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football 120Last Friday night, when the bus pulled away from the Lansing high school there was massive amount of eagerness, and tension.  The football team knew they were ready and had confidence but, a proper amount of doubt kept them from getting arrogant. The players put in their headphones, starred out the windows, or closed their eyes and went to their 'zone' to think over the game plan and prepare for their first divisional game of the season.  Fourteen miles to the east, Dryden's players were preparing for a must win game, knowing that beating Lansing would be a challenge.

It was another nice evening, clear and 60 with little to no wind.  As you pulled into the parking lot you were greeted by the smells of a bar-b-que and the sounds of a celebration.  Close to 2000 fans gathered for a special event and as you looked into the stands it was a sea of purple, blue and gold.  Everyone was excited for the match between the big cats.  Lansing was undefeated at 3-0 and coming off a bye due to Trumansburg's low numbers.  Dryden was 3-1 and trying to snap back after a hard loss against divisional opponent, Watkin Glen.
Uniforms were donned, a coin was tossed, and the ball was kicked off.  The battle of the big cats had begun.  The first quarter was mostly defense.  Both teams seemed to be finding their balance and settling in.  The coaches, planning, reacting, trying to figuring out their opponents and adjust their dynamic game plan.  On third down and one yard to go, a 35 yard break away, rush by #30, Sophomore, half back, Tim Kelley, sparked the first real offensive showing for Lansing.  The Bobcats moved another 12 yards closer to their end zone with a run from #5, Senior, full back, Brandon Davis.

Three plays later, Dryden's defense stripped the ball from Kelley and slowing started working their way down the field.  Dryden's Bull of a running back, #21, Stu Stahlman, was hit hard and lost the ball back to Lansing.  The ball was bouncing between the twenty yard lines, neither team getting near the end zone.  At the end of the first quarter both team were still trying to find some way to move the ball through the tightfisted opposing defenses.
football detrickLansing's Cornerback, #12, Zack Detrick denies the pass from Dryden’s QB, #10, Trevor Gardner. All Photos by Lynn Benedetto

Starting the second quarter the Dryden's offense was still struggling and had to punt yet again.  Lansing started on their 25 yard line and after a 7 yard run and a face mask penalty looked like they would start rolling.  The Lion's defense stepped up and shut Kelley down.  Fourth down, two yards to go and on their 45 yard line, #2, Junior, punter, Jared Strait and Lansing's punt team took the field.  The ball was snapped and the Lion's sprang towards Strait.  It appeared as though it was a bad snap as Strait rolled out chasing the ball.  

Then it was realized that Coach Winslow and his staff were up to something devious.  The lefty, Kelley took the direct snap and put the ball up for #81, Senior, tight end, Logan Osterman.  Osterman, at 6'4" grabbed the ball from the air and bulled his way through three of Dryden's defensemen, for a gain of eighteen yards and a colossal first down.  ESPN's sports announcer, Nick Karski, stated that this was a pivoting play.  With the Lion's slightly stunned, Kelley rushed for another 22 yards, setting up a six yard TD (touchdown) run for #15, Senior, quarterback, Max Jordan.  Lansing's special team's linemen, have improved and protected Strait for the PAT (Point After Touchdown).

For Lansing's first kickoff, Strait sent the ball high and 54 yards.  Purple Lion, #2, Matt McHerron returned the kick for eleven yards and Dryden started on their 17 yard line.  A couple of punts and a few penalties later the first half came to an end with the score at 7-0 in Lansing's favor.  At this point a new battle started.  One that put the concession stand against a mob of customers.  Both survived and made out well.  The fans were fed and the Boosters club made money for their programs.

In the locker room the Dryden coaches needed to make some changes to their game plan.  Lansing's defense had all but shut down their main running back and kept their passing game in check.  Stahlman was averaging over 200 yards per game for the first two games and the Bobcats contained him to a meager 19 yards on ten carries.  Lansing's offensive coordinator, Coach Butler, had to be happy with his stud running back and the offensive line.  Kelley had 114 rushing yards on 14 carries.  This was due to a combination of his athletic ability, play calling, the offensive line making holes and pulling guards sealing the defensive ends.  The defensive coordinator, Coach Boothe, made a few small tweaks but his defense was doing very well.  They held Dryden's Offense to only 20 rushing yards total and only 26 passing yards total in the first half.   Coach Winslow was pleased but, he held his emotion in check for now.  The Bobcat's coaches knew that Dryden would make changes and they would need to be ready.

