Attica runs past ND, forces three-way tie for G-R title
Submitted by Nick Sabato on October 19, 2013 - 7:12am
Attica took home a share of the Genesee Region League championship after defeating Notre Dame, 28-14.
Notre Dame came into the contest with a chance to finish undefeated in the regular season, and win the league outright for the first time since 2002. For Attica, a win would guarantee them at least a share of the league title. It would also guarantee them home field advantage in the first round of sectionals, and it would avenge a loss to the Fighting Irish almost exactly one year ago that cost them the league championship.
It would be Attica who would come out on top in this game, forcing a three-way tie with Notre Dame and Alexander.
The Blue Devils saw the return of star running back Matt Perry, who missed the last two games due to injury, and they felt his impact immediately. Perry ripped off a long run to put Attica deep into Notre Dame territory, before he finished off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run less than five minutes into the game.
Notre Dame would respond a few minutes later after their star, quarterback Tim McCulley, took off on a 58-yard touchdown run to knot the game at 7.
Neither team could gain the upper-hand throughout the second quarter, with Attica getting the best opportunity of the frame after they stopped an Irish fake punt attempt inside their own 20 with five seconds left in the half. The Devils would miss a field goal as time expired and the score remained tied at halftime.
Perry would strike again, ripping off a long run to set up another seven-yard touchdown scamper early into the third quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Attica would strike again less than two minutes later after Jake Dollard scored on a 40-yard run to take a two-score lead.
The Irish refused to go away, however, as they cut the lead in half just before the end of the third quarter as McCulley found Jason Hart in the end zone on a six-yard pass just after McCulley found Josh Johnson on a 32-yard pass and catch on third down to move the chains.
Attica would once again respond, as they began their ensuing possession at midfield. Jake Strzelec, who scored two touchdowns a week ago, would scamper 23 yards to regain their 14-point lead just a minute into the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devil defense would hold strong in the fourth quarter, keeping Notre Dame out of the end zone, including a big stand on fourth down at the Attica 16-yard line with just four minutes to play in the game.
“We challenged our team,” said Attica Head Coach Rob Cusmano. “We had worked hard all season. It has been 366 days since [Notre Dame] beat us. They thought about that and worked very hard since then.”
Notre Dame struggled to find their rhythm on offense all night, as the Attica defense held the Irish to 163 yards of total offense, including 35 on the ground.
After throwing six touchdown passes a week ago, McCulley was held to just 12-of-34 passing for 128 yards and was sacked eight times.
“We didn’t execute,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. “We dropped a couple of balls, missed a couple of blocks and they played well defensively. We didn’t make good of the opportunities when we had them, they are a very good ball club.”
The return of Perry was a key factor for the Blue Devils as he picked up 162 yards on 29 carries, and also caught two passes for 44 yards.
However, Attica’s team attack was just as potent on the ground as they racked up 302 rushing yards, 69 from Strzelec.
“Matt [Perry] makes a huge difference,” Cusmano said. “They were keying him in the second half so we hit Stzelec and Dollard for long runs. Perry is a great runner, but we have two other great guys, too.”
While the Irish failed to win the league outright, they still claim a share of the crown along with Attica and Alexander, who defeated Pembroke 41-0. The Trojans defeated Attica three weeks ago, while Notre Dame beat Alexander earlier this season. All three teams finish the regular season with a record of 6-1.
Notre Dame should also still maintain the top seed in Class D as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with Alexander.
“Our goal was to make sectionals,” Mancuso said. “That’s our goal: to make sectionals and then win it, and hopefully we go a little bit further than we did last year.”