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Tioga County Sports Report
CORTLAND — Owego will pit its high-scoring offense and stubborn defense against Sayville in a battle of unbeatens in the NYSPHSAA Division 2 Flag Football semifinals Saturday afternoon.

The River Hawks come in with a 16-0 record while the Long Island champion Golden Flashes sport a 13-0 mark.

Sayville is the second largest school in the D-2 semis with an enrollment of 657 while Owego has an enrollment of 480. Brewster is the largest D-2 school in the state at 787. The fourth semifinalist, Bishop Kearney, has an enrolment of 222, but due to the fact its is a Christian school it can follow a less stringent recruitment policy than NYSPHSAA’s public school.

Not much is known about Sayville, however, the Golden Flashes have a large roster of 50 players to draw from (compared to Owego’s 26).

They bring a dual-threat quarterback in Olivia Moynihan. If she finds a lane in the defense she’s off and running. If the run is not available, Moynihan will most likely seek out Ava Vadyak or Mia DeSimone to throw to.

Owego will attempt to counter the Flash attack with one of the most stubborn defenses in the state. The River Hawks have allowed just 5.375 points per game and only two opponents have managed to reach the end zone more than once.

Olivia Dodge and Brooklyn Gaurnier head up the defense with 75 and 73 tackles, respectively. Bella Silvestri has 48 flag pulls, Alex Aubel has 28 and Ashlyn Dalton has added 25.

Ashlyn Dalton has 13 sacks, followed by Raelyn Lovell and Gaurnier with eight apiece, and Ebba Lindhout and Cadia Fain with five apiece. Lexi Herceg has snagged seven interceptions while Taylor Dalton has grabbed a half-dozen despite limited playing time due to injury. Aubel has six picks as well and Dodge has tacked on five more.

The Owego offense is a touchdown juggernaut and averages 35.25 points per game. The River Hawks can throw or run the ball well, but seem to thrive on soaring through the air.

Quarterback Kylie Grippen has completed 287 of 376 pass attempts (76%) for 3,174 yards and 62 touchdowns, and has spread the wealth among several receivers.

Aubel has 73 receptions for 623 yards and 11 TDs, Taylor Dalton has 45 for 556 yards and 11 TDs, Gaurnier has 36 for 412 yards and eight TDs, Ashlyn Dalton has 30 for 492 yards and 14 TDs, Dodge has 32 for 320 yards and five TDs, and Herceg has 14 for 372 yards and five TDs.

On the ground, Fain and Silvestri have supplied most of the yardage. Fain has hauled the rock 128 times for 678 yards and 12 TDs despite missing a couple of games. Silvestri has 24 carries for 178 yards and five TDs.

The game begins at 2 p.m. at Cortland High School. The victor meets the winner of the Brewster-Bishop Kearney game for the title at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Cortland HS.






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