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Pride Survives Muddy Battle With Sleepy Hollow

 SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Ossining running back Marc Clancy slanted into a muddy end zone with less than three minutes remaining in the game to score the winning touchdown Saturday as the visiting Pride pulled out a hard-fought 25-20 victory over border rival Sleepy Hollow.

"We just ran the plays the way we practice them and made big plays on defense when we needed them," said Clancy, who joined backfield mate Joshua Almodovar in filling in for injured Pride running back Stephen Candaleria, who suffered a right thumb injury in the second quarter. "Everyone came up big. I was happy to get the touchdown."

Both teams struggled to keep their feet and composure in a game played on a slick wet field dotted with pockets of mud that had players slipping and sliding all over the place. Several key penalties and turnovers influenced the game, including a Sleepy Hollow fumble that gave Ossining the ball inside the 7-yard line with less than five minutes to play trailing 20-19. Clancy, who scored earlier in the game, ran it in from the 3-yard line for the lead. 

Ossining (3-1) remained in contention for the postseason playoffs, while Sleepy Hollow fell to 2-2.

Candaleria, Ossining's prime offensive weapon and lead running back, was injured just prior to scoring a touchdown that pulled the Pride to within 14-13 late in the first half. The ensuing point-after-kick looked good at first but officials ruled that it missed the left upright, leaving Ossining down a point with 10 minutes remaining in the game, and Candaleria, who gained 110 yards on 10 carries in the half, headed for the emergency room.

Sleepy Hollow scored just before halftime on an option pass from running back LJ Garrant. The big back took a handoff from his quarterback Nick Vallo, and then found Vallo sneaking down the left side of the field for a 27-yard touchdown surprise and 14-6 lead. Garrant scored from 6-yards to open the scoring and Vallo hit Tyler O'Donnell with a 14-yard strike to give Sleepy a 20-19 lead late in the third.

"We haven't used that play (option pass) in a game until today," Garrant said. "We do it in practice all the time."

Both teams played tough defense despite the footing and several Sleepy Hollow players were hampered by leg cramps. Clancy and Almodovar filled in the gap left by Candaleria's departure to help the Pride maintain its running game.

"The line makes their blocks and the backs have to run the ball the way (Candaleria) would," Almodovar said. "We are a team. We have to play as a team to win."Sleepy Hollow made a run at a winning score with less than three minutes on the clock, moving the ball inside the Pride's 25-yard line before Rashawn Armstrong moved between two Sleepy receivers and intercepted Vallo's fourth-down pass into the end zone with 1:03 remaining in the game.

"We knew they had to pass the ball with a minute left," Armstrong said. "We just had to play their receivers and we did a good job. Then I just made a move toward the ball and made the catch."

The Horsemen will visit Peekskill Thursday at 4:30 p.m. for a midweek matchup.Ossining will host Harrison Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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