Oct 30, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A brilliant all-around performance by Dale Ross helped give the Westhill football team a chance to win its third Section III Class B championship in four years.
The multifaceted Ross carried the Warriors on both sides of the ball as it beat Holland Patent, 48-28, last Friday night at Solvay’s Earl Hadley Stadium in the Class B semifinals.
The junior had 27 carries for a career –high 306 yards and four touchdowns. He also had two interceptions on the defensive side and threw a TD pass to Jake Burgess in the fourth quarter.
“That was the best performance I have seen throughout Dale’s whole career,” said head coach Gary Griffo. “He was phenomenal tonight. It seemed like whenever we needed to score, Dale made it happen.”
In the first quarter, Westhill raced out to a 14-0 lead, scoring on its first two possessions. Using just four plays, it scored as Ross cruised through the right line of the defense untouched for a 51 yard TD run.
Moments later, defensive end Tom Trendowski recovered a fumble at the 50 yard line. Ross ran twice for good yardage, and Dan Fetter threw a 24-yard scoring pass to Trendowski, who doubles as the Warriors’ tight end.
Holland Patent was resilient and, for a while, rose up to the challenge, scoring twice on its next three possessions to tie it, 14-14.
The Golden Knights’ first scoring drive came when their offense drove the ball to the one yard line. Quarterback Jared Keyte plunged into the end zone for the first score.
In the second quarter, HP blocked a Westhill punt, and got excellent field position at the 26-yard line. On the next play, Keyte threw to the end zone and found Erik Porter to tie things up.
All this seemed to do, though, was push Westhill to a higher level of play, as it took command for good with 22 unanswered points before halftime.
Ross (who else?) got it going, sprinting 44 yards for his second TD of the night. Right after, Carter Cywilko belted a 30-yard field goal, making it 24-14.
Then came the night’s signature play. Working from his own 20, Fetter was pressured by HP’s Jeff Sam and scrambled all the way back to the end zone, where he had little choice but to heave it.
Sensing the breakdown, Ross broke out of his pattern, came back to catch Fetter’s seemingly desperate fling, then broke several tackles on his way to the end zone, a remarkable 80-yard touchdown play that seemed to break the Golden Knights’ spirit.
As if to add further insult, Dale Ross intercepted Keyte to set up Fetter’s 14-yard TD pass to Jim Ross just before the break.
Now up 36-14, the Warriors still had some work to do in the late going. Dale Ross added to his total by going 83 yards for a fourth TD in the third quarter. Then, in the final period, Ross took a pitch and threw to Burgess for the final score.
This sets up a potential epic in Saturday’s Class B final in the Carrier Dome. Westhill, at 9-0, meets 9-0 Cazenovia at 5 p.m.
Simply put, the Lakers have demolished everyone in its path this season, outscoring its nine victims 420-29. Mostly, that domination is based on a ferocious defense that has earned five shutouts, including last week’s 48-0 blanking of Homer in the Class B semifinals.
Much of this game will hinge on whether Dale Ross can make big plays against a Cazenovia front seven that includes stars like David Etter, Artie Bigsby and Brandon Moyer. At the same time, the Warriors will need to contain Moyer and Brian Bartlett, the anchors of a potent Laker running attack.
All season long, Westhill and Cazenovia have stood far above the Class B crowd. Now, they’ll turn toward each other with a title on the line.