Knights capture 10th sectional crown
with dramatic 12-8 win over Cal-Mum
Jake Whiting rambles 57 yards with game-winning reception in closing minutes, Shaughnessy MVP
Rochester - The last time Cal-Mum and LeRoy met on the gridiron was Friday the 13th back in September. The Knights broke open a close contest just before halftime and rolled to a 21-0 win over the visiting Raiders. In the 2 months since, both teams have run roughshod over their opponents. The second meeting was inevitable between Section 5's two very best small school programs. Everyone knew the second meeting between these 2 perennial powerhouses would be in the sectional finals, barring a huge upset. Would the regular season winner once again be denied in the sectional tilt? The Knights hoped there was no such thing as a "jinx". The Raiders prepared mightily to keep the yearly "splits" intact. Cal-Mum and LeRoy fans at Sunday's Section 5 Class C championship witnessed an epic defensive battle that had everyone's stomach churning. As was the case 2 months ago, big plays determined the outcome.

The atmosphere was electric and tense as the teams took the field at high noon. Cloudy conditions, a touch of drizzle, and a gusting breeze were to be the norm for the day weather-wise. The Knights received the opening kickoff and took posession at their 35 after a C-M boot found OB. The Knights were swarmed by a most tenacious Raider defense led by the likes of John Zielinski, Jon Harrington, and Ryan Sherman. Cal-Mum Coach Mike Monacelli was bound and determined to bottle up LeRoy QB Joe Shaughnessy, the 2002 Section 5 Class C Offensive Player of the Year. The Raider defense was masterful in negating Shaughnessy on the ground, holding the star QB to just FIVE net yards on 16 carries. After picking up a hard earned first down against the Raiders, the Knights were forced to punt at midfield. The Raiders started their first offensive series at their own 18 after a 35 yd Brendan Fulmer punt into a gusting side-wind. Cal-Mum would manage just 7 yards and be forced to punt from their own 25.

LeRoy's second drive start was from their 43. Shaughnessy directed the LeRoy offense down the field with a timely run and a 20 yd strike to Fulmer who was triple-covered on the reception. The Knights moved down to the Raider 4 before the Cal-Mum defense rose to the occasion and stopped the Knights dead in their tracks. Fulmer was called on for a 21 yd FG that would sail wide of the uprights. The Raiders had answered the call to stop the explosive LeRoy offense. First down for Cal-Mum at their 20.

Cal-Mum QB Paul Keeley played with steady poise, utilizing the outside running of star HB Ricky Riddle and the inside pounding of powerful FB Jon Harrington. Keeley was effectively selling the "draw" play which worked well in slowing the north-south pursuit of the LeRoy defense. The Raiders would move to the LeRoy 22 before LeRoy's Fulmer broke up a 4th-and-8 Keeley pass. The Knights moved out of the hole in this game of battling field position with a 15 yd reception by Fulmer. Zielinski and DE Chris Harmon rallied the CMCS defense and smashed the LeRoyans back, forcing a punt.

The Raiders could do little with the ball on offense and punted back to LeRoy. The Knights moved quickly through the air to the Cal-Mum 31 when Shaughnessy hit senior WR Sam DeFazio on a 29 yd pass. Sherman and Harmon would once again thwart the LeRoy drive with immense pressure and sacks of Shaughnessy. A 51 yd field goal attempt by LeRoy's Fulmer would not find its way through the uprights and at the half the game was scoreless. LeRoy had realized some good field position in the first half from which to initiate their drives, but it was the Raiders who were controlling the line of scrimmage and absolutely stuffing the LeRoy rush. No score, but it seemed to be "Advantage Cal-Mum" at this point in the contest as their inspired play had the Raiders and their appreciative fans believing this rematch would continue the "jinx".

The teams were pumped for the second half of action. It seemed that in this defensive battle, the first to score would have a huge advantage in taking home the sectional title. The Knights kicked off to start the second half. A Fulmer bomb put the Raiders at the 20 after the touchback. LeRoy's defense, led by star LB Jason Hodge, would force a 3-and-out and another Ricky Riddle punt. The Knights once again had good field position, the Cal-Mum 46, to start their second half attack on offense. The Raiders said "nothing doing" and forced a 4th-and-21 after Sherman and Harmon smashed through to the LeRoy backfield. LeRoy's Fulmer blasted a towering 57 yd punt to push the Raiders back to their own 20 once more.

The Raiders moved the ball well against the Knights as Keeley and Harrington picked up some key rushing yardage while Riddle was causing fits with his moves off the screen pass. The Raider drive stalled just inside LeRoy territory and the punt team did its job in sending the Knights back to their own 22. LB Jeremy Darron got into the act for the maroon and white and pushed the Knights to their own 14 after a big tackle. The Raiders were causing major havoc in the LeRoy backfield. A blind-side smash of Shaughnessy earned the Raiders the break they were looking for as Shags fumbled the ball at his own 9 yd line. The Cal-Mum crowd was ecstatic and Harrington followed his linemen up the middle for a one-yard TD blast. Riddle added the PAT run for 2 points with a powerful slash to the end zone from the left side to put the Raiders up 8-0 with 2:15 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Things were not looking very good for Brian Moran's #2 state-ranked (C) Knights. The PAT run by Riddle was huge.

