The Class A state football championship still could remain in the Town of West Seneca. But if it does, it’ll move to the other side of town.
West Seneca East claimed its first Section VI football title since 1981 and dethroned its arch-rival at the same time, controlling the fourth quarter in a 20-13 win over West Seneca West in the Class A title game on Thursday at New Era Field.
“Fifteen years just nose-to-to the grindstone,” WSE coach Jim Maurino said. “We’ve got a bunch of tough-nosed kids that work hard for us. I’m proud of my kids, proud of my program. We plug away, we do things the right way; to finally get rewarded with a sectional title feels really good.”
The Trojans’ snapped the Indians’ 24-game winning streak that dated back to 2016. Two wins in that run were in the annual Week 7 Battle of West Seneca.
“Man, it feels good to snap that streak. Let’s get it,” East sophomore Devare Mathis said. “But in the end, this is just another win. We just have to keep working and keep going at it.”
Star senior Shaun Dolac caught a TD pass to tie the game and then ran for the winner – all in the fourth quarter. He ran for 135 yards on offense, collected 20 total tackles on defense and averaged 36 yards on four punts in the rain.
“I’ve been saying all along, he’s the best all-around player in Western New York,” Maurino said. “There’s a lot of guys that do a lot of things well out there, but there’s nobody that does as many things as well as he does. Everything he does, he does really well, all three phases. And what stands out for me is his effort and his toughness. He’s playing the same in the fourth quarter as he is in the first. Guys can’t hang with him at that point.”
West held a 13-7 lead at halftime and after a sloppy third quarter, seemed primed to grind out a low-scoring win. Dolac and friends disagreed.
On a fourth down play with 7:11 left, Dolac and Zach Arnone got creative on a broken play. Dolac lined up at quarterback and then handed off to Arnone, who passed back to Dolac for the game-tying 17-yard TD.
“Jet sweep to Zach,” Dolac said. “He didn’t see anything good and I just screamed his name and he turned around and threw it to me. It wasn’t really planned but it worked out in our favor.
After forcing West to punt twice from its own end zone, the Trojans took advantage of the great field position and ultimately Dolac’s one-yard TD run gave the Trojans the lead for good with 1:51 left.
“It feels great,” Dolac said. “We always have the non-believers out there but since January we thought we could make it and we got the job done today.”
West Seneca West took a 14-7 halftime lead thanks to touchdown runs of 11 and 12 yards by John Speyer. After the first one, though, Mathis had an answer, returning the kickoff 73-yards for the tying score.
“That was huge,” Maurino said. “He’s been a guy that makes big plays. Every time he touches the ball, there’s a chance for him to go. To answer back like that was huge; to get it back to 7-7 right away, that was huge.”
Speyer ran for 106 yards to lead the Indians (9-1). Mike Glinski was in on 17 tackles for West.
“They made plays when they had to,” West coach Mike Vastola said. “Dolac stepped up. We made mistakes at inopportune times. You can’t win them all.”
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