By JOHN LIKANJE
BROCKPORT, N.Y. – “Yards and clock!” was the motto for the Livonia varsity football team throughout their postseason run. John Gammon’s squad’s offensive style has been to compile three to four yards a play and eat up as much of the clock as possible. If used correctly, the result is winning time of possession, which usually ends with victories on the football field.
Unfortunately, that tactic hurt the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon as they were unable to rally against the Western New York Maritime/Health Sciences Falcons in a 40-29 loss in the New York State Far West Regionals.
Trailing 32-22 with 9:44 remaining from their 46-yard line, senior running back Marcus Lewis ignited the Bulldogs by bullying his way seven yards forward. Junior quarterback Alexander Minnehan charged 10 more yards for a first down. Senior tailback Ryan Haugh picked up five and Minnehan added four more. Joel Smith continued the drive with a six-yard run and Minnehan three to set up an eight-yard charge for Lewis. Lewis capped off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown to snip into the deficit with 4:44 left.
“We have to slow the game down,” Livonia head coach John Gammon said. “We have to control the penalties, control the turnovers. We regrouped in the fourth quarter. We did well, but it was a little too late.”
The Falcons responded with a seven-play, 50-yard drive which resulted in junior running back Maurice Vaughn slanting into the end zone to ice the game with 58.7 seconds left.
“We got it back a little bit there,” Gammon said. “We needed one more stop. I think if we got one more stop on defense, we could’ve put it in there and won it. But they popped the run there at the end. We were trying to sell out to stop the one-yard gain. Credit to them. They played a good game.”
Lewis carried the Bulldogs’ offense with 13 scrambles for 131 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Smith carried 14 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. Minnehan had 19 carries for 62 rushing yards.
.@NYSPHSAA B Far West Regional – @coachgammon vs. @MHSFalconsFB: Joel Smith 12-yard TD run. Alexander Minnehan 2-point conversion. 1:31 2Q: Livonia 16 WNY/HS 8. @PickinSplinters pic.twitter.com/qyee5pjgSi— John Mitchell Likanje Junior (@jml5798) November 16, 2019
Minnehan led the defense with a pair of interceptions. Junior defensive back Jake Smith recovered a fumble for a 33-yard touchdown as well.
The Bulldogs possessed the ball for 26 of 48 minutes.
Livonia finished the 2019 campaign with an 8-3 record and their first sectional title since 1993.
“This is a great group,” Gammon said. “They played their best football and there were times where their backs were against the wall.”