The last time Wilson played championship football at New Era Field, it was 1990. The stadium was called Rich Stadium, and Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills were marching towards their first Super Bowl.
That 29-year drought is over after the Lakemen pulled off a 26-21 comeback victory over Portville on Friday night at Wilson’s Hutchinson Field in the Class C semifinals.
With 1:22 left in the game and no timeouts, down 21-20, Wilson quarterback Bobby Atlas connected with Julian Andreola on a deep crossing route for a 66-yard game-winning touchdown.
“We noticed they were in man and they were favoring our tight end side,” said Lakemen coach Bill Atlas, Bobby’s father. “We ran a deep switch and my outside receiver was able to get inside and Bobby put it right on the numbers.”
Atlas finished the game 13-of-24 for 115 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite targets were Andreola, who had 93 yards and the long touchdown, and tight end Declan Faery, who had 62 yards and another Wilson score.
Faery sealed the game with an interception with 50 seconds to spare to send Wilson to the championship.
Class AA semifinals
Lancaster 28, Jamestown 7: Quarterback Jason Mansell took an 8-yard run into the end zone to capitalize off a Jamestown turnover and build a 21-0 Legends’ lead and Lancaster upset top-seeded Jamestown.
Orchard Park 21, Bennett 14: The Quakers’ Jack Sharp orchestrated a comeback victory in the second half with his arm and his legs.
Down 14-7, Sharp was able to find Peter Liberatore for a 30-yard game-tying touchdown with six minutes to spare in the third quarter.
Four minutes later, the Quakers’ signal-caller took off on a 72-yard touchdown run that gave Orchard Park the lead for good.
Mike Pataky was a star on defense. He had 14.5 tackles, 13 of which were solo, and four of which were for a loss.
Orchard Park and Lancaster will square off in the championship game on Friday at 8 p.m. at New Era Field.
Class A semifinals
South Park 36, Grand Island 23: The Vikings kept the Sparks’ explosive offense at bay for much of the game and forced four turnovers.
However, Grand Island couldn’t capitalize on South Park’s mistakes and fell behind at halftime, 12-3.
Ben Moskala made it 12-10 on a quarterback sneak but South Park got one right back. Branden Brown returned the ensuing kickoff to the 14-yard-line and Keith Jackson ran it into the end zone from there.
Class B semifinals
WNY Martime/Health Sciences 42, Pioneer 7: The Falcons punched their ticket to their first-ever Class B title by dominating Pioneer at the Johnnie B. Wiley complex.
Maritime’s offense was driven again by its signature three-pronged rushing attack.
Addison Copeland, Mekhi Bridgers and John Washington combined for 321 yards on the ground.
Copeland had an 80-yard jet sweep he ran for a touchdown and also ran a punt back 70 yards for the game’s first scoring play.
Albion 21, Olean 14: The Purple Eagles outgained the Huskies, 341-199, as they punched their ticket to the Class B championship against WNY Maritime/Health Sciences.
Quarterback Thomas Furmanski was efficient for Albion. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for six points.
Brilliance Johnson did the rest for the Purple Eagles. He rushed 11 times for 141 yards and another touchdown.
Albion and Maritime’s championship is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. at New Era Field.
Class C semifinals
Southwestern 49, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton 6: The Trojans did what they have done best this season – score quickly and often.
Tywon Wright had two rushing touchdowns in the first half of four and seven yards as the Trojans built a 21-0 halftime lead. Dom Certo had five catches for 127 yards at the half.
Wright finished with 11 carries for 85 yards and three touchdowns. He also made seven tackles on defense and recovered a fumble.
Class D semifinals
Franklinville/Ellicottville 35, Salamanca 0: Logan Frank threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Titans await the winner of Clymer/Sherman/Panama and Randolph, who play Saturday.