Facing a 21-0 halftime deficit against West Seneca East, South Park could’ve easily folded it up in the locker room and mentally checked out until next week.
But the Sparks didn’t, as they scored 36 unanswered points to pick up a 36-21 Class A South win and move to 6-0 for the first time since 1993. They also clinched a home playoff game.
“The kids really battled through that early adversity,” South Park coach Tim Delaney said. “I can’t say enough about how well they handled that first half and came out on a high note. ... We were able to weather a storm. That’s what good teams do.”
South Park QB Deabeyon Humphrey (14-24, 181 yards passing) started the comeback with an 8-yard toss to Dayquan Anderson. That was followed by an Elijah Lewis blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone by Donte Ridgeway.
“After we got that first TD, we got the blocked punt and that really swung the momentum in our favor,” Delaney said.
The Sparks scored four times in the fourth quarter. Two were passes from Humphrey to Brandan Brown and two were runs by Clarence Thomas.
Trojans QB Shaun Dolac scored on a 3-yard run and threw two TD passes of 74 and 24 yards to Jacob Maurino.
Cardinal O’Hara 62, Bishop Timon-St. Jude 6: The Hawks scored early and often in picking up their first Monsignor Martin Association win of the season.
Brandon Broadnax ran 13 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter of 65, 45 and 50 yards. Jamall Lewis Jr. had five carries for 109 yards and scores of 1 and 98 yards.
QB CJ Masters completed 5 of 14 passes for 67 yards and four touchdowns, two to Jermaine Haynes Jr. and one each to Nasir Benton and Michon Dudley.
Timon scored on a 4-yard pass from Mitch Theal to Joe Rozeski in the second quarter.
Clarence 42, Niagara Wheatfield 29: The Jack Putney to John Stevens connection was strong in an impressive offensive showing for the Red Devils. Putney threw for 186 yards and three touchdowns, while Stevens was on the receiving end of 132 of those yards and all three scores. Putney also moved the ball on the ground, rushing 12 times for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Lancaster 39, Jamestown 6: The Legends piled up 375 yards of offense against the Red Raiders. QB Ryan Mansell threw for 191 yards and three scores, two to Max Giordano (five catches, 144 yards) for 67 and 55 yards. Andrew Hersey ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Ben Damiani had nine tackles on defense.
Orchard Park 17, Hutch-Tech 0: Five different Quakers grabbed interceptions in the shutout, helping out an offense that didn’t score until the second half. David Perkins scored both OP touchdowns in the fourth. He ran for 120 yards on 22 attempts.
Williamsville North 35, Frontier 6: The Falcons struck first, but the Spartans responded with five straight touchdowns to remain undefeated.
Marquel Wells only needed eight carries to compile 170 yards, 72 of which came on a touchdown in the third quarter. Joe Nusall was 5 of 8 passing for 120 yards and two scores, 75 yards to Jake Orlando and 17 to Brett Isler.
Dylan Kelly made five tackles and returned an interception 19 yards to the house. Vinny Catanzaro had eight tackles, three for a loss.
Class A North
North Tonawanda 35, Kenmore East 22: The Lumberjacks had their patented ground game rolling, as senior Marcellus Overton rushed for 211 yards on 23 carries and a 1-yard TD. Rhett Stauffer and Nate Brown each added two rushing scores.
Bulldogs QB Nathan Murdie threw a 55-yard touchdown to Brandon Baker and ran for long scores of 68 and 35 yards.
Starpoint 40, Williamsville South 6: The Spartans clinched a playoff spot and guaranteed themselves a home playoff game.
Brendan Gawel threw, ran and caught a touchdown for Starpoint. Aaron Chase completed 14 of 20 passes for 169 yards and two scores and also caught Gawel’s TD pass for 3 yards. Anthony Robinson added 164 yards on the ground and a 2-yard touchdown.
Starpoint had five interceptions defensively.
Class A South
Amherst 24, Hamburg 20: The Tigers started from their own 18-yard line with 1:50 left on the clock and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Ja’kye Womack to Charles Kilgo with 39 seconds to go.
Womack completed 10 passes for 136 yards, ran for 81 more, and tossed another TD to D’Shaun Barefield for 25 yards. Barefield also rushed for two 8-yard touchdowns.
Kilgo had 129 all-purpose yards (80 rushing) and nine tackles on defense.
Iroquois 30, McKinley 15: The Chiefs bested McKinley in both the game and the standings. Iroquois clinched the third seed in Class A South, eliminating the Macks. CJ Perillo ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns, while Spencer Slachetka was critical in the possession game. He blocked a punt and forced a fumble to end the game.
