Knights hold off strong Cal-Mum
Raiders 17-14 to earn trip to C Finals

Knights rally from behind to defeat rival Raiders on Tiberio 34-yard reverse
with 2.5 minutes remaining in game; Casper runs for 93 yards; Horning
stars on both offense and defense; Alex DiFrancisco leads D with 10 tackles

Game recap by James Johnson - Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Sports
Irondequoit - Craig Tiberio and his Le Roy teammates did their homework. Their reward is a chance to win yet another Section V football trophy. Tiberio scored on a reverse run with 2:29 remaining to push Le Roy past rival Caledonia-Mumford 17-14 in a Class C semifinal at Irondequoit High School on Friday night.

The Oatkan Knights faced a fourth-and-four at the Cal-Mum 34, when Tiberio ran around the left end of Caledonia-Mumford's defense during a play the team made sure to practice all week. Their execution of a long-developing play in a pressure situation means Le Roy's dreams of winning a 12th Section V title and a second state championship are alive. Le Roy (9-0), the tournament's No. 1 seed and a state finalist last season, faces No. 2 Marcus Whitman (8-1) in the final Nov. 6 at the University of Rochester's Fauver Stadium.

"We're ranked No. 2 in the state," Tiberio said. "It would've been a tragedy to lose to Caledonia-Mumford before we even get to the sectional final. "We knew we should've won this game."

The Oatkan Knights had to do it without senior Mike Farabella, the team's most reliable player. Farabella sat out the second half with a knee injury after he was tackled by the face mask during a carry in the second quarter.

"He's a big loss, probably our best player," Tiberio said.

Le Roy won the regular season meeting with Cal-Mum easily, but that could be a danger sign in this long-running series. The loser in September or early October has come back to win rematches during sectionals four times in the last nine years.

"I thought we had them," Caledonia-Mumford coach Mike Monacelli said. "We may not be the biggest dog in the fight, but we've got a lot of fight.

"They (Cal-Mum players) are disappointed. They also know that they played hard, that's all I asked of them."
It was almost enough for the Red Raiders, who led twice, including 8-3 at halftime.

A 10-yard run by Aaron Hallett, his second touchdown of the game, gave Cal-Mum a 14-9 lead with 6:20 remaining. Le Roy's game-winning drive started at its 38-yard line.

The Oatkan Knights were out of timeouts when they made it to the Cal-Mum 34. Colin Dailey scored Le Roy's first touchdown on a reverse, and the play worked again, but this time to the right. Tiberio side-stepped and juked a defender and got a key block from a receiver to reach the end zone.


Game Recap by Brian Hillabush - Batavia Daily News Sports
Irondequoit - When Craig Tiberio heard the play call on fourth-and-4 at the Caledonia-Mumford 34-yard line, trailing 14-9 with 2:29 minutes left in the game, he was a little nervous. The play was an option-reverse, with Tiberio getting the ball in a crucial situation. Tiberio got past a defensive lineman in the backfield and went 34 yards for the game-winning touchdown as the top-seeded Le Roy football team beat the fourth-seeded Red Raiders 17-14 at Irondequoit High School in the semifinals of the Section 5 Class C playoffs Friday.

"I saw one player and I knew I had to make a move," Tiberio said. "(I wanted) to at least get a first down
and I saw all that open field and I knew I was going to get in the end zone."

The call shouldn't have surprised the junior wide receiver because it was in the gameplan all week. "Like any other play, you have to practice it during the week and be prepared," Le Roy coach Brian Moran said. "It's not a play we drew up in the sand or anything. It's something we worked on all week knowing that they flow so hard to the ball that this might be a play that we could use in some situations."

The game will go down as one of the best played by the two rivals. It all started with an Oatkan Knight defensive stop, forcing the Red Raiders into a three-and-out after John Whiting stopped James Garland in the backfield on third down.

Le Roy failed to move the ball initially, but Mark Bennetti tossed up a deep pass that Tiberio made a diving catch on for a 38-yard gain. The 12-play drive resulted in three points as Shaun Swanson hit a 29-yard field goal to open the scoring.

