BULLDOGS WIN ONE FOR THE AGES-KNOCK OFF REDSKINS 28-22 FOR CIDER STREET TROPHY
Westmoreland’s Tyler Crandall (51) , Craig Garrow (56) and Zack Green (13) hoist the hardware.
Any person in attendance at today’s Cider Street Trophy rivalry football game at Bernie Block Field in Oriskany this afternoon will not soon forget the game’s outcome, a 28-22 victory for the Westmoreland Bulldogs over the Oriskany Redskins.
What those same spectators may never forget is the back and forth drama that unfolded between the ropes of this old ball yard before the final gun sounded.
The game itself carried enough high stakes to start a small casino. With a win in today’s Section III Class D West matchup, Oriskany which came into the day with a (2-2) league mark and (3-3) overall, would have a chance at a playoff berth, while a loss to Westmoreland would end the Redskins season.
Obviously the 12 Oriskany seniors did not want to have their high school football careers end today. Westmoreland, the back to back section III Class “D” champions, entered the day with a record of (3-1) in league play and (4-2) overall and would be assured a playoff berth with a win, but would have needed some help to make the post season with a loss.
Any Central New York football fan would agree,it was a perfect day for football between the elementary school playground and a row of backyards in downtown Oriskany.
The sky was mixed with sun and clouds, the temperatures were in the high 40′s and there was virtually no wind.
With a huge crowd ringing the field, Oriskany won the coin toss and deferred the ball to the second half.
Oriskany won the coin toss and deferred the ball to the second half. Neither team was able to mount much a threat in the first quarter, with what appeared to be a bi-lateral case of the big game jitters.
The scoreboard had it easy in the first stanza with the teams knotted at 0-0 after the first 10 minutes of play.
Despite the score, everyone in attendance could see the potential on the field.
Westmoreland’s quarterback was showing signs of versatility with his ability to run and the throw.
The Bulldogs offensive line of Tyler Taverne, Devon Tophoven, Craig Garrow, James Nowak and Kevin Fedor were moving mountains in front of Green and running backs Robert Heitzmann and Devin Williams in the early going.
On the Oriskany side of the ball, senior quarterback Austin Smith was buying time for himself outside of the pocket in the early going, consistently looking for speedy receivers Anthony Pickard and Alex Liddy.
Westmoreland’s size advantage on the defensive front kept Oriskany’s running game in check all day.
The Redskins struck first when Smith hit a streaking Liddy in stride for a 10 yard touchdown pass just 4 seconds into the second quarter to give Oriskany a 6-0 lead.
The conversion pass attempt failed.
Then after a 3 minute drive by Westmoreland to the Oriskany 4 yard line, the Redskins defense stopped the Bulldogs cold on 4th and goal to take possession on downs, in what was big adrenaline boost for the home crowd.
Westmoreland returned the favor on defense with 5:08 to go in the second quarter when Taverne hammered Anthony Pickard in the Oriskany backfield on a 4th and 1 from the Bulldogs 44 yard line.
Exactly 4 minutes and 7 plays later, Westmoreland’s Robert Heitzmann dashed into the end zone from 10 yards out to tie the score at 6-6.
Westmoreland’s extra point try failed and the teams would go into the intermission deadlocked at 6 apiece.
After Oriskany started the second half with a quick three and out on offense, Westmoreland’s Robert Heitzmann scampered 52 yards on the Bulldogs first play from scrimmage of the second half, all the way to the Oriskany 2 yard line.
Zack Green then called his own number on a 2 yard touchdown run, making it 12-6 Bulldogs. Green followed his center into the end zone for the two point conversion to give Westmoreland a 14-6 lead with 8:12 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The Redskins answered the bell with 2:27 to go in the 3rd quarter when Austin Smith fired on the run and connected with fellow senior Alex Liddy for a 14 yard TD pass.
After Oriskany’s Nick Cooper was called for holding on a successful two point conversion attempt, Smith and Liddy connected from 18 yards away for the two point conversion and the Cider Street rivalry game was tied at 14-14.
The two teams traded turnovers to end the 3rd quarter and start the 4th quarter, a Zack Green fumble by a Westmoreland and an interception by Austin Smith for Oriskany.
Then with 6:42 remaining in the ballgame, Westmoreland got another touchdown run from Green, this one a 20 yard dash, to make it 20-14 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The extra point was good by a sliver and the Dogs took command by a score of 21-14 late.
On the ensuing kickoff, Oriskany’s Alex Liddy returned the kick to midfield, bringing the Redskins faithful to a frenzy.
Five plays later, Austin Smith dunked a pass over the Westmo pass rushers and hit a slanting Tyrone Cowell who zigged and zagged 33 yards for an Oriskany touchdown to make it 21-20 with 5:26 remaining in regulation.
Second year head coach Jerry Tine then opted to go for a two point conversion instead of a tying extra point try.
Austin Smith called his own number, ran to his right and appeared to be stopped at the goal line, but a second effort carried him over the chalk stripe and Oriskany regained the lead 22-21.
Trailing by a point with under 4 minutes left on the clock, Westmoreland’s Zack Green was sacked on consecutive plays by Oriskany’s Chaz Koss, putting the Bulldogs hopes of a win in serious doubt.
The Dogs punted the ball back to Oriskany with 3:16 to go in the game.
Westmoreland head man Tim Gates put the fate of the game in the hands of his defense and the decision paid off as Oriskany went three out relatively quickly and punted back to Westmoreland with 2:16 remaining.
Four plays and what seemed to be a mile and a half of scrambling by Zack Green later, Bullogs receiver Joseph LaLonde reeled in a Green pass and rumbled to the Oriskany 1 yard line with half a minute to go in the game.
Devin Williams smashed into the end zone on the next play to give Westmoreland a 27-22 advantage.
Zack Green’s extra point kick was good and Westmoreland extended its lead to 28-22.
Green then intercepted Smith on Oriskany’s last possession of the ball game and the Bulldogs took home their 7th straight Cider Street trophy.
Zack Green finished the day with 133 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns and Robert Heitzmann rolled up 117 yards on 12 carries and one score for Westmoreland.
Westmoreland improves to (4-1) in league play (5-2) overall and will likely host a playoff game next Saturday.
Oriskany ends a very solid season at (2-3 / 3-4).
Thanks to both teams and both communities for an absolutely fantastic setting, environment and football game.
Both teams and their fans showed nothing but class and respect for 40 minutes of hard nosed, old fashioned rivalry football!
Westmoreland 28 Oriskany 22
1 2 3 4 Total
Westmoreland 0 6 8 14 28
Oriskany 0 6 8 8 22