Jake Swan sat down on the Southwestern bench late in the first half of Friday night's Class C South football game, pulled off his helmet and took a long drink from his water bottle.
It was a break well deserved.
For all the junior did in less than two quarters of action was score three touchdowns - courtesy of a 42-yard fumble return, a 35-yard run and a 32-yard pass reception - to help the Trojans, the state's top-ranked team, to a 39-12 victory over Cassadaga Valley at Charles A. Lawson Field.
The win, Southwestern's 34th straight, raised its record to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the division, heading into next Friday's showdown at unbeaten Fredonia (5-0, 4-0) with the league title on the line.
The Hillbillies, who defeated Allegany-Limestone, 33-27, in overtime to set up the much-anticipated contest, should know all about Swan, because the 5-foot-10 wideout/defensive back/quarterback has been making plenty of headline-grabbing plays in the season's first month.
''We talk about him every week,'' Southwestern coach Jay Sirianni said. ''He's a special player.''
John Mistretta of Southwestern (34) is congratulated by teammate Justin Funcell after a scoring a first-half touchdown in the Trojans’ 39-12 win over Cassadaga Valley. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Blessed with speed and quickness, Swan has found paydirt this season in virtually every way possible. He didn't disappoint the large homecoming crowd last night.
Swan's first touchdown came on in the game's opening minutes when teammate John Mistretta forced a fumble and Swan scooped it up at the Cassadaga Valley 42 and raced into the end zone for the score. Junior Nick Swanson booted the first of three successful extra points, giving the Trojans a 7-0 lead at the 9:15 mark of the first quarter.
It didn't take Swan long to find the end zone again.
After the Cougars (1-4, 1-4) were stopped on a fourth-and-short run deep in their own territory, Southwestern took over and, two plays later, Swan - playing quarterback - kept the ball and raced 35 yards for the touchdown, pushing the lead to 13-0 with 6:46 remaining in the opening period.
Mistretta, who finished with 140 yards on 13 carries, scored the third TD of the period when he burst 18 yards, putting the game essentially out of reach.
Senior quarterback Jimmy Rauh, who completed 5-of-7 attempts for 78 yards, connected on a 6-yard touchdown pass to senior Justin Funcell early in the second quarter and found Swan from 32 yards five minutes later, sending the Trojans into intermission with a 33-0 lead.
''Lined up at receiver, at quarterback or in the slot, you have to be aware of where (Swan) is,'' Sirianni said. ''He's a game changer.''
Southwestern closed out its scoring on its first possession of the second half when junior Dan Petruccello bulled in from the 3. That TD was set up by Mistretta's 50-yard run.
The Cougars got on the scoreboard twice in the fourth quarter, courtesy of junior Mike Lanphere's 9-yard run and junior Dylan Caldwell's beautifully thrown 75-yard pass to sophomore Jordan Boughton.
''I'm very proud of them,'' Cassadaga Valley coach Nick Spitzer said. ''They don't have any quit. ... What we set out for at the beginning of the season was to put together a foundation. I think we've done that. I'm very happy with them. Southwestern is a great team and a great program. ... I do feel we've definitely improved against a spread offense since the Fredonia game (a 55-16 loss in Week Two).''
NOTES: With the win, the Trojans have the fourth-longest unbeaten streak in Western New York history. Only Canisius (42-0-1), Riverside (40-0-1) and Lackawanna (37-0-0) are ahead of them. .... The Trojans were led defensively by senior Tyler Uber with 10 tackles and sophomore Peter Trathen added nine. ... Senior Josh Kubera had nine tackles and junior Brenden Winder contributed seven for the Cougars. ... Junior Charles Clutter was Cassadaga Valley's top ground gainer, finishing with 70 yards on 17 carries. ... Lanphere chipped in with 59 yards on 12 carries. ... Southwestern's honorary captains were the Conley brothers - John, Todd and Pete. ... The singing group For His Glory, comprised of Tom Keefe, Dave Keefe, Kurt Sturzenbecker and Dan Schwob, sang the national anthem. The Keefes and Sturzenbecker are Southwestern graduates.
Cassadaga Valley 0 0 0 12 - 12
Southwestern 19 14 6 0 - 39
SW-Swan 42 fumble recovery (Swanson kick)
SW-Swan 35 run (kick fail)
SW-Mistretta 18 run (pass fail)
SW-Funcell 6 pass from Rauh (Swanson kick)
SW-Swan 32 pass from Rauh (Swanson kick)
SW-Petruccello 3 run (kick fail)
CV-Lanphere 9 run (run fail)
CV-Boughton 75 pass from Caldwell (pass fail)