West Genesee lineman Adam Wierbinski (74), a star on both sides of the bal for the Wildcats, deflects the pass of Binghamton quarterback Andre Yevchinecz in last Friday’s Class AA regional final. WG lost a 36-35 classic to the Patriots as a last-second field-goal attempt went wide.
A singular season for the West Genesee football team had come down to a single kick.
With time running out and his team trailing by one, Evan Stefano had an opportunity to give his Wildcats a victory in a wild, memorable Class AA regional playoff game against Binghamton at Vestal's Dick Hoover Stadium.
But Stefano's 31-yard field-goal attempt was snapped high, and booted wide left. As a result, the Wildcats had to stomach a 36-35 defeat to the Patriots, and its championship season concluded with a record of 10-1.
Of course, the mere fact that it came down to Stefano's kick was a combination of Binghamton's tenacity and courage, along with WG's inability to hold three different leads in the second half.
The courage part for the Patriots came with 34.3 seconds left. Trailing 35-28, Binghamton had driven from its own 36-yard line to the Wildcats' goal line, keyed by a 23-yard pass from Andre Yevchinecz to Kevin Rowe. One play later, Kareem Leaver scored on a three-yard touchdown run.
Instead of kicking the tying extra point (it had gone four-for-four on PAT's so far), the Patriots decided to go for two, and the lead. Running the same play as the TD, Yevchinez took a long snap, gave it to Leaver, and watched Leaver barrel into the end zone.
Binghamton led by one, but it wasn't over. WG, with all three of its time-outs, had a proven quarterback in Matt Naton, and the senior promptly delivered passes to Teddy Glesener and Sean Howard that put the Wildcats in scoring position one last time.
A short pass from Naton to Glesener put the Wildcats on Binghamton's 14 with 2.5 seconds to play, leaving it up to Stefano. But the high snap prevented him from getting a solid foot on the ball, and it hooked wide.