BROCKPORT – West Seneca West's goal is simple. The Indians want to keep playing football, specifically through the end of the month.
The only way they can keep doing that is by winning.
Matt Myers made sure they at least lived to play another week with the big-game performance one would expect from a future Division I player.
Myers' first play in a New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association playoff game went pretty well. So too did a bunch of plays after that as the senior quarterback finished with 425 all-purpose yards and had a hand in five touchdowns as West Seneca West held off Section V champion Wilson Magnet, 40-22, on Friday night in a Far West Regional Class A contest.
Myers scored on runs of 76 and 11 yards to highlight a 19-carry, 203-yard effort. He also passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns, including a huge 74-yarder to Kyle Haettich as West remained perfect through 11 games.
"It's a great honor to play here," Myers said. "It's a great time I'm having right now. Our goal is to keep on playing until we can't play anymore."
The first time Section VI champion punched its ticket to its first state semifinal, where it will face the Central Region champion at 8 p.m. next Friday at Union-Endicott High School.
In frigid conditions that included some snow flurries at Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium, West seized the lead for good in the first quarter. Myers' first offensive play in a state tournament game didn't go for a touchdown, but the 34-yard run got the Indians off to a great start. He capped that drive with a pretty 28-yard screen pass to Bryan Ball as Myers sucked in the defenders and lofted the ball to the open running back.
On the Indians' next drive, a potential punt on fourth-and-13 turned into the play of the scoring march as Myers had space on the right side and took off on an 18-yard dash. Earlier in the possession, Myers and Luke Wilhelm connected on a 36-yard pass play on third-and-18. The drive ended with Myers' 13-yard pass TD pass to Juston Johnson (4 receptions, 76 yards).
West had a great chance to go up three touchdowns but a fumble near the goal line was recovered in the end zone by Wilson.
The Wildcats rode the momentum from that stop and put up some points as Rickey Gamble caught a 56-yard TD pass from Dasjon Dash.
West Seneca West responded before halftime with Myers' 11-yard touchdown. He hooked up on a 24-yard pass play with Johnson on the drive, which also gained a boost from a 15-yard personal foul on the Wildcats.
West increased its 21-8 halftime lead on the third play of the third quarter. It was Myers, taking it to the house on his 76-yard run.
After Wilson (9-2), whose only loss prior to Friday came against Class AA school McQuaid, pulled within 27-14 on Dash's 11-yard score, Myers took to the friendly skies, launching a perfect pass down the left sideline that Kyle Haettich ran under for a 74-yard score to make it 33-14.
"He's a competitor, he's a battler," West coach Mike Vastola said of Myers. "That pass down to Haettich was huge for us."
A good kick return and penalty on WSW gave the Wildcats a drive start at West's 15 after that score. Wilson capitalized on that possession, ending it with Desi Floyd's 5-yard scoring run and Dash's two-point conversion to make it a nine-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
After the Wildcats tried to ride momentum of forcing a turnover on downs at their 38 into more points, West's defense responded with a stop of its own that basically ended the Section V champion's comeback bid. A group of West defenders stuffed a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 for no gain at the Wilson 47 with 7:19 left.
That was the defensive stand of the game for the winners as the Wildcats had three downs to gain a yard to extend the four-and-out possession but failed to do that against West.
John Speyer capped the scoring with just over a minute left for West.
"That was a tough team with a tough (defensive) front," Vastola said. "I'm proud of these guys."