The Buffalo Gladiators stopped four straight Batavia plays at their own 1-yard line Saturday afternoon and escaped with a 13-12 victory over the Bandits in a New York Football League playoff game at Lackawanna High School.
At Outwater Park, the Lockport Invaders got eight points from a dominating defense unit and won their sixth straight in the International Football League, drubbing the Rochester Renegades, 23-0.
The Gladiators' game ended after Robert Thurston recovered a Batavia fumble on fourth-and-goal as time ran out, which was his second huge defensive play of the day.
The Gladiators (9-1) rallied from a 12-0 hole and won despite being outgained, 237 yards to 106, in total offense.
The winning points came with 8:19 remaining when, after a Curtis Fischer interception, quarterback John Augustine hit Derrick Floyd with a 41-yard touchdown pass.
Buffalo got on the board in the third quarter when Thurston recovered a fumble on a Gladiators punt, setting the offense up at the Batavia 6. Two plays later, James George scored from the 2.
Quarterback Doty Howard scored both of Batavia's touchdowns on runs of 71 and 5 yards in the first half. Howard rushed for 137 yards and passed for 92 more for the Bandits (5-4).
Floyd had four catches for 68 yards for the Gladiators and defensive tackle Tyrone Woods had two sacks among his 10 tackles.
The Gladiators will travel to Glens Falls (6-2) for the Northeast Regional next Saturday.
Nigel Bostic scored a touchdown on a 37-yard fumble return and Calvin Moore registered a safety on a quarterback sack for the Invaders (9-1), the champions of the North East Division in the IFL. Ricky Cooper scored on a 17-yard run and Tony DiMartino threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Todd Wingate as Lockport bolted to a 21-0 halftime lead over the Renegades (1-7). Lockport's top-rated defense has allowed only 27 total points during the last six games.