Falconer senior running back Curt Jones can go past tacklers, around them, sometimes even through them. He did all of that in a record-setting performance that helped the Falcons to their first Section VI football championship in 10 years.
Jones set a Ralph Wilson Stadium playoff record with 299 yards on 48 carries as Falconer beat defending Class C champion Portville, 26-12, before an estimated 800 on a rainy Thursday evening. The 6-foot, 190-pound Jones also ran for two touchdowns behind a dominating offensive line. For the season, he has 19 touchdowns and 1,991 yards on 236 carries.
"It feels awesome," said Jones. "It makes my job that much easier when the line is blocking so good. There were a couple of times where I didn't have to do anything. I look for open field, or I'll look for blockers, or I'll put my hand out to make someone miss. I just try and get as many yards as I can."
Falconer (9-1) will face the Section V (Rochester area) champion in the Far West Regionals at 10 a.m. next Saturday at The Ralph. The Falcons last won the sectional championship in 1994; their last visit to the stadium was a 2002 loss to Gowanda.
"When he comes in there and dumps those linebackers, he's a big boy and he makes his presence known," Falconer coach Dan Krenzel said of Jones. "He had a great game, but we had superb blocking. The plays were there: they switched their defense four or five times but it didn't matter. The kids knew their assignment, and they got the job done."
Junior quarterback Cody Spicer had two rushing touchdowns for the Falcons and made two interceptions on defense, one to end the first half and one starting the second.
Falconer took control in the first half, taking a 12-6 lead on a 9-yard TD run by Spicer and a 5-yard run by Jones, who had 139 yards on 17 carries at halftime. Another Spicer scoring scramble, a 6-yarder, put Falconer up, 18-6, with 1:40 left in the third.
Portville (8-2) stayed in it as senior quarterback Brian Nitsche (who had 15 tackles on defense) returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown, moving down the left side and then putting on a great burst of speed to evade tacklers for the final 10 yards.
That brought the Panthers to within 18-12 at the start of the fourth quarter. But on their next possession Nitsche fumbled at the Falconer 43 and it was recovered by Ron Cherrier. Jones carried all eight times on the next possession, gaining 53 yards, passing the 200-yard mark and ending the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion run with 3:41 to play.
After Falconer stopped Portville on downs, Jones helped run out the clock with six rushes. The last was a 24-yard run that brought him to 299 to break the single-game stadium rushing record set by Southwestern's Dustin Bowser last year (297 on 46 carries).
"That is one powerful football team," said Portville coach Gary Swetland. "That is a punishing run offense and a great defensive football team."