"They don't have a kicker and we say all the time that a field goal is as good as a touchdown. Today it was,"
Moran said.

Cal-Mum took an 8-3 lead two possessions later after a huge drive. Starting at their own 6-yard line, the Red
Raiders marched 94 yards on 11 plays. On the second play of the possession, Brandon Erhard found Aaron Hallett over the middle and the senior running back was knocked out of bounds after picking up 59 yards.

Erhard and Hallett hooked up again on the final play of the drive as Hallett got the ball on a quick slant and went 17 yards for a score. After Le Roy had to punt the ball away, Cal-Mum was right back in position to score before the half ended.

Quentin Marozzi had a 16-yard run and Hallett had a 25-yarder that set up a 12-yard touchdown run by
Hallett. But a block in the back penalty was called and the score was taken off the board. Erhard was picked off by Kevin Brady on the next play.

"I have an enthusiastic kid," Cal-Mum coach Mike Monacelli said. "He's out there trying to kick somebody's butt. There's no-holds barred with him. We didn't get after him at all. How can you get after a kid that's playing his butt off?"

Le Roy was trying to run the clock out to end the half and running back Mike Farabella was injured when a Cal-Mum defender grabbed his facemask and brought him down awkwardly. He did not return.

Le Roy was driving to start the second half as Justin Casper and Dan Horning filled in nicely for Farabella, but when Le Roy got inside the 10-yard line, Bennetti's first pass of the drive was picked off by Hallett in the end zone.

"It hurt our momentum bad, but everybody makes mistakes," Bennetti said. "These guys were great to pick me up and we had some great defensive stands after that."

Cal-Mum's drive resulted in a punt and Le Roy marched down the field and took a 9-8 lead early in the fourth
quarter when Colin Dailey scored on a reverse from 10 yards out on fourth-and-3.

The Red Raiders took over at their own 21-yard line after the kickoff and marched right down the field. Erhard had a 19-yard run and an 11-yarder, Garland had an 11-yard run and Nate Schiedel hauled in passes of 10 and 16 yards. Hallett scored on a 10-yard scamper to give Cal-Mum a 14-9 lead with 6:20 left on the clock.

Le Roy converted a fourth-and-1 early in the drive that resulted in Tiberio's touchdown run. Tiberio intercepted a pass with 2:18 left in the game to seal the victory.

Cal-Mum ends the year 6-3, with a disappointing loss to end its season. "(The players) are emotional, but they played a good game and that's all I can ask of them," Monacelli said. "We played the game the way it's supposed to be played. We told them all week long what to do, and they did it."

Le Roy is 9-0 and will face No. 2 Marcus Whitman (8-1) at noon Nov. 6 at Fauver Stadium. "This week we weren't as mentally prepared as we should have been," Bennetti said. "I think we need to focus more, watch more film and know we are going to be in a battle for four quarters."


Official Section 5 Game Statistics - LeRoy vs. Cal-Mum II - 10-28-05

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John Whiting (78) and Tim Andrews stop CM FB James Garland on 3rd down

WR Craig Tiberio outruns the defense to make a diving catch of QB Mark Bennetti's pass

Shaun Swanson kicks a 29-yard FG through the uprights for the Knights

Mike Farabella slips into the CM backfield quickly to upend RB Aaron Hallett

Craig Tiberio (13) throws a key block on this Farabella gainer

Farabella absolutely levels CM ball carrier Quentin Marozzi on the sideline

Justin Casper speeds around the left side for a 28-yard pickup against the Raider D

Rugged Dan Horning shows some great leg drive against a swarm of Raiders

Colin Dailey negotiates the 10 yards to the end zone to put the Knights up 9-8

Steve Lapp (77), Dan Horning (43), and Greg Elmore (41) nail the CM kick returner

Casper ignites the LR offense with a great drive start after this fine kickoff return

Craig Tiberio scampers 34 yards around the right end for the winning score

Tiberio intercepts the CM pass to end hopes of a Raider comeback

Casper utilizes a bruising block from John Whiting to sweep left against the Raiders