CARDIAC KIDS: Late touchdown gives #5 Attica victory over #1 East Rochester/Gananda in Class C Semi

Posted By on Oct 28, 2018 | 0 comments


Blue Devils have put together two-straight fourth quarter comebacks


(Photo credit: Alex Brasky | Batavia’s Best)

Alex Brasky | @BataviasBestHS
Sunday, October 28, 2018 | BataviasBest.org

 

The guts which have been displayed by the Attica Football team these past couple of weeks have been truly remarkable. Down late in the game vs #4 Wayland-Cohocton last week, and tied late in the game vs #1 East Rochester/Gananda this week, the Blue Devils mounted up and put together two game-winning drives for the history books.

(Photo credit: Alex Brasky | Batavia’s Best)

The Blue Devils took a quick route to the end zone on their game-winning drive vs ER/G, as opposed to their game-winning drive vs W-C which used several plays in order to get Attica across the goal line.

Against the Bombers on Saturday, a long pass play of 36-yards from Attica RB/QB Ed Strzelec to his cousin RB Zach Strzelec set up a 4-yard touchdown run from RB Mason Compton with only :17.7 remaining – which gave the Devils a 21-14 lead after a successful PAT off the foot of K Dawson Nelson.

The Attica defense would give up a big pass play on the Bombers’ ensuing drive, but were able to come up with a big turnover to seal the deal, as it was DB Jacob Gross coming away with an interception with just :05.1 left in the game. After the pick, it was celebration time for the Blue Devils.

“I think our guys’ effort speaks for itself,” said Attica head coach Caleb Sabatino about his team’s ability to silence the doubters this season. “Look at the results. Look at what we’re doing. We don’t get down on ourselves, it doesn’t matter what the score is or what’s happening. We stay together, and we play strong and hard.”

Saturday’s game began in Attica’s favor, as they started with possession only to punt it away to ER/G, but then the Blue Devils’ defense came up with their first turnover – a Bombers’ fumble which came inside the red zone. The recovery by the Devils turned out to be a big one, as they would then march down the field and score the game’s first points on a 39-yard touchdown run by RB Ed Strzelec with 1:19 left in the first quarter. After a missed PAT, it was 6-0 Blue Devils.

Despite the solid start, Attica’s lead wouldn’t last long, as ER/G was able to go 76-yards on the ensuing drive and capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown run from QB Corwyn Cleveland. After a successful two-point try the Bombers had taken the lead at 8-6 with 9:50 left in the second quarter.

Unable to convert on their next drive, Attica would give the ball back to ER/G before the half, and with 1:20 remaining the Bombers extended their lead on a 10-yard touchdown run from RB Jayden Castrechini – which pushed the score to 14-6 after an unsuccessful two-point try. Suddenly the great start by the Blue Devils was nothing but a memory.

The two teams would go to the half with the Bombers’ lead still at eight points, and the Blue Devils would be forced to mount a comeback once again.

Coming out of the break neither team was able to convert until there was under 1:00 to go in the third quarter, when Attica finally broke through and scored on a short touchdown run from RB Z. Strzelec. After a successful two-point try, the Blue Devils had tied the game at 14-all with :35 remaining in the third quarter.

To begin the fourth quarter, ER/G immediately put together a drive that worked the ball all the way inside the red zone with under 10:00 to go in the game. However, despite a solid possession, the Bombers would cough the ball up and allowed the Blue Devils to recover their third fumble of the game which gave the ball back to their offense.

Despite the big break, though, Attica was unable to do anything with their good fortune and they would turn the ball over on downs with 5:17 remaining. Over the next few minutes each team would take turns stopping the other until, with 1:46 to go, the Blue Devils finally made the plays they needed to win the game.

Beginning their drive at their own 45-yard line, Attica was able to get the ball across midfield before they connected on the big pass play from E. Strzelec to Z. Strzelec – which set up the eventual game-winning touchdown run by Compton.

“We just have that drive, we have the heart for it,” said Attica RB E. Strzelec after the big win. “I think we’re just a bunch of animals and when it’s game time it’s time to play, it’s time to shine. When game day comes we’re all hungry animals, ready to rock and roll.”

In addition to the game-winning touchdown drive, the performance by the Attica defense was the story of the game. Going up against an offense which averaged 38 points per game during the regular season, the Devils’ were able force turnovers, get big stops, and shut the Bombers out during the second half, all in order to give their offense a chance at the end of the game.

“Turnovers gave us great field position (all day) and (continually) drove up the guys’ spirits,” said Attica DE Logan White upon speaking with him after the game. “(Turnovers) help us everywhere, man. We love (getting turnovers).”

The Blue Devils came away with 4 total TOs on Saturday, two of which were fumble recoveries by DE Dawson Nelson – who has been a beast through two postseason games.

“We were so pumped, and we were so focused too,” said Nelson about his team’s mentality heading into such a big game. “We knew as soon as the game started that it was time to go, and that’s what we did. We started, and finished strong.”

Leading the Attica offense in their win over the Bombers was E. Strzelec, who has taken on an increased role as a passer during the postseason, and finished 4/9 passing for 80 passing yards to go with his 7 carries, 55 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. He also added 12 tackles defensively.

Mason Compton carried the mail for the Devils in this one, recording 14 totes for 113 rushing yards and the game-winning rushing touchdown. RB Parker Wildey also came up with a few big plays on offense, and added 10 tackles on defense.

Nelson, White, and DL Hayden Kehl all finished with double-digit tackles as well.

Moving forward, Attica looks ahead to the Section V Class C Championship game, where they will meet fellow LCAA/GRAA member Letchworth/Warsaw for what should be another defensive struggle. The game will be played this Saturday at 5:00 pm at St. John Fisher College.

“When you win like this it’s real easy to keep going, it’s real easy to want to go to practice and practice hard,” said Devils’ HC Sabatino about the week ahead for his team. “It’s all about getting together, staying together, and grinding it out next week.”

Once again it won’t be easy for Attica this week, but who in their right mind would count this team out?

Not I.

 

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