Nov 03, 2012 Kris Russell Uncategorized
Having waited 15 years to return to the top of the Section III ranks, the Jamesville-DeWitt football team got denied a championship by a neighbor that had gone more than twice as long without that ultimate prize.
Nottingham scored on its first and final possessions to nip the Red Rams 14-7, in the Class A football championship game Friday night at the Carrier Dome.
In doing so, the Bulldogs (8-2) won its first Sectional title since 1980 and avenged a 25-7 regular season loss to J-D on Sept. 28. The Red Rams finished 9-1.
The title game turned into a defensive struggle after Nottingham started on fire. After holding the J-D to a three-and-out, the Bulldogs needed only two plays to cover 70 yards.
Nottingham quarterback Marty Clanton opened the drive by hitting Jefari Davis for 28 yards. He then launched a 42-yard bomb to a streaking Tyquon Rolon, who caught in in stride and rambled into the end zone just 2:33 into the game. The Bulldogs missed the extra point, but led 6-0.
“(Nottingham) knew we were going to stop the run so they hit a seam over the middle and then they got behind our defensive back,” J-D coach Eric Ormond said. “That was a breakdown.”
Ormond and his Red Rams were fortunate they weren’t further behind after the opening 12 minutes. Nottingham outgained the J-D, 139-11, in the first quarter, but only had those six points to show for it.
Bulldogs coach Nick Patterson said that he wasn’t fooled into thinking it was going to be an easy night.
“We knew we were against a team whose defense was very good,” he said.
The Red Rams finally found they offensive stride from an unlikely spot – namely, its own three yard line, as it put together a 14-play, 97-yard drive that covered most of the second quarter.
Josiah Williams did most of the drive’s damage. The Red Rams senior picked up three first downs running before using his hands to put J-D on the board.
Williams broke over the middle and latched on to a 31-yard pass from freshman quarterback Jack Brotzki 3:41 before halftime, and the conversion put J-D ahead 7-6, where it stayed at the break.
The Rams had all kinds of chances to add to its lead in the second half. J-D’s best chance came late in the third quarter, after it drove 91 yards in 17 plays, but turned the ball over on downs when Nottingham stuffed a fourth-and-one run from Ryan Wright.
“(Nottingham) is so athletic down there near their goal line (that) they make it difficult to stretch their defense,” Ormond said. “They’ve got such big interior linemen.”
Both teams spent much of the fourth quarter coughing the ball up, combining for four turnovers, J-D picking up two different fumbles from Bulldogs running back Derrick Gore, who had gained 135 yards on the night.
Nottingham forced the final giveaway, an interception by Daquan Adams on its own 22 with 4:03 left. Then Clanton, later named the game’s most valuable offensive player, took the game over.
The Bulldogs’ senior signal-caller opened the decisive drive with a 14-yard run on third down that ended with J-D committing a 15-yard personal foul penalty.
Clanton then completed a pair of passes to Adams that combined for 37 yards. He needed no more throws to score the game winner, running once for five yards before plowing into the end zone untouched from one yard out with 1:22 left.
Then Clanton put an exclamation point on the drive with a successful two-point conversion pass to Rolon, and Nottingham’s defense sacked Brotzki twice on J-D’s final possession, including on fourth down, to seal the victory.
Nottingham will represent Section III against Section IV champion Union-Endicott on Friday at East Syracuse-Minoa.
“It’s big for the community,” Patterson said. “It’s big for the faculty, for the student body, for the players. This builds memories.”
Ormond said the result didn’t put a damper on a great season.
“This year affirmed to our guys, our kids in school, our community that we can field a competitive championship caliber type of program that the community wants and deserves,” Ormond said.