Rams fall to Nottingham in Class A semis

Perhaps any football team is allowed just one miracle per year.

Jamesville-DeWitt head coach Dennis Schahczenski dubbed his team's 28-21 overtime shocker over two-time defending champion Whitesboro in the opening round of the Section III Class A playoffs on Oct. 21 "a fairy tale".

That improbable event -- where J-D had just 24 players, barely a third of Whitesboro's roster -- made Red Rams fans believe that it could keep going when, seven days later, it met Nottingham in the Class A semifinals at Henninger's Sunnycrest Field.

But here, the "happily ever after" dissipated in a wet, cold contest where the Bulldogs took over in the second half and beat J-D 32-7.

Much of the first half was played in a drenching rain, which slowed both teams up. Numerous times, snaps, passes and kicks were dropped by J-D and Nottingham, destroying whatever momentum each side wanted to build up.

Each team would drive to the opponents' one-yard line. And each team would not even get a point, as Nottingham fumbled on fourth-and-goal and J-D's Mike Centra had his field goal blocked, one of two attempts by the Rams that went astray.

So at halftime, it was still 0-0, but Nottingham had saved its best work for the second half all season, and would again close strong -- at J-D's expense.

Tyshon Goode, who passed 1,000 yards for the season in this game, scored from 18 yards out in the third quarter to get the Bulldogs on the board. It got to 13-0 when Sam Lambert went 16 yards for a touchdown.

Attempting to come back, the Rams instead saw things get worse when Jarell Princeton intercepted a pass deep in J-D territory and returned it for a TD. Princeton also scored on an 11-yard run.

Twice, Nottingham got TD's by its defensive players, and only Joe Daddario's 20-yard pass to Jared Knowles in the late going prevented a shutout.

Both Goode (130 yards) and Princeton (117 yards) broke the century mark, slowly wearing J-D's defense down.

Even though it finished at 4-5, J-D still took massive steps ahead from its struggles in 2005. A big graduating class departs, but Daddario is just a sophomore, with two years to make his impact -- and turn the Rams from a one-week fairy tale to a long-lasting story of success.

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