Bath put together two long drives in the first and second quarter, grinding out yards down after down, three and four yards at a time with runs up the gut, chewing up the clock.
On the first drive, a fumble on the two-yard line put the ball into the hands of the Elba/Byron-Bergen offense, but the Lancers were forced to punt four downs later.
On the second drive, the Rams punched through the right side of the Lancers line, and those six points stood the test of the remaining time.
In the second quarter, the Lancers' defense turned back Bath possession after possession, forcing multiple three-and-outs and claiming a couple of turn overs.
But tit-for-tat, the Rams' defense remained just as stout, bottling up the Lancers' big back, Zack DuBois, whose only long run from scrimmage was canceled by a penalty.
"They did a nice job of taking away cutback lanes and that’s where Zack has his success, cut back or get to the outside," said Lancers Head Coach Michael Cintorino.
This was a game fought in the trenches.
"We knew we had to come out and play physical football and I think they did," Cintorino said. "It was a little bit of an awakening in the first half. In the second half, I think we came out and did exactly what we needed to do."
As the clock wore down in the fourth quarter, QB Zac Gillard was forced to look for open receivers down field and with less than three minutes to go he thought he found Kyle Dougherty. But Dougherty lost his footing when he tried to cut on the soggy turf. That left Bath's Matt Nevius alone to play centerfield and haul in Gillard's pass with a basket catch.
Another interception on the Lancers' next possession pretty much sealed Elba/BB's fate and sent the Rams to the next round of sectional play. Next Saturday, they play Le Roy.
"This is a team that can definitely make a run, but at the same time I’m proud of our boys, who came out and had an opportunity to win the football game on multiple occasions," Cintorino said.
Bath had lost this year to Batavia and Le Roy, but coming into sectionals, the Rams have two starters returning from injuries, including one, Cintorino said, who otherwise missed the entire season.
"We knew coming in they were a good team," Cintorino said. "We’re the third-seeded team and we’re playing a team that probably should have been somewhere in the top four. If you could squeeze five teams into the top four, Bath definitely belongs there."
Most of this year's Lancers have been playing together since eighth grade and they've come a long way as a team, as players and as men, Cintorino said.
"I am extremely proud of them," Cintorino said. "I wish we could have gotten a couple of more weeks of play together, but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the time we’ve had."
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It was the running game that once again carried Le Roy to victory.
The Oatkan Knights rushed for 1,975 yards this season. Peter Privitera ran for nearly half of those yards, but with the junior out due to injury, the Knights leaned on a stable of backs to run past Holley in their Class C first round matchup, 26 to 18.
After averaging 282 yards per game on the ground during the regular season, Le Roy pounded the Holley defense for 314 yards on 58 attempts.
In the absence of Privitera, Coach Brian Moran used Tom Kelso, Marcus Mistersaro, Dylan Johnson and Kylan Carter to fill the void. While Mistersaro and Kelso have played an integral part of the offense all season long, it was Carter who stepped up with several big runs.
Coming into the game, Carter had only carried the ball two times all season.
On the last home game of his career, he exploded for 110 yards on nine carries, including a 52-yard dash that helped set up the second touchdown of the game.
“This was our last home game and I held nothing back,” Carter said. “I played like a senior tonight.”
Another senior stepped up to the plate for the Knights, and that was fullback Dylan Johnson, who accounted for all 26 Le Roy points. Johnson scored four touchdowns and added two extra points, including the game-winning 18-yard run and PAT with 2:16 remaining in the ball game.
Le Roy got a break early, as Holley marched into Knights’ territory on the first drive of the game, but Mistersaro recovered a Nick Conklin fumble on a short yardage play.
After a few Kelso runs, Mistersaro burst free for a 35-yard scamper to set up a Johnson scoring plunge. Johnson would score again to put the Knights up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter
It appeared as if Le Roy might run away with the game, but the Hawks responded quickly.
Holley senior running back Cadizsh Norford took control of the second frame, cutting the lead to 13-6 as he darted up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown run.
After forcing Le Roy to punt on their next possession, the Hawks got the ball on their own 38 with just before halftime. On the first play of the drive, Norford took a direct snap, faked a pass and sprinted 62 yards for another touchdown to make the score 13 to 12 at the half.
“I’ve been here 24 years and [Norford] is as good as I’ve ever seen,” Moran said.
In desperate need of keeping the ball out of Norford’s hands after running for 124 yards on nine carries in the first half, the Knights proceeded to march 60 yards on 18 plays, consuming 10:45 of the third quarter. The long drive was capped by Johnson’s third touchdown of the game.
