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football lg 120The evening started out chilly with clouds and turned damp with strong winds from out of the south.  The Bobcats were on a roll with a season record of 3-0 and just defeated their first divisional opponent, Dryden, last week. The Greene Trojans hadn't won a game yet and were looking to turn their luck around.  The Lansing fans gathered in the stands, along the fence and on the slope.  Greene fans congregated near the fence and in the stands on the west side of the field.  The volunteers were making hot cocoa, hot dogs and other treats in the concession stand.  All was set for Lansing's first home football game of the season.

The game started with a dribbling kickoff from Greene to lineman, #65, Braydon Jackson.  Jackson scooped up the ball and was immediately swarmed by the Trojans.   After gaining only six yards it was three and out for the Bobcats.   Greene had done their homework and came in very prepared to defend against the speedy threat of Lansing's #30.

football lg-lansingteamA Pride of Bobcats take the field against the Greene Trojans

Greene's offense started out with a good mixture of runs from #21, Luke Erickson and #5, Zach Orzell.  They gained several yards and a couple of first downs entering into Lansing territory.  Lansing's defense stepped up, stopping the Trojans on fourth and ten and caused a turn over on downs.  Lansing started off the next series with a 15 yard penalty so, with first down and 25 yards to go #30, Tim Kelley rushed for 16 yards.  After another small gain Lansing had another 10 yard penalty.

On fourth and seven on their 32 yard line, #2 Jared Strait was called out to punt the ball into the north bound wind.  Greene was called for a holding penalty that moved the cats to fourth and only two.  The Lansing coaches decided to go for it.  The Trojan's galloped through the line and stopped #15, Max Jordan for a one yard loss.  With a huge stop and starting off with the ball only 37 yards away from their goal, the Greene players were pumped up.  After a sweet drive down the field, #1, Greg Lee peeled the rock from Erickson's grip and then recovered it, giving possession back to the Bobcats.

The Cats could not get their running game started so they went to the air.  Jordan put one up for #81 Logan Osterman for a 13 yard gain and a new set of downs.  A few fans in the stands could be heard shouting, "About time you started passing the ball."  Lansing went back to running in place and Strait had to punt the ball again. The Trojan's trotted down the field on the feet of Erickson and Orzell, eleven yards, nine yards, and another nine yards.   Greene gave it to #40 Cole Nelson and he punched it in for the first score of the game.

Two more attempts by Kelley to run off tackle gained nine yards.  Greene's solid defense came in strong and sacked Jordan for a 6 yard loss.  Strait had to punt on fourth and seven.  He propelled the ball high and 52 yards, eliminating the chance of a return.  The Trojans started pounding the ball up the middle and then went to the air.  They gained several yards on the ground but, Lansing's defensive backs denied all of their passing attempts.   The Bobcats acquired possession of the ball with enough time for one play.  Jordan attempted a long pass to Lee.  It was close but, not close enough and the ball hit the ground.  The halftime buzzer sounded with the score at 7-0 in favor of the Greene Trojans.

At halftime both teams rested, recovered and discussed what to change and fix.  Lansing had to counter Greene's running game and figure out how to gain some yards on offense.  Greene needed to hold on to the small lead that they had.  They knew that the cats would come out strong and ready to battle back.  The fans swarmed the concession stand to recharge their cheering.

As the teams retook the field the fans gathered back in the stands to shout for their team in hopes they could, in some small way, be part of a victory for their town.

footballk lg-lineupLansing's defense lines up against a rugged group from Greene

The second half started with a blast of a kick from Strait that scored 60 plus yards, landing in the end zone for a touchback.  Greene started from their 20 yard line and carted the ball across the fifty to Lansing's 31 yard line still using Erickson and Orzell as their horses.  This time Orzell coughed up the ball and it was recovered by Osterman.  Lansing started a great drive using a blended balance of runs from #5, Brandon Davis, Kelley and Jordan, and a few passes to Osterman and Lee.  They moved the ball from their 37 yard line all the way to Greene's 7 yard line.  With their goal a short distance away Lansing went for it on fourth and five.  Jordan's pass to #23, Owen Davis fell incomplete and The Trojan's took over again.

The Trojans mixed in another runner, #51, and started towards their goal.  Orzell tried another pass as he was pummeled by Osterman.  Strait's coverage of the receiver was a little too tight.  He was called for pass interference which pulled the Greene Trojans out of their end zone.  The Cats rallied, applied pressure and caused Greene's nameless player to drop the rock.  With momentum going their way Kelley took the pitch from Jordan.  As the defense closed in on him Kelley put the ball up looking for the wide open, #12, Zack Detrick.  As the ball fell into his arms, Detrick turned, sprinted and finished the 36 yard TD untouched.

The Lansing coaches decided to go for the two point conversion and the lead.  An off sides penalty pushed the Cats back a few yards and this changed their minds.  Strait and the kick team took the field to kick the extra point and tie the game at seven.  The ball was snapped directly to Strait who dropped back looking for an open receiver.  The thought of being successful at this again, held in the coach's minds.  Osterman laid a quick block then took off, battling his way into the end zone.  Strait spiraled the ball towards his target.  Osterman entered his end zone, turned, went up for the ball and was pushed out of his goal by a defender.  This is known as Defensive Pass Interference and most likely would have been seen by the officials had they not been set up to call a kick.  As he caught the ball and was brought down just outside of his goal, Osterman looked around for a flag with his hands out to his sides in a questioning manner.

football lg-tackleLansing's Defensive End, # 81, Logan Osterman, bringing down one of Greene's Horsemen

Sadly, no yellow was seen and his head dropped.  With the score set at 7-6, still in favor of Greene, Lansing fought tooth and nail to get the ball back for one more chance.  Maybe a field goal could be attempted, maybe a long pass.  With over six minutes left in the game, there was plenty enough time.  They could do this.  Greene had the same thoughts but different plans.  They ran the ball and stole as much time as they could from the clock.  Second and eight, just under 120 ticks on the clock, then an off sides call was made.  Still over a minute and a half left and now second down and thirteen yards to go.  The fans for both teams on their feet, shouting and hoping for their team's success.

The Lansing players were not giving up.  They have been trained to never give up but, so were the Trojans.  A sixteen yard run by Orzell gave the Trojans the last, first down that they would need.  Lansing was out of time outs and all Greene had to do was kneel the ball a few times to empty the clock.  Final score, 7-6, Greene.

Many of the 'sideline coaches' mumbled and questioned about going for two instead of just kicking and tying the game.  In hindsight everyone knows all of the correct plays to call.  It's the same story every game, you win or you lose, you're the hero or the catcher of blame.  No one knows the outcome of these games until they are played and there are an infinite number of 'ifs' in each play.  The decisions made are the best ones that can be made at the time and under the pressure.

Remember these are just games.  Games between young men who are working hard to make their parents and fans proud.  They are hopeful of success and are not trying to lose.  As serious as these games are taken, no life is in danger based on their outcome.  No one enters any competition to lose but, winning should not be the highest priority of any coach, player or fan.  None of the players on either team were injured and they will play another game, if they are lucky several more.  It is okay to lose.   Yes, it feels bad but, it also teaches us to get up and try harder.  Lansing has known a lot about winning and success.  In today's world, it is nice to know how to handle defeat also.

Lansing has its next competition on Saturday, October 11th in Elmira Heights, versus Thomas A. Edison.  Kickoff is at 2:30.  The field is located at, TAE Northrop Field, 2083 College Ave, Elmira Heights, NY 14903.  If you are unable to attend the game in person it will be broadcast on the web at

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