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West Seneca East finally bests rival West Field goal with :04 left kicks away 14 years of frustration for Trojans

West Seneca East hadn't beaten West Seneca West in football for 14 years.

East fans will be talking about the 2008 rivalry game for at least that long.

Max Mueller, an exchange student from Germany in his first year playing football, kicked a 22-yard field goal with four seconds left to give host East a 17-14 victory over West Friday night.

The tie-breaking field goal was Mueller's first of the season; he had tried and missed his only other attempt. The winning points were set up by an interception by Ethan Murphy with 42 seconds left in the game. Murphy jumped an out pattern and picked the ball off right in front of a raucous East sideline.

"It's the first time we've got the helmet," West Seneca East coach Jim Maurino said of the ceremonial award given to the winning rival, a tradition that began in 1999. "It's unbelievable. You can't make this stuff up."

West (0-7), which plays in the ultra-tough Class AA South, took a 14-0 lead at halftime and looked headed toward its first win of the season and a 15th straight rivalry victory. Mike Kus started the game by returning the opening kickoff for an 80-yard touchdown; he then added a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

East's comeback began with Anthony Ramat's 75-yard interception return early in the third quarter, which set up Bill Fildes' 12-yard touchdown run. However, the extra point attempt failed due to a bad snap.

No. 10 large school East (5-2) was able to tie the game after a drive that began when it stopped West's fake punt attempt. A 30-yard pass from Andy Pangallo to Tyler Tangelder helped set up a 1-yard scoring run by Joe Giardina with 3:04 left.

East then tied the game on a two-point conversion run by Pangallo, who took a shotgun snap and sprinted just inside the right pylon.

Andy Breen had 14 tackles for East while Murphy had nine. Pangallo had 14 rushes for 67 yards.

"We talked with the players all week about how this game was bigger than them," said Maurino, in his fifth year coaching West Seneca East -- but a 1991 graduate of West Seneca West. "We told them it was for all of those guys who played before them the last 14 years. And a lot of guys from the last three or four years were there at the end celebrating -- it was great."

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