- For much of what could possibly be the final meeting between two
storied high school football programs in Le Roy and Caledonia-Mumford
on Friday night, the Oatkan Knights had a tough time getting anything
going against a game Red Raiders defense. And outside of a few big
plays, Cal-Mum controlled the majority of the 48 minutes of the 50th
consecutive regular season meeting between the two programs.
Yet with Le Roy star running back Nick Egeling bottled up, junior
quarterback Josh Laurie showed his penchant for making the big play
when he needed to.
The Le Roy defense stymied the Red Raiders offense all night, while
Egeling came through with a big interception and Laurie connected
with Nate Flint on a pair of back-to-back long touchdowns and the
Oatkan Knights escaped with a 28-3 victory in a game that was much
closer than the score would indicate.
"I thought they did a good job," said Le Roy head coach
Brian Herdlein of his team. "There was a lot of atmosphere around,
a lot of people here, a lot of alumni here and I thought we came out
pretty good. We started off a little slow, but at the end of the half
we were up 21-3. I couldn't ask for more than that."
The Oatkan Knights held the Red Raiders to just 156 yards of total
offense, including just 90 yards on the ground on 32 rushes, while
they picked off Cal-Mum quarterback Nick Harmon three times and forced
a fumble to rebound from consecutive losses to move to 4-2 on the
"We responded well with the win and I'm happy about that, but
we had a couple of chances where we could have made plays and we didn't,
and we need to do that in sectionals and next week against Livonia,"
Cal-Mum dropped to 4-2.
With the Le Roy offense stalling early, it was Egeling who came through
on the defensive end for what turned out to be the turning point of
With Cal-Mum up 3-0 via a Josh Roides 36-yard field goal late in the
first quarter, the Oatkan Knights got pressure on Harmon on a first-and-five
and the Red Raiders' junior QB threw the ball right to a waiting Egeling,
who promptly returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to give Le Roy the
lead for good at 7-3 just 17 seconds into the second quarter, following
a Mary Purdy extra point. Purdy was a perfect 4-of-4 on the night
on PAT attempts.
"That was just him making a play," said Herdlein of Egeling.
"(Defensive coordinator) Pete (Greene) actually had him playing
on the nose that play. But then we got the quarterback to roll out
and him being an athlete dropped back and got in front of the ball
and did the rest."
Later in the second frame, the Le Roy offense was finally able to
On a third-and-five from its own 28, the Le Roy offensive line gave
Laurie plenty of time and he found a wide open Flint down the left
side for a 72-yard TD and a 14-0 lead with 1:39 left in the half.
The Oatkan Knights then forced a three-and-out and a punt and with
under a minute left in the half, Laurie and Flint struck again.
On first-and-10, and on virtually the same play, Laurie again found
Flint down the left side and the junior, who recently was switched
to wideout, broke one tackle and out-sprinted the rest of the Cal-Mum
defense for a 65-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead that stunned a previously
raucous Red Raiders crowd.
"I thought our pass protection today was very good," said
Herdlein. "We came out today wanting to run the ball but that's
what they were giving up. They were bringing pressure and Josh did
his job tonight."
"The line did a very good job on those TD passes, I was able
to make sure [Flint] was by the guy and I just threw the ball,"
The rest was up to the Le Roy defense, which would surrender just
three first downs after halftime and allowed the Red Raiders just
68 yards of total offense in the second half. The farthest the Cal-Mum
offense would get on its own in the second half was to its own 46
yard-line. Le Roy did turn the ball over on a clear forward pass that
was ruled a fumble at its own 35, but the Red Raiders were only able
to get to the 18.
Egeling's only big offensive play of the night - a 53-yard run late
in the fourth when he broke through a stacked line and cut outside
- set up Le Roy's final score, a 20-yard strike from Laurie to Ryan
Boyce on a fourth-and-12 with just 57 seconds left to play.
Egeling finished the night with 85 yards on 15 carries, but outside
of the big run he had just 32 yards on 14 totes; Laurie ended up 5-of-7
for 159 yards and the three touchdowns.
"That's the nice thing, if teams are going to concentrate so
much on Nick, Josh is a player that can make plays for us," said
Herdlein. "Nate Flint is new to playing receiver and he made
a couple of huge plays for us. We have other options."
Outside of the three scoring plays and the long Egeling run, the Oatkan
Knights were held to just 73 yards of offense.
"We made the plays when we had to," said Laurie. "Against
Hornell we drove the ball and controlled the clock and we didn't do
that much tonight and we're going to have to work on that this week."
Nick Sims had a solid game on the ground for Cal-Mum with 106 yards
on 25 carries, but the Red Raiders leading rusher, Chris Hinkley,
was held to minus-6 yards on just three carries. Harmon started hot
and hit his first three pass attempts, but wound up just six-of-20
for 66 yards and the three interceptions.
"One thing that we have gotten better at defensively, if they
make a big play, like an eight-yard run, it doesn't stop us because
we keep working," said Laurie.
Things don't get any easier next week for Le Roy as the Oatkan Knights
will host one-beaten Livonia at Hartwood Park in the final week of
the regular season.
"We try to talk to them and tell them that you want to play the
best," said Herdlein. "It tells you were you are as a football
team. It takes a toll on their bodies for sure, but the fact is that
it tells you exactly what your weaknesses are and what your strengths