Nearly two years of losing and turmoil came to a surprising end Saturday at New York Mills as the Redskins won a football game with a 43-20 victory.
Lucas Lyons scored three touchdowns and quarterback Noah Sims ran for a touchdown, threw for two touchdowns, kicked four extra points and a field goal as Cooperstown won its season-opening D East game for new coach Mark Segina.
“I am very, very proud of these young men. They are all working extremely hard in conditioning, in improving their fundamental football skills, in learning our new offense and defense and have gelled into a tight-knit team,” Segina said. “I think that all the hard work was evident in how they played Saturday. It was a complete team effort.”
New York Mills scored just before halftime on Zach Griffith’s 10-yard pass to Cody Mariotti. The extra point failed, but the Marauders trailed 13-6 and looked to have some momentum going into the second half.
That turned out to be a false vision, as Lyons took the second-half kickoff back 82 yards for a touchdown. A few minutes later, he scored on a 27-yard pass from Sims to make it 27-6 and put the game out of reach. He later scored on a 13-yard run.
“I thought it was a very close game, could go either way, at the half,” Segina said. “I have to say our kids were loose, focused and knew what we had to do to start the third quarter.”
“Lucas did a great job the entire game and that return was a nice way to start the third quarter,” Segina continued. “We were able to execute our game plan and our O (offensive) line was able to control the line of scrimmage. Kevin Segit did an amazing job as a blocking back and both Lucas and E.J. (Perez) were able to make good reads and find the seams.”
Lyons rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, and caught two passes for 70 yards. With his kickoff return, he had 249 all-purpose yards.
Sims, a foreign exchange student from Australia starting at quarterback, place kicker and linebacker, completed 7 of 12 passes for 109 yards and the two touchdowns — the other was on a 13-yard pass to Perez in the second quarter. He also scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter. His day wasn’t perfect — he also threw two interceptions, but it wasn’t bad for a player with no previous football experience. On defense, he had two sacks.
“Pretty good performance for his first football game,” Segina said.
Jacob Miller intercepted a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter for the Redskins’ other touchdown. Miller also recovered a fumble, and Max Bonderoff also had an interception for Cooperstown.
“We all feel good to get the W yesterday against one of the premier football teams in our Division; New York Mills,” Segina said. “Our kids were able to execute our game plan, both offense and defense and I think their hard work showed.”
Cooperstown had lost 10 straight football games — the final three of the 2010 season and all seven of its games last season. It last won on Oct. 9, 2010 against Oriskany.
The Redskins will get another big test Saturday at 2 p.m. at West Canada Valley. The Indians beat Mohawk 18-13 last Friday in a game between division favorites.
“We have to start getting ready to face West Canada, a very good team that many in our section think can win it all this year,” Segina said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
Cooperstown 43, NY Mills 20
Cooperstown 7 6 14 16 — 43
NY Mills 0 6 6 8 — 20
C-Noah Sims 10 run (Sims kick).
C-E.J. Perez 13 pass from Sims (kick failed).
NYM-Cody Mariotti 10 pass from Zach Griffith (kick failed).
C-Lucas Lyons 82 kickoff return (Sims kick).
C-Lyons 27 pass from Sims (Sims kick).
NYM-Shawn Kula 64 run (pass failed).
C-Jacob Miller interception in end zone (Sims kick).
C-Lyons 13 run (kick failed).
C-Sims 25 field goal.
NYM-Kula 27 run (Ron Humpf run).