Bath falls to LeRoy in Rochester

Shawn Vargo
Bath’s Mitch Buckley grabs for the ball after losing it while getting tackled by Le Roy defenders.

Through one quarter of play, Bath Haverling probably surprised Le-Roy. The Rams scored three touchdowns on three possessions and held a 19-14 lead heading into the second quarter.

But for the remaining 36 minutes, it was the Oatkan Knights that grabbed control of the momentum and rode it to a 44-27 win in a Section V, Class C semifinal at Sahlen’s Stadium Saturday.

“I’m really happy that we got these seniors here,” Bath head coach Wayne Carroll said. “It’s been a while since we’ve been here. I always thought we were a final four team – and we were.”

From their opening possession, the Rams were ready to show LeRoy they weren’t the team that lost 42-12 to the Knights in Week 4.

Led by quarterback Daniel Leonard, Bath put together a well-orchestrated nine-play drive that traveled 71 yards. Leonard connected with Austin Vasseur on a 25-yard pass play and ran for 44 yards on six carries – including a 3-yard touchdown.

Following Mitch Buckley’s extra point, Bath took a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest.

On the ensuing kickoff , LeRoy’s Tom Kelso bobbled the ball, not once, but twice before taking off from the 22-yard line. That delay must have helped him see the large batch of daylight up the middle, then down the left sideline. Seventy-eight yards later, the game was tied.

“All of a sudden there was an open alley and he was off to the races,” Carroll said. “That one hurt.” Bath went back to work and rattled off another nine-play drive – this time covering 67 yards. It featured a 52-yard pass play to Matt Nevius and a nifty 17-yard screen pass to Bruce Rinker on a 4thand- 7 play. It ended with a 1-yard sneak by Leonard. LeRoy countered with a six-play scoring drive that was highlighted by a 31-yard pass by quarterback Mike McMullen and a 29-yard TD run by Peter Privitera.

Bath got the ball back with just 1:45 remaining in the first quarter. The Rams used every second of that time to score its third touchdown from 65 yards away. On consecutive plays, Leonard hit Mitch Fuller with 18-yard throws, before Leonard scored from 2-yards away.

Bath took a 19-14 lead into the second quarter, then Leonard immediately recovered a LeRoy fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Rams the ball on the Knights’ 42-yard line.

That sparked a six-minute span in which neither team could move the ball. Bath turned the ball over on an interception and punted twice, while LeRoy punted once and fumbled again – this time Kendall Winslow recovered it.

Shortly after recovering the fumble, Winslow left the game with an injury and LeRoy drove the ball 62 yards for the goahead touchdown – a 37-yard pass play to Ryan McQuillan.

“Kendall was making plays for us at nose guard,” Carroll said. “When he went out, I could feel the defense soften up a little bit.”

Bath had one more possession before the half, but Leonard was intercepted for the second time and the Knights took a 21-19 lead into halftime.

Lightning struck again for LeRoy in the second half. On its first play from scrimmage of the third quarter, Privitera ran up the gut and scored from 57 yards away.

Bath answered with a 37-yard TD run from Buckley. A 2-point conversion pass to Vasseur pulled Bath to within a point of the Knights, 28-27.

That’s as close as the Rams got. LeRoy scored on its next possession, to increase its advantage back to eight points.

Bath appeared to answer when Leonard found Nevius in the end zone with a 10-yard TD pass, but the play was nullified by a penalty.

“They called an illegal chop block on a linebacker that was blitzing. They said you couldn’t chop him because he didn’t start on the line,” Carroll said. “It kind of hurt us. That touchdown would have put us within two. We were still in the game.”

LeRoy scored its final touchdown with 5:23 to play. The Knights added a safety when Bath’s punter mishandled the snap in the Rams’ end zone and the ball bounced out of bounds.

“I thought we could hold them to 21 points,” Carroll said. “That was not the case today. That quick score in the third quarter killed us.”

Leonard rushed for 109 yards and threw for 165 yards for Bath. Nevius caught three passes for 56 yards, followed by three catches for 47 yards from Fuller. Privitera ran for 126 yards for LeRoy, while Mc-Mullen threw for 151 yards. LeRoy will now face Hornell, which defeated Attica 35-0 in its semifinal game.

Bath quarterback Dan Leonard stretches over the pile to get into the endzone.