Gouverneur Churns Out Grid Win Over OFA
BY DAVE SHEA
In the 2019 season JoJo Cummings was a role player on offense who came through with timely big plays in Gouverneur's march to the New York State Class C Football Championship game.
The season of 2020 was going to be his year as the go-to-back but that season never happened as football fields throughout New York State echoed an eerie silence this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday night the sound of football returned as Gouverneur and OFA met on the only varsity game of the 2021 Fall II season to be played at Blue Devils' Coach Ron Johnson Field. It was OFA's Senior Game and in a show of great show of class the school district honored the seniors on both teams. Gouverneur's two Fall II games will be played on the road.
Cummings immediately assumed his annointed lead role rushing for 126 yards on 25 multiple-effort, moving pile carries and scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats who used superior ball control to score a 14-8 win over a resilient OFA squad. Jared Wilson (11-55) and quarterback Connor Wood (11-46) also made major contributions to the Gouverneur ground game behind a consistent offensive line surge.
Both teams will complete their seasons next weekend on the road as OFA visits Ausable Valley of Section 7 while Gouverneur makes a much shorter trip to face General Brown of the Frontier League.
"JoJo Cummings is a great back and just a great kid. He could have done what he did tonight last year but we had some other great backs. He is our guy this year and it is too bad that we only have two games, but we are just happy to be playing football," said Gouverneur Coach Sean Devlin.
"I knew tonight's game was going to be close but I thought there would be a lot more scoring. We played a pretty clean game and we have some good veterans. OFA did a great job bouncing back from some bad snaps. I don't know if we could have done that. All aspects of our game were pretty clean for the first game since 2019. Proud of our guys, proud of our school and proud of our community for all the support."
The Blue Devils bounced back from successive bad snaps to snatch an 8-7 lead on the final play of a first half which was controlled by the Wildcats who took a 7-0 lead with 1:18 to play on an eight yard run by Cummings and a PAT kick by Kyle Gaumes.
After covering two low snaps the Devils' Tristan Lovely (9-130) broke free around the left flank with seven seconds to play from the seven yard line. He executed a dazzling cutback along the left sideline and broke off a stunning sprint to the right corner of the endzone for a 92-yard touchdown with 0:00 on the clock. Adam Calton took a keeper to the endzone for the two-point conversion and a startling 8-7 lead.
OFA Coach Matt Tessmer was delighted but not that surprised with the play.
"In my 30 some years of coaching, Tristan is one of the few players that I have seen who could make a play like that. I have seen him do it before." said Tessmer.
The lead stood until 8:17 remained in the game and the Blue Devils surrendered it begrudgingly.
But the Wildcats used their fourth fourth-and-short conversion of the second half to sustain a drive where Cummings scored from one yard out with 8:17 to play. Gaumes followed with his second PAT of the night.
"It means everything to be able to play football. It is always great to come over here and play. We always have great games here. OFA always has good teams, they hit hard and they are fast," said JoJo Cummings.
"My offensive line did a great job tonight. They held me up on those runs where we moved the pile down the field. Defensively we played well. We gave up that one big play but we stopped their other drives."
The Wildcats stopped OFA's final bid after Tristan Richardson made a diving 15-yard fourth-down catch of a Lovely pass with just over six minutes to play. The Devils' final play saw a long pass by Lovely settle just out of the reach of speedy sophomore Justice McIntyre.
"I was very pleased with our effort. We had a lot of young players out there and there were times when we didn't know what we were doing. But we played with great heart. We just made way two many mistakes," said OFA Coach Matt Tessmer.
"When we executed we were in the game. We had a lot of chances and we could have won the game. But Gouverneur is just a great team. The good thing is that we a chance to clean things up and play one more game. It is just too bad that we only have two games. We have a lot of great kids and on a normal year this team would be very good at the end of the season."
SENIORS ON BOTH TEAMS HONORED
Before Friday's games the seniors and both teams and their parents were honored.
OFA's Seniors are: Tristan Richardson, Trent Sargent, Lee Sovie, JD King, Austin Jones, Blake Hall, Hayden Knauf, Ethan Kiah and Xavier Stewart.
Gouverneur's seniors are: Brock Cox, Kyle Gaumes, Daniel Hall, Jordan Hayden, Julian Lapierre, Noah Macaulay, Carter Simmons, Matthew Turner, Dawsyn Wagner and Jared Wilson.
GOUVERNEUR 14 - OFA 8
Gouverneur 0 7 0 7 — 14
OFA 0 8 0 0 — 8
GOU—Cummings 8 run (Gaumes kick)
OFA—Lovely 92 run (Calton run)
GOU—Cummings 1 run (Gaumes kick)
Rushing: GOU, Cummings 26-126, Wilson 11-55, Wood 11-46, team 2-(-3); OFA, Lovely 9-130, Calton 4-8, Richardson 2-15, Costello 3-5, team 5-(-34).
Passing: GOU, Wood 2-4-0-8; OFA, Calton 1-2-0-2, Lovely 2-6-0-24.
Receiving: GOU, Storie 1-(-2), Cummings 1-10; OFA, Costello 1-2, McIntyre 1-13, Richardson 1-11.
Records: Gouverneur (1-0); OFA (0-1).