Davis, McKinley Score Hard Fought First Win Over Will North
McKinley football head coach Brian Davis, a Williamsville North graduate, had his eyes set on the Macks’ season opener against the Spartans since the summer.
What a homecoming it turned out to be.
A strong defensive effort combined with multiple big plays powered McKinley over the Spartans, 20-12, in a battle of Class A1 squads on Friday night at Williamsville North High School.
“I told [my team] I went to school here, so this means a lot to me,” said Davis. “Being a Williamsville native and coming out here…we had to get the W. I stressed that, and kept stressing it, and the guys pulled out the victory.”
North got out to a swift 6-0 lead thanks to a six-yard Scott Hopkins rush on their opening drive. However, the Macks took the game over from there.
After a Takeo Funderburk rush helped put McKinley up 8-6, quarterback Dajuan McGee connected with Jayden Mcilwain on a curl route and Mcilwain did the rest, taking it 57 yards to the endzone and extending the Mack advantage to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Following a scoreless second quarter, McKinley’s Henry Hunter received the second half kickoff and delivered an electrifying run back, sprinting 96 yards for the eventual game-sealing touchdown and marking twenty unanswered points for the Macks.
“We had key blocks from our line blocking downfield,” said Hunter on his kickoff return touchdown. “We needed the blocks that we got so I could hit the outside.”
While the offense and special teams got the job done, so did McKinley’s defense as the Macks forced two turnovers and defensive end Sam Moss blocked a field goal and a punt.
While a David Bass ten-yard run cut the McKinley lead to eight early in the third quarter, it was a mostly sputtering Spartan offense and inexperience that would cost North an opening day victory.
“We had a big graduating class last year, so for a lot of kids this is really their first live action playing,” said Will North coach Mike Mammoliti. “It’s not an excuse, but they got their ears wet. We told them it was going to be a man’s game, so hopefully they learned something and now we just have to build off this.”