Weekly Feature



2017-10-12 / Sports

Perfect record stays intact for West football’s finale

by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter

West Seneca West’s varsity football team has a shot at securing its first regular-season division title when it hosts crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday. West Seneca West’s varsity football team has a shot at securing its first regular-season division title when it hosts crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday. West Seneca West’s football team moved one step closer to posting its first undefeated effort in the regular season since 1995 — and first divisional title since 2004 — when it took down Lake Shore with relative ease, 49-6, in a rare Thursday-night contest.

Quarterback Matt Myers also cemented his status as one of the best to play the position for West, tying the school record for most passing touchdowns in a season thanks to the three he completed during a 12-of-18 night throwing the ball. Myers’ connections with Jesse Broad — Broad caught an 8-yard pass to open the game’s scoring and a 7-yard pass to close out West’s first-half effort — and Alex Wayland gave him 13 passes for touchdowns on the year, tying the mark set by Dawson Broad just two years ago.

Myers also inched closer to Dawson Broad’s record for passing yardage in a season, as his 197 yards on Thursday gave him 1,048 for the year. The current record, also set in 2015, is 1,392 yards.

“Lots of things have to happen for the passing game to go right, and though we still have some things to work on we definitely took a step toward being able to be firing on all cylinders with the playoffs around the corner,” coach Mike Vastola said. “We wanted to get there, try some things and execute Thursday while focusing on our passing game, and we did that. And what’s even more impressive is that Matt’s been doing what he’s done without finishing just about every game we’ve played so far.”

West, which surrendered the only touchdown by Lake Shore in the first quarter on what Vastola conceded was “a breakdown,” took a healthy 35-6 halftime lead thanks in part to a 21-point surge in the second quarter. Myers had a hand in two of those three scores, first breaking off an 18-yard run to boost the Indians’ lead to 21-6, and then finding Broad for the second time on the night from seven yards out to lift West’s lead to 35-6. In between those scores, Juston Johnson threw a 7-yard touchdown strike to Luke Wilhelm.

Broad also scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter.

West tacked on single touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters, with Wayland’s 29-yard reception in the third quarter bumping the Indians’ lead to 42-6. Jacob Cooper then capped the scoring in the final stanza with an 8-yard run.

“We executed well on offense for the most part, and our defense, other than that one breakdown, played pretty decently too,” Vastola said. “We had a distinct challenge of getting the game plans in and enough reps during a short week of preparation, and with them running a double wing offense that was really crucial. Fortunately the guys understood the game plan, and if you take that one breakdown away we basically held them in check.

“Plus, our back-ups scored on offense and shut down their defense too, and that’s what we wanted to have happen.”

Speyer led West’s ground game with 62 yards on five carries, while Jake Cooper finished with 41 yards on 10 carries. Myers added 37 yards on five carries, while Liam Scheuer did the same on eight carries. Johnson chipped in with 35 yards on his long carry of the night. Jesse Broad, meanwhile, led the receiving efforts with 107 yards on seven catches.

Defensively, Scheuer had 10 total tackles (4 solo) and two sacks to guide West, while Josh Wilson added eight total tackles. Nick Knowles chipped in with seven total tackles, while Jesse Broad had two total tackles and a forced fumble for the Indians (6-0, 5-0 Class A South), who will look to complete their quest for a perfect regular season Friday when they host crosstown rival West Seneca East Friday.

“Home-field advantage for the playoffs is on the line, because we’re tied with South Park right now and have the same record against common opponents — so if we both win, it’ll come down to point differential, and we’re in good shape there,” Vastola said. “We’re going into this game facing a lot of positive what-ifs that a lot of these guys have not faced previously. East is a good opponent and we have a lot of respect for their players and program, so it’s going to take a great effort on our part to come out on top this weekend. The boys know what’s at stake for sure.”

West, which will be honoring its seniors at the game, will also be selling wristbands through the West Crushing Cancer Club to help former Indians coach Joe Cantafio in his Real Men Wear Pink fundraising initiative. Wristbands should be available for purchase by the admission gate.

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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