- By Steve Lehr
With two regular season games remaining the Lansing (4-0) football team was looking to keep hold of their first place division standing against the Unadilla Valley Storm. UV was hosting the game with a 3-1 record and ready to avenge a loss to the Cats on this same field a year ago. Sophomore speedster Eric Kahn looked to set the tone taking the opening kickoff to the UV 35. A 10-yard scoring connection from quarterback Ben Vincent to Brad Lehr was followed up with a Tristan Lyndaker PA kick giving the visitors a quick 8-0 lead.
UV copied Lansing taking the ensuing kickoff to their opponents 35 as well. Two plays later we were knotted at 8. Lansing's Vincent was forced to punt and the special teams pinned the ball inside the UV 5. This 55-yard punt was the beginning of a pretty solid kicking night in all phases for Lansing. The home team was prepared to showcase their big play capability for this homecoming affair, and they did so in a 1-play 95-yard dash to pay dirt and a quick 16-8 lead with 4:54 remaining in the first.
It was time to keep the ball away from the UV offense and sustain a drive. Mason Butler recovered an offensive fumble that could've resulted in very good field position for the home team. With a steady run game and change into the second quarter, Vincent took it to the end zone on a fourth and goal from 4 yards out. Trailing 16-13 Lyndaker's kickoff squibbed briskly to the right sideline and Lansing's Jake Brotherton was in speed dial mode and recovered the free ball at the UV 40-yard line. Good kick maybe? Good kickoff results, absolutely! At 6:40 left until half, Vincent scored his second touchdown on the evening and Lyndaker's kick made it 20-16 Bobcats. Butler, Gabe Santiago, and Nate Sill started getting their names mentioned defensively as UV was soon realizing big plays were not going to be there all game long. Kevin Patt and Carson Crandall were making defensive stops before a Santiago sack on fourth down halted the UV drive at midfield.
This clear crisp October night in the Valley between Norwich and Oneonta didn't produce the fog cloud that emanated and literally hovered over the players on the field during last year's contest. The second half began with Coaches Hotchkiss and Owen and Brandon Davis making defensive maneuvers to slow down the early big plays of the opponent. Crandall and Sill started where they left off in the first half with a big third down tackle to set up a 59-yard punt return by the Bobcats' Kahn. Coach Hotchkiss rewarded those efforts by allowing Kahn to run one play for a 3-yard touchdown. UV kept the fans in the game by cutting the deficit to 26-24 with 5 minutes to go in the third. We have a game.
The special teams were producing points and field position all evening. Up by two, Vincent returned the kickoff 40 yards to the UV 26. He then capped this drive on a fourth and goal 1-yard quarterback sneak. Now leading 32-24 Santiago, Sill, and Crandall, led the defense in forcing another punt.
With 8:50 to go in the game, Vincent escaped a sack to get a pass to Kahn who took it 7-yards for a score and a 38-24 lead. The next drive had Lehr stopped at the UV-1 after a 24-yard run. He capped the drive with a touchdown plunge to secure a final of 46-24. For the game Vincent was 4x7 passing, 41 yards, 2 TD. Rushing had Lehr with 108 yards, Kahn 70, Vincent 68. Kevin Patt and Carson Crandall led the defense with 9 tackles each, Sill and Vincent chipped in with 8 apiece and Santiago had a sack and 2 tackles for losses.
The final regular season matchup is at home this Friday at 7pm against long time rival Trumansburg. Senior player recognition is planned at the start of the contest.