Knights stun Hornell Red Raiders
21-13 in LCAA showdown of
state-ranked unbeatens

Knights step up to defeat Raiders at Maple City Park without star RB Farabella;
Bennetti stellar in passing department; Tiberio catches 5 for 99 yds including
TD , throws for a TD, intercepts 2 balls, blocks extra point; Bonacquisti,
Andrews and Brady (2 sacks) all register double-digit tackle numbers

Game recap by Chris Metcalf (Livingston County News) for the Batavia Daily

HORNELL - If Craig Tiberio was spotted walking out of a telephone booth in Hornell Friday night, there's a pretty good chance he was wearing a Superman cape.

The 6-foot-3 junior wideout caught one touchdown, threw for another, picked off 2 passes, and blocked an extra point as visiting LeRoy defeated Hornell 21-13 at Maple City Park in front of 5,000 fans.

Hornell (4-1) came into the game ranked 4th in the state in Class B while LeRoy (5-0) was ranked 2nd in Class C. Both teams are reigning sectional champions.

The Red Raiders dominated early on as they forced LeRoy into back-to-back 3-and-out possessions to open the game. On Hornell's second possession, RB Ryan Dieter tossed a 28-yard option TD pass to wide open John Damrath on a 3rd-and-7 call with 6:28 left in the first. Josh Hoffman's PAT kick was good and Hornell led 7-0.

It stayed that way until the 5-minute mark of the 2nd quarter when LeRoy senior Boo Hinett picked off a Kevin Georgek pass at midfield. One play later, Tiberio hauled in a perfectly thrown 50-yard TD pass from junior QB Mark Bennetti to pull the Knights within 7-6 with 4:52 left in the half. The PAT kick missed left and the Knights trailed by one.

"We knew we were faster than they were and that we could take advantage of their corners," said Tiberio, who caught 5 passes for 99 yards. "It was a total team effort. We came out here and rose to the occasion."

With 25 seconds remaining in the half, Hornell faced with a 4th-and-5 at the LeRoy 12, would line up for a 29-yard field goal attempt. But back-to-back time-outs by LeRoy would change Hornell coach Gene Mastin's mind and the Red Raiders would pass bypass the field goal try to go for the TD score. The plan would backfire as Damrath, the backup QB, misfired to the end zone, leaving the Hornell lead at 7-6.


The second half would belong to the boys in black.

A Tiberio interception would halt Hornell's first drive in the 2nd half. Two series later, LeRoy senior Justin Casper would partially block a Hornell punt, putting the ball at the Hornell 25.

Four plays later, Bennetti would hook up with Hinett on a 14-yard TD pass with 5:19 left in the third. Shaun Swanson's PAT kick put LeRoy up 13-7.

LeRoy would reach into their bag of tricks on their next series as Bennetti threw a back pass to Tiberio, who in turn launched a perfect strike to senior wideout Colin Dailey for a 58-yard TD, giving the Knights the 19-7 lead late in the third. Bennetti would up the lead to 21-7 when he dove in for the PAT Run.

Hornell attempted to respond on their next drive but a 6-play, 32-yard drive would end when Tiberio picked off a Damrath pass at the LeRoy 6.

Hornell would threaten once again on their next drive, but a 4th down pass at the LeRoy 10 went incomplete, giving the ball back to the Knights.

The Red Raiders would finally pull closer when Dieter caught a 4-yard TD pass from Damrath with 1:37 left in the game to make it 21-13. But once again it was Tiberio who came up big as he blocked the PAT kick, keeping the Knights in front with an 8-point lead.

Junior Chad Condidorio would recover the ensuing onside kick, giving the Knights the huge victory.

"I really wanted to beat Hornell because I haven't beaten them before," said Bennetti, who was 9-of-15 passing for 140 yards and 2 TDs.

The Knights played without top running back Mike Farabella, who sat out with an injury. "It was tough playing without Mike because he is such a tough back," Bennetti said. "But we all picked each other up and got it done."

Hornell's top running back, sophomore Dave Zapata, who came into the game averaging a hefty 11 yards per carry, was limited to 129 yards on 32 carries. "Their defense is outstanding," said Zapata. "They are so disciplined on defense. They fill their holes and gaps so quickly. They were really tough all night."

Hornell coach Gene Mastin gave credit to the LeRoy squad. "Turnovers kill you, but the better team won tonight," Mastin said.



Hornell suffers first lost (Hornell Evening Tribune)


HORNELL - Friday night's atmosphere at Maple City Park was in stark contrast to the one during last week's Homecoming celebration.

On a night when the Oatkan Knights' best player Mike Farabella, considered by many to be one of the top running backs in the state, sat on the sidelines watching in jeans and jersey, LeRoy rode quarterback Mark Bennetti to a 21-13 victory over the host Hornell Red Raiders. The Hornell faithful, which filled the home grandstand beyond capacity and overflowed to the walkway below, looked on in stunned disbelief.

