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Second-half rally pushes Lakers past Ludden

Skaneateles claims key early-season C West duel

— It wasn't even September, and yet the Skaneateles football team appeared to take a giant step toward maintaining the place atop the Class C West division it earned in 2011 before events off the field derailed the whole project.

The Lakers' 31-24 victory over Bishop Ludden Friday night at Hyatt Stadium required a rally from a double-digit halftime deficit and came despite Skaneateles not scoring three times inside the Gaelic Knights' 10-yard line.

"We played bad and made a lot of mistakes," said the Lakers' first-year head coach, Joe Sindoni. "It's huge that we were able to come back."

Deep into the fourth quarter, Skaneateles still trailed 24-22, and appeared to waste a great chance to move in front when, on fourth-down-and-goal at the Gaelic Knights' two-yard line, quarterback Conor Herr bobbled the snap and fell down, short of the goal line.

Moments later, though, Herr, on the defensive side, made full atonement, tackling Ludden quarterback Zach Harding in the end zone for a safety that tied it, 24-24, with 7:24 left.

After the free kick and a return to midfield, Herr moved the Lakers into scoring position again. This time, from the 13, he threw over the middle - and Jake Cooney made a one-handed grab, zooming into the end zone for what proved to be the winning touchdown with 5:01 to play.

That marked the second time in the second half that Cooney had snared a TD with just one hand. The senior wide receiver had done so on a 33-yard scoring pass from Herr down the sideline late in the third quarter that helped cut the Gaelic Knights' lead to 24-22, just after Nate Molnar recovered a Ludden fumble on an option pitch.

Cooney said that all the catching drills done in practice with offensive coordinator Tim Brown helped him concentrate and make the spectacular grabs, though he added that he had never caught any scoring pass one-handed before this night.

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