LeRoy was awarded the ball again at the 35 after another out of bounds kickoff. A beautiful screen pass from Shaughnessy to RB Joe Cosimeno gave the Knights the ball right at midfield. Cal-Mum's Jeff Boop sacked Shaughnessy again to force a 3rd down at the Raider 46. With just 13 seconds left in the quarter, the Knights scored on a 46 yard pass from Shaughnessy to Fulmer. Brendan beat 3 defenders on the play to find the end zone and pump life back into the LeRoy offense. The attempt to tie the game with a 2 pt PAT pass was thwarted. Fulmer used the wind at his back to knock the ensuing kickoff through the end zone to end the 3rd quarter. Cal-Mum 8, LeRoy 6 with just 12 minutes remaining in the season for one of these teams.

The Raiders moved to their 41 before Riddle was stopped by Fulmer and Shaughnessy on defense. Riddle would knock a good punt to the LeRoy 25. Once again the Raider defense flexed their muscles and jammed the Knights back to the 23 to force a punt. Cal-Mum took over at their own 46 yd line. With 6:52 remaining in the battle, it looked as if the state quarterfinals were calling for the Raiders. The LeRoy defense needed to come up big and big it did. LeRoy's Jake Whiting made a beautiful shoestring tackle of Cal-Mum RB Jamie Fitch on a 3rd-and-13 from the CMCS 43 to force a punt. The Knights would return the punt to their 36 with 4:38 left in the game. Enter Joe Shaughnessy and the LeRoy offense.

The Knights were dropped back to their 31 after a delay penalty. Shaughnessy would pick up 12 big yards on a run to the LeRoy 43. With 3:36 left in the contest, Shaughnessy threw a perfect pass to receiver Jake Whiting just over the outstretched arms of the Cal-Mum defender. Jake cut beautifully to the left, received a great block from teammate Joe Cosimeno, and rambled 57 yards to the end zone for what would prove to be the game-winning TD. The LeRoy fans were delirious as their dream season would continue after being stuffed by their arch-rivals throughout much of the contest. Big plays are made possible by big-time players. Shaughnessy and Whiting hooked up for one of the biggest plays ever against a quality opponent. Brendan Fulmer denied the Raiders any miracle finish of their own with a long kickoff into the wind in the closing moments. The Knights were able to seal the deal with some great stops of the dangerous Riddle and Harrington. Fulmer dashed all Cal-Mum hopes with 90 seconds remaining as he hauled in a Keeley desperation pass near the sideline. The Knights ran out the clock for the 12-8 win that enables them to continue their goal of a possible state title. Next Friday, the Knights travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, to play Gowanda for the Western NY championship in the state quarterfinals.

With the victory, Head Coach Brian Moran is an amazing 9-1 in the sectional championship final. His 9th Section 5 title is now tops among all coaches in the history of Section 5 football playoffs (Cal-Mum coach Mike Monacelli has earned 8 sectional titles to go along with his 3 state titles). LeRoy also is the 4th school to ever win 10 or more Section 5 football titles (Clyde has 13, Cal-Mum 12, and Fairport 11).

Congratulations to LeRoy QB Joe Shaughnessy who earned his second consecutive Game MVP award. Though stopped on the ground by a tenacious Raider defense, Joe rallied the Knights with his arm with 2 beautiful in-stride TD passes to Fulmer and Whiting. Joe was tough on defense as well with 6 tackles. Also receiving accolades were Jason Hodge who earned the game's Defensive Back MVP honors after registering 12 tackles against the Raiders, 7 of them solo. Defensive Line MVP honors for the game went to LeRoy's Donny Miller who figured in on 10 tackles. Tim Dieffenbacher (7), Andrew Fox (6), Jeremy Cosimeno (6), and Jake Syracuse (6) were also stellar on defense as the Raiders were held to 140 total yards of offense.


Joe Cosimeno 6-19 yds
Joe Caccamise 7-14
Andrew Fox 4-12
Jimmy Macaluso 4-18
Joe Shaughnessy 16-5

Joe Shaughnessy 9 of 12
for 182 yds - 2 TDs

Brendan Fulmer 3-81, TD
Sam DeFazio 3-29
Joe Cosimeno 2-15
Jake Whiting 1-57, TD!

Jason Hodge - 12 (7 solo)

Don Miller - 10 (5 solo)
Tim Dieffenbacher - 7
Jeremy Cosimeno - 6 (4 solo)
Jake Syracuse - 6 (4 solo)
Andrew Fox - 6
Joe Shaughnessy - 6

Brendan Fulmer - INT

Total Yardage
LeRoy - 232 yards (50 rush/182 pass)
Cal-Mum - 140 yards (112 rush/28 pass)

LeRoy - Cal-Mum II

Pete Loftus feels the pressure from Matt "The Flava" Cappotelli (right)



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WR Brendan Fulmer grabs a Shaughnessy pass in traffic

The LeRoy defense comes up to gang tackle the C-M runner

WR Sam DeFazio makes a key reception of a Shaughnessy throw

LB Jason Hodge makes the stop of rugged C-M FB Jon Harrington

Class C Offensive MVP Joe Shaughnessy (10) shows he can play defense too

WR Brendan Fulmer gets the Knights on the scoreboard with a TD reception

WR Jake Whiting takes the Shaughnessy pass the distance for the game winning TD!

Safety Brendan Fulmer officially buries the "jinx" with an interception of a C-M pass

SCORING SUMMARY - Cal-Mum @ LeRoy II - Sunday, November 10, 2002
1st Quarter No scoring    
2nd Quarter
No scoring
3rd Quarter
John Harrington - 1 yd run Riddle run
C-M 8 LeRoy 0
Brendan Fulmer - 46 yd pass from
Joe Shaughnessy
Pass failed
C-M 8 LeRoy 6
4th Quarter      
Jake Whiting - 57 yd pass from
Joe Shaughnessy
Pass failed
LR 12 C-M 8