Jerry Tutwiler had a premonition.
But unlike most premonitions, this one came true. The Kenmore West football coach had a feeling just before Saturday's kickoff that his team would jump out to a big lead against Clarence. West scored twice in the game's first four minutes and once more on the last play of the first half and eventually beat Clarence, 38-14, in a battle of Division I North unbeatens.
"I thought that if we made some plays, because I knew they were going to come up and jam the run, we might be able to get a few touchdowns quick, and that's what happened," said Tutwiler. "That was my premonition before the game, never expecting it though."
The defeat was the first at home for Clarence since a 15-14 loss to Sweet Home in the sixth game of the 1997 season.
West drove 64 yards on eight plays on its opening drive before Scott Haynes scored on a 6-yard run. Clarence fumbled on its first play from scrimmage, and West capitalized when Haynes scored again, this time on a 2-yard run. The drives helped the Blue Devils establish the run and was the start of a long afternoon for Clarence.
While the Kenmore West offense was busy lighting up the scoreboard, the defense was doing its job, forcing four fumbles. "When they turned the ball over, we had a short field to go, and I could tell as the game went on, by the way we were coming off the ball, we could pretty much run at will," said Tutwiler.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils' offense was struggling. They had just three first downs in the first half and completed just one pass through three quarters. It was an uncharacteristic showing for Clarence, ranked No. 7 in the state and No. 3 in WNY.
"Kenmore West came over and just kicked our butts," Clarence coach Tom Goddard said moments after a lengthy postgame meeting with his team. "What we did today was wake up a sleeping giant. We told them they could play with us right in the beginning by giving up that touchdown and then another touchdown. It was 14-0 and they got stronger and stronger."
Clarence broke through in the third quarter when Charles Madison ran 62 yards on a fake punt. The Red Devils would score again with 6:10 left in the game when senior fullback Matt Opipare scored on a 5-yard run.
Kenmore West senior quarterback Jason Cicatillo kept the Clarence defense honest, throwing for 118 yards, all in the first half. Senior Allen Gale kicked five extra points and had plenty of distance on a 22-yard field goal.
It was the first time the schools had ever met on the football field.
The Blue Devils are currently No. 20 in the state and No. 5 locally, but that should change if the gigantic wins continue.