ORCHARD PARK — The Lakemen chartered into stormy waters Saturday night.
Although it was a 14-14 battle at the half, Southwestern was able to romp Wilson, 53-21, in the Section VI Class C Final. The Trojans were able to knock the Lakemen out of the postseason for the third consecutive season.
Things were back and forth early on, with the Lakemen taking the Trojans’ best punches in the first half. Drew Westmorland would set himself up for a wildcat-QB TD pass, after he was on the receiving end of a razzle-dazzle hook-and-ladder play.
He would toss another TD pass as well, connecting with Jared Jaques on a fourth-down play to knot the game at 14 before the half. Westmorland kept doing as much heavy lifting as he could, adding another score on a 74-yard screen play to tie the game at 21 early in the third quarter.
The Trojans won the war from there. Fast forward through a 20-point third quarter, followed by a 19-point fourth, and you had the makings of a Southwestern (10-0, 6-0 C South) victory.
Wilson (9-1, 5-0 C North) may have run out of steam, which is something head coach Bill Atlas discussed post-game.
“I think we just started getting worn down a little bit there,” Atlas said. “We’re really a roster of 20 and we had 16 JV guys up.”
The big story will be how Declan Faery and Brayden Dunlap were unable to affect the championship game. Faery was held out after suffering injuries in the win over Portville, while Dunlap also was limited in action due to injury from last week’s game too.
“When you get your first-team all-league, and probably a good chance of all-state players in Declan and Dunlap not being able to play really at all,” Atlas said. “It took its toll. (I’m) super proud of them, they never quit. I’m sure that sideline was super nervous and just a couple bad breaks, a couple turnovers that were untimely.”
Westmorland may have saved his best night for last, with him totaling nearly 200-yards from scrimmage. The defense did have its moments as well, with Westmorland (INT), Anthony Dispenza and Zane Feeley (fumble recoveries) all forcing turnovers.
It may be tough to think about in the moment, but what Wilson did this fall was tremendous. Being able to complete its first undefeated regular season, winning a Class C North division title and earning just the school’s third overall trip to the sectional final, should have the community and program very proud.
“That’s what I just told the guys, every really, really good football team in the state started the playoffs a couple of weeks ago,” Atlas said. “There’s only five that end with a win. So there’s nothing you can do, it just wasn’t our night.”
With all that was accomplished, coach Atlas was able to reflect on all that came with the season.
“(I’m) so proud of them. I walk outta here with my head held high,” he said. “We probably doubled their crowd, so again the Town of Wilson, I’ve told you before is the best traveling town in Western New York, and it showed right there.
“(I’ll think back on) how the community came together and being able to coach Bob and Luke and all the family members. I mean the article that you wrote, was right about it. This is a family affair, so that’s probably what I’ll remember most.”
For more from sports reporter Khari Demos, follow him on Twitter @riri_demos. Also, tune in to Khari as a guest in Tony Caligiuri’s ‘Inside High School Sports,’ 10 a.m. Saturdays on WGR550.