It didn't matter that everyone at Williamsville's District Field knew that the ball was going to Chris McDuffie.
The junior tailback scored on a 3-yard run on the game's final play as the Williamsville North football team edged rival Williamsville East, 16-13 in overtime. The non-league contest was played on Thursday instead of Friday in observance of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.
"It was a straight dive, and the line opened up a good hole, and I took it," McDuffie said.
The run capped a 269-yard effort on 40 carries for McDuffie and helped North win its second overtime game of the season and move to 3-2 overall.
The game was played in 40-degree temperatures making the 50-cent cup of hot chocolate a big seller at the concession stand.
The Flames managed to score during their possession in overtime when senior kicker C.J. Coy booted a 37-yard field goal. Coy was summoned on fourth down only after three consecutive passes fell incomplete.
"We tried a couple passes in the overtime that we thought were open, but they got defended excellently," said East coach Dan Kelley, whose team falls to 3-2. "Our defense did play good. We had three goal-line stands, we just came up one short."
Coy forced the game into overtime when he connected on a 35-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in regulation. The clutch kick, with the scoreboard staring him in the face, was his first field goal of the season.
The beginning of the game wasn't nearly as exciting as the ending. Adam Fatzinger kicked a 37-yard field goal to give North a 3-0 lead in an uneventful first half.
East took the lead at 7-3 in the third quarter when Rob DiPirro scored on a 2-yard run to cap a four-play, 35-yard drive. A diving grab along the left sideline by tailback Jeff Wolf from quarterback Brian Donnelly went for 27 yards and set up a first-and-goal.
McDuffie put North ahead, 10-7, when he found the end zone on a 21-yard sweep. "He's played great all year," said North coach Jim Calandra. "He's a great two-way performer. His second effort and open-field moves are second to none."
It wasn't a big day through the air for either team, especially North which had several drops. Wolf, Donnelly and Larry Best had interceptions for East while Mike Ruckdaschel and Tyson Runles had picks for North.
"We've usually got some pretty decent receivers that catch the ball well," said Calandra. "I don't know what happened today."
Williamsville South 26, Amherst 18
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Billies erased an 18-6 second-quarter deficit and beat the Tigers.
South LB/FB Mark Burley had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and rushed for 60 yards. He was in on 12 tackles, giving him 84 tackles in five games. Sophomore tailback Nick Martone had a breakout game going over 100 yards for the first time. He rushed for 116 of South's 315 yards on 20 carries and scored twice on 1-yard runs. Quarterback Rashawn Turk added 88 yards on the ground and found Brandon Woods on an 11-yard pass. South improves to 3-2.
"We kept it on the ground. Amherst hardly had the ball in second half," said South coach Mike Kelly. "We just dominated between the tackles. Amherst got in a position where they had to pass."
Amherst rushed for most of its 271 yards in the first half. Amir Shareef led the Tigers (2-3) with 130 yards on 14 carries and one score.