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Football Indians win another classic

Only two games have passed, but Oneida football fans already know just how much character and heart their team possesses.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Indians came from behind and, once again, used a gutsy two-point conversion to make the difference, this time leading to a 34-33 victory over the Homer Trojans.

Down 33-26, Oneida pulled within one after Patrick Tayntor's long run set up fullback Nate Mallinder's one-yard touchdown run with 2:50 left.

Then, once again, the Indians went for two, and the lead, rather than a tying extra point. Mallinder, as he had done against Solvay seven days earlier, went into the line and didn't stop until he had scored, and put Oneida ahead.

Homer had plenty of time to respond, but Eric Riley's interception on Zach Hatfield's reverse pass attempt clinched another exciting victory.

This was Oneida's home opener, and everyone was still buzzing about how, seven days earlier, the Indians had erased a 13-0 deficit in the game's final four minutes to stun Solvay 14-13.

Here, Oneida didn't wait as long to get on the board.

Mallinder scored on an eight-yard run in the first quarter, then found the end zone again on a 39-yard pass from quarterback Jeremy Rodriguez.

In the second quarter, Rodriguez hit Shawn Ano on a 34-yard scoring pass to make it 20-6, but Homer roared back behind its quarterback, John Sciera.

On his way to going 17-for-25 for 237 yards, Sciera threw five touchdown passes, three of them in the first half, and two of those to Hunter Osborne. Only missed conversions by the Trojans kept Oneida ahead, 20-19, going into halftime.

That changed in the third quarter. Nate Hall scored on a 23-yard run, but Sciera threw his fourth and fifth TD passes of the night - 12 yards to Zach Hatfield, five yards to Osborne.

Thus, Homer led 33-26 going into the fourth quarter, which led to the latest round of Oneida comeback magic - and the reverse pass, a curious decision, given how well Sciera had thrown it all night.

The Indians go back on the road Friday, heading to Adams to face South Jefferson in its Class B East division opener. The Spartans are 1-1, having just beaten Skaneateles 42-7 behind running back Jeff Chartrand's 212 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

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