BY JOE ECKSTROM
OBSERVER Sports Reporter
SINCLAIREVILLE - The Cassadaga Valley Cougars started Saturday's Class C South football game against Allegany-Limestone on a high note, recovering an onside kick. But just plays later, that early momentum swung back the other way, as the Gators picked up a 27-6 win.
OBSERVER?Photo by Joe Eckstrom
Cassadaga Valley’s Jarrett Blizzard looks for positive yardage during the Cougars’ Class C South football game against Allegany-Limeston, on Saturday, in Sinclairville. Also pictured is Cougars’ quarterback Dakota Morano.
Early, during Cassadaga Valley's first drive, one of the team's leading rushers - and team leaders - J.B. Boughton, was injured and did not return to the game.
"Losing J.B. Boughton was huge," Cassadaga Valley coach Nick Spitzer said. "It wasn't just about losing his athletic ability, but also his leadership skills on the field. As with any team, when someone goes down, somebody else is going to have to step up."
The Cougars' drive stalled and they turned the ball over on downs at the Allegany-Limestone 39-yard line.
From there it took just one play for the Gators to get on the scoreboard as quarterback Kyle Stover connected with Todd Mason on a bubble screen on which Mason weaved his way downfield for the 61-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cassadaga Valley fumbled the return, setting the Gators up in Cougar territory.
However, the Cassadaga Valley defense forced Allegany-Limestone to turn the ball over on downs. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they could not get anything going on the offensive either.
The closest the home team came to scoring in the first half was when Jordan Crabtree intercepted Stover and worked his way down the sideline, setting the Cougars up at the Gators' 11-yard line.
Penalties, and the inability to move the ball, once again prevented Cassadaga Valley from getting on the scoreboard.
The Gators had an offensive push right before halftime as they got down to Cassadaga Valley's 6-yard line with under a minute until the break.
The home team made one more defensive stand to keep the game 6-0 at halftime.
The second half was a different story as Allegany-Limestone was able to get its offense rolling behind the running of Trevin Barber.
On the Gators' first possession of the second half, Barber finished off a 36-yard scoring drive, which was paired with a two-point conversion by Mason, to make it 14-0.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Barber punched a rush in from a yard out to make it 20-0.
"Our defense just got worn down," Spitzer said. "They spent a lot of time out on the field, because we were unable to move the ball on offense."
Allegany-Limestone added one more touchdown to make it 27-0 as the clock ticked down.
With just seconds left, the Cougars ruined the Gators' shutout with a 55-yard scamper from Tage Reuther.
On the defensive side of the ball, Crabtree led the team with 11 tackles while Reuther pitched in with six solo tackles and five assists.
The Cougars will look to bounce back from the disappointing loss next week when they host their first ever night game against Westfield.