everything
to do with the ice bath he got from his players in the final seconds
of Friday night's 36-7 win over the Oatkan Knights.
"I didn't know that was happening," said Brown, who in his
second year as head coach of the Lions has won eight out of 10 and clinched
the No. 5 seed in Class C with a 5-2 regular season record. "I
let the kids get emotional because that's the way we coach and that's
the way we play."
Emotions had to be running high in the waning of moments of this one,
especially considering the last time they saw LeRoy (1-6), they were
absorbing a 77-8 pounding on their home field back on Sept. 19, 2008.
"At the beginning of the season, this is a team we circled on the
schedule," said senior Bryan Depew. "We knew it would be their
Homecoming, being the last game of the year, and we wanted to come out
and put it to them."
Depew, one of many Lions who played in last year's LeRoy game, did a
lot to help the cause, making 12 tackles, rushing for 46 yards, and
catching five passes for 93 yards.
"I was 0-3 against them and winning this game, it's probably the
biggest win of my high school career, in any sport," said Depew,
who added a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a 4th-and-goal
that made it 21-7.
Mike Berardi led the Lions' rushing attack with 89 yards on 11 carries
and scored two touchdowns, including a 29-yard scamper early in the
second that put Wellsville ahead for good. Wellsville finished with
173 yards on the ground and quarterback Zac Roberts had the best passing
day of his career, completing 6 of 9 passes for 98 yards, not including
a 71-yard touchdown pass to Berardi that was called back because of
a penalty late in the third quarter.
known as a passing team by any stretch, Wellsville still has shown the
ability to spread teams out when they want to and it has been Roberts'
development from being a run-first quarterback to a someone who has
a knack for throwing accurately on the run.
lot of the reasons we were running him so much is this is the first
Friday since September 4th that we haven't gotten wet," said Brown.
"We will not start throwing the ball in bad weather. We're not
going to force the ball. "
put together a sprint package for Zac that works with his legs and his
throwing ability," added Brown. "He's got two reads and if
the reads aren't there, then he's running, and if he sees green, he's
Depew was a key target for Roberts against the Knights, making two third-down
catches on the opening possession that set up Berardi's first touchdown
and put Wellsville up 7-0.
"I was open and he got me the ball," Depew said. "Once
he got out there, he turned his hips and put the ball right on the money.
All I have to do is catch it. It wasn't very hard for me."
After Wellsville marched 73 yards on 11 plays to start the game, LeRoy
answered immediately with its only touchdown drive of the night to tie
the game. Mark Kelso connected with Quentin Humphrey twice on third
downs as well to keep drives alive, setting up Rick Henry's 12-yard
touchdown run on a draw.
started out with a touchdown and they got a touchdown, then we just
took over from there," said senior Ethan Lamphier, who scored his
first varsity touchdown in the fourth from three yards out. "Our
coaches gave us a talk and told us that we're not just going to come
up here and clean these guys out. We had to work hard to do it and we
weren't just going to take it from them."
defense did take over from that point on, holding LeRoy to only 184
total yards of offense, sacking two different Oatkan Knight quarterbacks
three times and forcing a pair of fumbles that led to touchdowns.
"We turned the ball over in crucial situations and good teams take
advantage of that," said LeRoy coach Brian Moran, whose team is
headed to pool play after winning its record 14th Section V title in
2008. "We've just got to work on the little things and get better."
McMorris, who had six tackles, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble,
added a five-yard touchdown run for the Lions, who will travel to
No. 4 Bishop Kearney (5-2) for its quarterfinal match-up. No. 1 Letchworth
(7-0) will play No. 8 Wayland-Cohocton (2-5), while No. 2 Attica (6-1)
hosts No. 7 South Seneca/Romulus (4-3) and No. 3 Holley (6-1) welcomes
No. 6 Marcus Whitman (5-2).
"The nice part is we're finishing off with two wins right in
a row on the road," said Brown, whose team won in Dansville the
week before and went 4-0 away from their temporary home field of Pioneer
Stadium at Alfred State College. "We're so used to playing on
the road because we don't really have our own home field. The reality
of it is, we're on a roll right now and it matters what you do in
led LeRoy with 83 yards rushing on 12 carries, but field position
and turnovers did the Oatkan Knights in. Wellsville started five of
its nine drives inside LeRoy territory.
"Things just fell into place for us," Brown said. "I
looked out into the field and not one player, even when we put our
twos and threes in there, nobody took a single play off and that's
something I'm really proud of with this program."
Brown also noted that LeRoy might be having a rare down season, but
is better than the 1-6 record might indicate.
"They had a lot to play for in front of their Homecoming crowd
and I can respect that," Brown said. "We came up here and
took care of business and got the fifth win and we wanted those five
sectional points. "
"We marched right down the field and that felt good to get the
first one because that's something, as long as I've been around, we've
never been able to do," added Brown. "However, they did
come down and drive on us and the kids knew we were going to be in
for a fight."
Lamphier finished with 11 tackles and a sack, Glenn Rifenburg had
10 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Berardi and Matt Brown each
registered 6 stops.