Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Late drive lifts Irish into Championship

The Fighting Irish knew going into their Semi-final game vs. the Lyndonville Tigers Saturday night that they were in for a battle. The Irish received just that from the team the beat earlier in the season 35-14.

It was a battle of the defenses to start the game as the Irish defense looked the best they have all year. The Irish offense looked to their passing game near the end first quarter exploiting a defense that was determined to stop the run. Fighting Irish quarterback Ryan Job hooked up with wide receiver Matt Bergin for a 67 yard pass completion down to the 7 yard line. One play later running back Jahmel Tarver punched in his only score of the day.

Once the second quarter hit the Irish looked to try and find their groove, but it was a defensive battle the entire first half. With the Irish defense holding strong after the offense turned it over. Getting the ball back the Irish went to work again with a drive that running back Neil Keels capped off with a 30 yard touchdown run that was his first of three on the night.

Going into half time the Irish were looking to finish the game with a 14-0 lead already and on the second play from scrimmage Job connected again with Bergin, this time for a 75 yard touchdown pass. The Irish were feeling good at this point, but the Tigers had some fight deep down left in them.

On the next drive the Tigers answered with a score of their own, but once again the Irish offense put together a drive that ended again in another Keels 7 yard touchdown run. The Tigers looked out of it, but the fight kept coming putting together another scoring drive, and the Irish were able to block the extra point making it a 28-13 game.

Then the fourth quarter came and made this game one of the most exciting semi-pro football games of the year! The Tigers defense put it together intercepting a Matt Weber screen pass and bringing it back 43 yards for a touchdown made the game 28-20. The Irish not phased as the following kickoff Tarver busted loose behind a devastating block from Bergin, and returned it all the way to the Tigers 35 yard line. A few plays later the Tigers Ricky McVay intercepted another Weber pass in the end zone and returned it to around mid field.

McVay then turned around at quarterback to lead the Tigers on a drive that had the Irish back on their heels. Playing with a short field the Tigers went to work, but with a crowd that was the loudest of any semi-pro game the Irish have been apart of! With a tough stand the defense looked like they were going to hold, but McVay was able to scamper in for a touchdown after the defense held them on the goal line. Down by two, and with time not on their side, the Tigers elected to go for a two point conversion. With everyone knowing who the ball was going to McVay he then moved to wide receiver and made an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone to tie the game.

Now it was gut check time for the Fighting Irish. If they really wanted to be the Championship team they set out to be since April now was the time and everyone knew it! Taking the kickoff back to the Irish 41 yard line the offense had 3:20 in the fourth quarter to go 59 yards for a chance to host the NFA Championship.

The Irish opened the drive with an A.J. Faraci run of 3 yards. The next play Job almost did something that he hasn’t done all year and threw a near interception that the Tigers linebacker dropped and it fell incomplete. Now it was time to make a play. With one last trick up their sleeve Tarver caught a pitch that he then set up and threw and completed a 36 yard pass to Bergin.

With a great play and the Irish were flagged at the end of the play for a 15 yard penalty from the end of the run. Now backing up to the Tigers 33 yard line the Tigers took a timeout. Regrouping proved to be on the side of the Irish side as they were not going to settle for a field goal knowing the Tigers kicker is very good. No the Irish offense was looking to finish it. Next play thousand yard rusher Andre McCauley, who was held in check most of the game, tip toed down the side line in an impressive effort for a 17 yard run. The Tigers defense would not quit after a few good stops the Irish were faced with another 3rd and 7 from the 12 yard line. A big run from Tarver who was once again making a play and fought for exactly 7 yards picking up the first down. The very next play Keels struck again as he finished with his third touchdown of the night to put the Irish in the lead for good.

With time still left on the clock to hold one of the best players in the league in check the Fighting Irish defense took the field again with 1:44 left in the game and the Tigers were on the Irish 40 yard line. The defense was up to the challenge as first down lead to a sack by defensive lineman Jeremy Rogers and Jeremy Tryon. Second down the Tigers gained a few as linebackers Francisco Cordero and Joshiah Quinn combined on the tackle. Third down with more pressure on McVay he tried to run but getting stopped by Quinn once again leaving the Tigers down seven from the Irish 32 yard line facing a 4th and 2. With the roar of the crowd at the snap of the ball McVay tried to make something out of nothing. Safety DJ McKeon took away the outside forcing McVay to try and run up the gut where he was met by what it looked like the entire Irish defense as Quinn and Cordero once again lead the charge!

Stopped on 4th and 2 and the Tigers turned it over for nothing but a knee down by Job and a bath for the coaches! Celebrating their first ever playoff win 35-28 and a trip to the NFA Title game for the fourth year franchise. This could have been the game of the year in semi-pro football.

The Irish were lead on offense by running backs Neil Keels (9/76 3TD’s), Jahmel Tarver (8/59 TD 1/1 36), Andre McCauley (11/63), A.J. Faraci (7/62). Wide receiver Matt Bergin (3/178 TD) and quarterback Ryan Job (2/3 142 TD).

The Hit Squad was lead by Linebacker Joshiah Quinn (6 solo/12 asst), Safety D.J. McKeon (10 solo/2 asst), Corner back Fred Job (6 solo/1 asst/1 sack), and defensive linemen Jeremy Tryon (6 solo/5 asst/.5 sack), Anthony Murray (4 solo/4 asst), and Ken Jones (3 solo/3 asst).

The Fighting Irish will take on the Jamestown Chiefs who were the number four seed and upset the undefeated Buffalo Gladiators 20-13 in Buffalo. The Irish beat the Chiefs week three by a score of 27-18.

The NFA Championship will be hosted at Schenectady High School with kickoff set for 7:00PM. The Fighting Irish are looking to have the best crowd they have had all year, as they could not have gotten here without the amazing support from their fans that they have had this season.


  1. All well and good, but here's the glaring question that's been bugging me since the season started.

    The team is the Troy Fighting Irish. Why are the home games, then, being played in Schenectady?

  2. @ hobbyfan that's a good question.

    The team plays in Schenectady due to the lack of field’s available to us in Troy. With all of them being grass it’s hard to access to rent them from the schools.

    We have tried playing at them all from CCHS, LaSalle, Troy, Burgh, and RPI. Each of them all saying no, except for troy where due to league rules we couldn’t play anymore because we needed night games.

    Schenectady the AD Steve is great and then love having us there. Mix in awesome facilities and a high attendance there. It’s a perfect place for us, even though we are still a Troy team that practices in Troy.

    Sorry for the late response I promise I will be taking this blogging much more serious from now on with updates.

    Please continue to follow.