Knights outlast Braves in gridiron slugfest
Andrew Fox sparks last minute 9-7 win over Avon with 43-yard dash


LeRoy - Friday (9-12) saw the the Oatkan Knights playing hosts to the resurgent Avon Braves under pristine weather conditions at Hartwood Park. Both teams entered the contest with prescribed agendas. The Knights were looking to rebound after a Week One loss to rival Cal-Mum. An 0-2 start would surely give credo to the nay-sayers who feel that 2003 is a "down" rebuilding year for the Knights after big graduation losses. The Braves were looking to start the new year at 2-0 after pounding the Wellsville Lions in Week One by a 48-0 tally. Moreover, the Braves were looking to exact revenge against the Knights after two lopsided losses to the Knights during the 2002 season. Coach Andy Englert's Avon club has worked hard in the offseason and that was very apparent during the contest. The Avon program is worthy of much respect and those that take the Braves lightly will be going home with one in loss column. The game was a physical slugfest that was decided with but a minute to go in the contest. No more blowouts as both teams featured tough players that know how to "get after it."

The Knights received the opening kickoff at their 23-yard line and looked to establish their ground game early. For the second week in a row they were facing a defensive line that averaged nearly 260 lbs. per player. LeRoy FB Andrew Fox was instrumental in garnering two 1st downs in the opening drive against the tough Avon defense spearheaded by the likes of Welch, Fortune, Driscoll, Freeman, and others. Also present for the Braves was one of the premier small school players in Section 5 this season, Greg Stanton. Stanton set the early tone for the visitors with some powerful hits on defense.

The LeRoy drive stalled at midfield and an 18-yard punt into the wind gave the Braves the ball at their own 38. The Wing-T offense trotted out onto the field featuring the backfield of QB Tyler Wolcott and running backs Brandon Freeman, Paul Banach, Kellen Leone, and Stanton. The Braves were forced to punt after managing just one yard in the series. John Zinni dropped back to collect the Avon punt and was stung by Stanton at the LeRoy 24.

The Braves' defense kept the Knights in check, stopping a 3rd and short to force a LeRoy punt. LeRoy punter Jake Whiting doubled his first effort of the night stinging a 36-yarder into the steady breeze to give the Braves a drive start at their own 33. Avon moved the ball to midfield after a Stanton run off right tackle. The LeRoy defense held strong with Brandon Klinkbeil, Tim Dieffenbacher, Jason Spencer, Ryan Duthe, and Mike Pacer leading the counter attack. The Braves punted on 4th down with the wind at their backs to force the Knights back to their 16-yard line. A penalty and the Avon defense proved to be too much as the 1st quarter ended with LeRoy stalled at their 23 in a scoreless contest.

Switching ends paid dividends as Whiting booted a nice 45-yard punt to push Avon back to their 32. The game at this point was centered around the notion of winning the battle of field position. Both teams teed off on one another with their defenses. The Knights held the Braves to minus 1 yard in this series, forcing a punt into the wind. The Knights realized good field position at their 43 and continued to pound the middle with sophomore Mike Farabella picking up some hard earned yardage along with Fox. The methodical LeRoy ground game picked up two 1st downs as they twice went for it on 4th-and-1. The Knights were moving the ball, but at a cost as the Braves were laying a lick on the LeRoy backs.

The Knights were met with a 3rd-and-3 at the Avon 28 and picked up the 1st down when LeRoy QB Brandon Klinkbeil scampered around the right side to the Avon 14. Klink had a great overall performance in the game as he consistently made big plays on offense as well as defense - more on that later. The Knights managed a 3rd-and-7 at the Avon 11 when the Braves blitzed and dropped the locals back to the 16. Coach Moran opted for a field goal attempt from 33 yards out. The kick by C/LB Ryan Duthe was strong and true as he easily popped it through the uprights to give the Knights a 3-0 lead with 4:02 remaining in the first half.

The final four minutes of the half saw LeRoy's Klinkbeil doing it all. The Braves were stopped dead in their tracks on their next possession when Klink picked off an Avon pass at midfield. The Knights looked to tack on another score before half to break the Braves' spirit. Klink dropped back to pass and the Avon defense converged on him. Somehow Klink slipped through the cracks for a fantastic 30-yard pickup to the Avon 22. A 4th down HB option pass to the end zone was narrowly missed and the Braves had thwarted the LeRoy scoring opportunity. The visitors had but 1:45 before the half and picked up 42 yards quickly after a fine 17 yard run and a 25-yard hookup between Wolcott and Stanton. The 1st half ended as Klinkbeil notched his second interception of the night. Klink was the leading tackler for the Knights, registering 8 solo hits. Again, his play was superb on both sides of the ball.

Avon started strong in the 2nd half after RB Paul Banach returned the kickoff to the Braves' 45. The visitors were faced with a tough decision on 4th and one at the LeRoy 46. Coach Englert gave the nod to the Avon offense to go for it and RB Brandon Freeman dove over the mass of linemen to pick up the first down. QB Wolcott found his receiver at the LeRoy 25 for an 18-yard pickup. Stanton continued his fine play with a 13-yard run to the LeRoy 12. The Braves, wildly cheered on by their fans, made it down to the LeRoy 8 before the drive was stymied by LeRoy DB John Zinni who made an interception of a Wolcott pass intended for Stanton in the end zone.

