SECTION 5 CLASS C CHAMPIONSHIP 2005
tame Warsaw Tigers 64-14
LEROY - The
Oatkan Knights completed the 2005 regular season in style with a resounding
64-14 whitewash of the visiting Warsaw Tigers. Brian Moran's black-helmeted
squad is now 7-0 on the season, the #2 Class C team in the state, and
the #1 seed in the upcoming Section 5 Class C football tournament which
begins next Friday evening. The Knights will be taking on the rugged 8th-seeded
Letchworth Indians who are ably coached by LeRoy alum Tim "Sticks"
McMullen. The Indians will be a good test for the Knights, as is the case
with all of the teams in Class C. There are no weaklings from here on
out. If you lose now, your season is over.
The Tigers entered the contest winless on the season. The game marked the 52nd meeting between the 2 programs in which the Knights hold a 35-15-2 edge. A little known bit of trivia is that the Tigers own the most lopsided victory over the storied LeRoy football program - a crushing 100-0 win in 1914. The Knights' effort on Friday evening marked the 32nd consecutive win by LHS over the visitors.
LeRoy needed just 2:17 to score in the contest. The line fired off the ball for the Mark Bennetti led offense and the Red & Black (& White) executed with precision. Farabella showed no signs of rust after his time off whatsoever. In fact, he looked quicker, making some outstanding cuts and administering his patented stiff-arm on would-be tacklers. His 26-yard blast through the Tigers made it 7-0 Knights after the Shaun Swanson kick.
introduced the Tigers to a Wall of Hurt on the ensuing kickoff, a trademark
of LeRoy special team kickoff coverage. Tom Bestor, Brady Bonacquisti,
Steve Lapp, and Tommy Smith, all of whom had outstanding nights, met the
Warsaw kick returner simultaneously. It would be that kind of night for
Warsaw. See the highlight of this kickoff coverage below.
The Tigers moved the ball fairly well on their next possession before the Knights forced a 4th-and-4 at the Warsaw 44. A fake punt backfired and LeRoy's Justin Casper recovered the ball at the Warsaw 32. The Tiger miscue would lead to another LeRoy score in but one play as Farabella darted up the middle and then cut to the right side for a TD at the 4:16 mark. LeRoy coaching assistant Hooks Robertson smiled and stated that Farabella had indeed "gotten out the barn quickly" in this contest as evidenced by Mike's 75 yards on just 4 carries. The snap for PAT was bobbled and Mark Bennetti reacted with poise, running to the edge of end zone for the 2-point conversion and a 22-0 LeRoy lead.
The Knights' defense, masterminded by Coach Andrew Paladino, was relentless. The strength of Knights in the middle and the speed to the outside left the Tigers with no choice but to punt on their next possession.
The Knights were met with a 3rd-and-22 at their own 45 after the Tigers sacked Bennetti with some outstanding defense of their own. The visitors' joy was short-lived as Farabella snagged a screen from Bennetti and raced down the left sideline for a 55-yard score with just 11 seconds remaining in the 29-0 first quarter.
Warsaw was pinned at their 20 on the ensuing kickoff as special-team extraordinaire Chad Condidorio nearly beheaded the Warsaw returner with a ferocious hit. Chad would go on to record a fumble recovery and 2 sacks in the game, to go along with his sure-fire tackling. Small in size - big in heart and talent. The Tigers moved the ball well in the 2nd quarter and the talented Marleys, Peter and Dylan, displayed their wares to the Warsaw faithful. The Tigers would reach the LeRoy 32 before Dan Horning, Kevin Brady, Brady Bonacquisti, Steve Lapp, Mike Alexander, and Jut Casper forced another Warsaw punt with some heady defensive efforts.
LeRoy's Hinett excellent return of the Warsaw punt was negated by a penalty and the Knights lined up at their 29-yard line. The Knights moved the ball with ease through the Warsaw defense. Farabella left the game with 7:46 showing on clock in the 2nd quarter after a beautiful 32-yard jaunt into Tiger territory. Senior RB Mike Frew took over and the Knights kept the drive alive with still more excellent play. Justin Casper covered the last 16 yards to paydirt on 2 carries and the Knights pushed the lead to 36-0 with just under 6 minutes to halftime.
