Visiting Cleveland Hill crushes Wilson's 2012 hopes for the Ralph.
By Mike Meiler Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The Wilson football team’s unforeseen run through Class C ended Friday night with the Lakemen’s 42-7 loss to visiting Cleveland Hill at Walter J. Hutchison Field.
Wilson (6-3), expected to fight for the final playoff berth in C North, ended the regular season with the No. 2 seed after some fortunate tie-breakers.
The Lakemen ran over Westfield-Brocton in the quarterfinals, but failed to build off that momentum against the Golden Eagles (7-2), who were the No. 3 seed in C North.
“(The Golden Eagles) brought it. They pushed us around,” Wilson coach Bill Atlas said. “They’re a super tough team, and that’s the best they’ve played all year. I told our guys before the game that we needed to be at our best to beat these guys, and we weren’t. And they were.
“If they play as well next weekend (in the Section VI Finals at Ralph Wilson Stadium) as they did today, they’ll definitely take the championship.”
The Lakemen appeared to play off the momentum of last week’s win early. After receiving the opening kickoff, the offense drove 68 yards in six plays for senior running back Chris Reid’s 9-yard touchdown. Danny Myrto’s extra point capped the early 7-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles answered with a four play scoring drive of their own when running back Brandon Thomas ran one in from a yard out. Quarterback Jacob Radlich ran in the two-point conversion, giving Cleve Hill an 8-7 lead — and one that it would never relinquish.
The Lakemen went three-and-out, and a 46-yard touchdown pass from Radlich to Ny’Juan Rainey extended the Golden Eagles’ lead.
Thomas scored three more touchdowns during the middle quarters as the Golden Eagles’ size and athleticism proved dominant.
Wilson quarterback Tim Walch struggled, throwing two interceptions and fumbling a handoff attempt. The junior appeared jumpy in the pocket as the Cleve Hill pass rush harassed him all game.
“He’ll come back stronger,” Atlas said. “He’s the youngest of a group of brothers that have all played for me and were all gym rats. He’ll put in the work, and another year in this offense, making these reads, will be great for him.”
After the game, as the dejected Wilson players left the field, Atlas called his seniors to him for a final huddle. He thanked them for their time and everything they’d done for the program.
“We’re a small school, and we’ve had some small senior classes in recent years,” he said. “If we get a group of seven seniors, we’re doing good, and this year we had 15, most who were with us all four years. We couldn’t have done everything we have as a program without them.”