The Williamsville East Flames defeated the Kenmore West Blue Devils in stunning fashion Saturday. The Flames, working with a short field late in the 4th quarter rallied to beat the Blue Devils 20-16 on homecoming weekend.
With temperatures in the low 80’s at kick-off, it didn’t take long for Williamsville East to turn up the heat. On Kenmore West’s first possession, the Flames defense forced a fumble when Danny Wagner popped Blue Devils QB Ahmadi Faisal. John Moran recovered the football and returned it 22-yards to the house to take an early 7-0 lead.
Ken-West rebounded on their following possession. Joe Stewart capped a 70 yard drive with a 6-yard TD run and then ran in for the two-point conversion moments later to give the Blue Devils an 8-7 lead that held up through the end of the 1st quarter.
The Flames struggled offensively for most of this game. Will East had 3 plays of 10 yards or more called back due to undisciplined penalties.
The Blue Devils were very conservative in the play calling department and ran the ball effectively. Erick Rainey scored on a 5-yard TD run at 4:18 of the 2nd quarter. Eddie Vona extended Ken-West’s lead to 16-7 after another successful 2-p conversion.
It was easy to see why head coach John Haynes stuck to his running game throughout the afternoon. The Flames struggled in stopping the run. When the Blue Devils tried to throw the ball, Will East made plays.
Late in the 2nd quarter Nick Kieffer picked off Adam Fron’s pass and returned it deep into Ken-West territory. That helped set up the Flames second TD of the day. Joey Shifflet caught a 2-yard TD pass from Colson Skorka with under a minute to play in the first half. The extra point attempt was blocked and the Blue Devils took a 16-13 lead into halftime. Shifflet TD
The Blue Devils continued to ground and pound the Flames throughout the 3rd quarter. But as luck would have it, Will East forced yet another turnover. Fron fumbled as he was hit in the backfield while the Blue Devils were driving. The Flames recovered and ended the Ken-West threat.
Will East stepped up their run defense in the 4th quarter, containing Stewart and Rainey. The Flames took over on downs with under two minutes to play in the 4th quarter.
Skorka completed two quick passes to both Shifflett and Kieffer to move the chains down to the Blue Devils 10-yard line with 1:18 remaining. Seconds later Skorka found Kieffer over the middle for the game winning touchdown. “We just took what they gave us,” Skorka said after the game. “The last play, they thought we might have run a sweep. It all worked out.”
The win for the Flames (4-1) assures themselves of at least a third place finish in Class A North.
“They (Ken-West) were pushing really hard” Flames head coach Mike Torillo said. “This is the second week in a row we played against a big line like that. We rotated guys in all day to keep them fresh, it was a hot day. They may have been getting tired.”
Torillo is in his first season as football coach at East. “One game at a time, today we wanted to play one quarter at a time. This is a great group, these guys come to practice every day ready to work. We are a balanced football team but we need to play better for a full four quarters,” Torillo said.
The Blue Devils have now lost five straight after opening up the season with an impressive win over Class AA Niagara Falls. But it has been all downhill from there in the win-loss department. Ken-West has not been able to close out these kind of games. The Blue Devils coughed up three fourth quarter leads in the past four weeks.
Coincidentally, the Flames have done just the opposite. They’ve won three of the last four, coming from behind. “That speaks to the kids resolve,” Torillo said. “These kids don’t know how to quit.”
Coach Haynes was not interested in talking immediately following this most recent defeat.
“We just make too many mistakes, turning the ball over and stuff,” Rainey said after the game. “It’s not just one or two guys, it’s all of us. It’s been a disappointing season but we still have one game left.”
The Blue Devils (1-5) welcome their rivals the Kenmore East Bulldogs (1-5) next Saturday.
Williamsville East will ride out to Grand Island (4-1) Friday night where they take on the Vikings at Gene Masters Field. The Vikings blanked Sweet Home Friday 28-0.