- By Steve Lehr
Anticipation was in the air when the undefeated Crusaders of Elmira Notre (END) came to take on the undefeated Bobcats of Lansing football team. Anticipation is to forecast, to predict or expect. An intangible for playmaking ability and outcomes is good anticipation. Each team had moments of good anticipation but the playmaking tallied positive to the home team ledger.
END intercepted a ball in their end zone preventing an early Lansing touchdown and eventually took a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. A sack for Lansing Jr defensive end Gabe Santiago was his first in a big night. Santiago and his offensive and defensive line mates rose up to the biggest challenge of the season to help the running attack. Tailback Brad Lehr did some mid field gains while QB Ben Vincent used his 6th gear speed to cap a 44 yard drive with a 10 yard run.
Lansing kicker Tristan Lyndaker's PAT made it 7-6. END came right back with a 51 yard touchdown pass of their own. With the second quarter winding down Vincent boomed a 40 yard punt and an immediate tackle of the returner was made by Eric Kahn flying down the field keeping END deeper in their end of the field. Kahn made another explosive play scampering 30 yards to the END 12 yard line. Three plays later and three seconds until halftime Lehr scored from 1 yard out and Lyndaker made it 14-12.
The Crusaders came out in the second half passing and despite continued pressure from Santiago, Nate Sill and Brendon Mogyorosi from the Cats defensive line the END passer Erik Charnetski was finding his favorite receiver Stephen Schmidt as the two combined on the night for a total of 9 receptions and 209 yards. Another passing touchdown put the score 20-14 in favor of the visitors. The next possession for END resulted in a big momentum swing in the game with Santiago sacking the QB for a safety and two points. Lansing immediately received the ball back and started a 5 play 43 yard drive capped by Lehr scoring from two yards out over the right side of blocking mates Mason Butler, Thor Wierson and Jake Brotherton. Ben Vincent provided an 18 yard run to set up the two yard plunge. Lansing now led 23-20 with 3:32 in the third.
Early in the final quarter Santiago and Mogyorosi hurried a Charnetski pass attempt and Lehr was in centerfield to pick it off at the Lansing 35. He capped the 6 play drive with a 30 yard touchdown run. Vincent added a two point run conversion building a 31-20 lead with nine minutes to go. Sill and Sophomore middle linebacker Carson Crandall provided key defensive tackles to force yet another END punt. Vincent had a 49 yard TD run of his own down the visitor sideline called back for a penalty.
END proved they had another big play in them and eventually scored to cut the lead to 31-28 with 0:38 seconds left. The anticipated onside kick to come had plenty of suspense. END would have to recover and score a touchdown as a field goal was not much of an option. With the actual successful Notre Dame recovery of the kick the stage was set for a dramatic ½ minute of action. First came an incomplete pass. With continued defensive line pressure the END trickery of a double pass was read perfectly by Lansing defensive back Mark Maybee who cradled a game securing interception. Vincent took a knee and Lansing would take a 31-28 win and sole possession of the division lead. Statiscally Santiago and Sill had 3 tackles for losses. Vincent, Lehr and Kahn tallied 266 yards on the ground.
Next up for the Bobcats is a trip to take on an improved Unadilla Valley team on Friday 10/18. Lansing is 4-0 and UV is 3-1 overall.