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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Last minute heroics lead East over South

The Williamsville South Billies have watched several of their neighbors and opponents open brand new stadiums over the past few years. So, Friday night it was finally the Billies’ turn to opened their own.

But the rival Williamsville East Flames had other ideas.

The Flames scored a last second touchdown in an 27-24 upset win over Will South, burning the sprits of the Billies’ faithful on hand for the historic night.

On 3rd and 18 from their own 40 yard line with 40 seconds left in the game, the Flames quarterback Colson Skorka found receiver Joe Shifflet streaking across the middle of the field who took it 60 yards for the game winning touchdown.

Shifflet, a captain, hurt his shoulder and left the game for a while, but came back in for the final drive. The senior made a heads up play after getting down to the field to run across the goal line before going in the end zone in order to run some time off the clock. To top it off, he tipped the two- point conversion pass to himself and hauled it in.

According to Skorka, the play call on the last second touchdown was something the Flames didn’t even have in their playbook heading into the game.

“It’s not even a play of ours,” Skorka said. “I threw it behind Shifflet and he caught it. That’s an athlete right there.”

After the game, it was almost forgotten that the East drive started on their own five-yard line. The Flames’ first two passes of the drive went incomplete but they still kept fighting. Skorka hit Jake Falzone for 20 yards and then Skorka ran for a first down to set up the game winning play.

The drive was poetic for Flames’ head coach Mike Torrillo who has preached to his players to keep fighting all season.

“The 30 or so guys we have don’t quit,” Torrillo said. “We’ve talked about playing better fourth quarters. Tonight, they fought all game long.”

In the beginning, the visiting Flames seemed to feel the pressure of night to start of game as they fumbled on their first two plays. On the second play, the Flames didn’t come back up with the ball. Williamsville South took advantage marching down the short field until Cody Samford took the reverse in for a 4-yard score. The Billies two-point attempt failed and led 6-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

South again capitalized on short field position after a bad Will East punt. South quarterback Josh Foster ran up the middle on the first play of the drive for 10 yards and then found a wide-open Jeremy Turner in the end zone for a 23 yard touchdown pass.

But all the sudden the Flames sparked.

On the next drive, Skorka went 40 yards on a QB draw bringing East into the redzone. The junior then threw a 10 yard pass to Nick Kieffer for the Flames’ first score.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Billies’ return man fumbled the ball and Will East recovered at the South 20 yard line. A few plays later Clayton Osborn took the pitch to the left side 22 yards for a touchdown. The Flames hit the extra point to take the lead.

The pressure seemed to mount on the favorite Billies’ as Foster threw the ball to East linebacker John Orfanidis.

The Flames offense continued to roll even after a false start pushed them back from the goal line. Skorka fired a pass to Cameron Williams in the end zone for a 10-yard TD, giving the Flames a 19-12 lead at the half.

After the two sides went back on fourth for the majority of the third quarter, the Billies finally got back on the board as Foster took in the QB sneak. The South two-point conversion failed and the Flames held a 19-18 lead.

Senior Nick Huber made a heads up play for the Billies picking off Skorka and returning it into East territory.

The Will South offense fed off the pick and moved the ball down the field. Jemelle Jones took a handoff 35 yards to get the Billies down to the 8-yard line. On 4th and goal, Foster threw it up to Alex Miller for a 10-yard touchdown pass that gave South the 24-19 lead with seven minutes left.

It looked like the Billies were going to hold off underdog Will East, as they had the lead and the momentum in the game’s final minutes.

According to Williamsville South head coach Kraig Kurzanski, the Billies just didn’t finish.

“In rivalry game things happen,” Kurzanski said. “We didn’t play well enough for 48 minutes to win. They made the play at the end of the game to win it. Credit to East they played well. I’m disappointed in the result but I’m still proud of my guys.”

The upset was also the first win for the Flames under head coach Mike Torrillo.

The currently nameless complex at Williamsville South received some major upgrades including new bleachers, a new press box, a 10-lane track, new scoreboard and an artificial multi-sport playing surface. The renovations were part of the district’s capitol project that included the new complex at Will North, that opened up last year, and Will East, which will open up next Friday night.

The Flames will host Sweet Home in their first game in their new stadium. Williamsville South will host Grand Island on Friday.

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