To start the second half, Lansing's kick team took the field.  Strait's foot sent the ball down to Dryden's 14 yard line where it was received by McHerron.  The 170 pound kick returner ran the ball up the middle behind a massive Dryden wedge, returning it 34 yards before being brought down by Strait and #23, Senior, Owen Davis.  Given a reality check, the Bobcat's defense dug in and caused Dryden to go three and out.  After a 37 yard punt and a large dose of Kelley with a dash of Brandon Davis and #1, Senior, wide receiver, Greg Lee, mixed in, Lansing found themselves on the Lion's 25 yard line with a first down.  Snap to Jordan, hand off to, who else but Kelley, a few great blocks from the line and he was off to the end zone for his first TD of the game.  Another PAT kick put Lansing was up by 14 points.  The Bobcats had swatted the Lions with all claws extended and had them staggering and worried as if they were caught in a stampede.

football davisSpectacular Run by Lansing’s Fullback, #5, Brandon Davis.

Dryden's kick return team took the field ready to receive the ball.  A blasted, 60 yard, touchback, kickoff from the leg of Strait took away the Lion's chance for any return.  Dryden tried to compose themselves as they started from their 20 yard line.  #10, Sophomore, QB, Trevor Gardner was under center and dropped back to pass.  McHerron appeared to be open but #12, Junior, cornerback, Zack Detrick, flashed in and snagged it from his grasp.  Just like that Lansing's offense was back to work.  Starting near mid field, the Bobcats committed two of their four penalties putting themselves in a second down and a long 16 yards to go.  Coach Butler calls for a passing play.  Jordan passes the rock to Kelley who precedes to gain 34 yards on the carry creating a more comfortable first and 10 on Dryden's 14 yard line.  Two rushes up the gut for 13 yards by Brandon Davis puts the ball on the one yard line.  Dryden's defense holds firm against the tank of a full back.   Jordan punches it in on the keeper for his second TD of the game.  The kick squad tacked on another PAT.  The Lions were being tamed.

The special teams unit took the field with a 21-0 lead and Strait booted another 55 yarder.  At this point Dryden knew it had to do something.  They came out fighting like cornered animals.  McHerron received the ball on his 5 yard line.  The kick return squad formed a wedge in the middle of the field and bounced several of the Bobcats to the outside.  This allowed McHerron to slip right up the middle almost untouched.  Strait was the only player left between him and the end zone.  McHerron impacted and ran him down but, he held on and dragged the runner to the ground stopping him 59 yards short of his goal.  Stahlman had new life and started charging down the field, 2 yards, then 25, then 6 more.  #5, Senior, back, Noah Welgoss, took control of the offense.  He broke away for a 15 yard gain, then another dose of Stahlman put the ball in the Dryden end zone for the first time tonight.  #7, Sophomore, back, Gavin Marsh went to the air for the two point conversion attempt.  The ball was caught in the end zone but was pulled back out due to an offensive pass interference call when the receiver pushed Detrick away from the catch.

Dryden tried again but now Lansing was fired up and squashed any movement.  With the score at 21-6, Dryden fans smelled a comeback.  Marsh sent the ball flying 53 yards.  Kelley received it and returned 11 yards to 18.  A montage of Lansing, running backs cycled in and carried the ball.  The Bobcats drove the ball down to within 6 yards of their end zone, dragging the clock and Dryden's hope down with them.
football rosettiWords of Wisdom from Lansing's original #5, Alumni, Mario Rossetti.

On fourth and six, Lansing had a miscue and gave the Lions the ball back on their 20.  Welgoss and Stahlman picked up the Dryden team and put together another nice drive.  Stahlman had worked hard, was fatigued and had the ball stripped by the fierce Bobcats.  Dryden's defense was not giving up and they caused Jordan to drop the rock.  With the clock running down Dryden had to go to the air.  Welgoss was sacked by a cluster of cats.  He put the ball up two more times and the Lansing backfield denied everything.  On fourth and 29 Welgoss launched another pass in Stahlman's direction.  Jordan was not going to allow that to happen.  Leaping in the air, Jordan came down with the ball and any chance that Dryden had of winning this game.  The Lansing offense simply ran down the clock to seal the deal.

The final score was 21-6, Lansing.  The Lansing Bobcats and the Dryden Lions each played as a team and both should be commended for their effort.
Kelley ended up with 205 rushing yards on 24 carries, 36 receiving yards on 2 receptions, 11 yards returning a kick, 18 passing yards and one TD.  Not a bad night's work for the sophomore.

Even though the guys that make the big plays and score the points receive most of the accolades and press, we can't forget the players in the trenches that make the holes for the backs to run through.  Let's not forget the blocks that give the QB enough time to throw the ball or the kicker enough time to get the ball through the uprights.  The Lansing linemen; #61 - Owen Carrican, #71 - Pat Judd, #65 – Braydon Jackson, # 55 - Kyle Arrison, # 56 – Logan Boothe, #68 – Tony Paige, #72 – Nate Fleishman, #54 – Codey Little and #80 – Damian Myles all played a vital role in the success of the offense and defense for the Bobcats.  Without them there would not be any touchdowns, PAT's, sacks or interceptions.

Lansing's next competition is Friday, October 3, versus the Greene Trojans.  Even though this is week five, it is Lansing's first home event.  Kickoff is at 7:00 pm sharp on Sobus field.


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