West Genesee fans are used to seeing their team in a celebratory pile in the middle of the field at the end of a state championship game, so the happy scene that played itself out Sunday night on the turf of the Carrier Dome should have looked familiar.
Except that this was football, not lacrosse.
At long last, the Wildcats are known for something other than wielding the sticks in the springtime. They now hold the proud title of 2007 state Class AA football champions.
Led again by the wizardry of senior quarterback Tim Moran, West Genesee left little doubt in last Sunday's Class AA championship game, beating Monroe-Woodbury 42-21 to complete an improbable journey from middle-of-the-pack obscurity to the highest possible peak.
"It still hasn't sunk in yet," said senior defensive end Dan Kolinski. "It's such an amazing feeling. Our players now have the respect they deserve."
And it was quite fitting that the final chapter was written in the Carrier Dome, where Wildcats head coach Steve Bush served time as an assistant at Syracuse University before taking over WG's program in 2005.
Bush said winning here brought back good memories, but added that the real story was how his team answered every challenge given to them.
"It's real satisfying," he said. "We have a great group of kids that had fun and stayed loose, but knew when it was time to step up. Week after week, they produced, and (today) they went out in style."
Moran was quite stylish all by himself. He led four scoring drives in the first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 182 yards, and finished 19-for-27 for 272 yards. He was the easy choice for game MVP honors.
"After beating Orchard Park (a week ago in the state semifinals), we came into this game with a lot of confidence and poise," said Moran. "All the hard work paid off. We started strong and finished strong. It's an amazing feeling."