More great defense by John Whiting, Horning, Brady, Casper, and Bonacquisti led to yet another Warsaw punt. Alex DiFrancisco entered the game as the LeRoy QB with 54 yards separating the Knights from yet another score. The first play saw Mike Frew run magnificently for 26 yards as he weaved back and forth though the Warsaw defense to put the ball at the Warsaw 28. Alex then threw a 20-yard dart to Hinett who wowed the crowd with a spectacular one-handed grab at the Warsaw 8-yard line. The Tigers were met by a energetic Frew who easily scored on the next play to push the lead to 43-0 after Swanson's final PAT of the evening. The Knights ended the first half featuring yet another talented RB, Tommy Bestor. Bestor showed some outstanding quickness and strength as he followed his line and carved up the Warsaw defense for 34 yards on just 3 carries. Only the clock saved the Tigers from yet another LeRoy score.
brought home some nice memories for the LeRoy fans as members of the 1995
New York State Class C football champions LeRoy Knights and their cheerleaders
were introduced to the crowd at midfield. It is hard to believe that 10
years have past since the '95 championship season that saw LeRoy defeat
Saranac Lake 37-27 for the state C crown. Sixteen members of that state
title team were underclassmen and returned for yet another dominant season
in 1996 in which the Knights narrowly missed out on back-to-back titles
after dropping a one point heartbreaker (20-19) to Watervliet in the '96
The Knights countered with a 51-yard TD in the form of an Alex DiFrancisco screen to soph standout Brady Bonacquisti on a 4th-and-3 from the Knights' 49 with 2:52 showing on the clock in the 3rd quarter. Mark Bennetti made like Shaun Swanson and booted the PAT kick for a 50-14 tally in favor of the locals.
Coach Moran implored the reserves to play with dominating intensity and the request was fulfilled. Rob Morgan, Chad Condidorio, and Dan Horning all made life heck for the Warsaw offense.
The Knights featured a lot of versatility in the final stanza as the team ran the ball most effectively with Tom Bestor, Mike Frew, and Tim Andrews getting the call for coach Ron Plummer's high-powered offense. QB DiFrancisco was excellent in his tenure (3 of 5 for 76 yards on the night). Senior Brandon Cooley notched the next score for the Knights at 7:28 of the quarter as he showed how his 6'3 frame can generate some nice speed on back-to-back carries of 19 and 12 yards.
Garrett Luckey, Nick Paliani, Justin Becker, and Tim Herron stepped up on defense down the stretch to stop the Tigers dead in their tracks. Tommy Bestor absolutely flew through the tired Tigers for a 26-yard scamper with just under 2 minutes to play to make the final 64-14. In all, nine Knights rushed the ball for a total of 367 yards. It was an excellent team effort by all as the home winning streak at Hartwood started during the '98 season remained intact. The team seems to be peaking well for the tough playoff road ahead.
Stats courtesy of the accounting firm,
B. Mase Associates LLC
The talented 'Good Knights' prepare to sing the National Anthem
The 1995 New York State C Football Champions and Cheerleaders
The award-winning LeRoy Marching Knights donned their new uniforms at halftime
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Mark Bennetti rambles through the Warsaw D on this broken play - check out the
RB Mike Farabella jets through the Tigers for the first of his 3 TDs on the evening
Four Knights meet simultaneously to greet the Warsaw kick returner
Wideout Boo Hinett pulls in this 14-yard strike from Bennetti to push the score to 14-0
Kevin Brady starts it, and Mike Alexander and Tim Andrews help finish this tackle
Farabella shows he has healed nicely with this explosive 32-yard TD burst
Farabella is just too quick for the Tiger defense on this 55-yard TD screen pass
Chad Condidorio registers another great special teams tackle on this kickoff cover
The Warsaw QB cannot free himself of Mike Alexander's (82) grasp or Jut Casper's power
RB Mike Frew powers his way for a nice rushing gain for the Knights
Casper runs hard to drive the ball near the Warsaw goal line
An absolutely fantastic run by LeRoy's Mike Frew
Check out this Boo Hinett one-handed grab of an Alex DiFrancisco dart
RB Tom Bestor follows a wall of teammates for a nice gain
Bestor displays his great leg drive on this run up the middle
Brady Bonacquisti gives the genetic 'head-fake' on this 51-yard TD to the liking of Dad
Chad Condidorio utilizes his wrestling skills to take down the Warsaw QB
Brandon Cooley races for 19 yards to set up his own TD score
Cooley negotiates the final 12 yards to score an Oatkan Knight TD
Tom Bestor makes it look easy as he soars into the Warsaw end zone for a score