Turnovers doom Le Roy, but not without a fight
With just four minutes left in the game, something clicked for the Le Roy football team. In a situation where the Oatkan Knights had turned the ball over six times and was trailing by 18 points, they didn't quit.
There was a sudden burst of momentum as the team that hadn't lost all season long wasn't about to take its first defeat lying down.
Le Roy came back and had a shot to win the game in the final minute, but turned the ball over a seventh time and walked off the field with a crushing 38-35 defeat against the most skilled team it has seen all year, Jamestown Southwestern.
The start to the game was strange as the teams took the field and there was a penalty on the kickoff, then had to wait four minutes to re-do the kick because of the television coverage.
But the Oatkan Knights received the ball on the kick and fumbled the ball away on their third play. Southwestern quickly scored as Levi Bursch scored on a 19-yard run.
The Trojans got the ball back on an interception, then gave it back to Le Roy when they fumbled it.
The Oatkan Knights marched right back down the field and was knocking on the end zone door when the ball popped out again, giving Southwestern the ball at their own 20-yard line.
Zack Sopak lofted up a 54-yard pass to Will Sleggs and the Trojans were deep in Le Roy territory. Bursch capped off the drive with a 2-yard dive into the end zone.
Le Roy marched on the next drive, with the highlight being a 35-yard pass to Quentin Humphrey. This time, the turnover directly resulted in points for Southwestern.
Travis Fenstermaker was trying to get the ball to Mike Humphrey for a touchdown, but Bursch stepped in front and snagged the pass. He took it 97 yards to the house, giving Southwestern a 21-0 advantage.
The Oatkan Knights again were moving the ball as a Fenstermaker pass to Andrew Alexander was a big gainer, especially when you add the face mask penalty.
But, Alexander wound up coughing up the ball inside the red zone.
Southwestern punted and Le Roy finally got on the scoreboard just seconds before the first half ended. Alexander hauled in a pass by Fenstermaker and rumbled 63 yards for the TD.
After making a stop and punting the ball away at the start of the second half, the Oatkan Knights got a turnover when Southwestern fumbled. That led to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mike Humphrey. The extra point attempt failed and Le Roy trailed 21-13.
After a big kick return by Tanner Delahoy, Southwestern didn't take long to make it a two-score game as Sopak hooked up with Will Sleggs on a 29-yard scoring pass.
Le Roy got some major help on the next drive. On a fourth-and-2, Fenstermaker tossed a first down pass to Alexander, but there was a face mask and late hit penalty issued on the play.
The Oatkan Knights faced another fourth down later in the drive and Fenstermaker ended up tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Mike Humphrey on the fourth-and-1.
The next 10 points came by the Trojans, seeming to put the game away.
Bursch caught a 3-yard touchdown pass and Dan Imfeld nailed a 28-yard field goal, giving Southwestern a 38-20 lead with just 6:49 left on the clock.
The game appeared to be over. But it wasn't.
Fenstermaker - who ends his high school career with a 20-2 record - capped off a three minute long drive with a 1-yard TD run.
The Oatkan Knights recovered the onside kick and it started to look like something special was going to happen.
But, Mike Humphrey fumbled the ball away after catching a short pass. Again, the game looked to be over - that is, until the Trojans fumbled while trying to run time off the clock. Le Roy recovered with 1:28 left in the game.
Humphrey immediately caught a 42-yard touchdown pass and the impossible, now seemed possible. The Oatkan Knights were only trailing 38-35 and when they recovered the second onside kick, looked like they were going to win the game.
Fenstermaker threw a pass to Mike Humphrey and Le Roy had the ball at the Southwestern 22-yard line and just over 30 seconds to work with.
But the Southwestern defensive backs had the Le Roy receivers covered, forcing Fenstermaker to scramble. He was hit by Eric Mazgaj and the ball popped out, with the Trojans recovering and ending Le Roy's season.
Fenstermaker went 21-of-37 for 283 yards and four touchdowns, with Humphrey hauling in 14 passes for 136 yards and three scores. Alexander rushed the ball 19 times for 61 yards and caught two passes for 91 yards and a score.
Southwestern improves to 11-0 and moves on to the state semifinals next weekend at PAETEC Park.
UPDATE: More photos from Pete Karl.