What Kenmore West's trio of Damour Bailey, Tim Hersey and Warren Hemphill can do on offense has a tendency to make you overlook how valuable they are on defense.
All three excelled on both sides of scrimmage Saturday afternoon as the Blue Devils breezed to a 27-0 victory over Jamestown in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Class AA football tournament to earn a rematch with No. 1 Orchard Park.
Senior captains Bailey and Hersey and junior Hemphill combined for 302 of the team's 323 total yards and had a hand in all four touchdowns. But they also lit it up on defense.
"These guys are great football players on both sides of scrimmage," said West coach Richard Harris. "People see what they do offensively and I don't think they see what they do defensively. Usually we put [Bailey] on the [opponent's] best player."
That was true on Saturday and Bailey responded by holding Jamestown's Jaron Pollino to one reception.
"I enjoy both," said Bailey, when asked which facet of his game he savors most. "I've just loved playing football, ever since I was young. Once you get used it, it's really not that hard [playing both ways]. We view ourselves as everything, whatever we can do to help get our team the win."
Bailey caused one of Jamestown's three lost fumbles, Hemphill intercepted both Red Raiders quarterbacks (starter Ben Cecchini, who left with an injury in the second quarter, and Brett Heath), and Hersey was in on four tackles for losses as Jamestown rushed for 116 yards on 38 carries -- just 3 yards a pop.
"We knew it would be a game of turnovers and special teams because of the weather," Hersey said after the game, while the wind howled and a cold rain pelted Crosby Field.
Hemphill picked off Cecchini on Jamestown's first possession of the second quarter and Heath on the Red Raiders' initial series of the third period.
"I thought it would be a defensive game and that it would be a closer game," Hemphill said. "But we worked hard to put together good drives and we were able to score. I enjoy playing defense more because I like to tackle and to make contact and be physical."
Kenmore West's victory gave Class AA North a split of the quarterfinals against the South. North Tonawanda, which defeated Clarence, 37-0, on Friday night joined the Blue Devils in the victory column while Orchard Park blasted Niagara-Wheatfield, 70-13, and Lancaster defeated Lockport, 42-0, for the South.
Pride was on the line for members of both divisions.
"I hope it finally brings some respect to this North Division," Harris said. "NT did a nice job beating up on Clarence last night and we did our job beating Jamestown."