Oct 28, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even with the disappointment of a rare regular-season defeat that lingered, and a short week in which to recover, the Cazenovia football team just kept on going.
And the Lakers didn’t stop until it had gone to Clayton last Friday night and, by a 21-7 margin, eliminated Thousand Islands in the opening round of the Section III Class C playoffs.
Just six days earlier, Cazenovia’s dreams of an undefeated season crashed down thanks to a 24-21 defeat to Westmoreland, costing the Lakers both a Class C South regular-season title and a chance to be at home in the first round.
Instead, Cazenovia trudged up to the north country, where Thousand Islands (5-2) had been the fortunate beneficiary of a three-way tie-breaker in Class C North that sent the Vikings and Lowville to the playoffs, but kept General Brown (6-1, its only loss coming by a single point in overtime) out.
Having avoided all that drama, the Lakers did not have to prove its post-season worth, except for the fact that the new batch of starters had mostly been untested on this big a stage.
But Cazenovia responded well, especially on defense, where for more than three whole periods it kept the Vikings off the scoreboard and caused a string of turnovers.
Cody Foster was a catalyst, forcing a pair of Viking fumbles, one of which Tyler Lawerence recovered. In the secondary, Zack Golden came up with an interception, while Sean Dougherty settled into the primary role of stopper, piling up 14 tackles. Seth Goldacker and Chad Dorrance each had 11 tackles.
Thus, the Lakers didn’t lack for offensive opportunities, yet it could only manage a 7-0 halftime lead thanks to Chad Dorrance scoring on an 11-yard run in the first quarter.
Dorrance was the change of pace Cazenovia utilized when Goldacker wasn’t churning up first downs. Goldacker ran 13 times for 104 yards, while Dorrnace added 52 yards.
In the third quarter, it was Goldacker’s turn to score, from nine yards out, building the margin to 14-0 as Cazenovia, with its stifling defense, threatened to put the game away.
However, TI broke through early in the fourth quarter when Ryan Skinner threw a 39-yard TD pass to Jason VanWIe, cutting the margin in half to 14-7, with lots of time to catch up.
Cazenovia made sure there wouldn’t be any rally, using up valuable minutes of the clock and movnig to the Vikings’ five-yard line before Chad Dorrance scored to seal the victory.
Good as this win was, it would pale next to the accomplishment if Cazenovia can end the reign of defending state champion Bishop Ludden in a highly-anticipated Class C semifinal Friday at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium at 5 p.m.
All the Gaelic Knights have done is run off 20 consecutive victories, including an 8-0 mark this fall and the state’s top ranking throughout the season.
In quarterback John Rooney and running back Omar Osbourne (who has 1,396 yards and 19 touchdowns this season), the Gaelic Knights have the most potent offense Cazenovia has faced this season.
Also, Ludden has a capability for making big plays on both sides, as evidenced by Rick Montgomery’s 97-yard rumble return for a touchdown that sealed a 28-14 first-round playoff victory over Adirondack.
Limit the big plays, and the Lakers might find itself going back to the Carrier Dome Nov. 8 to play for the Class C championship against Westmoreland or Herkimer.