Another nail-biting finish, another win for Williamsville East football.
The Flames rallied from a nine-point deficit to earn a 20-16 victory over Kenmore West in a Class A North contest Saturday at Will East.
Nick Kieffer's 10-yard touchdown catch with 1 minute, 13 seconds left gave Williamsville East the lead for good as the Flames continued their winning role since starting the season 0-2.
The Flames now have a chance to play for a top-two seed as they visit fellow one-division loss team Grand Island on Friday night at Gene Masters Field.
Grand Island and Will East are both 4-1 in the division. Starpoint, which beat Will East, is 5-1 in Class A North and guaranteed to host at least one playoff game. Starpoint closes the regular season against Lockport in a nonleaguer.
Playoff bound: The Flames secured their postseason spot prior to kickoff because two of the teams they defeated during the season – Williamsville South and Sweet Home – each lost Friday. South and Sweet Home close against each other which means one of them will have a third loss – which would have been the maximum number of defeats Will East could have amassed heading into Sdew3aturday's game with the Flames owning head-to-head tiebreakers.
Hot start: The game couldn't have started any better for Williamsville East's defense. On Ken West's third play, Danny Wagner crushed quarterback Ahmadi Faisal on a sack that caused a fumble scooped up by John Moran, who took it 22 yards to the house to give Williamsville East the lead just 1 minute, 12 seconds into it.
Resolve: Kenmore West quickly overcame that and unleashed its ground and pound, driving 72 yards in 14 plays – all runs – to surge into an 8-7 lead. Joseph Stewart capped the drive with a 6-yard run and then ran in the conversion to give the Blue Devils the edge.
Keep away: The power game of Ken West kept the Flames' offense off the field for most of the second half. It also produced the Blue Devils' second TD although it took one key completion to keep the 80-yard, 16-play drive alive – a 22-yard pass play from Andrew Fron to Jacob Poumitt. Erick Rainey ended the drive with a 5-yard TD run. Eddie Vona ran in the conversion to make it 16-7 with 4:18 left in the second quarter.
Turning point: A 40-yard interception return by Nick Kieffer late in the second quarter put the Flames in position to cut the lead to three before halftime, which they did on a 2-yard TD catch by Joey Shifflet.
Comebacks and such: This was the third time the past four weeks the Flames mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to pull out a win. Meanwhile, Kenmore West lost a game it held a lead for the fifth time.
Records: Williamsville East is 4-2, 4-1 in division; Ken West is 1-5, 0-5.