Thank you to Ed Henry from Le Roy football.com for the great coverage of the story. Check out his Web site for more information on Le Roy football than you could ever imagine.
The 2008 version of the LeRoy-Cal-Mum gridiron clash played out as advertised, a nail-biting thriller at LeRoy’s Hartwood Park.
The Oatkan Knights and Red Raiders entered the contest with 5-0 records and vaunted state rankings (LeRoy #4 in Class C and the Cal-Mum #3 in Class D). The hard-hitting affair was not settled until the closing moments of the game, a game the Knights fought back valiantly to win 27-20 after trailing 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Raiders took possession first with a drive start at their own 36. Speedy Jeremy Wilson set the tone for the visitors on the first play from scrimmage with a beautiful 41-yard dash off the left side to put the ball at the LeRoy 23. Cal-Mum then proceeded to pound through the LeRoy D-line with RB Dave Fox picking up good yardage. The Raiders’ third talented back, Jon Marozzi, raced up the middle from 6 yards out to put the Raiders up 6-0 at the 8:37 mark. The Raider offensive line plowed the way for a Fox 2-point conversion run to push the tally to 8-0 Raiders.
The ensuing Raider kickoff was an absolute bullet into the LeRoy end zone. The Knights first play from scrimmage resulted in a fumble, recovered by Cal-Mum’s Ben Anastasi. The Raider crowd cheered wildly with their sudden good fortune. The cheers grew even louder when 4 plays later, Marozzi found the end zone from one yard out to cap the 16-yard drive. The LeRoy defense stuffed the Marozzi PAT run to make it 14-0 Raiders at the 6:35 mark of the 1st quarter. LeRoy, looking to answer the early Raider onslaught, took to the ground with Andrew Alexander and Jon Casper picking up big yardage against the Raider defense.
The dynamic pass-catch tandem of QB Travis Fenstermaker to WR Mike Humphrey picked up increasingly better field position, leading to a Casper 2-yard TD burst with 34 seconds left in the opening quarter. Fenstermaker’s kick was true to split the Raider lead in half to 14-7. The Knights’ defense held strong on Cal-Mum’s next possession as LB John Scheuing and company forced a 3-and-out by the Raiders with some timely gang tackling. The 11-yard punt by the Raiders gave the Knights’ a nice drive start at their own 47.
LeRoy QB Fenstermaker masterfully drove the Knights to the game-tying score with a 9-yard run and a 37-yard pass to TE Brian Calmes who snagged the ball beautifully between two Raider defenders and raced to the Cal-Mum 6. FB Jon Casper found the end zone on a 2-yard TD run two plays later. Fenstermaker’s PAT kick knotted the game at 14. The Knights defense started to figure out the Raider running schemes a bit better and after surrendering a first down, forced another punt as LB Scheuing dropped Cal-Mum QB Chris Voos who faked a toss to his RB, looking to catch the LeRoy defense napping on an interior run. Big plays before the half usually go a long way in determining close contests such as this.
The Knights looked to score from 70 yards away with 5:02 left until intermission. A score before halftime and receiving the ball first in the 2nd half would go a along way in establishing some control in the game for the Knights. The Knights used a balanced passing and rushing attack to move the ball against the Cal-Mum defense. Fenstermaker lined up in the shotgun, looked to his left, and then fired the ball back to his right into the arms of Alexander for the go-ahead score with a minute left in the 1st half. The 25-yard TD gave the Knights the lead at 20-14 at the half after the PAT was unsuccessful.
LeRoy took the opening kickoff with the aforementioned mindset of scoring with their first possession of the 2nd half. Enter Andrew Alexander. Alexander found the holes provided by the LeRoy O-line and ran for big chunks of yards through the Raider defense. He came up huge with a 6-yard blast as the Knights gambled on a 4th-and-2 from their own 42 early in the 3rd quarter. Alexander, looking stronger with each carry, ripped through 4 white-clad Raider defenders to find the end zone with 4:38 left in the 3rd quarter. The Fenstermaker kick pushed the lead to 27-14 LeRoy. The Raiders, looking to make a comeback of their own, started moving the ball against the LeRoy defense through their usual tough ground game and a big toss to TE Brian Sinclair. The Raider drive was thwarted when Mike Humphrey picked off his 4th interception of the season in the end zone for a score denying touch-back.
A good defensive stand by the Raiders forced a LeRoy punt from their own end zone. Thirty-four yards separated the Raiders from a much needed score. The LeRoy defense was bending, but not breaking, and the clock was running. With 5:28 remaining in the game, the Raiders were met with a 4th-and-8 from the LeRoy 21. QB Voos rolled left and fired a perfect strike to a wide open Jeremy Wilson who hopped into the nearby end zone to make the score 27-20 with 5:04 left in the game. The Knights’ defense came up big on the PAT run attempt as Jordan Casper wrapped up Marozzi short of the end zone.
The Knights looked to kill the clock and preserve the winning margin. Fenstermaker and Mike Humphrey moved the ball through the Raider defense with heady efforts. Again, it was Alexander that came up huge with two key runs that notched much needed 1st downs for the Knights in the waning moments. The Knights were able to kneel down in victory formation and enjoy the win, which they dedicated to the late Hooks Robertson, a beloved LeRoy gridiron coach who passed away earlier this year. The Knights amassed 299 yards of total offense. On the ground, Alexander gained 114 yards on 20 carries and a TD, Fenstermaker had 42 yards on 9 rushes, and Jon Casper notched 35 yards on 10 attempts, including 2 TDs. Fenstermaker was 11 of 15 for 108 yards passing, including a TD strike to Alexander of 25 yards. Mike Humphrey had 7 receptions for 42 yards, while Quentin Humphrey and Brain Calmes each had a catch for 8 and 37 yards respectively. The Knights defense was lead by Scheuing with 8 tackles, followed by Fenstermaker, Alexander, and Joe Schwab with 6 apiece. Mike Humphrey recorded an interception. Cal-Mum had 207 yards of offense, 155 of it on the ground. Leading rusher for the Raiders was Jeremy Wilson with 72 yards on 13 carries, Jon Marozzi 13-32 and 2 TDs, Dave Fox 6-23, and Chris Voos 2-7. Voos was 3 of 7 passing for 52 yards, including a 21-yard TD pass to Wilson.