Even after a chop block penalty pushed them back 15 yards, the Le Roy offense continued to pound at the Hawks' defense until reaching the end zone.
“That’s old-school Le Roy football,” Moran said. “It shows that our kids are physically fit and it shows their mental preparation.”
Norford fired right back, receiving a pass from Kyle Bell for a 43-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 19-18.
After trading punts, the Knights embarked on an 80-yard scoring drive that took up 5:31 on the clock, and was finished off by Johnson’s final touchdown with 2:16 remaining to seal the game.
Moran made a point to control the clock in the second half, particularly with the explosive Norford on the opposite side. Le Roy dominated the time of possession down the stretch, ticking off 20:49.
When Holley took possession down 26-18, they had run only six offensive plays in the entire half.
“It does two things,” he said. “It puts pressure on them to score touchdowns and it puts us in a good situation to win because we have used up so much time.”
Holley (4-4) played a hard-fought game, with Norford finishing with 10 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while catching four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Kelso finished the game with 80 yards on 26 carries, while Mistersaro racked up 90 yards for the second consecutive week.
Le Roy (7-1) advances to the Class C Semi-Finals next Saturday at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester for a 1:30 p.m. start.
They will play the winner of today's Elba/Byron-Bergen and Bath game.
In other Friday night sectional play: Batavia fell to East Rochester in a Section V playoff match, 35-20. Justin Washington scored on a 14-yard pass from Brett Scheuerlein in the second quarter. In the fourth, James Soggs scored on a six-yard run and Cody Swimline caught a five-yard pass from Scheuerlein for another TD.
In Connors and Ferris Bowl games, Cal-Mum beat Alexander, 36-6, Oakfield-Alabama beat Bolivar-Richburg 42-0 and Pembroke topped Geneseo 26-0.
In other Section V playoff action today, Notre Dame hosts longtime post-season nemesis Dundee.
In other games of note on Friday, Attica stomped Mynderse 61-8, and Hornell, which dropped down a class this season, continued its 40+ game winning streak, beating Wayland-Cohocton 41-13. Elba, Le Roy, Attica and Hornell are all Class C teams. Hornell and Attica face off in a semi-final game next week in Rochester.
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If you want to go east or west on Griswold Road between Caswell and Route 237 in Stafford, you're going to have to wait a year.
An aging bridge has just become too unstable to handle heavy traffic and the county won't be able to replace it until next June.
"At least the detour around it is not that long," said County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens. "It's not a huge inconvenience. All bridge closures are an inconvenience, but this is not as bad as some are."
The steel multigirder bridge was built in 1941 and widened in 1976. The girders have rusted through to the point that they can't even support two tons.
A few years ago, the bridge was rated for seven tons, then downgraded to four, then two, now 1.8.
"That's about the size of a small SUV," Hens said.
The county looked at reducing the bridge, which crosses over Black Creek, to one lane, but that would require installing Jersey barriers, which are heavy themselves.
"We probably would have overloaded it just to reduce it to one lane, so that wasn't viable either," Hens said.
About five years ago, the county applied for a federal grant to replace the bridge and the process has been moving forward since, but the bridge has become unusable a year earlier than anticipated.
The new bridge is in the design phase now.
Construction should be completed by this time next year, Hens said.
He also said the Griswold bridge is just the tip of the iceberg.
About half of the county's bridges are in nearly as critical condition. Some of those bridges, if closed, will mean seven- and eight-mile detours for residents, farmers and emergency responders.
"We don't have any local money to replace them and it looks like the federal pot is going to get smaller and smaller," Hens said. "The county is going to have some tough decisions, either closing bridges or funding them locally."
There are no known plans to open a hydrofracked gas well within the town limits of Stafford, but Jim Southall thought it a good idea to purchase an "insurance policy" so to speak.
At his suggest, the town board has passed a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking within Stafford.
A committee has been appointed to study the issue, according to Supervisor Robert Clement and that report will help the town determine what, if anything, it might do next related to hydrofracking.
The moritorium is part of a statewide trend over the summer of local officials throughout New York rising up against hydrofracking, even though the state already has a four-year moratorium against new wells in place now.
Fracking involves injecting water, saline and other chemicals into shale to break loose natural gas deposits that can then be extracted from the ground.
It's controversial because opponents believe the chemicals used can be carcinogenic and toxic.
Southall said he's read of cows in West Virginia being born with deformities and a whole town in Wyoming had to be closed because of hydrofracking pollutants ruining the groundwater.
As a representative of the Genesee County Fish and Game Association, owners and operators of Godfrey's Pond in Stafford, Southall thought it important to get out in front of the issue, before hydrofracking came to the area.
