WNY Athletics


The Grand Island Vikings continued their recent hot streak on Saturday by downing the Williamsville East Flames 48-14.

Since falling in their season opener to Starpoint 35-14, the Vikings have won four in a row by a combined score 147-56 – an average score of 37-14 – and coach Dean Santorio credited the experience of quarterback Cam Sionko and the depth of his offense for their success.

“It helps that Cam has pretty much been a four-year starter for us,” Santorio said. “He knows what we want to do, he’s adapted and he’s gotten better every year.

“I also can’t say enough about our receiving corps – how smart they’ve become in their route-running – and our offensive line’s pass protection has been fantastic. We’ve been much more efficient since Week One, and we’ll keep working to get better, because we want to be playing our best football by playoff time.”

The Vikings got on the board first following a long drive that culminated in Easton Speer scoring on a three-yard touchdown. That drive, according to Santorio, set the tone for the rest of the game.

“The best thing about our receiving corps is that it’s extremely deep,” Santorio said. “It’s good that a team can’t look to stop just one guy. We really want to stay as balanced as possible, and we’re not afraid to feature all the guys we have.”

After an interception, the Vikings scored again before the first quarter ended with a two-yard scamper into the end zone by Blake Bielec. It seemed that the rout was already on, but the Flames wouldn’t go away, as a fourth-down, 19-yard flea flicker from Cal Shifflet to Ryan Meade got Will. East on the board.

Grand Island, however, would impose their will on the Flames before the half was over. With 2:45 left in the first half, Jack Dlugokinski took a handoff four yards up the middle for a touchdown, and on the Vikings’ next drive, Sionko made perhaps the best play of the day.

While at the Flames’ 10-yard line, Sionko dropped back to pass and saw no one open. He then rolled to his right, still saw no teammates open, and then spotted Josh Oursler open on the left side. Sionko then heaved a pass to the left corner of the end zone, and Ourlser came down with it, giving the Vikings a three-score lead heading into halftime.

“I think this has all been a product of the hard work we’ve done on the practice field,” Sionko said. “We’ve been going harder every single day, and we’ve been getting better. As each practice – and each game – goes on, we’re just growing more confident in ourselves, and we make less and less mistakes.”

Will East’s Clayton Osborne attempted to make a game out of it by punching in an 11-yard score midway through the third quarter, but it was to no avail. Sionko accounted for the next two touchdowns by connecting with Justin Gorrell for an 18-yard score and also plunged into the end zone on a quarterback sneak. One last touchdown run by Ryan Jellinick from 30 yards out late in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for Grand Island.

Next on the docket for the Vikings is Kenmore East, and Santorio said that his team will treat the Bulldogs with the same amount of respect that they would give to any other opponent.

“They’ve come a long way and they’ve got some good athletes,” Santorio said. “They’ve gotten better and they’re more confident. We definitely won’t take them lightly because we don’t want to have any letdowns, especially on homecoming weekend.”

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