- Le Roy's football team came up just short as they fell in overtime
to Wayland-Cohocton in the Section V Class C championship, 14 to 8.
Head Coach Brian Moran was in search of his 14th sectional championship
in 25 years, and a Section V record, 15th in school history, but it
was not to be for the Oatkan Knights.
"They really worked hard and both teams were well prepared,"
Moran said. "That led to a defensive struggle all day."
The game was the definition of a defensive struggle for the majority
of the game, as the game headed into the fourth quarter as a scoreless
Class C Offensive Player of the Year Devon Harris entered the game
averaging over 170 rushing yards per game and had yet to be held under
100 yards all season long for Wayland-Cohocton. However, the Oatkan
Knights managed to bottle him up for most of the game, holding him
to 98 yards on 18 carries.
"I thought we played very well defensively against a young man
who is an extremely talented athlete," Moran said. "I thought
we shut him down pretty well, but we just didn't make plays when we
The Eagles struck first, as quarterback C.J. Ellis found tight end
Darren Becker for a 40-yard gain down to the Le Roy 15-yard line.
Two plays later, Ellis found Reece Chapman for a 13-yard score. Harris
would punch in the two-point conversion to give Way-Co the lead two
minutes into the fourth quarter.
Le Roy wouldn't need long to respond, as quarterback Mike McMullen
found Ryan McQuillen two plays later, and he sprinted 70 yards down
the sideline to put the Knights on the scoreboard. McMullen then found
Nick Egeling for the two-point conversion to knot the game at eight
apiece with nine minutes to play.
The Eagles appeared to be driving again, but Egeling managed to step
in front of an Ellis pass to halt the drive at Le Roy's 30-yard line.
After failing to move the ball, Way-Co drove the ball again deep into
Le Roy territory, but it was the Knights' defense who came up big
again, stopping the Eagles inches short of a first down late in the
Le Roy took possession and marched onto Wayland-Cohocton's side of
the 50-yard line, but a rare Knight turnover halted a chance at a
go-ahead score as McMullen and running back Peter Privitera were unable
to complete the handoff late in the game.
"It happens, it's high school football," Moran said. "It's
16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids, and you can't worry about it. You just
have to pick yourself up and keep playing."
The Eagles would take the first offensive possession in overtime and
march inside the Le Roy 10-yard line, but the defense would initially
Zach Fitzsimmons came up with a big sack on third down to knock Way-Co
back to the 7-yard line, but Ellis would find Chapman on the exact
same play as the first touchdown to put the Eagles in front 14-8.
On Le Roy's first offensive play of overtime, McMullen found Egeling
for a gain of nine yards, but the Knights were never able to pick
up that final yard as McMullen was unable to connect with Egeling
in the end zone on second down, and Privitera was stopped short on
the final two plays of the game to give Wayland-Cohocton their first
sectional championship in school history.
"We just tried to get the first down," Moran said. "We
just tried to score and hopefully get a chance to kick an extra point
to win, but today it just didn't happen."
The Le Roy trademark rushing attack was held in check all game, as
the Eagles held them to a season-low 69 yards. Privitera finished
with just 22 yards on 13 carries in the final game of his superb high
school career. Tom Kelso was the Knights' leading rusher with 37 yards
on 11 rushes.
McMullen finished the game 8-of-21 for 163 yards and a touchdown.
McQuillen caught five of those passes for 108 yards.
Le Roy's defense played well, holding the Eagles to 228 yards of total
offense, registering three sacks and forcing three turnovers. Kelso
led the stingy LeRoy defense with 9 stops, while Steve Cappotelli
and McMullen had 7 and 6 tackles, respectively.
Ellis entered the game having thrown only one interception all game,
but the Knights managed to intercept him twice on the game, and he
finished 5-of-12 for 73 yards to go along with his two touchdowns
and the two interceptions.
Wayland-Cohocton (9-1) will go on to face the winner of the Section
VI championship game next week in the Far West Regionals.
Le Roy will finish their season at 8-2 as they fell in the Class C
final for the second consecutive season.
"They had a great game plan defensively," Moran said. "We
played well, but obviously they made one more play than us and congratulations