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Lakers top Chittenango on last-minute TD pass

Whiteman finds Judge for winning score in rain

Cazenovia Laker Doyle Judge, a senior wide receiver, pulls down the last-minute touchdown pass from quarterback Tanner Whiteman, Oct. 14 at Chittenango. The Lakers emerged victorious, with a final score of 13-10.

Cazenovia Laker Doyle Judge, a senior wide receiver, pulls down the last-minute touchdown pass from quarterback Tanner Whiteman, Oct. 14 at Chittenango. The Lakers emerged victorious, with a final score of 13-10. Patricia Christakos

All the Cazenovia football team had left was one more play.

But with that single play, a broken call that transformed itself into a work of art, the Lakers delivered the decisive blow and beat Madison County rival Chittenango 13-10 Friday night, clinching another undefeated regular season.

Barely a minute was left on the clock. Cazenovia, trailing 10-6 in a game full of rain, wind, physical play and crucial mistakes from both sides, faced fourth-down-and-seven at the Bears' 25-yard line.

The Lakers called its final time-out. The plan, according to top wide receiver Doyle Judge, was for Tanner Whiteman to roll out and throw a short, high-percentage pass to David McEntee, getting enough yardage for the first down to keep Cazenovia's hopes alive.

When Whiteman took the snap and ran to his right, McEntee was well-covered, Chittenango having snuffed out the initial plan. Far down the field, though, Doyle Judge was sprinting toward the end zone, in single coverage with the Bears' Brad Phelps.

Whiteman set up and flung the ball deep. Judge said the hang time of that pass in the air "felt like an eternity", but the ball eventually found Judge in the end zone and he grabbed it with 1:02 left for the go-ahead touchdown.

Chittenango could not do anything on the ensuing possession, and the Lakers' perfect mark was intact.

"We had to battle on every play," said head coach Tom Neidl. "But there's a lot of fight in these guys."

That resolve was needed, since Cazenovia went into the game without three key players - defensive captains Nick Petrovich and David Ayer, plus fullback Teddy Tormey.

On the other hand, all of the Bears' key players were on hand, and it was a group that had managed its own 6-0 start on the way to the Class B West division regular-season title. The Lakers knew it would be tough, and the first half confirmed it.

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