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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Indians Spoil Sweet Home’s Historic Night

Friday, September 9th, 2016 will forever be a day to remember in Sweet Home football history. It will go down as the day that Sweet Home football hosted its first ever Friday Night Lights game. However, the Panthers did not open their brand new turf and lights the way they wanted to, as it was the West Seneca West Indians who left the field Friday night as winners, 13-6.

In the 1st quarter, the two teams went back and forth with possession until the very end. The Indians were driving down the field into the red zone looking to score, when Sweet Home’s Melvin Williams picked off a pass in the endzone. The following play, however, a Joe Torrillo pass was tipped and West’s Mitch Bednarz picked it off to give the Indians the ball.

But as the 2nd quarter started, the turnover-fest wasn’t over as Sweet Home’s Nate Faller came up with a pick of his own. With a few minutes left in the half, the Indians were driving and were given a big boost with a personal foul call on Sweet Home, putting them in the red zone. Before the half ended QB Jesse Broad ran it in for 3 yards on the keeper to give the Indians the 7-0 lead at halftime.

In the 3rd, Sweet Home was knocking on the door. The Panthers were given great field position at the West Seneca West 33-yard line thanks to a muffed punt. A few plays later Torrillo found Williams for 20 yards, only to have the ball come loose at the end of the play for the Indians to recover.

Torrillo ended the game 16 for 24 for 162 yards, an interception and a touchdown through the air in the loss.

The Panthers scratched and fought their way back into the game in the 4th quarter. Torillo found Nate Faller across midfield, who then took it for a 38-yard score, bringing Sweet Home within a point of West Seneca West with 8 minutes left in the game. After going back and forth with possession again, the Indians got back on the board as Mike Velasquez scored from 8 yards out. West Seneca West failed on the two-point conversion leaving Sweet Home with a chance to tie or win it with one score.

However, on the historic night the Panthers had no magic. After a declined penalty by Sweet Home, the second kickoff went over the heads of the returners and the Panthers’ offense was pinned down at its own 10 yard line. Sweet Home could not move the ball in the last few minutes.

Heading into the game West Seneca West Head Coach Mike Vastola didn’t want his team to shy away from the moment, “we talked about ruining their inaugural game” said coach, “we told them take it one play at a time…as long as we’re still standing we can still make a play”.

Mike Velasquez had 126 yards on 18 carries. The sophomore attributed his success in the game to his offensive line, “I trusted my line, they played great” said Velasquez.

QB Jessie Broad was stepping up for the Indians as the season starter Brenden Tait was out on an injury. Broad ran the ball 16 times for 100 yards.

“It was a close game all the way…we made a few more mistakes” said Sweet Home Head Coach John Faller, “they pushed us around more then we pushed them around”.

Sweet Home had an extended halftime where school district leaders were honored for their work to make the turf stadium possible. Former players in attendance from all the way back in 1959, to players who just graduated were also honored.

Sweet Home (1-1) will now look to get its first win on the new field next week as they host Class A rival North Tonawanda on Friday night at 7 pm. Next week, West Seneca West (1-1) will host defending State Champ, South Park, Friday night at 7pm.

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