- For the first 15 minutes of Friday night's Section V Class C quarterfinal
game it didn't appear that visiting No. 6 Le Roy would have any answer
for big Alex Piechocki and No. 3 Attica's powerful running attack.
The Blue Devils gashed the Oatkan Knights with ease on their first
three drives as Le Roy spotted Attica a pair of early 13-point leads.
But when they had to, the Oatkan Knights defense made the big plays
and kept their chances alive to repeat as Class C champions, while
it became another season of what could have been for the Blue Devils.
The Le Roy defense held Attica to just 82 total yards in the second
half and held the Blue Devils scoreless over the final 32 minutes
and 44 seconds of the game, while Nate Flint capped off a methodical
drive late in the third quarter to give the Oatkan Knights the lead
for good and the defense did the rest in a 20-19 victory.
"I told these guys that they have to start believing in themselves,"
said Le Roy head coach Brian Herdlein. "I don't think they do
at times and I don't think they realize how good they can be. And
they are, they are a good football team and they just have to realize
Attica ran up over 200 yards of offense in the first half - 125 on
the ground from Piechocki - and held the ball for over 14 minutes,
but after a solid opening drive in the third quarter that failed to
net points, the Blue Devils offense stalled the rest of the way.
"They came out rolling in the beginning and I really didn't know
what was going on," said Le Roy quarterback Josh Laurie. "We
weren't even excited. Finally at the end we got rolling and we kept
For Attica, this is its third consecutive first-round, home sectional
loss after a solid regular season.
Nick Egeling ran for 117 tough yards on 17 carries, but it was Flint
- little used out of the backfield in recent weeks after a switch
to wide receiver and only in at fullback because of an injury to Dom
Filio - who capped an 11-play, 92-yard play with a 19-yard run up
the middle with 36.2 seconds left in the third quarter that put the
Oatkan Knights up by the deciding point after the Mary Purdy extra
"It was just a dive and we had to take Dom Filio out of the game
because of an ankle injury and my thought was that Nate is small enough
and quick enough that maybe he could shoot one through there and that's
exactly what happened," said Herdlein.
Attica had taken the ball on the opening kickoff inside the Le Roy
5-yard line, but a bad snap put the Blue Devils at fourth-and-goal
from the 18. Following a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty
on fourth down, the Blue Devils got to the Oatkan Knights' 4 but weren't
able to punch it in, thanks to a pass break-up in the endzone on fourth
down by Gavin Luckey.
Piechocki finished the night with 198 yards and three touchdowns on
just 27 carries and early on the big running back had his way with
the Le Roy defense.
Piechocki finished off an eight-play, 51-yard drive in the first quarter
after a Le Roy three-and-out with a one-yard touchdown run to make
Following another three-and-out from the Oatkan Knights, the Blue
Devils again took over and this time needed to go just 40 yards and
went up 13-0 on a Piechocki one-yard touchdown run with just less
than three minutes left in the first quarter. The kick was wide right.
But Le Roy then began to show signs of life.
After a Laurie to Ryan Boyce 11-yard pass on third down allowed the
Oatkan Knights to escape another punt, Egeling burst up the middle
and outran the Attica defense for a 41-yard yard score to make it
13-6 at the end of the first quarter after the kick was blocked.
But, again, the Attica ground game took over.
This time led by Nick Shadbolt, the Blue Devils marched right back
and went 53 yards on just seven plays and took what seemed to be a
commanding 19-6 lead after Piechocki's third touchdown of the night,
this one from eight yards out.
This time it was Le Roy's turn to fight back and on a second-and-nine
Laurie found tight end Reed Kacur open over the middle for a huge,
60-yard touchdown that made it 19-13 with 7:19 left in the first half.
Le Roy had a chance to take the lead later in the second quarter after
Laurie recovered a fumble, but he was then intercepted in the endzone
by Damian Marchetti to end the drive.
"I told the guys at halftime that we just needed to execute what
we worked on all week," said Herdlein.
Following the Oatkan Knights' defensive stand in the third quarter,
Le Roy's game-deciding drive was aided by a Laurie 11-yard pass to
Kacur on a third down on a play that appeared to be going nowhere.
"The ball was snapped over his head, it was not a pass play to
begin with," said Herdlein. "But he rolled out of there,
he escaped pressure and he hit Reed Kacur for the first down. That
was a huge play."
After Le Roy had taken the lead, it appeared the Oatkan Knights would
be able to take firm control of the game after they forced an Attica
punt; but the punt would hit an unknowing Flint in the back and the
Blue Devils would recover at the Le Roy 44.
But Laurie would come up big yet again.
With Attica at the Le Roy 14, Laurie would step in front of a Marchetti
pass on a second-and-seven intended for Levi Snyder and intercept
the Blue Devils' quarterback at the five-yard line to quell Attica's
last scoring chance.
"I told him when he threw his (interception) that you have to
look him off and as a quarterback that is exactly what he should have
been doing," said Herdlein of Laurie. "He sat back there
at safety, he read the quarterback and he made a great play."
"I just read the quarterback's eyes and I knew he was going that
way," added Laurie.
The Blue Devils would get the ball one more time with 3:44 remaining,
but the Oatkan Knights came up with consecutive sacks of Marchetti,
the second by Kacur on fourth down, to seal the game.
"It was another case of just executing what we worked on,"
said Herdlein of the defense. "I thought our d-line actually
played pretty well, but our linebackers weren't flowing like they should
and we talked about it, they started executing and it makes a big
Laurie finished the night 7-of-12 for 118 yards and the touchdown,
while Flint rushed for 29 yards on five carries for Le Roy.
Ben Piazza had nine tackles to pace the Oatkan Knights' defense, while
Kacur (two for a loss) and Anthony Natrigo
had 9 and 8 stops respectively.
Marchetti ran for 36 yards on 14 carries - just two yards on seven
totes in the second half - and finished just 3-of-10 for 35 yards
and the interception through the air.
Shadbolt had seven carries for 31 yards in the loss for Attica (6-2).
Le Roy (5-3) will likely get a rematch with No. 2 Bath next week in
the semifinals; the Rams host No. 7 Letchworth/Warsaw today.
"I'm very happy. I don't want to stop playing football yet and
I don't think anybody on our team does," said Laurie.