Wildcats get defining win over state champs

As a whole, the West Genesee football team ran over to the stands at Wildcat Stadium that, seconds earlier, were shaking with noise not heard at these games in a long time.

Players and students mixed together, sharing hugs and high-fives, knowing they had witnessed what could turn out to be a transforming moment in the football program's history.

Down by double digits to defending state Class AA champion Auburn last Friday night, the Wildcats refused to quit, sustained two long and effective scoring drives, and played big-time defense at the end to beat the Maroons 13-12.

Even witnessing the celebration from afar, head coach Steve Bush said he understood the good feelings.

"Our kids have gone without recognition for a long time and they really deserve this," he said.

More than 2,000 fans crammed the stands in Camillus, braving the hot and windy conditions to witness a game where every point proved to be precious.

Each side would drive deep into opponents' territory in the first half, only to turn it over. Auburn's Matt Hoey fumbled on WG's five-yard line into the end zone and Nick Aiken recovered for a touchback, while Wildcat quarterback Tim Moran coughed it up, too, in the second quarter as his team tried to get on the board.

Late in the second quarter, the Maroons, with the wind at its backs, marched 69 yards to the first points of the night. From the 12-yard line, Chris Gomez rolled right, threw high -- and Hoey leapt up and caught it for the touchdown.

Down 6-0, WG tried to answer before halftime, driving again into Auburn territory before Moran was sacked and fumbled, allowing Auburn to recover and go into the break in front.

Those turnovers were discouraging enough. But the Maroons made it worse when, late in the third quarter, Ismail Brooks took a punt at the 50-yard line. Brooks ran right, then went back left and picked up big blocks to go down the left sideline all the way to the end zone to double the Wildcats' deficit to 12-0.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment