LOWVILLE — The General Brown football team took its traditional postgame sprints Thursday night, this time on enemy turf and this time the ritual was perhaps a little sweeter than usual.
The endeavor came after a victory as the Lions, propelled by its balanced offensive attack, rolled to a 46-24 triumph over rival Lowville in a Section 3 Class C2 Division game.
General Brown finishes the regular season a perfect 7-0 and as the division champion.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” General Brown junior running back Gabe Malcolm said. “Not always do you get the chance to go undefeated in a season, especially because we’re kind of a young team and a little inexperienced, it feels great.”
Senior quarterback Eli Rawleigh threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another as the Lions received a rushing touchdown from three others.
“It feels great as a senior to end the regular season with a division championship,” Rawleigh said. “Especially with this group of my brothers, it’s a great team and it’s definitely surreal to be divisional champions.”
Malcolm rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and junior back Kaleb Natali and freshman fullback Hayden Moody each ran for scores.
“I think we spread the ball around, that’s kind of what we try to do, we take what the defense gives us,” Lions coach Doug Black said. “And our offensive line did a great job up front, giving us time to throw and also getting blocks at the line of scrimmage and controlling that.”
Rawleigh ran for 121 yards of his own on 13 carries and both of his pass attempts were touchdowns, once each to senior Nate Snow and Moody.
It was General Brown’s defense that denied Lowville on a long drive on the game’s first possession.
“I think it was a big stop for us,” Black said. “The past few weeks we’ve started out slow, but once our kids get going they seem to do a better job.”
The Red Raiders marched down the field in 12 plays, but was stopped on the Lions’ 2-yard line when a 4th-and-goal run attempt was stuffed.
“There was three or four guys in on it and they stuffed that and that was a big play, and then to turn around and drive the ball 99 yards down the field I think was a big start for us,” Black said.
“It was good defensive stand because they down the ball down on us, but we stopped them,” Malcolm said. “But I would say overall we didn’t do very well defensively, they had a couple super long runs on those wing-back counters. So we’ve just got to come back and work on our defense.”
Then General Brown, which scores on its first three possessions in the first half, seized the advantage by driving 99 yards, as four plays later, Natali broke free for a 14-yard touchdown run and led 8-0 after Malcolm ran in the conversion.
After Rawleigh scored on a 33-yard run early in the second quarter, Lowville responded with a long drive of its own, capped by Max Makuch’s three-yard scoring catch on a pass by Elijah Englehart to draw within 16-6 with 6:48 remaining in the first half.
Rawleigh then hooked up with Snow on a 12-yard scoring pass and, after a Malcolm conversion run, the Lions led 24-6 heading into halftime.
“I think we kind of just looked at this game just like any other game,” said Rawleigh, who also recorded an interception in the second half. “The passing game just happened to be working a little better today, so we resorted to that a little bit. But we definitely did a pretty decent job of spreading the ball around.”
Also for General Brown, Nick Rogers rushed for 56 yards on nine carries and Natali finished with 54 yards on the ground on six touches.
The Lions also scored on their opening drive of the second half, consuming nearly six minutes, as Malcolm scored on a 12-yard run and Natali hauled in the conversion pass for a 32-6 lead with 6:12 left.
After Makuch’s 65-yard scoring run on Lowville’s next drive to get within 32-12, Moody went on to score his two touchdowns, first on a 12-yard pass from Rawleigh and then on an 11-yard run.
“We didn’t play well on defense,” Lions defensive end Armondo Orcesi said. “We didn’t do our assignments, we prepared all week and we just didn’t come out and execute like we wish we did. We know we can be better.”
Englehart threw for one TD and ran for another for Lowville (1-5, 1-4) and sophomore Sean Kelly ran for a 16-yard score in the final quarter.
“When it came down to it, they scored six touchdowns and we scored four,” Lowville coach Josh Coffman said. “We had that first possession inside the 10 and we didn’t score and then the last one of the first half, we had two guys go in motion (that) kind of set us back in the offense that we were doing. Plays for a loss are tough when you’re trying to chew up clock and yardage.”
Kelly finished with 139 yards on 24 carries, Dalton Myers ran for 127 yards on nine touches and Makuch totaled 78 yards on four carries.
General Brown won in Lowville after winning its past three games at home with victories over Little Falls, Bishop Ludden and Canastota to lock up the division title.
“There’s good competition in Class C in Section 3,” Rawleigh said. “We definitely had to put some work in to get here, but I’m glad we did.”
The Lions came into the week tied for the top ranking in Section 3 among Class C squads with unbeaten Skaneateles. The sectional playoff pairings will be announced Sunday.
Malcolm said the team entered the season not totally sure what the team could accomplish, but gained confidence with a 7-0 record.
“We start off the same every season and the first goal is to win the division,” Black said. “And now we’re on to the playoffs and into sectionals.”
Lowville (1-5, 1-4) will host Sherburne-Earlville in a makeup game Tuesday before taking on Beaver River in a crossover game next Saturday, Coffman said.
“But we’re proud, our kids battled to the end,” Coffman said. “They’re a good team and they executed a couple plays really well and we had trouble stopping them.”