Trojans outlast Golden Cougars | News, Sports, Jobs

OBSERVER Photo by Jason Bower
Golden Cougars’ running back Charlie Reichenbach dives over Southwestern’s Paul Hayes during Friday’s nonleague game at Bill Race Field in Falconer.

FALCONER — Nick Sirianni was relaxing in New York City with his wife, Brett, on Friday evening taking in a show during his bye week.

You’d have to forgive Sirianni if he got thrown out of the theater for using his cellphone during the performance. He was receiving constant updates from his brother, Jay, who was on the sideline at Bill Race Field taking in the Southwestern-Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove game.

With the Trojans in the midst of a 25-game winning streak in the rivalry, the game was of the utmost importance to anybody who’s ever been involved in its history.

Including the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Southwestern’s Matt Pannes scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:02 remaining and Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove jumped offside on fourth-and-1 with 1:02 left as the Trojans beat the Golden Cougars for the 26th straight time, 27-20 in the nonleague regular-season finale for both teams.

“This was the biggest game for me,” Pannes said postgame. “This is a big rivalry. … I was really excited coming into it.”

“We have several Southwestern guys on the staff and it means a lot to us to continue this streak,” Trojans head coach Jake Burkholder said. “These kids have bought in and are a part of that as well.”

The game was evenly played throughout with neither team leading by more than a score for the entire night.

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove took the first lead of the second half when it went 75 yards in nine plays, capped by a Charlie Reichenbach 6-yard touchdown run with 7:25 left in the third quarter. Brailyn Paladino tacked on her second successful point-after kick to make it 20-13.

Southwestern answered on its only drive of the third quarter, going 72 yards in nine plays. Jameson Walsh was sacked by Bryant Morrison for a loss of 9 yards on second-and-5 from the 7-yard line, but on third-and-14, he threw a jump pass to Cameron Lemk over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown that tied the game after Neves Hoose’s second of three successful PATs with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

“Jameson is growing and maturing in this offense,” Burkholder said. “Having guys you know you can get the ball to and they’ll make things happen takes a little pressure off as well.”

The Golden Cougars followed with a three-and-out, which set up the eventual game-winning drive for the Trojans. Taking over at the 50-yard line, Southwestern needed nine plays to march to the 3-yard line before Pannes’ go-ahead score with 7:02 remaining in the game.

“He’s a leader for us. He’s out there sacrificing himself to make a play,” Burkholder said of Pannes. “We’ve got guys all over the field that can make things happen. He’s one of those guys and he stepped up today.”

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley punted the ball away on a fourth-and-21 from its own 38-yard line and never got the ball back. Walsh ran for a yard on first down and was the beneficiary of a 15-yard personal foul against the Golden Cougars. Pannes was eventually stopped short on third-and-6 from the 50-yard line, and Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove spent its final timeout.

“We always have a check in there, but if we get a first down it’s game over,” Burkholder said. “Special teams have been great for us all year, but at the same point, this is a 26-year streak. We had to go for that first down and make it happen.”

The Trojans lined up in a tight formation, but the Golden Cougars jumped into the neutral zone as Walsh lured them with a hard count, resulting in a 5-yard penalty and a first down that allowed Southwestern to run out the clock.

“We said it about 10 times and they still did it,” Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove head coach Curt Fischer said about the hard count. “Kids are kids. They want to make big play. It was just a mistake.”

Pannes gave the Trojans a 6-0 lead early when he caught a middle screen from Walsh on third-and-14 and scampered 61 yards for a touchdown to make it 6-0.

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove tied the game with 5:33 left in the second quarter as Dalton Caldwell scored on a 4-yard run.

Southwestern’s Colton Holbrook recovered a fumble at the 27-yard line with 3:52 remaining and on the next play, Walsh connected with Lemk for a touchdown and a 13-6 lead after Hoose’s PAT.

“Those are big for momentum,” Pannes said of the fumble. “That was a big turning point in the game.”

The Golden Cougars tied the game with 1:16 left in the first half on another Caldwell run, this time from 6 yards out.

Both teams will now prepare for the postseason. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove will likely host a quarterfinal in Class B while the Trojans will go on the road in Class C.

“We’ll recover,” Fischer said. “We’re in the playoffs and that’s a good thing.”

“We’re growing at the right time,” Burkholder added. “We’re really coming together in all aspects of the game.”

NOTES: Walsh finished 9 of 14 for 144 yards and three touchdowns with six of the receptions and 111 of the yards to Lemk. Pannes ran 16 times for 67 yards and two scores. Pannes was in on 10 tackles, Brody Larson was in on seven and Lemk was in on five for Southwestern. … Reichenbach ran for 96 yards and Caldwell ran for 83 for the Golden Cougars. Brodie Little was in on 11 tackles and Dan Quattrone was in on seven while Bryant Morrison and Devyn Morrison each had a pair of tackles for a loss.

Southwestern 6 7 7 7 — 27

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove 0 13 7 0 — 20

Sou–Pannes 61 pass from Walsh (kick failed)

F/CV/MG–Caldwell 4 run (kick failed)

Sou–Lemk 27 pass from Walsh (Hoose kick)

F/CV/MG–Caldwell 6 run (Paladino kick)

F/CV/MG–Reichenbach 6 run (Paladino kick)

Sou–Lemk 16 pass from Walsh (Hoose kick)

Sou–Pannes 3 run (Hoose kick)

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