Not to take anything away from Cal-Mum -- a solid team that played well Friday night -- but the Le Roy Oatken Knights literally handed away its 2009 match-up its arch-rival.
The Knights, dealing with a disappointing season so far, looked like a team that could beat Cal-Mum, but as Head Coach Brian Moran said after the game -- teams that repeatedly drop the ball can't win.
"Turn overs was the whole game," Moran said. "You can't turn the ball over and win a game. You can't do it. It just can't happen."
Le Roy's fumbles robbed them of opportunities to put points on the board and set up both scores for the Red Raiders.
Moran's team drops to 1-5 on the 14-0 loss, while the Red Raiders (4-2) prepare of a playoff game next week.
"I thought our effort was there, but I thought we turned the football over too many times," Moran said.
Turn overs were also the first thought that came to mind for Raiders Head Coach Mike Monacelli.
"They're an awful rough team to try and stop," said Monacelli. "I'd like to think we are, too, but they happend to turn the ball over in some key spots."
The turnover started early for Le Roy. After the defense came up big and stopped Cal-Mum with a three-and-out on its first possession, giving the Knights the ball on about their own 40, six plays into the drive, the Knights gave the ball back to the Raiders on the Raiders 40.
The Raiders failed to capitalize on the turn over, despite marching the ball down to Le Roy’s one-yard line, where on a third down play, Brandon Monteleone came up big and stuff a Cal-Mum running play for a three-yard loss. Cal-Mum couldn’t punch it through on forth down giving back the ball to Le Roy.
Le Roy was unable to push the ball forward much on its first two downs and a muffed pitch on third down put them on their heels on the one-yard line. The subsequent punt traveled less than yards, giving Cal-Mum excellent field position.
A few plays later, Cal-Mum’s Tervor Hout busted through the line and into the end-zone. A two-point conversion gave the Raiders a 8-0 lead.
The Knights fight back on the next drive, pounding the ball from its own 20 down to the one-yard line where yet another fumble kills the drive.
Cal-Mum is unable to convert the turn over into a score however, and the half would end with the Raiders up 8-0.
The second half begins much as the first half did for Le Roy. On it’s first possession, Le Roy drives the ball down to Cal-Mum’s 40 yard line when a fumble squanders the opportunity to start the third quarter strong.
This time, Cal-Mum wouldn’t miss the opportunity to turn a Le Roy mistake into points on the board. The Raiders take the ball 60 yards to the end zone where Jon Cappotelli will race the ball in on a near-side sweep to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead (the Raiders fail on a two-point conversion try).
The only glimmer of life the Knights would show the rest of the game was an early fourth-quarter fumble recover by Monteleone. It was a turnover to no where for the Knights, though and the game would end 14-0.
Cappotelli carried the ball for 102 yards on 24 rushes.
Offensive stats for Cal-Mum: Ben Anastasi carried the ball seven times for 29 yards, Cappotelli had 24 carries for 102 yards, and passing, Mike Anderson had two completions on seven attempts for 54 yards.
Offensive stats for Le Roy: Quentin Humphrey, carried the ball 11 times for 9 yards, Jon Casper five carries, 28 yards, Rick Henry, 11 carries for 52 yards, Mark Kelso, six carries and 20 yards. Kelso also threw the ball 7 times, connected on two for 18 yards
In other action tonight, Oakfield-Alabama beat Pembroke 17-13. Honeoye Falls-Lima beat Batavia 41-19.
Tomorrow's games have Attica at Holley at 1:30 p.m., Alexander at Barker at 1:30 p.m., and Notre Dame at Elba/Byron-Bergen at 7 p.m..
We'll be covering the night game.