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bobcatlogoLast Saturday was an absolutely beautiful evening; partly cloudy, 60 degrees, pristine venue, great fans and two well coached football teams.  Coach Winslow and The Lansing Bobcats traveled down to Binghamton Alumni Stadium to battle The Seton Catholic Saints in a week two football game. Both teams came in with their heads held high and a ton of confidence due to week one shutouts.  Lansing thrashed Groton 34-0 and the Saints kenneled the Delaware Academy Bulldogs 22-0.

The Saints defense started off strong, stopping the Cats after seven plays on their first drive of the game.  Lansing's Junior, Kicker/Punter, #2, Jared Strait punted the ball high and to Seton Catholic's 19 yard line. Lansing's defensive backfield denied all of their pass attempts not allowing them to move the ball at all and forcing the Saints to punt.

Pressure from the feral cats caused a bad snap that went over the head of the punter.  Senior, Defensive end, #81, Logan Osterman, hunted the punter down as he scrambled to recover the ball.  Osterman pounced on him at Seton Catholic's two yard line.  Lansing's starting Senior, Quarterback, #15, Max Jordan, punched it in for six points with a keeper.  The Saints special teams came back strong and swarmed Strait, blocking his PAT (point after touchdown) kick. Score 6-0, Lansing.  Less than a minute later the Saints answered back with a barrage of runs up the middle that ended in a 19 yard touchdown run from #5, Sam Crowley.  A good PAT kick from #1, Dan O'Brien put Coach Mister's team in the lead, 7-6.

In the second quarter, Coach Boothe and Lansing's defense denied the Saints their normal passing game and learned from their earlier mistakes by protecting against the run up the middle.  The Cats held the Saints scoreless and in bad field position with tight coverage of the receivers, dominant kickoffs of 56 and 64 yards and relentless pressure on the QB.  At the same time Coach Butler and the Lansing Offense put an additional 14 points on the board.

A 41 yard, deceptive, tackle breaking, run by Senior, Wide Receiver/ Running Back, #1, Greg Lee scored six points.  Jordan tacked on two more with a two point conversion run.  On the kickoff, Strait launched the ball high, giving the Lansing players time to swarm the receiver.  With the Saints starting on their 12 yard line, the Lansing Defense entrenched themselves, allowed only a single yard and denied a first down.  After a 20 yard Seton Catholic punt, Lansing's offense returned to work.  A couple of broken passes caused Jordan to scramble out of the pocket but, he was quick on his feet and still gained 26 yards.  To finish the drive, Senior, Running back, #5, Brandon Davis, bull dozed through the line into the end zone for another six points.  Strait was pressured hard again and missed the PAT. 

At the end of the first half the Bobcats were in charge.  The defense was solid, thanks to big plays from players like Owen and Brandon Davis, Greg Lee, Logan Boothe, Logan Osterman, Damian "D1" Myles and many others.  The offense was working well under the leadership of Jordan, the running of Sophomore, Halfback, #30, Tim Kelley and the blocking of Fullback, Brandon Davis.  The young Offensive and Defensive lines, led by Senior, Center/Guard, #71, Pat "The Train" Judd dug in and controlled the line of scrimmage.

Special teams also played a big part by keeping field position in Lansing's favor.   Strait's cannon like kickoffs and Junior, Lineman, #61, Owen Carrican's, deceptive speed and masterful tackling continuously pinned the Saints near their 10 yard line.  Lansing's kick return squad handled all of the trickery that Seton Catholic kicked at it.  They were well prepared for the three onside kicks that the Saints tried and as a team they kept the Saints off guard and on their heels.  Going into the locker rooms at the half the score was 20-7, Lansing.

At the start of the second half both teams came onto the field fired up, battling for yards, back and forth.  The Saints finally scored near the end of the third quarter with a 40 yard break away TD run by O'Brien.  Brandon Davis rammed through their line and blocked the PAT.  This play held Seton Catholic down by seven and later would prove to be a huge point.

Both teams were starting to fatigue from the brutal, combat like, play.  With the score at 20-13 the Saints were closing in on the Big Cats and the Lansing coaches felt the pressure but remained calm, at least on the outside.  A well designed play from Seton Catholic had #8, Arron Whitman hit his brother, #2, Nate Whitman with a 37 yard TD pass.  Lansing's Special teams pressured the kicker causing him to miss the PAT kick.  Not only did this push keep the Saints from tying the game but, it ensured that the momentum stayed with the Cats.

With the score at 20-19, still in Lansing's favor, the team's calmness was replaced by a sense of urgency and determination.  Head Coach, John Winslow remained focused and huddled the team.  Players and coaches conversed on what they needed to do.  Twenty different options were discussed in the next twenty seconds.  Coach Butler, who stood watching and calling the offensive plays from the announcer's booth, way above the field, called down the play and even though he was riddled with nerves, he spoke with the calming nature of a consoling minister.  Although not on the field, his presence was felt.  A 29 yard screen pass from Jordan to Kelley set up a third and goal, five yard TD run by Kelley for six points.  Jordan then completed a two point conversion to Owen Davis who had the concentration and wherewithal to keep his feet in bounds.

The Bobcats were up by nine with only 1:48 left in the game.  Another jettisoned 55 yard kickoff from Strait and smothering coverage from Carrican and crew, started the Saints off with poor field position.  This added to the pressure of having to score twice that was placed directly on the Saints coaches and players.   Seton Catholic did not back down from the task and came out attempting to throw the ball down the field.  Great coverage led to two incomplete passes.  Then a 12 yard pass from #9, Daniel Crowley was hauled in by his brother, Sam Crowley for a Saints first down.  The clock stopped long enough for the chains to move and the fans to breath.  The official spun his arm like the propeller of a plane to restart it.

As the clocked ticked down the tension rose.   Both of the teams reaching down, pulling for more of everything, anything.  Fans were on their feet.  It was a battle between two impressive, disciplined and well prepared teams.  The Saints were known to score quickly.  They had time to score and then attempt another onside kick.  First and ten with the ball near mid field.  Seton Catholic's QB dropped back to pass and with Osterman and Boothe in his face he released the ball.  Their receiver made a quick cut and created a small window for the pass to reach him.  He jumped and extended his hand, the ball was just too high.  That window slammed shut as Kelley materialized behind him, catching the ball cleanly and returning it into the Saint's territory.  Even though it took the entire Lansing team to win the game, Tim Kelley was the man this night as he intercepted the ball and ended the marching of the Saints.  Final score, Lansing Bobcats 28, Seton Catholic Saints 19.

The Seton Catholic Saints and the Lansing Bobcats should be commended for their sportsmanship and play.  As all of the smaller schools know, in today's times, it is extremely difficult to form and keep a team together.  With low numbers, injuries, budget cuts, academic pressures and other issues facing players, parents and coaches, athletic teams are being eliminated.  With great coaches and helpful parents we can battle as hard as the players do, to keep our programs in good shape.

The Lansing Varsity Football team plays their next game at Dryden, versus the Purple Lions on Friday, September 26th.  Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.

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