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Fredonia holds off Golden Cougars

Photos courtesy of Steve Garvey Fredonia’s Nick Whitfield stiff-arms a Cassadaga Valley/Falconer defender during Saturday’s Class C South football game at Bill Race Field.

FALCONER — The Fredonia Hillbillies football (1-1) team came out on top with their first victory of the season, a 12-10 decision over Cassadaga Valley/Falconer in a Class C South game at Bill Race Field on Saturday.

It was not pretty and it definitely was not easy, but Coach Greg Sherlock will take it.

Fredonia was frustrated with its inconsistent play offensively and untimely penalties. In fact, Fredonia ran 15 offensive plays in the first half to the Golden Cougars’ 31. The Hillbillies first drive got them into the red zone, but that resulted in a turnover when Nick Whitfield lost the ball on a keeper and Bryant Morrison jumped on it.

Fredonia’s defense held and forced a punt where Jake Helmer of Fredonia broke away for a touchdown, but a penalty brought that back and Fredonia’s offense never really recovered after that.

The only points in the first half came after Whitfield threw an interception at the Cougar 49-yardline.

Golden Cougars’ running back Noah Abram follows his blocking.

The Golden Cougars got the ball with plenty of time and drove to Fredonia the 6-yard line highlighted by a Dalton Caldwell 24-yard pass to Landon Mower. Caldwell, a sophomore, finished the game 6 of 15 for 99 yards and one interception. The Golden Cougars couldn’t get in the end zone, however, and were forced to settle for a 23-yard field goal by sophomore Brailyn Paladino. Paladino also later kicked an extra point.

Fredonia came out in the second half looking to get back on track and senior Dom Gullo was ready to spark his team. Gullo received the opening kickoff and took it 90 yards for a touchdown. This gave Fredonia a 6-3 lead with the two-point conversion failing on a Whitfield run.

Sherlock made a halftime adjustment switching from the 4-3 defense to a 4-4, looking to stop the running attack of the Golden Cougars. This caused a quick three-and-out and Whitfield took advantage. On third down from his own 30-yard line, he broke a 70-yard TD run extending the Hillbilly lead to 12-3. Whitfield finished with a game-high 122 yards on 13 carries. Down by two scores, the Golden Cougars got the ball back with a little over eight minutes left in the game. Noah Abrams single handedly took the game over with a series of jet sweeps, moving the Golden Cougars down the field, highlighted by a 3-yard TD run. Paladino’s extra point twas good, making the score 12-10 Fredonia.

Whitfield and the Fredonia offense were able to run some time off the clock on their ensuing possession, but they couldn’t get that last first down to seal the game as Whitfield was stopped in his tracks by the Golden Cougars Brock Johnson. Johnson finished the game with 12 tackles and 67 yards rushing. This gave the ball back to the Golden Cougars on their own 34-yard line, but with only one timeout left it was too much for the Cougars to overcome and a final pass was intercepted by Whitfield with no time left on the clock.

The Hillbillies’ defense was led by Jacob Thompson for the second week with 11 tackles along with Matt Lotter who had 10, including a sack and three tackles for a loss.

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, meanwhile, ran more plays (58-41), and gained more passing yards (99-23) and rushing yards (196-188) than Fredonia, but the Hillbillies were able to hang on for the victory.

Fredonia will have their first home game this week against Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton and Cassadaga Valley/Falconer will be on the road against Allegany-Limestone.

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