Springville had endured its share of tough losses this season and on Friday night it returned the favor.
The visiting Griffins stunned undefeated Cheektowaga, 22-14, in a Class B semifinal. Springville recovered a fumble with 1:48 left and ran out the clock to earn its first trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium since 1997.
The Griffins (5-4), losers of their first four games by 1, 6, 4 and 8 points, have made a dramatic turnaround to win their next five. They will play Alden (9-0), a 28-21 winner over Depew.
“I think they know who they are and have a belief in themselves,” said Springville coach John Sopko. “We kept them working day-in and day-out and didn't give them a chance to wallow in their setbacks. We kept them busy and focused and we persevered until our fortunes changed. These kids have shown a tremendous amount of character.”
Jamestown 42, Frontier 14: Junior Daquan Hollings rushed for 193 yards and three TDs as the Red Raiders earned a return trip to the Class AA final.
Jamestown was hanging on to a 21-14 lead going into the fourth quarter when Frontier blocked a punt.
The Falcons were driving when LB Mike Watson intercepted a pass on his own 7-yard line and returned it 93 yards. “It was huge, that was a potential 14-point swing,” said Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy. “Mike caught it in stride and he got plenty of separation. It got us up by two scores, and at that point the kids felt the game was close to swinging in their favor for good.”
West Seneca East 37, Williamsville South 12: The Trojans will take a 9-0 record when they make their first trip to The Ralph since 1987. They can credit their defense for knocking off last year's Class A finalists after intercepting four passes and returning two of them for TDs. Mike Waterman had a 94-yard pick six and Andy Simgiera had a 98-yarder to highlight a 24-point fourth quarter. Ryan Johnson recorded 12 tackles. Scott Ackerman rushed for 106 yards and opened the scoring with a 24-yard TD catch. Sam Cohen scored on a pair of short rushing TDs in the second half as the Billies ended their season 5-4.
Cleveland Hill 42, Wilson 7: The Eagles earned their second straight trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium with a convincing win. Wilson scored first on a 24-yard run by Chris Reid only to have the Eagles strike back on their next possession, on the way to scoring 42 unanswered points.
Brandon Thomas had four rushing touchdowns to go with 137 yards. “He's becoming a great inside runner for us,” said Eagles coach Glen Graham. “At the varsity level he's had to be off-tackle and inside, and he's getting better at it.”
Senior QB Jacob Radlich threw for 149 yards with his favorite target being Jared Watkins with four catches. Ny'Juan Rainey caught a 56-yard TD pass and Jonathan Thomas closed out the scoring on an 11-yard run.
Randolph 35, Silver Creek 14: Jordan Dowiasz scored three times and finished with 169 yards as the Cardinals advanced. Dylan Foust had nine tackles with four sacks and Lucas Brown added eight tackles.
Randolph coach Pat Slater said his team grabbed the momentum early. “We fumbled on the 3-yard line and held them, and then the kids gained some confidence that they could stop them, and that kept us going.”
Maple Grove 36, Portville 15: Oliver Simpson rushed for 231 yards and four TDs as the Red Dragons will defend their title. Derek Johnson had nine tackles and Aaron Germaine added eight tackles.