"Gene and I had talked earlier in the week and we knew coming in that this was going to be a hell of a football game," said Brian Moran, head coach at LeRoy. "It was a great high school football game, but on the other hand, we both realized that this was going to be a game which we were going to have to evaluate and see where both can get better.

"Any time you play against Gene and Hornell - one of the best teams in the state - you know you're in for a battle. I thought both teams played extremely well and tonight we just came out on top."

"We got beat by a better team," said Gene Mastin, who falls to 2-3 against LeRoy during his tenure as Hornell's head coach.

The Raiders were beaten fairly handily by the Class C Oatkan Knights.

LeRoy forced four turnovers and capitalized on each one, exposing Hornell's defensive secondary for what it may truly be - a work in progress.

Bennetti threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 9-for-14 passing. The junior also assisted on another touchdown through the air. After receiving a quick pass from Bennetti, Craig Tiberio tossed a 58-yard touchdown strike to Colin Dailey. Bennetti proceeded to spin through a foursome of would-be Hornell tacklers for the two-point conversion, giving the visitors a 21-7 lead with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter.

"This proves that we don't need one of the best running backs in the state to beat a very good opponent," said Bennetti, who was playing with a broken finger on his non-throwing hand. "We have a number of other options. I just think it says a lot about the character of this football team."

"We have some great skill kids and obviously our quarterback is a mature kid after playing the entire season last year," said Moran. "He threw the ball very well and our kids can catch it. Again, we've got some great athletes and they're doing what needs to get done in order to win football games."

Tiberio finished with 113 yards on six catches, including a miraculous leaping grab on a second-and-13 with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest.

"He's just a great athlete. You have to wonder how the hell he made some of those catches," said Moran. "He's come up big all year making some outstanding catches for us."

"Tiberio is as good of a receiver we'll see any place all year," said Mastin. "The secondary hasn't played badly, but tonight it was a combination of things. The quarterback had time to throw and we had some breakdowns in coverage. So, it wasn't just the secondary."

Hornell went 53 yards in five plays to score its final touchdown of the game with just over one minute and 40 seconds remaining. Junior John Damrath, who replaced usual starting quarterback Kevin Georgek with inside of a minute remaining in the first half, completed a 4-yard pass to Ryan Dieter to cap the drive. Damrath went 3-for-4, including a spike to stop the clock, during the two-minute drill.

Georgek left the game with an injury after picking up a hard-earned first down on a fourth-and-one. Apparently, the senior play-caller had been poked in the eye on the play. Georgek returned to the game on the defensive side of the ball and for at least one play as a split end.

Three of the Red Raider turnovers came by way of interception - one apiece for Georgek, Damrath and Dieter - and the fourth came on Josh Hoffman's fumble late in the third quarter with Hornell driving. Two plays later came LeRoy's double-pass trickery.

"We committed some key turnovers and they cashed in on every one. That's the mark of a good team," said Mastin. "You can't turn the ball over, giving an opponent that kind of field position and putting the amount of pressure on the defense like we did."

"Any time you play in a big game there are two things you have to worry about. One is turnovers and the other is penalties," said Moran. "We were fortunate in both of those categories. We took care of the football and when we had our opportunities we took advantage."

Hornell, which was plus nine in the take away-give away column, was unable to create a turnover. The HHS defense gave up 229 yards, but limited its opponent to a total of six first downs.

LeRoy also stymied what was a stellar ground game through four victories. HHS was limited to 189 yards rushing - nearly 200 below its per game average - led by David Zapata's 127 on 31 carries. Dieter factored 38 yards into Friday's total.

"We were about a step away every time," said Mastin, whose team rang up approximately 1,500 yards of rushing over its first four games of the season. "What happened tonight in its simplest form is that they put 11 guys up and we weren't able to drop the ball over the top. There have been years when people have done that and we've made them pay for it. We have not shown the ability to do that yet, but we're going to. We're going to by the time this is done."

Moran remained cautiously optimistic following the victory. His Oatkan Knights will play Avon - a 20-7 loser to Livonia Saturday - next weekend in a game which will determine the LCAA D-II champion.

"We still have a way to go. We're only sitting in Week 5 and we have some challenges to go," said Moran. "I thought we played very well, but there's always room to improve. You can't get too high in Week 5. When the season's over and you've accomplished everything you need to, then you can get real excited. We'll go back, break this down and see where we can improve."

Hornell returns to Livingston County Division I competition next week, traveling to Dansville's Ralph Clements Field on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff with the Mustangs. At first glance, Dansville appears to be steadily improving. However, the Mustangs suffered a 41-18 to LCAA Division II Canisteo-Greenwood. Dansville led 12-7 at one point, trailed 21-18 at the half and was shutout in the final 24 minutes of the game.