"With the kind of chemicals they're using, once the water is polluted, it's gone, and being a conservation club, we want to be sure that doesn't happen," Southall said.
At a public hearing on the topic a month or so ago, Clement said, there were no speakers in favor or against the moratorium.
He's not aware of any fracked wells in Stafford or any requests to open up such a well.
"For most people, I think it's a non-issue," Clement said. "I think the state will step in before anybody else does. But it's a conservation issue and I think most of them (Genesee County Fish and Game) are against it."
There's a frisky fox causing trouble and its been the subject of complaints in the city over the past few days. A few minutes ago, the critter "acted aggressively toward a patron" who was about the enter the theater at 56 Harvester Ave., according to a caller to the emergency dispatch center.
It was subsequently reported to be laying in the road on Haller Place, across the street. Now its spotted on the west side of the Graham Manufacturing Corp. property. Police are responding.
UPDATE 12:21 p.m.: The carcass of the fox will be picked up by a county worker in about 10 minutes. It's located east of Harvester Avenue, west of the railroad tracks.
Tiffany E. Greiner, 22, of Akron, was arrested in July on a single count of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analog intended for human consumption.
Joseph LaTona, her attorney, said this morning that the charges were dismissed because a witness was out of town and not available for a scheduled court appearance. The prosecution didn't want to adjourn the case, so LaTona moved to dismiss the charges and the judge granted the request.
Federal prosecutors still have the option to take the case to a grand jury and seek an indictment.
Barbara Burns, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Western New York, declined comment on the dismissal, but said authorities continue to investigate the case related to the Tonawanda raids. She said authorities continue to seek witnesses or other people with information and encouraged members of the public to come forward with any information they might have related to the alleged sale of synthetic drugs at the reservation.
Damon Bradford, 18, of Scottsvile Mumford Road, Scottsville, is charged with criminal impersonation, 2nd. Bradford is accused of impersonating a parent and defrauding Elba High School.
Jeremy D. Lyons, 27, of Oakfield, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Lyons is accused of violating an order of protection. Lyons was arrested by State Police and jailed on cash bail. No further details released.
Josue Garcia-Basilio, 28, of no permanent address, was arrested by State Police on an unspecified federal felony. Garcia-Basilio was jailed on a bail bond. No further details released.
Each year about this time, like clockwork, wood ducks descend on a stretch of the Tonawanda Creek where it flows behind our home. The wood ducks feel right at home there, dabbling on the acorns which fall from the red oaks lining the bank.
No doubt they also are drawn to the calm, flat water and abundant shoreline vegetation. Overhanging bushes and vines provide ample cover.
Along the narrow corridor of Tonawanda Creek it's not difficult to see wood ducks during the month of October. In fact, I expect to see them whenver I walk to the creek bank, or at the very least, hear that unique call they make -- some might call it a squeal while others say it's more like a high-pitched whistle/whine.
Taking pics of wood ducks on Tonawanda Creek is one thing, the wide open spaces of the Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area is another story. The sloughs and backwaters here are ideal for ducks, but the place is so vast, it's easy to be in one place while the ducks are in another.
Tailor-made as this place is, on this morning I had seen only a handful of ducks, all moving too fast and too far away for photos. When I saw the stick nest pictured above, I decided to zoom in.
That's when I saw the ducks in the background, rapidly dropping in altitude and heading for the flooded timber.
Is it mere coincidence that one of the most colorful species of waterfowl is on hand during that part of the autumn season when foliage is tinted to the max?
While wood ducks are among the first waterfowl to arrive, they will also be among the first to depart for warmer climes. As I watched the wood ducks swim back and forth among floating leaves on the creek behind our home, I knew that all too soon they will be winging it southward for an extended period of time.
Whatever the species, be it wood duck or mallard, canvasback or Canada goose, there is graceful symmetry in the flight of waterfowl, and something sublime in a creature that beats its wings an incredible number of times each minute at altitudes and for distances that boggle the mind.
Returning to Batavia from the Genesee County Park this morning, I came across this scene on West Bethany Road. The building across the street says "West Bethany Baptist Church" on it. There's a cemetery behind it and a cemetery to the south. This building and the park-like area around it strikes me as some sort of fellowship hall for the church, but I'm not sure. Interestingly, it appears the church is in the Town of Bethany and this building is in the Town of Alexander.
Workers repair the facade at I.R. Systems, a DirecTV dealership, on West Main Street, Batavia, after a car had slammed into the front of the building.
The driver apparently stepped on the gas by mistake while pulling into a parking spot. Nobody was hurt in the accident, but judging from the video below, it's possible somebody could have been hurt. The car suffered only very minor damage, according to I.R. Systems staff.