Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Submit News | UPickEm Contest | Football Frenzy | Home RSS

Jefferson’s fourth-quarter rally defeats Lakeview

October 6, 2012
By TIM CLEVELAND - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

CORTLAND - Trailing 10-0 at halftime and its playoffs hopes fading away, Lakeview fought back with 21 unanswered points in the third to take the lead. Jefferson, facing its own dwindling playoff aspirations, came back with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Bulldogs 24-21 Friday night at Don Richards Field.

"I'm so proud of my kids," Jefferson coach Jim Henson said. "We lost our focus for a little bit but they were able to get it back and make some huge plays. It was all phases - offense, defense, special teams - making big plays."

Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky said he felt the Bulldogs weren't able to keep their intensity up for 48 minutes.

"The kids played hard, we just didn't sustain it," he said. "Credit to coach Henson and his coaches and staff. They deserved to win the game."

Down 21-10 with 1:07 left in the third quarter, Falcons quarterback Tony Chiacchiero led his team on a 15-play, 94-yard drive that took 4:27 off the clock. Having drove to the Lakeview 17, Jefferson faced a third and 10. Chiacchiero passed for 12 yards to Brett Powers. Three plays later, Scott Davidson went in from the 1. The subsequent two-point conversion failed so the Falcons trailed 21-16 with 8:40 to play.

After a Lakeview punt, Jefferson (5-2, 2-2 All-American Conference, National Division) took over at its own 49 with 6:31 left. On second and 4 at the Lakeview 45, Chiacchiero hit Kyle Ashburn down the sideline for the game-winning touchdown with 4:51 left. Davidson went in for the conversion for the final margin of victory.

"I think we're a balanced team and I think that creates problems for people," Henson said. "We're going to take what you give us. If you put too many guys in the box, we're going to throw it. If you spread it out, we're going to run. I think that's what we did pretty well tonight."

Chiacchiero finished 19 of 31 for 279 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

"We just had to forget about it and work on the next play," Chiacchiero said of leading his team back. "Keep going and keep confident."

"He stood up, regained his composure, and did what he does," Henson said of his quarterback. "Great leadership tonight of coming out and making plays."

The Bulldogs had one more chance to tie or win. On second and 9 from their own 29, Erich Schmitt hit Ryan Pishotti for a 21-yard gain. Pishotti then fumbled, with the ball being recovered by Ashburn with 4:02 left to end Lakeview's hopes. Jefferson proceeded to run out the clock, picking up two first downs in the process.

Schmitt had a dismal first half, completing only 1 of 7 passes for 1 yard with an interception. In the third quarter, he was a new player. After a short Jefferson punt put the Bulldogs on the Falcons 45, Elijah Henderson ran for 36 yards to the 9 and Schmitt ran in for the score on the next play.

After another punt, Schmitt drove his team to the Jefferson 23 in four plays. He carried the ball for his second touchdown to give Lakeview a 14-10 advantage.

It seemed the Bulldogs had the game in hand as after a Chiacchiero interception, Schmitt hit a wide-open Jake Pishotti for a 37-yard touchdown and a 21-10 lead.

Jefferson entered Friday night's game ranked 13th in the Division III, Region 9 computer rankings. Henson was asked what the win will do for Jefferson's chances of making the postseason.

"I'm hoping. We'll see how it all plays out," he said. "We'd like to have a shot. We knew this was big."

Lakeview (4-3, 3-1) was ranked 10th in Division IV, Region 13. Pavlansky said how the defeat effected the Bulldogs' playoff hopes wasn't on his mind.

"Honestly, we're not even concerned about that," he said. "We're focused on Jefferson this week and trying to be 4-0 in the league."