The Wilson Lakemen and John F. Kennedy Bears knew coming into their matchup on Saturday afternoon that their game had a huge indication of the playoff bracket in Class C North. The two teams both played an extremely exciting game at JFK, but the Lakemen took the win on the Bears’ homecoming, 33-26.
The leads throughout the game kept going back-and-forth before Wilson took the lead in the 2nd quarter and held onto it until the final quarter. A safety tied the game up at 26-26 with 8:58 to play. Wilson and their offense stormed down the field and got a clutch 13-yard touchdown catch from Justin Daul to Matt Kitcho to seal the win up for the Lakemen with 51 seconds left.
“I’ll take the win,” Wilson head coach William Atlas said. “It’s sometimes tough because I want to run the ball, in high school football you want to be able to pound the ball. We’ll take what they give us, but Daul threw the heck out of the ball today and we are on his shoulders.”
Daul, a senior, was the main key to the Lakemen’s success. He finished the game going 12-for-20, throwing for 237 yards, finding the end zone four times and was intercepted twice. Despite the interceptions by the defense of JFK, Daul had a very impressive day and he gave all of the credit to his receivers and their route running.
“Those guys run really nice routes. They run really hard on their routes,” Daul asserted. “Whether it’s a run or pass, when it is a pass, the defense is fooled and I find them open.”
The 6-foot-2 quarterback was able to take advantage of that route running, specifically from sophomore Marcel Wilson. His only catches ended up both going for touchdowns of 50 yards and 49 yards. Kitcho, a junior, had three receptions for 75 yards and two scores in the win.
JFK’s offense shined at certain moments throughout the game. Junior quarterback James Bailey had a season-high amount of attempts (28), completing only 11 of them. He passed for 155 yards and two touchdowns. His touchdown passes were to Jordan Snyder and Dalton Fischer, who were the lone two Bears to bring in receptions on the day.
Snyder had to step up his role for JFK as he was taking over for Brandon Kohl, who sprained his ankle last week during their game at Lackawanna. Snyder sure did step up his role in all aspects. The 6-foot-2 senior caught seven passes for 101 yards, while adding a rush for 5 yards. Not only on the offensive side of the ball did Snyder perform well, he did so on special teams and on defense. He returned two punts for 54 yards, while adding two tackles and an interception to his stat sheet.
“Wilson was hungrier and wanted it more than us,” JFK’s head coach Jeff Sabatino said following the loss. “They came out and took it from us, and that falls on me. I didn’t have my team prepared for the magnitude of that game. As the head coach, that’s my job and I didn’t get it done today.”
The Bears (3-2) will play their final non-league game next Friday night when the team will take the trip down to the southern tier to play the Allegany-Limestone Gators for a 7:00pm kickoff. Following their game with the Gators, the Bears will play their annual divisional matchup with their archrival down Harlem Road, the Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles.
Wilson, also 3-2, has completed their divisional schedule in Class C North and will finish with a 3-1 record, having safely secured a playoff spot. The Lakemen will tune up for the playoffs with games against Alexander (of Section V – Rochester area) and against their rival, Newfane. Coach Atlas said following the win that he is quite happy with where his team is headed.
“We haven’t made the playoffs since 2012. That was a statement game for us,” he stated. “If things go the way they’re supposed to, that’s us hosting a playoff game, so I feel pretty good.”
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