Lakers survive VVS in double-OT football classic

Whole volumes full of flowery adjectives could describe the epic football battle that Cazenovia and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill waged Saturday at Buckley-Volo Field.

For three hours, the Lakers and Red Devils traded blows, neither side giving in, until finally Cazenovia pulled it out 50-44 in double overtime on Jeff Hopsicker's five-yard touchdown pass to Ben Romagnoli.

That was merely the last big play in an afternoon full of them. There were three ties, four lead changes, at least a dozen momentum shifts - and one monumental injury that directly affected the final outcome.

"We made our share of mistakes," head coach Tom Neidl said. "But the kids persevered. They're intelligent, and they play together."

It didn't take long for the madness to begin. Within two minutes of the opening kickoff, (1) Tyler Mautner had thrown a 76-yard scoring pass to Eli Cleveland, (2) Cazenovia had answered with Hopsicker finding Doyle Judge on a one-handed, 72-yard TD grab and (3) a fumble on the ensuing kickoff led to John Greacen's two-yard scoring run.

VVS was down 14-6, but Mautner was just setting off on a first half of historic proportions where he completed seven passes for an astonishing 369 yards against a young and overmatched Laker secondary.

Three times, Mautner had long TD passes - the first to Cleveland, then another long scoring strike to Cleveland covering 83 yards, and finally an 81-yard pass to Tyler Curtis. Just before the half, a 73-yard connection with Matt Silker set up Colin Way's one-yard TD sneak.

Not that Hopsicker was quiet. Overcoming a pair of interceptions, he found Jose Wells on a 45-yard TD pass up the middle seconds after Way had scored, but a missed extra point meant Cazenovia trailed 28-27 as everyone took a deep breath at halftime.

Both sides went to the ground in the third quarter, VVS putting together a six-minute drive that finished with Way scoring from two yards out. Mautner's two-point pass to Silker made it 36-27, and Cazenovia needed two scores to pull it out.

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