Roy Oatkan Knights advanced to the Class C Sectional Semifinals with
a win over Dansville, 26-12. The Le Roy offense has traditionally
been a run-based team under Head Coach Brian Moran. However, with
the growth of junior quarterback Mike McMullen, the Knights have become
more pass-oriented this season. But Le Roy failed to get their passing
game going early and we saw the return of old-fashion Knight football.
The Mustangs got off to a solid start, taking the opening kickoff
65 yards on 10 plays before Le Roy made a goal line stand to deny
Dansville at the one-yard line.
After Dansville failed to capitalize on a McMullen interception, the
Knights began to slowly pound away with their running game. The duo
of Peter Privitera and Tom Kelso chipped away on a nine-play drive,
capped off by a four-yard Privitera run to take a 6-0 lead early in
the second quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nick Egeling recovered a fumble on the Dansville
26. This time the Knights only needed six plays for Privitera to punch
in another score, this time from five yards out to go up 12-0.
Kelso carried the load early in the second half, racking up a majority
of his 84 yards in the first half before Privitera came in to close
out the game. The senior bounced back after only managing 28 yards
in last week's loss against Cal-Mum. This week, Privitera ran the
ball 28 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
"Peter ran hard tonight," Moran said. "That's good
for us. It's good to have him around this time of year."
After Le Roy seemingly took control of the game, the Mustangs responded,
taking their next drive 83 yards, which was capped off by a 55-yard
hook up from Ethan Mapes to Brad Quibell on third-and-six to cut the
deficit in half, 12-6.
Le Roy looked as if they would crush any momentum from the Dansville
touchdown as they came out for the second half, but McMullen fumbled
the snap on a fourth-down play, giving the Mustangs the ball at the
Knights' 45-yard line.
Dansville needed only four plays before Mapes found Gage Koch on a
13-yard pass to tie the game at 12 early in the third quarter.
With the passing game struggling, the Knights continued to rely on
the running game. Le Roy took their next possession and ran the ball
11 consecutive times before McMullen finally found his touch, hitting
Ryan McQuillen on a beautiful 28-yard touchdown catch-and-run play.
Egeling then found himself on the receiving end of a McMullen pass
to pick up the two-point conversion, making the score 20-12.
The fourth quarter saw both teams struggle to sustain any success
on offense, with Le Roy going three-and-out on three straight possessions,
and Dansville turning the ball over on two straight, including Koch
racing 25 yards before fumbling the ball away at midfield with just
over eight minutes to play in the game.
After going 1-for-8 passing in the first half for just 42 yards and
an interception, McMullen finally found his touch.
The junior found Egeling once again, this time capitalizing on Dansville
stacking the line of scrimmage expecting the Knights to pound away
on the ground. The pass netted 29 yards, down to the Mustang 11-yard
line. Two plays later, the pair hooked up once again, this time on
a 10-yard scoring toss to go up 26-12 with just 2:32 remaining.
"We had to make a play," Moran said of his play selection.
"We have some good athletes and obviously when they started taking
that safety out of the middle of the field, we knew we had to do something
to take advantage of that."
McMullen went 4-of-6 in the second half to finish 5-for-13 for 101
yards on the night.
Kelso would seal the game on defense, sacking Mapes for a loss of
Mapes finished 7-of-15 for 125 yards, two touchdowns and interception,
while Ryan Hurlburt ran for 72 yards on 14 carries for Dansville (5-3).
Egeling had strong all-around game for the Knights, picking up 65
all-purpose yards, a touchdown, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Le Roy (7-1) will advance to the semifinals to face top-seeded East
Rochester/Gananda after they defeated Elba/Byron-Bergen, 34-6.