FOOTBALL: SV FALLS AT HOME TO WG/O-M; TO FACE WAVERLY IN CLASS C PLAYOFFS
By ROB CENTORANI
Broome County East Sports Report
CONKLIN -- In a 3-minute, 25-second span that bridged the second and third quarters, Watkins Glen/Odessa-Montour scored 21 points en route to a 38-14 Section 4 Football Conference Division IV victory Friday over Susquehanna Valley.
The victory allowed WG/O-M (6-3) to earn the third seed for the Section 4 Class C semifinals and a game at No. 2 Chenango Forks (5-3) next week. SV (4-4) is the No. 4 seed and will play at top-seeded Waverly (8-1) at 7 p.m. Friday.
During the season, Forks defeated the Storm, 40-8, and Waverly earned a 42-12 win over SV.
Friday's game was scoreless late in the second quarter when the Sabers struck first. Johnny Cortese capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run around the left end with 1:31 left in the half.
But that lead lasted just 11 seconds.
On the next play from scrimmage, Brad Gillis took an inside handoff from Gavin Lohmeyer, exploited a hole on the left side and raced 65 yards for a touchdown. Brady Cannon's extra point gave the Storm the lead for keeps at 7-6.
Things got worse for SV on the ensuing kickoff. Jesse Frear took a big hit and the ball popped free. Gillis recovered on the Sabers' 45.
Lohmeyer completed back-to-back passes to Alexander Holmes, the latter bringing the ball to SV's 30.
After Gillis gained 9 yards on the next play, WG/O-M called timeout with 7.5 seconds left in the half.
Lohmeyer then found Cannon on a quick slant from the right side and Cannon took it into the end zone. Cannon's PAT made it 14-6 with 1.6 seconds left in the half.
"We just scored (at the end of the first half) and the momentum just carried after that," Gillis said. "It just kept building after that."
The Storm opened the second half with a 52-yard scoring drive. The big play was Ryan Bauchie-Willet's 37-yard run on a double-handoff heading right. That brought the ball to SV's 18 and one play later, Lohmeyer scored on a keeper to the left side. Cannon's extra point gave the Storm a 21-6 lead.
"Momentum is big," SV coach Mike Ford said. "We had a couple fumbles and eventually the momentum shifted."
SV answered with a 65-yard drive that included three completions by quarterback Connor Vanderlinde, who made his first start at QB. The Sabers' starting QB all season, Luke Kariam, suffered a dislocated knee and torn MCL in last week's win over Dryden.
Vanderlinde hit Ian Harder on a fade to the left for 21 yards and found Harder again for a 13-yard gain on the right side to the Storm's 23.
Another completion to Harder brought the ball to the 1 before Vanderlinde sneaked across on the next play. When Vanderlinde again hit Harder on the two-pointer, this time in the back of the end zone, SV's deficit was 21-14.
"I don't know that Connor has played quarterback, other than late in games, but he came in and commanded the offense for us," Ford said. "We didn't really have to shorten the playbook for him and I thought he threw some great balls."
Back came WG/O-M, taking its next possession 55 yards before stalling SV's 5. On fourth down, Cannon hit a 23-yard field goal to extend the Storm's lead to 24-14 with 52.6 seconds left in the third quarter.
It looked like SV might again respond when Cortese thew a halfback pass to Harder for a 31-yard gain to the Storm's 45 on the final play of the third quarter.
But that drive stalled when Holmes sacked Vanderlinde for a 10-yard loss on third-and-8.
Two plays later, on third-and-13, Holmes got behind SV's secondary and caught a perfectly-thrown ball from Lohmeyer at midfield and raced the rest of the way into the end zone on an 83-yard play. Cannon's PAT made it 31-14.
"I think they wore us down in the second half," Ford said. "We weren't able to rotate a lot tonight like we can sometimes."
Cannon capped the scoring with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown after SV moved to the Storm's 3 in the final seconds.
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