Knights rule the West with 29-6 win over Gowanda, #1 Onondaga next
Joe Caccamise runs hard for Offensive MVP honors, Don Miller is named Defensive MVP
Recap by Bill Bruton Jr. - Batavia Daliy News

Orchard Park - LeRoy's football team got its toughest test of the year last week in the Section 5 Class C finals, when the Oatkan Knights rallied from an 8-0 deficit with 2 TDs in the last 13 minutes for a 12-8 victory over rival Caledonia-Mumford. That tough game may have been just what the Oatkan Knights needed.

The unbeaten Knights put on a dominating performance on both sides of the ball in a 29-6 victory over Gowanda Friday night (11-15) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the Class C Far West Regionals.

"You really can't describe it. It's a really good feeling," said offensive and defensive lineman Don Miller, chosen the defensive player of the game. "We have been dreaming of this since we were kids."

LeRoy also had its way in the kicking game, where the Knights have a huge weapon in Brendan Fulmer. Fulmer booted a 50-yard punt late in the first quarter that pinned Gowanda at its 10-yard line. "Brendan's a great athlete. His kickoff skills and punting skills really add a big dimension when you get in these big games," LeRoy coach Brian Moran said. "Field position is always a concern."

Gowanda managed just 3 yards on its first 3 plays and was forced to punt. But Gowanda punter Tristan
John managed only a 10-yard effort, giving the Oatkan Knights the ball at the Gowanda 25. Six plays later, the 6-foot-6 Fulmer hauled in a 6-yard TD from QB Joe Shaughnessy with 1:50 left in the first half. Fulmer added the point after touchdown to give LeRoy a 7-0 lead.

"It was huge. The first touchdown is always the biggest," Fulmer said. "You get the lead and the other team has to come from behind. It's a tough spot to be in."

Joe Caccamise, the offensive player of the game, had 3 carries for 21 yards on the drive and finished up with 116 yards on 18 carries. Caccamise did the load of the work on LeRoy's time consuming 15-play, 85-yard drive in the second quarter that chewed up 7:31 of the clock. Caccamise had 6 carries for 41 yards on the drive, which he capped off with a 21-yard TD run. He finished the first half with 74 yards on 9 carries running behind LeRoy's big offensive line.

LeRoy put the game away to start the second half when the Knights went on a nine-play, 68-yard drive for a touchdown. Caccamise scored the TD on a 7-yard run. The key play on the drive was a 34-yard pass from Shaughnessy to Sam DeFazio.

"Joe's a great athlete," Moran said of his senior QB. "He's the only 4-year starter I've ever had."

On its next drive, LeRoy managed to drive from its 37 to the Gowanda 13 despite 3 fumbles the Knights were fortunate to recover. Gowanda took over on downs, but QB Dan Bley was forced into the end zone on a pass attempt and was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety early in the 4th quarter.

Joe Cosimeno scored from 4 yards out the next time LeRoy had the ball. The PAT was blocked, leaving it
29-0 in favor of the Knights. Gowanda (9-2) finally got on the board with less than 5 minutes to play when Bley hooked up with Derrick Eddy on a 54-yard TD. The 2-point PAT failed.

Jason Hodge and Don Miller led the LeRoy defense with 7 and 6 tackles respectively. Jake Whiting, Joe Cosimeno, Tim Dieffenbacher, and Kenny Smith each had 5 tackles.

The Knights, now 11-0, play in the state semifinals against Onondaga (last season's Class D state champions) at 7:30 pm this upcoming Friday (11-22) at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. "It's been a goal (making it to the Carrier Dome) ever since I've been in 10th grade. I consider that for all the seniors," Fulmer said. "That's what we've been pulling for. This is a dream come true."


Joe Caccamise 18-116 yds, 2 TDs
Joe Cosimeno 14-66, TD
Jeremy Cosimeno - 7-31
Andrew Fox 7-21
Kenny Smith 4-6
Joe Shaughnessy 6-5
Jake Whiting 1-3

Joe Shaughnessy 3 of 9
for 48 yds - 1 TD

Brendan Fulmer 2-14
Sam DeFazio 1-34

Jason Hodge - 7 (4 solo)
Don Miller - 6 (sack)
Jake Whiting - 4 (all solo, sack)
Joe Cosimeno - 4
Tim Dieffenbacher - 4 (sack)
Ken Smith - 4
Andrew Fox - 3 (sack)

Jake Syracuse - sack for safety

Total Yardage
LeRoy - 297 yards (249 rush/48 pass)
Gowanda - 149 yards (73 rush/76 pass)



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RB Joe Caccamise bursts through the middle of the Panther defense

A quick throw from QB Shaughnessy to WR Fulmer gets the Knights on the board

Red & black balloons are released over the stadium crowd to celebrate the LeRoy TD

The Gowanda QB is smothered on a 4th down keeper deep in LeRoy territory

RB Joe Caccamise speeds around the right end for the first of his 2 scores

DE Jake Whiting is not fooled by this Gowanda pass in the flats

The LeRoy offensive line opens up a huge hole for another Caccamise score

SCORING SUMMARY - LeRoy @ Gowanda - Friday, November 15, 2002
1st Quarter      
Brendan Fulmer - 6 yd pass from
Joe Shaughnessy
Fulmer kick
LR 7 Gow 0
2nd Quarter
Joe Caccamise - 21 yd run Fulmer kick
LR 14 Gow 0
3rd Quarter
Joe Caccamise - 7 yd run Fulmer kick
LR 21 Gow 0
4th Quarter      
Safety - Intentional grounding by
Gowanda QB in end zone
LR 23 Gow 0
Joe Cosimeno - 4 yd run Kick failed
LR 29 Gow 0
Derrick Eddy - 54 yd pass from
Dan Bley
Pass failed
LR 29 Gow 6