Williamsville South was on a mission Thursday at Amherst. The Billies wanted to get coach Joe Licata his first victory at the school.
The Billies trailed the entire game and looked like they were on their way to their first 0-3 start since 2018.
The thing about looks is they can be deceiving.
Following an Amherst fumble at the 5:32 mark of the fourth quarter on South’s 15, the Billies were suddenly back in business. They needed to go 65 yards on likely their last drive of the game, and did exactly that, to head home with a thrilling 40-36 victory over their neighbors.
The Billies (1-2) leaned on Jason Green, who willed the team down the field and scored a 5-yard touchdown with 19.7 seconds remaining in the fourth. It was a defining drive for the Billies, who are in a new era under Licata and Green as a transfer from Lockport. With Licata's family in attendance, his team pulled out his first win at South in memorable fashion.
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"It's wonderful, I'm glad I'm here," Green said. "I'm glad I got his first dub with him."
"Our seniors, they really took over," Licata said. "We are very young and in games like this you need your young guys to grow up fast and your older guys to play like super experienced players. They did that tonight."
Green finished the game with 10 carries for 138 yards.
"You have to be able to run the football to win games," Licata said about Green. "His ability to throw and run really took over for us tonight and they didn't really have an answer for him. Our running backs did a great job blocking for him running the ball and he made some plays ... he made offense out of nothing and he's fun to run offense for."
Green is sharing quarterback duties with sophomore Caiden Overkamp, who was on junior varsity a season ago. Overkamp is getting varsity experience on the fly, and will be able to learn from a former Division I quarterback in Licata and a veteran at the position in Green.
Williamsville South has a problem many teams would like to have with two legitimate passers. Overkamp ended the night on 18-of-26 attempts for 255 passing yards.
"It's because they're both great, that's the simple answer," Licata said. "I try to find ways to get our best 11 players on the field and those two guys are great football players."
Licata sees a bright future for Overkamp, calling him "the smartest player on our football team."
Teams are usually representative of their coach, and with Licata's pedigree the team had a pass-heavy offense throughout the game until their final drive.
Overkamp’s favorite target was senior Davis Peoples, who had eight catches for 114 yards.
The play of the game came in the first quarter when he and Overkamp connected on a 47-yard flea flicker on the Billies first play of the game. Throughout the game, Williamsville South ran multiple trick plays, showing they aren't afraid to gamble in order to score.
"They're a part of our offense," Licata said. "We call them exotics. it's just a part of our offense. I think if you can generate a big play, I don't care how you do it, just generate big plays."
Amherst's crucial fumble cost them their first 2-1 start in recent years.
Despite Williamsville South keeping it close, the game seemed to lean Amherst's way most of the night.
Their offensive game plan was simple: rush the ball. Senior Caleb Nicholas had his way with the Billies defense, carrying the ball 25 times for 173 rushing yards, along with one reception – a 20-yard touchdown. Nichols had three rushing touchdowns. His backfield mate Wyatt Bair had 17 carries for 157 rushing yards.