- It may have taken two days but the Le Roy football team asserted
its dominance in every facet of the game early and often in its 2014
season opener against rival Caledonia-Mumford at Hartwood Park. And
the Oatkan Knights started legendary coach Brian Moran and defensive
coordinator Andrew Paladino out with an impressive win in the first
game of the final season of their illustrious careers.
In a game that was postponed at the half on Friday night because of
frequent lightning and resumed Saturday morning, Jon Pierce rushed
for 166 yards and three touchdowns, while the Oatkan Knights defense
held the Red Raiders to just 121 yards of total offense in a resounding
"I thought our kids came out this morning focused after the delay
and I was really proud of our whole team," said Moran. "It
was just hard work. There is no simple answer to football. You've
got to have kids that work hard and you've got to have kids that buy
in and play hard and you have to have good athletes."
"I don't think anyone of us has ever done this, I don't think
any of the coaches have ever done this," added Le Roy quarterback
Mike McMullen of the postponement. "It was different, but we
had to play through it so we came out and played hard."
Pierce scored on touchdown runs of 51, 13 and 26 - all in the second
half on Saturday - Le Roy rushed for 225 yards in all and the Oatkan
Knights defense forced four Cal-Mum turnovers as they slightly avenged
a disheartening loss to the Red Raiders a season ago.
"We came back, we were ready and we took that aggressiveness
we had from yesterday and we brought it today and obviously it worked
out," said Pierce.
For Moran, the win also ensures that he will end his career with a
winning record - 17-15 - against rival Cal-Mum.
"I'm not going to lie, it's Le Roy/Caledonia, you want to leave
the place a little better than you found it," said Moran. "I'm
proud of that because that [Caledonia] is a great community and a
great football program and you forget that sometimes - Caledonia makes
Le Roy better and Le Roy makes Caledonia better and that has been
evident over the last 25 years."
Tom Kelso added 52 yards on nine carries and a touchdown for Le Roy,
while the senior McMullen did most of his damage Friday night when
he went 6-of-13 through the air for 119 yards and two touchdowns;
McMullen passed just twice on Saturday in a steady rain that saw Le
Roy dominate the time of possession with its trademarked ground game.
Meanwhile, a stout Oatkan Knights defense held the Red Raiders to
just 100 yards on the ground on 33 carries; Cal-Mum had just six total
first downs throughout the contest.
Following a three-and-out on Cal-Mum's first possession of the night,
the Oatkan Knights wasted no time taking control on their first possession
of the game. On a third-and-seven from the Cal-Mum 47, McMullen hit
Jake Henry across the middle and Henry did the rest as he raced past
the Red Raiders defense for 7-0 Le Roy less than three minutes into
After another Cal-Mum punt, Le Roy struck again less than four minutes
later when McMullen led wide receiver
Ryan McQuillen with a perfect 34-yard strike into the end zone to
put the Oatkan Knights up 14-0 with 5:23 still remaining in the first
The Red Raiders would punt yet again on their next possession and
Le Roy would pounce on the opportunity to put the game away early.
The Oatkan Knights embarked on a nine-play, 60-yard drive over the
next 3:15 that spanned into the second quarter and capped it with
a one-yard Kelso plunge to make it 21-0. The key play on the drive
was a fourth-and-two from the Cam-Mum 40 when Pierce took a pitch
right and rambled 12 yards for the first down, with the key block
coming from Kelso on the outside.
The score would remain 21-0 heading into the half with Le Roy in complete
control having held the Red Raiders to just 71 total yards and three
"Our defense was pretty solid today, and yesterday," said
McMullen. "We made huge turnovers, we made some stops. That's
what we need out of our defense this year."
The referees would halt the contest as the players came out for the
second half and postponed it after a 45-minute wait.
On Saturday, Le Roy took no time to put it away.
After the Oatkan Knights recovered an onside kick to start the half,
Pierce took a pitch to the right on a fourth-and-two, broke a couple
of tackles and sprinted down the sideline for a 28-0 Le Roy lead.
"If you go home and you think about it, that is what you want
to happen and we we're very fortunate that it did," said Moran.
"We made a couple of plays early and I think the momentum really
came back to us."
"That was huge," added McMullen. "I told them when
we got up there that we had to score on the first drive, show them
what we are all about and make a point."
Cal-Mum would fumble on its next possession to set the Oatkan Knights
up for another nail in the coffin a few minutes later. This time it
would be a nine-play, 47-yard drive - all runs by Pierce and Kelso
- that would end with a Pierce 13-yard touchdown run on a counter
to the right; the point after touchdown failed but the damage was
done - 34-0.
"We've been expecting this from Jon for quite a while, I'll be
honest with you, because Jon is a great kid and he has a great ability
to move in the hole and then accelerate," said Moran. "Today
we saw it and last night we saw it and we're proud of him."
Pierce would add his 26-yard score on Le Roy's next possession for
Cal-Mum didn't help its own cause as it committed five penalties on
the day, while the Oatkan Knights were flagged just once.
In all, Le Roy outgained Cal-Mum 344-121.
"It's important, passing, running, we have to be able to do both,"
said Pierce. "The running will open up the passing."
Junior Nick Sims led the way on the ground for Cal-Mum with 45 yards
on seven carries and Zach Preston added 29 tough yards on six totes.
The Oatkan Knights will host Avon next Friday night as they continue
their early-season march toward what could be a 15th sectional title,
while Cal-Mum will try to get into the win column at home against
"This means so much for us," said McMullen. "Coach
finished 17-15 against them and we really wanted him to finish on
a win, so this was huge. Everybody needed it."