NEWFANE — It does not get too much more heartbreaking for the Panthers in a loss like this.
Class B’s No. 7 seed Olean shocked the world Saturday by taking down No. 2 seed Newfane, 26-24. The Huskies now have a date with No. 3 seed Albion, who they will play in the second round of the Class B playoffs.
Olean would punch its ticket to the semifinals with a 79-yard go-ahead TD pass from Railey Silvis to Gavin Kulp, on 4th-and-10 as time expired. Silvis and Kulp connected for two TDs in this one, with Silvis throwing three overall in the upset-win.
These scores came in the big play variety too - Silvis was able to find Kulp and Nick Pantuso on TDs from 51, 79 and 80 yards out, respectively. Pantuso also flashed his speed on a 90-yard kick off return TD to start the second half.
QB Garrett Srock (4-9, 45 passing yards, 161 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and RB Jaden Heers (111 yards, 9.3 yards per carry) were their typical selves leading the offensive unit. Zach Snow was also on the receiving end of Srock’s lone TD pass.
Tyler Oudette got in the end zone through the air too, taking a 5-yard Josh Everett pass in for a score.
Heers played a key role defensively once again, boasting another 11 tackles in the game. He was joined by Andy Lucinski (6 tackles, sack) with a solid performance too.
Head coach Chuck Nagel could not have seen this loss coming, having been undefeated against Class B opponents throughout 2019.
“We played them tough all game. (We) led the entire game,” Nagel said. “We just gave up some big plays and bad penalties at the wrong time. ... Stuff that could’ve put them away and unfortunately we were unable to do that.”
From false starts, to offensive facemask and holding calls, Newfane seemed unable to get out of its own way. But this was a season that Panther players and fans should never forget.
From the play of Heers (913 rushing yards, 14 TDs, 89 tackles) and Srock (954 rushing yards, 477 passing yards, 13 TDs), to Everett (5 INTs) and the defense as a whole, Newfane was able to accomplish a lot in 2019, in a highly competitive Class B division.
Most importantly, no one will be able to take away the team’s B-4 division title, the program’s first since 1992.
“It was a great run. I told my boys (Friday), I did not want this to be the last time we got together.” Nagel said.
“We all felt that way ... Great team, great, great team. Great season. I enjoyed every bit of it. A lot to look forward to in the future. Man, these boys helped pave the way for the future of Newfane Panthers, I think. Giving a lot of kids in Newfane reason to believe we can play ball with the bigger schools.”
For more from sports reporter Khari Demos, follow him on Twitter @riri_demos.
Also, tune in to Khari as a guest on Tony Caligiuri’s ‘Inside High School Sports,’ 10 a.m. Saturdays on WGR550.