Williamsville North took an unconventional path to earning its first berth to Ralph Wilson Stadium, taking Grand Island to double overtime before pulling out a 14-7 win. Friday night’s Class A semifinal was played at Tonawanda’s Clint Small Stadium.
The Spartans will play the winner of today’s West Seneca East at Sweet Home game next Friday at The Ralph at 8 p.m.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, it was going to come down to something, but I didn’t think it would come down to double overtime,” said North coach Mike Mammoliti.
Grand Island opened the scoring in the first quarter on Jared Brandon’s 50-yard run. The one-score lead looked like it might hold up until North got the ball back with 3:23 left. It started on its own 30-yard line after a punt and put together a 14-play drive covering 70 yards. Chad Steinwachs capped the drive by catching a 7-yard pass from Ryan Majewski with 39 seconds left. During the drive Majewski was 8 of 10 passing for 60 yards. Mammoliti said his team was the beneficiary of a deflected pass on a third-and-6 play that resulted in a first down.
“Our other receiver happened to be behind the intended receiver,” Mammoliti said. “Other coaches will tell you there’s always a little bit of luck in that stuff, you need a few of those things to happen.”
As the final seconds in regulation ticked off, GI drove to the North 16-yard line and attempted a 22-yard field goal. Linebacker Nick Ames came from the outside and blocked it, sending the game into OT.
Grand Island got the ball first in the first overtime and on the first play a pass was intercepted by Derick Isler. On North’s first possession it missed a 32-yard field goal, forcing another OT.
In the second OT, North got the ball first and Isler scored on the 7-yard run. On Grand Island’s possession it threw four straight incomplete passes.
Isler finished with 90 yards on 26 carries and Majewski was 13 of 29 for 123 yards. Nose guard Duke Hwang was in on 10 tackles, four for losses. Linebacker Jacob Ames had 13 tackles and two sacks.
Grand Island, ranked No. 7 among Western New York large schools, ended its season 7-2. The unranked Spartans take a 6-3 mark into The Ralph. The two teams met in Week Seven in a regular season nonleague finale with Grand Island winning, 30-15.
Depew 39, Eden 17: The Wildcats punched their ticket to The Ralph for the second time in three years with a win over the Raiders. Senior Dan Golba had 187 yards on 24 carries and scored two TDs.
Nick Perrine added 122 yards and two TDs on six carries. QB Dylan Sekuterski was 6 of 7 for 112 yards and one TD. His brother Derrick had four catches for 88 yards and a score. The Wildcats had 310 yards rushing.
Depew jumped out to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter and 20-0 early in the second. Eden scored and followed that up with a surprise onside kick, which it recovered. The Raiders drove down and kicked a field goal at the end of the first half. After Eden scored 11 points in row, Depew answered on a 62-yard TD pass from Dylan to Derrick, making it 26-11 at halftime.
Randolph 38, Ellicottville 6: The undefeated Cardinals are back in familar territory as they beat the Eagles to earn a trip to The Ralph. Chris Doubek rushed for 228 yards and two TDs.
He scored the first time he touched the ball on a 72-yard run. On Randolph’s second possession he added an 8-yard scoring run. Randolph built on its 16-0 lead after the first quarter as Mitchell Maycock broke the game open with two rushing TDs in the second. Devin Nelsen had 10 tackles.
Randolph beat the Eagles, 50-0, in the regular season. “They played us tough tonight, they did their homework this time,” said Randolph coach Brent Brown.
Maple Grove 21, Portville 6: Ryan Miller had 110 yards on 22 carries as the Red Dragons put together an 18-point fourth quarter to win. Riley Beaton gave MG a 3-0 lead on a 29-yard field goal, but Portville came back later in the first to take the lead on a 6-yard run by Ben Waugh. MG scored 18 unanswered points in the fourth using a 27-yard pass play on third-and-6 to set up their first score.
“In the fourth quarter we got some field position and was able to carve into their defense,” said coach Curt Fischer. “Defensively it was some blocking adjustment and we spread the field a little.”
Msgr. Martin Assoc.
St. Francis 41, Timon/St. Jude 6: Brendon Misterman rushed for 168 yards and three TDs in the regular season finale. Devantie Campbell and Mike Miller had 11 tackles each. St. Francis led by just 7-0 after the first quarter, but it broke the game open with 20 points in the second. Besides Misterman, Elliott Buccieri, Gerald Hickson and Jacob Braunscheidel found the end zone for St. Francis.
Pioneer 29, Kenmore East 26: Justin Bliss hit a 27-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the Panthers the narrow victory in what was a back-and-forth contest.
The game was tied, 26-26 when Pioneer got the ball back with 1:50 left. The game-winner was Bliss’ third this season. He finished the season with four field goals.
Bliss also had six tackles, including two sacks. Junior running back Tyler Mummery finished with 208 yards on 30 carries and scored twice. Kenmore East senior QB Connor McMahon accounted for three touchdowns with one passing and two rushing scores.
Tonawanda 13, Amherst 7 (OT): Tim Barnard scored on a 4-yard run in OT for the Warriors. The drive was kept alive after Tonawanda converted a second down and 32. Amherst missed a field goal in its OT possession. Barnard rushed for 136 yards and had 12 tackles.