Bishop Timon-St. Jude came into Friday night's marquee matchup of Western New York's opening weekend for high school football without its standout running back from last season.
It took just 18 seconds to let everyone know that Timon would be just fine at that position.
JD Recor ran for a 65-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game as the Tigers recorded a tremendous season-opening win, roaring to a 21-0 halftime lead as they beat Williamsville South, 21-14, before and estimated 1,500 at South's District Field.
Timon won the rare matchup of elite large schools from Section VI and the Monsignor Martin Association despite the absence of junior Adam DiMillo, an All-Western New York honorable mention at running back last year.
DiMillo, a Maryland-bound lacrosse player, is out about a month due to a lacrosse injury. Recor, also a standout for the three-time reigning Monsignor Martin lacrosse champions, took over and had several excellent runs during a 160-yard first half.
On the first play, Recor ran right, used a burst of speed to get to the sideline and then just outran defenders for a 65-yard touchdown to put Timon up, 7-0, only 18 seconds in.
"I just wanted to step in and do my part with Adam gone," said Recor, a 5-foot-8, 165-pound senior. "I didn't expect to do the things I did tonight. I owe it all to the line."
The statement victory for Timon and the Monsignor Martin Association was tempered by Tiger injuries to starting senior quarterback Ryan Dougherty (knee) and senior receiver Bryant Fulton (ankle).
"We'd be a lot happier if we came out of here with our guys being able to walk," said Timon coach Charlie Comerford. "With Ryan going out, it might be an ACL. It changes the whole mood of the whole team and myself. Ryan's worked so hard for this moment."
Timon continued to dominate the play in the first half with a 24-yard touchdown by senior fullback Jackson Brown, a blocked punt, and it stopped South's best drive of the first half with sophomore Derick Simpson's interception of senior standout quarterback Trent Ferguson deep in Timon territory. Timon added a touchdown through the air as Dougherty hit senior Lewis Vacarro for a 10-yard score and a 21-0 lead with 7:37 left in the first half.
Timon had trouble moving the ball after Dougherty went out with his injury early in the second half. South made it 21-7 on its first drive as Ferguson hit Kam Varner for a 10-yard TD pass.
Timon's defense held on just enough, as Recor broke up one fourth-down pass, and Tom Gioia (three extra point kicks) intercepted Ferguson deep in South territory with 3:21 left to play. South got a late touchdown as Ferguson hit Sam Cohen for a 6-yard score with 38.5 seconds left to make it 21-14. Timon recovered the onside kick.
"We'll be better," said South coach Kraig Kurzanski. "We should do this [public schools playing private schools] more often. It's more than a [nonleague game]. When these rare events come up, it's a showcase. It's just great for high school football."
Bishop Timon-St. Jude at Canisius, 4:30 p.m.
St. Francis at Nichols, 5 p.m.
Orchard Park at Lancaster, 5 p.m.