It was a night to remember for the West Seneca East football team – especially if you played on defense.
Five different players had interceptions Friday night as the Trojans dominated Williamsville South, 28-7, in a showdown of top 10 large schools in Class A South.
Seniors Ryan Johnson and Scott Ackerman each scored two touchdowns and the Trojans beat Williamsville South for the first time since 2008 before a happy home crowd estimated at 1,500.
With the win against the two-time defending A South champion and No. 7 large school Billies, the No. 6 Trojans are alone in first place in A South and off to their first 4-0 start since the 1999 Trojans started 5-0.
"It's huge for our program going forward and a huge credit to all our coaches at the lower levels," said West Seneca East 10th-year coach Jim Maurino. "We're feeling the benefits of that. The school is on board, everyone is behind us and it feels really good."
West Seneca East ended a three-game losing streak to South (2-2, 2-1) by intercepting standout senior quarterback Trent Ferguson (19 of 33, 206 yards) five times, four in the first half. The biggest of the picks was Johnson's 35-yard return for a touchdown that helped East go to halftime up 14-0.
Maurino credited defensive coordinators Paul Gregoire and Mark Kawalec for a game plan that his players soaked up.
"We threw a lot at the kids this week," Maurino said. "Our goal was to definitely not sit in anything too long and not give Trent the ability to sit back and pick us apart. We were able to jump to three or four different defenses and be very multiple and send pressure from different spots from the field."
After South moved the game's opening drive to the West Seneca East 19, junior Mike Waterman stepped in front of a pass to the right side to turn things around. That set up a long West Seneca East drive that ended with a 1-yard Johnson touchdown run with 3:31 left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Ferguson pump faked to the right side, then passed across the middle where Johnson nabbed the pass, ran to the left side and got some good blocking on a 35-yard interception return for a 14-0 lead with 4:10 left in the half.
"I just dropped back and it went right to me," Johnson said.
West Seneca East boosted its lead to 21-0 on a 35-yard strike from senior quarterback Andy Smigiera (8 of 11, 91 yards) to senior Scott Ackerman.
West Seneca East's final score was set up by its fifth interception, one in which junior Sam Crabtree settled under a ball intended for the end zone. The Trojans' ensuing drive ended with Ackerman's 13-yard run for a 28-0 lead.
South scored on a Sam Cohen 1-yard run with 1:19 left.
Senior Nate Sedlacek (first quarter), senior Austin Spindler (late second quarter) also had interceptions for East. Junior lineman Brandon Reilly had 10 tackles and a sack for the Trojans.
"This is huge for us," Smigiera said. "Not only beating the defending champ, but being 4-0 in what, a decade? … In the past, people didn't really give East any credit and that's what we're trying to do."