The Knights were stopped at their 26 as the Braves continued to put on the defensive pressure. A Stanton punt return put the ball at the Avon 36. The Braves moved the pigskin well into Knights territory getting to the LeRoy 16 before stalling. The drive had been kept alive by a nice 3rd and 14 conversion as Wolcott continued his air strike. The Braves continued o cause fits for Farabella and Fox with their swarming attack and the Knights again went 3-and-out.

LeRoy punted to start the 4th quarter with the score still but 3-0 in the Knights' favor. Avon started at their 49 and looked to march 51 yards for a TD and perhaps a big win. The Braves picked up a 1st down at the LeRoy 40 and turned to RB Greg Stanton for a big effort. Stanton delivered with style. Greg ran around right end and eluded would-be tackler Klinkbeil by leaping over the LeRoy DB who was going low for a yet another textbook tackle. The spectacular leap-and-run garnered the Braves a 1st down at the LeRoy 11. The Avon team and fans, pumped up by the stellar run, were not to be denied the go-ahead score. Banach made a big second-effort run to the LeRoy 3 and two plays later followed his big linemen into the end zone to put the Braves in the lead. Stanton punched the PAT kick through the uprights to put Avon up 7-3 with but 8:37 left in the game.

Matters were not looking good for the Knights after starting at their 31-yard line after the ensuing kickoff return. A holding penalty and the tough Avon defense made matters worse. Stanton came up big, this time on defense, as he intercepted a LeRoy pass with 7:06 remaining. The Braves immediately went back to their star RB and Greg exploded up the middle of the LeRoy defense to the the 50 after gaining 16 yards. The Braves took to the ground to smartly chew up the clock. The LeRoy defense led by LB Tim Dieffenbacher came up big on an Avon 3rd and 4 at the LeRoy 35 forcing the Braves to punt. The angled kick gave the Knights the ball at their own 25 with 4:38 to go.

The Avon defense came swarming on 1st and 2nd downs nullifying the LeRoy offense. Third-and-10 saw a spectacular run give LeRoy new life. Powerful Andrew Fox ran up the middle and was met by several Avon defenders. Withstanding the blows, Fox righted himself and dashed 43 yards to the Avon 32. The Braves were stunned. The Knights, jubilant. LeRoy QB Klinkbeil immediately hit receiver Jake Whiting with a beautiful slant over the left side to the Avon 21. Two straight runs by Fox powered the Knights to the 15. On 3rd-and-4 Klinkbeil rolled right to find an open receiver, but the Avon coverage was superb. Klink managed to slither through the Avon defenders to notch a LeRoy 1st down just outside the 10-yard line. Moran went to the rugged Fox on three straight plays. The third time was indeed a charm as Andrew plunged over the goal line from 2 yards out with but 1:12 left in the game. The PAT kick sailed wide, but the score stood at 9-7 Knights.

The LeRoy defense was called upon to preserve the win and Coach Paladino's unit did not disappoint. The Braves returned the LeRoy kickoff to their own 38-yard line. The Knights nearly intercepted the 1st down pass attempt. On 2nd down Fox stopped Stanton in the Avon backfield to force another pass attempt on 3rd down which was dropped. Junior DL Jason Spencer saw to it that the Knights would not be victims of any last second heroics as he sacked the Avon QB to end the hopes of the visitors. The final from Hartwood Park was LeRoy 9, Avon 7. The Knights have not lost at home since the 1998 regular season.

Andrew Fox 13-82 yds, TD
Mike Farabella 19-56
Brandon Klinkbeil 7-55
Jake Whiting 2-2
Brandon Klinkbeil 3-9 for 16 yds

All receptions by
Jake Whiting

Brandon Klinkbeil - 8 tackles
all were solos, 2 INT
Tim Dieffenbacher 8 (4 solo)
Mike Pacer - 7 (4 solo) 1/2 sack
Jason Spencer - 5 (4 solo), sack
Andrew Fox - 5 (4 solo)
John Zinni - 4, INT
Ryan Duthe - 4
Steve Angora - 1/2 sack

Total Yardage
LeRoy - 211 yards (195 rush/16 pass)
Avon - 201 yards (136 rush/65 pass)


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FB Andrew Fox runs hard for a LeRoy 1st down

DB Brandon Klinkbeil stops an Avon drive with a timely interception

QB Klinkbeil escapes from the Avon D for a 30 yard gain

Klinkbeil notches his second interception in his stellar game

Avon RB Greg Stanton makes an incredible leap and run for big yardage

Avon RB Paul Banach brings the Avon crowd to its feet with a TD run

Fox scampers 43 yards to keep the Knights alive in the waning moments

Klinkbeil throws a dart to a slanting Jake Whiting

Klinkbeil picks up a critical 1st down to the Avon 10-yard line

Fox plunges over the goal line for the LeRoy TD with 1:12 remaining

Fox sticks Stanton in the Avon backfield for no gain

LeRoy DL Jason Spencer preserves the win with a 4th down sack


SCORING SUMMARY - Avon @ LeRoy - Friday, September 12, 2003
1st Quarter
No scoring  
2nd Quarter
Ryan Duthe - 33 yd FG  
LR 3 Avon 0
3rd Quarter
No scoring
4th Quarter
Paul Banach - 1 yd run Stanton kick
Avon 7 LR 3
Andrew Fox - 2 yd run Kick failed
LeRoy 9 Avon 7