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Takeaways Fuel Engineers

It’s a pretty simple formula for winning football games: get takeaways and turn them into points.

The Hutch-Tech Engineers got five takeaways Friday night and turned four of them into touchdowns en route to a 34-14 win over the Williamsville South Billies in a Section VI non-league matchup at District Field.

“The general stat is that anything plus-three (turnover ratio) you have a good chance of ending up with a ‘W’ on the scoreboard,” Hutch-Tech coach Tony Truilizio said. “It happened in all phases. In special teams, we had one. We had a couple interceptions. It was a great all-around job.”

The Engineers got their takeaway fest started right away, forcing then recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff. They capitalized on the opportunity immediately. Senior Antony Whitfield took the keeper 32 yards for the score, putting Tech up 6-0 just 15 seconds into the game.

Williamsville South lost the ball again as they fumbled on their first offensive play of the game.

Whitfield scored again, this time a 24-yard pass to Darion Jones, taking a 12-0 lead with 5 minutes left in the first quarter.

“It felt amazing,” Whitfield said. “That’s what pumped us up and got us the victory.”

On the ensuing drive, the Billies began to settle into the game.

A roughing the passer call on third and long gave Will South the ball at midfield. That was followed up by Jemelle Jones taking a screen pass for nine yards.

Battaglia capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 12-7 early in the second quarter.

Later, Hutch Tech ended a promising drive for Will South with its third takeaway of the game. Senior Xavion Baines came up with the pick giving the Engineers the ball at their own 35.

Senior tailback David Bradshaw led the way on the ensuing drive with runs of 17, 11 and 13 yards before Jayden Robinson capped off the drive finding Khyree Jeader for a 26-yard touchdown pass, putting Hutch Tech ahead 20-7 at the half.

Similar to the opening half, the Engineers got off to a quick start in the second. Robinson threw a long pass to Whitfield for the 66-yard score the first play from scrimmage give extend the Hutch Tech lead to 26-7.

Both Robinson and Whitfield split time at quarterback Friday night with Whitfield also lining up at running back and wide receiver. It’s something the Engineers plan to continue doing.

“(Whitfield) is a tremendous student-athlete,” Truilizio said. “You’re going to have to prepare for us. (Robinson) threw a few touchdowns and then Whitfield provides a changeup.”

Williamsville South’s offense began moving the ball downfield only to have it end with another Engineer takeaway. Senior Emmanuel Geegba got the interception and returned it 40 yards to the Billies’ 18-yard line. The Engineers capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run from Bradshaw.

Despite the deficit his team faced, Jones showed no signs of giving up. The senior running back had runs of 13 and 10 yards before capping the drive off with a 20-yard touchdown run to cut the Tech led to 20 points.

“(Jones) plays so damn hard,” Williamsville South coach Kraig Kurzanski said. “I love him and that’s why. He’s one of the best players in Western New York.”

Williamsville South was looking to make a comeback attempt when Mike Masecchia came up with a pick deep in Tech territory. However, the Billies gave it right back as they fumbled the ball on the next play.

“(Turnovers) don’t help when you’re a young team,” Kurzanski said. “You can’t turn the ball over on the first play of the game. We had a chance to come within two scores with a quarter left and we fumbled on the one-yard line.”

The performance was especially gratifying for Hutch-Tech after Truilizio took over the team just a few days before practices began.

“It took a lot of maturity by everybody,” Truilizio said. “I think everybody knows what the common goal is and that’s to make it to the Stadium. If you have dissension between each other then you’re not going to get past the first game.”

Next: Hutch-Tech hosts defending Class AA runner-up Lancaster Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Williamsville South will welcome Class A3 foe West Seneca East for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

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