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Massena answers SLC challenge

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BRASHER FALLS - A fast start and strong finish didn’t give St. Lawrence Central a Northern Conference Football upset win over Massena Central on Saturday.

It did, however, give the undefeated Raiders plenty to think about going forward.

“St. Lawrence played a hell of a game. Their players battled right to the end and when we made mistakes, they captialized on them,” said coach Anthony Diagostino after his squad confidently overcame a quick deficit then withstood a fourth-quarter surge by the Larries to come away with a rain-soaked 40-26 decision.

“Our play today was sloppy and it was undisciplined. We’ll take the win but I think we all have to step back and do some reassessing after this game,” he added. “If we want to have the special kind of a season that we’re all hoping for, we can’t afford to make the kind of mistakes we made today.”

Playing in front of their Homecoming Game crowd, the Larries gave the home fans something to cheer right away when freshman Mike Plante scooped up the opening kick-off just inside his own 20 then found his way to the right sideline for an 80-yard return for a touchdown.

The rest of the first half belong to the visiting Raiders as they methodically reeled off 28 unanswered points starting with their first offensive possession which ended with senior Rory Corcoran connecting with junior Josh Manley for a 32-yard touchdown reception. Jayce Lanning then added the first of his four straight PAT kicks to give the Raiders the lead at 7-6.

After trading a pair of failed possessions, the Raiders put together a quick five-play scoring drive that ended with senior tailback JP Reagan finding his way into the endzone from nine yards out as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter.

Massena then took advantage of an SLC fumble on a punt to score its next points, taking over on the Larries 29. Reagan carried the ball down to the nine on the first play of the drive and appeared headed into the endzone on the next run but was stripped of the ball before crossing the goalline. The ball squirted into the air and was grabbed up by teammate Jeremy Malone who dove the final two yards to complete the third Massena scoring drive with 8:25 left in the half.

The next offensive series by the Larries ended with a fumble on their own 43. Reagan took the ball on the next snap and raced down the right sideline for his third touchdown of the half.

After holding off for most of the first half, the rain steadily poured across the field the entire third quarter where the teams traded a pair of drive-ending fumbles. The Larries had the best chance to score midway through when freshman Dylan McCarthy broke across the line and blocked a Massena punt. The ball deflected off the front of his helmet and bounced all the way down to the eight-yard line. After a six-yard run by senior David Plante, the Larries drive ended on the ensuing play when sophomore lineman Nolan Terrance fell on a loose ball at the one-yard line. Ten plays and 99 yards later, junior Isaiah Dillabough muscled his way into the endzone from six yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter to push the Raider lead to 34-6.

The Larries put together their first scoring drive of the game on their second possession of the fourth quarter. A 44-yard run by Mike Plante left the ball at the Massena 11. Three players later, Mark Crump darted his way up the middle from four yards out for the touchdown on his only carry of the game with 6:54 left in regulation. Plante added the two-point conversion.

The Raiders misplayed the ensuing kick-off and a penalty pushed them back to their own five-yard line. A fumble on the first play gave the Larries the ball on the four and they wasted no time taking advantage as David Plante bolted to paydirt from four yards out to make it 34-20 with 6:18 remaining.

A fumble ended the next Massena possession but the Raider defense answered by forcing the Larries to turn the ball over on downs. Three plays later, Reagan raced around the left side of the line for a 26-yard touchdown run with 2:35 left in regulation that ended any SLC hopes of completing their comeback.

But the Larries closed out the game with an eight play drive that covered 63 yards and ended with Mike Plante scrambling to the right for a six-yard touchdown run as the final horn sounded.

“We have a solid group of players and we are improving every week,” noted SLC coach Bill Scharf after the Larries slipped to 0-3. “We knew Massena was a very good team coming in and the kids were a little nervous. Returning the opening kick-off helped to calm us down but we just made too many mistakes today.”

“We’re very happy with the effort today. The big thing is that the kids never gave up and they didn’t get discouraged,” he added.

The Raiders will put their undefeated record on the line this Friday night when they head to Ogdensburg to take on an unbeaten OFA squad starting at 7 p.m. Massena will be looking to end a winless drought against the Blue Devils that dates back to 2005. The Larries, meanwhile, will be playing host to Canton in a Friday afternoon matinee between a pair of winless teams that is slated to kick-off at 4:30 p.m.

MALONE 28, GOUVERNEUR 12

Zach Raymond rushed for 146 yards on just nine carries, scoring touchdowns on runs of 23, 56 and 16 yards, as the Huskies (1-2) defeated the Wildcats in a Northern Athletic Conference game in Malone.

Cody Smith added 134 yards on seven carries for Malone, including a 49-yard scoring run.

Adrian McShane led the Wildcats (1-2) with 60 yards rushingincluding a 34-yard touchdown.

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