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Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015: Lackawanna breaks epic winless streak in soccer

   Leading off today: This statistic boggles the mind more than any other New York scholastic sports statistic you're going to see the rest of the year. And its unlikely any number thrown at you next year or the year after that will match it, either.

   The Lackawanna girls soccer team won a game Monday, in sectionals no less. The 23rd-seeded Steelers beat 10th seed I-Prep 1-0 in the first round of the Class B tournament, breaking a winless streak that lasted at least 11 years.

   Take a moment to let your mind process that.

   At least 11 years.    Sophomore Trista Higgins scored in the 24th minute off a free kick by senior Sarah Bialek, and junior goalkeeper Cassidhe Dilbert made five saves in the win.

   "The streak is over," coach Jeff Patronik told The Buffalo News.

   Buffalo News season records go back only to 2005, and there is no evidence of Lackawanna winning a game in that time. Patronik, 0-82-2 in six seasons as coach entering Monday's game, estimated the winless streak was at least 125 games.

   Lackawanna is 1-13-1 this fall, having been outscored 80-4.

   The Lackawanna district includes a large Yemeni community, and many of those students play for a successful boys program in the school. The girls are a different story, Patronik said.

   "Some of the Yemeni girls are athletic, and they don't play," he said. "Right there, we lose about a third of our school population to draw from. The girls we do have don't play outside of school. Some of them are softball players who come out only because I'm the coach."

   Also persevering: Until the Lackawanna story came along, the best girls soccer story of the week came via Greg Brownell at The Post-Star.

   Brownell spent a lot of time with the team from Indian Lake-Long Lake, literally overmatched every time it took the field these past seven weeks during an 0-13-1 season.

   The Indian Lake-Long Lake varsity roster consists of one senior, one junior, four sophomores and three freshmen. If your math isn't too sharp (or you don't want to take the four minutes to add those numbers up via the Common Core method), that's only nine players. That's workable most of the time if you're playing softball, but it's a few cleats short of a full soccer lineup.

   "Writes Brownell: "Their season was about making things work. It was about the sportsmanship of some of their opponents. It was about dealing with reality. It was about a team trying to win against all odds."<>    The most recent combined BEDS number of the two schools -- the enrollment number for grades 9-11 last fall -- is 35. A typical Class D team has nearly five times as many students from which to build a team.

   Coach Rob Linhart, who joined Long Lake as its physical education director last year, said he didn't lay out a set of goals for the team at the start of the season, except for one guiding principle -- to keep improving.

   "I always tell them winning doesn't necessarily always mean you're winning on the scoreboard," he said. "I think accomplishing something is getting better every day. Sometimes it's tough, but at the end of the day when I look back, that's good enough for me to see that everybody improved."

   Brownell's story is full of the answers to the questions readers would ask -- only one opponent played the whole game 11-vs.-9. Several showed great sportsmanship by playing 9-on-9 even when games were competitive. In the later stages of the season, it became 8-on-8.

  
RoadToSyracuse.com
RoadToSyracuse.com football site



   I'd like to think I'm showing the girls good sportsmanship," Schroon Lake coach Katie Jenks said. "As cheesy as it sounds, you hope that translates into everyday life for them."

   You can read the entire story here.

   'Glory to God' costs 15 yards: Here's the story and video that will be all over social media and a number of national news outlets by Wednesday afternoon.

   Mexico junior quarterback Dante Turo took off on a 73-yard TD run vs. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill on Saturday. As he crossed the goal line well ahead of any defenders, Turo raised his right arm and pointed skyward. He also held the football up with his left hand.

   "I was just trying to give glory to God," Turo told Syracuse.com.

   Instead of signalling a touchdown, the official most closely following the play reached into his back pocket and tossed up a penalty flag for taunting.

   The touchdown counted, but the penalty was assessed on the extra-point attempt, causing Mexico coach Tee Murabito to leave the offense of the field for a 2-point attempt, which failed. That sent Mexico to the locker room trailing 13-12 at the half in a game the Tigers would lose 33-31.

   "At that point, right before the half, we would have kicked to tie the game," Murabito said. "So we had to go for two. It kind of changed the course of the game."

   Murabito said Turo has been acknowledging TDs the same way all season without drawing a penalty. That included a 1-yard sneak earlier in the game.

   "The ref said I was taunting the other team," Turo said. "That wasn't my intention at all."

   Kevin Simons, rules interpreter for the Mohawk Valley officials, told the website in an email that the group would have no comment. Section 3 Executive Director John Rathbun said his organization cannot get involved with complaints about officiating.

   "We don't look at videos," Rathbun said. "We'd never get officials to work our games."

   Syracuse.com showed the video to an athletic director, a longtime football coach and a football referee. Rules prohibit them from commenting on a call. They all agreed that Turo shouldn't have been penalized.

   You can read more details and see the video here.


  
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