Kenmore West began its football season with losses to Lancaster and Jamestown.
The Blue Devils avenged the first one of those defeats on Saturday, and now it has a chance to do the same to the other.
On an afternoon that began with miserable weather and an early 8-0 deficit, Kenmore West asserted itself in the middle quarters with 28 straight points to beat Lancaster, 28-15, before an estimated 800 at Crosby Field. Senior running back Alex Price ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Blue Devils won their sixth straight game.
“Today was just a big game for us, we wanted to come out and make a statement,” said Price, who ran 34 times for 97 yards. “The first week we didn’t play as a team, and we lost. Today we played a great game.”
The Blue Devils (6-2), seeded fourth in the AA bracket and ranked eighth among large schools, will play at top-seeded, top-ranked and undefeated Jamestown (8-0) in the AA semifinals Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
“These guys feel good about themselves,” said Kenmore West coach Rich Harris. “Coming back and getting this one was huge. We’ve been on a roll, and confidence is dangerous in sports. These guys have a lot of confidence and they’ve got a lot of skill and ability too — we’re looking forward to this matchup.”
West lost its season opener at Crosby to Lancaster, 24-9, and Saturday’s contest started in similar fashion when senior running back Mitch Fuller took a pitch to the left on Lancaster’s first drive and ran 57 yards for what would be an 8-0 lead just 3:27 into the game. Lancaster had a 22-yard run open its Week One victory.
“It was the same exact way it happened in Week One – they scored the same way in the same scenario, it was like deja vu,” said senior quarterback Adam Fron, who completed four of 10 passes for 47 yards. “This time we found it in ourselves and we able to get some momentum for ourselves. To beat the same team that got us in Week One, it’s a great feeling.”
Kenmore West calmly put together long drives in a cold and swirling rain, then showed off how explosive it could be in the second half. The defense prevented long drives, surrendering the one big play early and a late touchdown after a short punt gave Lancaster good field position.
With Price doing most of the damage, West went on a long drive that extended into the second quarter and ended with a 3-yard run by the senior. He added another 3-yard run in the second quarter on a drive in which Fron hit three passes as West took a 14-8 lead to halftime.
Ken West started the third quarter by stopping Lancaster on a fourth-and-1 attempt from its own 47. Soon after, a pitch from Fron to sophomore Terrell Ford for a 28-yard score helped West take control of the game.
“The line executed on the play and Fron threw a good pitch,” said Ford. “There was nothing to the outside, and all the linebackers crashed down, so the cutback lane was wide open.”
West would add a razzle-dazzle touchdown when Price, on a halfback option pass, connected with senior receiver Nicholas Wojnar, who ran about 45 yards of the 72-yard pass play for a 28-8 lead.
West’s Week Two loss to Jamestown was a close game in which West led in the third quarter and trailed, 37-28, entering the fourth before Jamestown scored two touchdowns for a 50-28 victory. Those last two scores came on passes by Jamestown senior quarterback Jake Sisson, who set a Western New York single-game record of 508 passing yards in the win.
“We feel really good about ourselves – we’re playing our best football at a great time,” said Fron, whose team played Jamestown the closest except for Orchard Park’s 42-41 loss in the final week of the regular season.
“Other then OP last week, we’re the only team to give Jamestown a run. We’re ready.”
The game will be played on Jamestown’s Strider Field, which will be Kenmore West’s first game on artificial turf this season.
“We were toe-to-toe with them in Week Two,” said Harris. “I can’t wait to get this team on the turf – we’ve got a lot of speed, too.”