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Gouverneur Secures "Tough" Class C GTitle Game Win

BY STEVE HEATON

AND DAVE SHEA

GOUVERNEUR - Frank LaFalce Field in Gouverneur is named after a legendary coach known for his toughness and producing tough, physical teams.

On Saturday undefeated Northern Conference Champion Gouverneur hosted OFA in the Section 10 Class C Championship game in a rematch of last year's title game and prevailed 25-6 in a tough, physical contest.

A contest where the opposing defenses took center stage after both teams scored on their possession.

OFA (7-2) failed to sustain any offense against a sure tackling Gouverneur defense in the second half and were denied a follow-up after a 59-yard punt return by MeSean Johnson. The OFA defense used a series of tackles for a loss to stall Wildcats (8-0) threats after turnovers, a roughing the punter penalty and missed fourth and short attempt.

Butter memories of last year's title game ending was a motivating factor this time around for Coach Sean Devlin's Wildcat squad which earned a regional meeting with Section 7 Champion Saranac Lake on Friday at OFA with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

"In the first quarter I kept saying we are in a fist fight. A heavyweight boxing match with two evenly matched teams. I kept telling the boys to keeping punching, moving and dodging each others blows and someone was going to wear down," said Coach Devlin after the Wildcats ended OFA's bid for a fourth straight Class C title.

"Fortunately for us, we got some turnovers to go our way and we capitalized on them. We came into today's game with a different attitude. Our seniors had a bitter feeling on last years loss and they didn't want to feel that again,"

Turnovers were key in the contest after the Wildcats and Blue Devils exchanged first possession touchdown drives. The Wildcats recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes and finally broke through a daunted OFA defensive effort scoring 12 points in the final three minutes. A pull-away triggered a determined second effort fourth down run by Joe Cummings (12-61) gave Gouverneur a first down at the OFA four.

Cummings followed with a four-yard touchdown with 2:53 to play which gave Gouverneur a 19-6 lead. The decisive drive started with a fumble recovery by Matt Turner and featured Cummings dialed in for key off tackle runs.

OFA blocked the extra point but couldn't carry that momentum further as Jacob Shippee picked off a Jackson Jones first down pass and three plays later Cayden Stowell (12-61`) went in from 22 yards out for a 25-6 lead with 2:09 left.

The Wildcats recovered squib kick and took four kneel downs in victory formation.

"I give a lot of credit to Gouverneur today. They won the turnover battle and capitalized. We had enough defensive stops but we didn't make plays on offense and move the ball like we needed to do to come out with a win," said OFA coach Matt Tessmer.

Gouverneur started on the 36 yard line to start the game and marched down the field in 11 plays finishing with a five yard touchdown keeper run by Section 10 Outstanding Offensive Player Caleb Farr (21-85).

OFA responded with a drive of its own going 85 yards in 16 plays in the final 8:18 of the first quarter sparked by productive running from Tristan Lovely (13-55) and MeSean Johnson (8-30) ending with a one yard fourth down run by Johnson as time expired.

The Wildcats capitalized on the first OFA turnover on punt return fumble recovered by Jared Wilson at the OFA 24 yardline. Cayden Stowell scooted to paydirt from 11 yards out and Mitchell Tyler's PAT Kick with 7:36 left in the second quarter gave the Wildcats a 13-6 lead.

"We can enjoy this for a few hours. And then we'll get back to work. We have a lot more goals but we knew coming in it was one game at a time."

Gouverneur's Jacob Shippee and Caleb Farr and OFA's Harry Powers intercepted passes in the game and OFA's Tristan Lovely had a quarterback sack. OFA's Luc LaFlair, Marc Barr, Tristan Richardson and Derek Barr all had timely tackles behind the line scrimmage in the second half. Gouverneur's Mitchell Tyler came through with a tackle for a loss on a pass play late in the game.

Notes: Before the game Gouverneur paid tribute to Coach Lacey Jones who started both the OFA and Gouverneur wrestling programs and went on to be named to the New York State and National Wrestling Hall of Fames. Jones who taught/coached both OFA Coach Matt Tessmer and Gouverneur Coach Sean Devlin passed away in Gouverneur on Wednesday after dealing with declining health for several years...After the game Gouverneur and OFA players received major awards. Wildcat quarterback Caleb Farr was named the NAC Offensive Player of the Year, OFA's Luc LaFlair was honored as Lineman of the Year and OFA running back, receiver and defensive back Stephen Morley was cited as the 2019 Don Petty Memorial Award recipient as the Outstanding Football Player in Section 10...The Petty Award is determined by a committee of coaches, officials and a member of the media.

Section 10 Class Class C Championship Game

Gouverneur 25, Ogdensburg 6

OFA 6 0 0 0 -- 0

G 6 7 0 12 -- 25

First Quarter

G - Farr 5 run (run failed) 8:18

O - Johnson 1 run (pass failed) 0:00

Second Quarter

G - Stowell 11 run (Tyler Kick) 7:36

Fourth  Quarter

G - Cummings 4 run (Kick Blocked) 2:53

G - Stowell 22 run (kick failed) 2:09

Individual Statistics

Rushing

OFA - Lovely 13-55, Johnson 8-30 1TD, Morley 2-4, Jones 2-4.

Gouverneur - Farr 21-85 1TD, Cummings 12-61 1TD, Stowell 12-62 1 TD

Passing

OFA - Jones - 7-13-2 47.

Gouverneur - Farr 1-3-1 16; OFA -

Receiving

OFA - Lovely 3-22, Johnson 2-17, Morley 1-10, Powers 1 (-2).

Gouverneur - Savage 1-16

Interceptions

OFA - Powers 1.

Gouverneur - Farr 1, Shippe 1.



Gang tackling was the order of the day at Gouverneur in Saturday's Class C title game. On this play Eli Bullock, MeSean Johnson and and Luc LaFlair of OFA combined to stop Gouverneur's Caleb Farr.


Gouverneur's Jared Wilson (32) and a fellow defender break up a pass targeted for OFA's MeSean Johnson. (Mel Cobb Photo)








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