The final OFA-Massena football game under the lights of the Blue Devils Alton W. Elliott Athletic Complex was staged on Friday night.
It will rank among the best, as far as the host school is concerned, after the Blue Devils rode an inspired comeback from a 20-7 deficit to a 25-20 victory in a match of two 3-0 teams.
Next fall OFA will play its home games on an all-weather turf field which its now taking shape opposite the Golden Dome.
We have to remember that this is only the fourth week of the season but this was just a great victory, said OFA Coach Matt Tessmer who will have his team at home on Friday against another unbeaten opponent in Potsdam.
We overcame a lot of adversity tonight and we were able to shut out a very good Massena team in the second half. I am just so proud of everyone especially the younger players who really stepped up.
The host Devils trailed 20-7 late in the second quarter but marched 81 yards to the endzone to score with 22.1 seconds remaining before intermission when quarterback Joey Dalton (15x26-1-175 3 TDs) pitched his second touchdown of the half five yards to Nick Sweeney to cut the deficit to 20-13. Dalton had found Sweeney for a 10-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and Sweeney set up the score with an interception.
The Raiders had rolled out to the 20-7 lead with stunning quickness.
Halfback JP Reagan (22 rushes for 142 yards) scored on a 50-yard run on his first carry of the night. Connor Paquin blocked a punt and recovered it in the endzone early in the second quarter and Jayce Lanning kicked his second PAT of the night. Then Reagan found the endzone for a second time on a 14-yard run set up by an interception by Matt Thibault.
After scoring in the closing seconds of the half, the Devils energized the momentum by taking the second half kickoff to the endzone on a ball control drive which consumed over seven minutes of the clock. Fullback Jordan McCormick (24-81) showed second-effort running to key the drive and the senior climaxed it with a one-yard plunge.
I owe all my yardage to my offensive line. They blocked better than awesome, said McCormick who also played a key role in the Devils defensive effort in the second half and turned a swing pass into a 40-yard gain to ignite the dramatic winning drive.
A drive which climaxed with Hail Mary and Sign of the Cross connections between Dalton and wingback Jon Rogers.
Facing a fourth and long with 1:32 to play, Dalton lofted a 21-yard pass which a leaping Rogers snared in a crowd at the 12-yard line.
Facing a fourth and 14 at the 21 yard line, Dalton found Rogers (3 catches for 50 yards) on a crossing route over the middle and the junior took the ball into the endzone with just 59.7 seconds to play.
On the first pass Joey threw it up and I was just lucky enough to come down with the ball, said Rogers. On the second I ran a slant and Joey threw a perfect pass and all I just had to do was catch it.
A blitzing OFA defense, which mounted consistent pressure on Massena quarterback Rory Corcoran throughout the game, sealed the victory with 29 seconds remaining when linebacker Joe Loffler stripped the ball from a Raider receiver and tackle Jacob King covered it in a swarm of players.
This is not the end of the world for us. We have a long way to go this season. Nothing has changed for us. We have to go to practice Monday and work to get better, said Massena Coach Anthony Diagostino. OFA played very well tonight and got the victory.
NOTES: Jon Tayler delivered four timely receptions for OFA...QB Rory Corcoran (6-49 rushing) played a catalysts role for Massena in the first half, extending plays with his scrambling abilities...OFAs Jordan McCormick and Owen Pearson and Massena defensive tackle Nolan Terrance and rangy linebacker Isaiah Dillabough all had sacks.