Cheektowaga 44, East Aurora/Holland 12: Warriors quarterback Keshone Beal threw for 84 yards, ran for 78 and accounted for four total touchdowns. Alex Bryant was a ball hawk for the Warriors on defense, snagging two interceptions.
Cheektowaga faces Maryvale Friday for the top position in the Class B-1 standings. Both schools enter the game undefeated in division.
Maryvale 41, Lew-Port 7: Ray Blackwell made the most of his two catches, scoring touchdowns on 45-yard and 81-yard passes from Connor Desiderio. The Flyers’ QB dominated with big plays all night, needing only seven completed passes to put up 271 yards and three touchdowns.
Depew 44, Olean 41: The Huskies took a 41-38 lead with about three minutes remaining, but Depew’s Sean Miller responded with an 86-yard kickoff return to the Olean 3-yard line. Jeremy Clark pounded it in, but the Wildcats needed a bend-but-not-break defensive stand to seal the victory. Olean drove about 50 yards down the field, but Depew stopped the Huskies at the 7-yard line with 45 seconds left on the clock.
Depew quarterback Joe Pagano accounted for five of the Wildcats’ six touchdowns, throwing for three and running for a pair. He also completed two 2-point conversions, both runs. Chad Biersbach caught seven passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, while Dante DiRienzo put up 39 yards and two touchdowns on just two catches.
Dunkirk 18, Albion 15: The Marauders pounded the rock, with 309 of their 315 yards coming on the ground, to clinch the Class B-2 championship. Quantavis Kleckley was the focal point of the offense, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Jaziah Rivera ran for 31 yards and two touchdowns.
Malique Carter and Peyton Moreland had strong outings on the defensive end, combining for 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Lackawanna 50, Tonawanda 0: The Steelers clinched at least a share of the Class B-3 title with their blowout win. Khalil Horton ran 13 times for 209 yards and five touchdowns, one TD shy of the school record. The scores came from 6, 1, 32, 55 and 15 yards.
Noble Smith threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Juan Rodriguez in the second quarter. Jakwon Ingram also ran for a 12-yard score in the stanza.
Medina 58, Alden 34: The Mustangs and Bulldogs traded touchdown for touchdown in the second quarter, as they combined for 56 points (36 for Medina).
Medina QB Izaiah Rhim had a career day, passing for 197 yards, rushing for 145 and totaling seven touchdowns (four passing, three rushing). William Braswell had 205 total yards, 187 on the ground, and two touchdowns.
Jalin Cooper caught an 83-yard TD pass and had an interception on defense. Mason Lewis had eight tackles.
Class C North
Cleveland Hill 60, Eden/North Collins 0: Aaron Wahler excelled on both sides of the ball, rushing for 157 yards and returning an interception for a touchdown in the shutout.
The victory along with JFK’s loss clinches at least a share of the Class C North title. Cleveland Hill plays JFK next week with a chance to secure sole possession.
Wilson 52, JFK 28: The Lakemen put up 548 yards of total offense, 357 coming threw the air thanks to quarterback Steven Frerichs. He went 15 for 23 with six total touchdowns (four passing, two rushing). Marcel Wilson was the main beneficiary of his success, catching three balls for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Westmorland ran for 88 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Class C South
Southwestern 62, Gowanda/Pine Valley 0: Junior quarterback Cole Snyder went 11 of 12 passing for 210 yards and four touchdowns to get the Trojans back on track after two straight nonleague losses.
Alex Card caught four balls for 99 yards and a pair of 25-yard TDs. Brian Burns scored three times on a 9-yard run, a 35-yard punt return and an 18-yard pass. Vinny Certo had 15 tackles on defense.
Akron 27, Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton 8: Akron’s Jacob Sarow ran 26 times for 211 yards and three scores of 49, 14 and 24 yards, as the Tigers evened their record to 3-3. Brandon Orr was 4 of 8 passing for 122 yards and a 70-yard TD pass to Robbie PeQueen.
Canisius 49, Massillon Washington 35: Joel Nicholas ran for three touchdowns and 80 yards as the Crusaders downed the 13th best school in Ohio. Canisius outscored Massillon, the second-winningest football program in the nation all-time, 28-14 in the second half.
The Canisius offense put up 424 yards, with Jayce Johnson throwing for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Paul Woods was his leading receiver, catching five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Pioneer 22, Springville 0: Senior running backs Wake Kless (15 carries, 90 yards) and Caleb Riordan (16 carries, 95 yards) led the Panthers to their third straight win. Kless scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter and on a 29-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Pioneer QB Nick Rinker (59 yards passing) only threw three times, but Mike Rigerman was there for all three catches, including a 21-yard touchdown before the half. Rigerman made 13 tackles on defense and had a fumble recovery that led to a score.