- By Steve Lehr
After earning the Section IV championship last weekend, the Lansing varsity football team was escorted by Gary Christopher downstate on a 3½ hour bus ride to Kingston, NY. The opponent for the Regional Championship game was the Ellenville Blue Devils who had just a ½ hour trip. That's just the way it's drawn up by the NYS high school athletic association for the 8-man competition. Section IV is to play Section IX at Section IX. Lansing athletics and its director Matt Loveless made sure the team was provided champion accommodations with a hotel on Friday night before the game in Kingston and some good eats as well.
Deb Brotherton and Lori Crandall spearheaded a little pre-game 'Best Western' tailgating with Bobcat football alums Mark Brotherton and John Munson cooking up burgers and dogs. Thanks everybody for the fantastic variety of foods and snacks. This was definitely a hot chocolate football day when it was time to settle into the wind chilled game that saw the sun fade quickly after the 4 o'clock kickoff.
One interesting game adjustment to make was the Section IX rule of a 40 x 100-yard football field. The narrower field was prepared for well by Coach Hotchkiss and really didn't factor as an adversity for Lansing who was used to regulation widths.
Lansing forced Ellenville to punt in their first possession and started the drive from the opponent 38. With 1st and 10 at the 16 Lansing quarterback Ben Vincent's pass was intercepted in the end zone by Ellenville defensive back Sean Pettway. Pettway was all over the field for the Blue Devils defensively and especially offensively as the game went on. The first quarter ended scoreless.
That changed within 10 seconds in the second as Ellenville hit on a long scoring pass and converted on a two-point run conversion. The Blue Devils scored on a 5-yard TD run in their next possession to go up two scores (16-0). Vincent found receiver Jake Babcock on a 51-yard pass play down the Lansing sideline to give the Bobcats a 6 on the board and kicker Tristan Lyndaker made good for the point after. Ellenville got the ball back at their 47 with 1:04 remaining until halftime. That turned out to be time for Pettway to be on the receiving end of a touchdown pass, Ellenville's third of the quarter. Just like a three-run homer in baseball this 3rd score would prove to be difficult to overcome.
Lansing methodically took the opening second half drive to the house as Vincent scored from 5 yards out. Trailing 24-14 with 7:08 to go in the third quarter gave the Bobcats hope. Ellenville could not muster the offensive effectiveness in the second half. Lansing ran more offensive plays in the second half and especially the fourth quarter but could not punch the ball in the end zone. For three quarters the Bobcats held their opponent scoreless, but for one quarter it was a 3-run homer that could not be overcome. Statistically Brendon Mogyorosi led the way in tackles with 9. Carson Crandell and Vincent 7 apiece and Brad Lehr had 3 tackles for loss. Offensive rushing had Vincent 21 x107; Babcock 8 x 69; Lehr 11 x 68. Lansing outrushed Ellenville but came up short in the passing game this evening.
The 24-14 final score was Lansing's lone loss in their 8-1 Section IV championship season. It was truly a team effort this year that exceeded many expectations. It goes to show that when Team is placed first in football the collective effort promotes unity and is more genuinely true to the team motto preached by past football coach Greg Lee… 'Together – We Win'.
The coaching energy of Hotchkiss, Hartz, Owen and Brandon Davis, and Neubert bode well for the coming years. The cheerleaders provided exceptional energy and engagement. Plays like Jake Borthertons return of a fumble for a TD in game 1, Ben Vincent showing the league against Newfield in week 2 that he can run AND pass like no one else, John Hamilton announcing another Santiago sack, Mark Maybee securing the Notre Dame win with an interception, Brad Lehr returning and INT 90 yards for a score, Jake Babcock coming back from a knee injury, Kevin Patt coming out of retirement to play his senior year are just a few great moments from the Fall season.
If I may, I'll go first person and give a shout out to the seniors: Thor Wierson- for being a leader in enthusiasm and attentiveness; Mason Butler – being the most reliable center in the Section; Quin Coleman – learning the game to become a valuable team player on OL/DL; Nate Sill – for your personal sacrifice this year and break out season; Brendan Mogyorosi – constant hustle and play making ability; Kevin Patt – for flying to the ball like you do; Tristan Lyndaker – for bringing your talents to the football field; Jake Brotherton – for your enthusiasm, hustle and your dad's help all these years; Brad Lehr – your kickoff and blocking explosions rank near the top in Lansing football lore.
The Ernie Davis Classic game features coach selected seniors from teams throughout Section IV of all classes of schools. The game in U-E on Tuesday evening 11/26 will have Mason Butler and Brad Lehr suited up representing the Lansing Bobcats.