SECTION 5 CLASS C CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
and fog roll over Wellsville 48-0
LEROY - After opening the 2005 season with excellent road wins against rivals Batavia and Cal-Mum, Brian Moran's Oatkan Knights (ranked #2 in the NY State Class C Poll) made their Hartwood Park debut in grand style with a 48-0 whitewash of the visiting Wellsville Lions. The game was played in dense fog conditions, but that could do little to stop a diverse LeRoy offense (377 total yards, including 181 in the air) and a swarming, attack defense that allowed just 42 yards to the opposition. The Knights struck hard and fast, building a 40-0 halftime lead with Mark Bennetti completing 7 of 9 passes, 4 of them for TDs. Coach Moran was very pleased at game's end with the all out physical intensity of the squad while playing an overmatched opponent.
Local clergy Father Mike Rock (St. Peter's) and Reverend Gary Owens (2nd Baptist) addressed the hometown crowd on the devastation recently brought about down south by Hurricane Katrina and the hopes for a successful uplifting of this tragic scene. The words put into perspective the importance of helping the victims of this nightmare scenario.
The Knights started the contest on defense and surrendered a first down to the Lions when the visitors went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Wellsville 38. The Knights would surrender just 3 first downs in the entire game. The Knights held strong and speedster Craig Tiberio sliced through the Wellsville punt team for 51 yards to earn the black helmets a first down at the Wellsville 35. QB Bennetti connected with rugged Jut Casper for a 29 yd reception that allowed Mike Farabella an easy 2 yd TD dash with 6:23 remaining in the opening quarter. Shaun Swanson booted the PAT for a 7-0 LeRoy lead and the Knights would never look back.
Wellsville coughed the ball up at midfield one play after an excellent kickoff return and junior linebacker Kevin Brady recovered the loose ball. Coach Moran, using the game as a means to try various attacks needed for later in the season, called for a 2-minute offense. Two minutes became more like 30 seconds as the Knights required just 2 plays to cover the 46 yards to paydirt. Farabella darted for 11 yards before Bennetti connected with wideout Craig Tiberio for a 35 yd TD score in which Craig easily leapt over the defender to grab the ball. Swanson added the kick to make it 14-zip with just under 6 minutes left in the 1st quarter.
The Knights attempted a short kickoff to see if Wellsville was napping, but were not able to come up with the ball. The Lions were able to push the ball down to the LeRoy 24 as the fog rolled onto the field, making it difficult for the fans to realize just who had the ball. Sophomore linebacker Brady Bonacquisti was instrumental in thwarting the Wellsville drive when he stuffed a right end sweep by the Lions to turn the ball back over to the Knights on downs.
Ron Plummer's play calling had the Lions heads on a swivel - Farabella for 13, Farabella for 21, quick outs to WR Colin Dailey, and of course, going for it on 4th down, in which the Knights were successful on 4 of 5 occasions. A minute-20 into the 2nd quarter, Bennetti lofted a perfect 26 yd lob to Tiberio who laid-out backwards to catch the ball just before striking the ground. It was Craig's 4th catch of the season and each has been for a score. He is a nightmare for opposing defenses to cover as his concentration, speed, leaping ability, and knack for catching anything thrown his way are simply outstanding. 21-0 LeRoy at this time.
The LeRoy defense spear-headed by Coach Andrew Paladino was seemingly in the Wellsville backfield all evening. Brady Bonacquisti registered 10 tackles to lead the Knights. John Whiting and Kevin Brady routinely plugged the middle of the line while the outside was unavailable to the Lions due to the fine play of Chad Condidorio, Mike Alexander, Jut Casper, and Tim Andrews.
The Knights made it 27-0 at the 8:32 mark of the 2nd quarter when Bennetti hit Casper coming out of the backfield for a 59 yd score that saw Justin fly down the left side of the field after being freed by a bone-crushing block by senior wideout Boo Hinett. The LeRoy fans and team were abuzz after the big Boo hit.
All-purpose Mike Frew was utilized in the 2nd quarter for his punch style kickoffs and they were extremely effective in pinning the Lions deep in their territory as the ball jetted low through the slick field surface. The Lions were victim of a swarming LeRoy defensive attack and a shanked one yard punt to give the Knights yet another scoring opportunity from a mere 18 yards out. Farabella ran for 6 yards, and tough Dan Horning took it into the end zone after back-to-back 6 yard bursts of his own to push the tally to 34-0 with 5 and a half minutes remaining in the 1st half.
More of the same would follow - a Frew dart kick through the Lions for a poor field start, a fumble recovery by Mike Alexander after a crushing inside tackle by the omnipresent Whiting, and a 4th TD throw by QB Mark Bennetti, this time to an open Hinett from 22 yards out. The score now read 40-0 in favor of the Knights. Chad Condidorio covered yet another Wellsville fumble on the next series by the visitors, but mercifully the 1st half ended.
team offense and defense were superb throughout the 2nd half of the game.
The defense would allow just 12 yards of offense in the entire 2nd half
as many played well including Steve Lapp (big time hitting), Colin Dailey
(good outside coverage), Dan Horning and Rob Morgan (allowing nothing
up the gut), and Mike Platek (13 yd sack). Tumbleweed Chet Brassie was
also tenacious in his pursuit of Wellsville runners. QB Alex DiFrancisco
ran the offense well to keep the clock rolling. Mike Frew added the last
LeRoy TD which was set up by a beautiful run in which Mike ran up the
middle to the right and cut back left for 51 yards before being snagged
at the 3. Mike practically walked in for the 3 yd score on the next play
as the right side of the O line blew open a gigantic hole in the Wellsville
D. Frew led all LeRoy rushers with 86 yards on 11 carries. Mike had another
spectacular run called back by penalty in the 2nd half or he would have
surely had a 100+ yard game. Speedy Tommy Bestor added the 2 pt. PAT run
on the final TD as kicker Swanson was given a rest to make the final LeRoy
48, Wellsville 0. This game marked the 14th meeting between the 2 teams.
The Knights lead the all-time series with a 13-0-1 record.
Stats courtesy of the accounting firm,
B. Mase Associates LLC
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DE Justin Casper stops this Lions play immediately
Craig Tiberio returns this punt 51 yards after receiving some key blocks
QB Mark Bennetti hits Casper in the flats to take the ball to the 2 yd line
Mike Farabella sweeps the left side for an 11 yd pickup
Bennetti throws a perfect 35 yd strike to a leaping Tiberio for the score
Talented underclassmen John Whiting and Kevin Brady spearhead the LeRoy D
The Wellsville QB has nowhere to run with DE Mike Alexander applying pressure
Farabella takes the Bennetti pitch for a nice gain around right end
Tiberio keeps total concentration while falling backwards to notch another TD grab
Casper scores on this 59 yd TD catch-run after Boo Hinett levels the opposition
A big stick by DT Whiting leads to an Alexander fumble recovery
Sure-handed Boo Hinett easily pulls in a Bennetti toss for a score
Brady Bonacquisti (33) and Rob Morgan execute a perfect low-high punt coverage stick
Mike Frew dashes through the Wellsville defense for an impressive 51 yd jaunt
Tim Herron (65) and Steve Lapp (77) nail the Wellsville RB