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Bulldogs Upset Blue Devils, Win Nailbiter

Bulldogs coach Patrick Veltri couldn’t believe it.

Five years into his tenure as the head football coach at Kenmore East, Veltri had come away as the loser each time the crosstown rivalry between the Bulldogs and Kenmore West Blue Devils. Four previous attempts against them turned into four straight times that Veltri wasn’t able to walk away with bragging rights.

Until now.

A 22-18 upset victory by Veltri’s team on Saturday at Crosby Field over their longtime nemesis not only gave the Bulldogs their first win of the season, but also gave them a sense of sweet satisfaction.

“It’s a big one. It’s a rivalry game, it’s special, so whenever you can get a win you take them,” Veltri said. “It’s been a tough year. We’ve had a lot of close games and a lot of games that could have been close. And I just told the boys yesterday and today – there’s something special about rivalry games that makes everything else right when you win one, so hopefully it made our year right this year.”

Senior quarterback Emery Lange was overcome with emotion following the final gun.

“We came here more ready than I’ve ever witnessed,” Lange said. “The energy in the locker room… I just knew that we were going to come out with this win. It was different than the rest of the games from this season. It’s about time we finally pulled through. Winning this game means everything. It’s indescribable.”

The Bulldogs grabbed the first lead of the game on a short touchdown run by Lange but Jared Diaz answered back quickly on a score of his own. A few minutes later, Zac Boyes connected with Jacob Alvarez from 41 yards out to make it 12-7 in favor of the Blue Devils, but Lange found pay-dirt again on a two-yard scamper to close out the first quarter.

After a scoreless second quarter marked by good defensive play from both squads, Eddie Vona gave the Blue Devils an 18-15 lead after a five-yard run got into the end zone. Again, each team fought tooth-and-nail until a late turnover by Kenmore West gave the Bulldogs good field position – leading to Dom Ferguson taking a handoff 14 yards to the house to put his team up by four with three minutes to go.

With slightly more than a minute left and 97 yards to go to get the lead back again, the Blue Devils marched down the field methodically until an ill-advised lateral turned into a fumble – giving the opposition the ball back and sealing the win for Kenmore East.

For Kenmore West, it was a disappointing loss but one that the team will need to get over quickly. With the postseason starting next week and a showdown with Grand Island looming, Blue Devils coach John Haynes believed that the loss could help his roster going forward.

“The bottom line is we’ve just got to regroup, get back at it and do what has gotten us to where we are now,” Haynes said. “Not only is this a wakeup call, but it’s a great life lesson for these kids that you just can’t look past things in life. Hats off to Ken East, they had our number today and they played very well and executed. Unfortunately we didn’t when we needed to. We just need to have a good week of practice and get ready for Grand Island.”

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