"Regrouping isn't going to be as hard as people think because these are good kids," said Mastin. 'They're high-quality kids. They'll come back next week and get better."



LeRoy Knights Stats courtesy of the accounting firm,
B. Mase Associates LLC

Friday, September 30, 2005 (7:00 PM)
League game at Maple City Park, Hornell NY

LeRoy Oatkan Knights 21, Hornell Red Raiders 13

Score by quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
LeRoy Oatkan Knights 0 6 15 0 21
Hornell Red Raiders 7 0 0 6 13

Scoring Review
1st quarter:
Hornell - Ryan Dieter 28 yd pass to John Damrath (Josh Hoffman kick) 6:33

2nd quarter:
LR - Mark Bennetti 50 yd pass to Craig Tiberio (Shaun Swanson kick) 4:52

3rd quarter:
LR - Mark Bennetti 14 yd pass to Boo Hinett (Shaun Swanson kick) 5:19
LR - Craig Tiberio 58 yd pass to Colin Dailey (Mark Bennetti run) 2:22

4th quarter:
Hornell - John Damrath 3 yd pass to Ryan Dieter (kick failed) 1:37

Team statistics
First downs
Rushes - yards
Passing yards
Comp - att - int
Return yards
Punts - average
Fumbles - lost
Penalties - yards
Time of possession

Individual statistics

LeRoy Oatkan Knights - Justin Casper 10-28, Mike Frew 4-16, Dan Horning 5-6, Mark Bennetti 6-4

Hornell Red Raiders - Dave Zapata 32-129, Ryan Dieter 5-36, John Damrath 2-13, Josh Hoffman 2-6, DJ Henry 1-(minus 1), Kevin Georgek 3-(minus 2)

LeRoy Oatkan Knights - Mark Bennetti 9-15-0-141, Craig Tiberio 1-1-0-58
Hornell Red Raiders - John Damrath 5-14-1-75, Ryan Dieter 1-2-1-28, Kevin Georgek 1-5-1-10

LeRoy Oatkan Knights - Craig Tiberio 5-99, Colin Dailey 4-86, Boo Hinett 1-14

Hornell Red Raiders - DJ Schwartz 2-44, Ryan Dieter 2-13, John Damrath 1-28, Aaron Parks 1-16, Andy Drake 1-12

LeRoy Oatkan Knights - Brady Bonacquisti - 13 (11 solo), Tim Andrews - 11 & FR, Kevin Brady - 10 & 2 SACKS, Alex DiFrancisco - 9, John Whiting - 5, Colin Dailey - 4, Mike Alexander - 4, Dan Horning - 4, Justin Casper - 4 & BP, Craig Tiberio - 2 INTs, Boo Hinett - INT

Return Yardage
LeRoy Oatkan Knights - Colin Dailey - 2 kickoffs for 32 yds

Game start time: 7:00 PM;
Game length: 2:26; Attendance: 4982



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Tough Justin Casper plows through the Hornell defense for a first down

Soph LB Brady Bonacquisti slips into the Hornell backfield to upend RB Dave Zapata

LB Kevin Brady registers one of his 2 sacks of the Hornell QB

DB Boo Hinett intercepts the overthrown pass to give LeRoy possession at midfield

WR Craig Tiberio beats the Hornell defensive backfield for a 50 yd TD reception

DE Mike Alexander slows Zapata for Bonacquisti to end this Hornell rushing play

Bonacquisti redirects the Hornell QB into the clutches of LB Tim Andrews

Andrews records a textbook low tackle of the hard-charging Zapata

DB Craig Tiberio picks off the first of his 2 interceptions in the contest

WR Colin Dailey snags the Mark Bennetti pass and moves the ball upfield

QB Bennetti throws a perfect strike to a slanting Hinett for the go-ahead TD

Andrews assists DE Jut Casper in this takedown of Hornell's stellar RB Dave Zapata

Bennetti and Tiberio team up to fake out the Raiders (and the cameraman) on this TD to Dailey

Tiberio makes an awesome pickoff of a Hornell halfback option pass

Coach Moran acknowledges the greatness of the Hornell coaches and program at game's end

WEBMASTER'S NOTES - One of the most indelible memories I will take from this game is that of Hornell head coach Gene Mastin practically running across the field to congratulate the LeRoy coaches and players at the end of this contest. The LeRoy players were still jumping around in joy, celebrating their win over this vaunted Hornell program, and there was Coach Mastin earnestly congratulating the LeRoy coaches and then the LeRoy team members on their big win. This gesture showed all that you can win even when the scoreboard is not in your favor.

Thank you Coach Mastin for continually showing your class and sportsmanship in both victory and defeat. Section V is proud of you and the Hornell Raiders.