Wolfpack Can’t Be Stopped In 53-12 Win
SILVER CREEK — The Clymer/Sherman/Panama Wolfpack had one of the most memorable seasons in Chautauqua County high school football history a year ago, ending with a New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D state championship.
Last week, the Wolfpack won 28-0 at Geneseo to kick off their title defense, but C/S/P wasn’t satisfied with the outcome, especially in the first half.
Saturday night in Silver Creek, the Wolfpack got off to a start even they could be proud of with 40 points in the first half, featuring four passing touchdowns, a 63-yard rushing score and a defensive touchdown. In the end, the Wolfpack defeated Silver Creek/Forestville 53-12 in nonleague action.
“It was a big statement. After last week, we only won 28-0 and we played a really bad first half,” Wolfpack quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale said. “It was a statement about our team and everybody around us, that we can score on both sides of the ball. We have a team that is very resilient and very tough. It could take us a long way.”
“This is the kind of football that we’ve come to expect of our guys to play,” C/S/P head coach Ty Harper said. “We made some uncharacteristic mistakes last week, so we wanted to get on track early. We put an emphasis on explosive plays.”
It didn’t take long for the Wolfpack to get on the board. On the game’s first drive, Hinsdale found tight end Braden Cook wide open across the middle of the field for a 53-yard touchdown.
“We blew three coverages,” Silver Creek/Forestville head coach Sean Helmer said. “(Hinsdale) is an excellent passer, but it’s a lot easier when there’s nobody covering it.”
On the ensuing drive by Silver Creek/Forestville (0-2, 0-1), a poor snap went over the head of quarterback Dominic Jamison, who was unable to fall on the ball. After pinballing off multiple players, C/S/P defensive end Owen Gratto picked the ball up and carried a tackler into the end zone for a touchdown. One tick less than three minutes into the game, the Wolfpack (2-0) held a 14-0 lead.
Things didn’t get much better for the Black Knights from there. After a three-and-out, C/S/P found the end zone quickly on another big play, as Connor Cooper received a pitch from Hinsdale and took off down the sidelines for a 68-yard touchdown run. The snap on the extra point was bobbled, leaving the score at 20-0 less than five minutes into the contest.
“They outplayed us,” Helmer said. “They were more physical than us, they outcoached me, and hats off to them.”
Just under three minutes into the second quarter, Hinsdale found Cameron Barmore wide open in the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to extend the C/S/P lead to 27-0 after an extra point. On the next Wolfpack drive, Hinsdale connected with Zavon Overton on a 50-yard touchdown to stretch the lead to 33-0 with 7:36 left in the first half.
“He executes. He puts the ball where it needs to be and we couldn’t really get to him,” Helmer said of Hinsdale. “He put the ball on the money, on time — he’s a really good quarterback.”
The Black Knights got on the board for the first time on the next C/S/P drive, after a fumble was recovered by Jake Smith and returned 45 yards for a touchdown. The score was 33-6 but the Silver Creek crowd was back in the game, momentarily.
“We have a great group of kids,” Helmer said. “None of them are trying to not win. They’re trying to fight. The resiliency and the no-quit, especially in a game like that, that’s all you can ask — to just keep playing.”
C/S/P put an end to the Black Knights’ momentum on the next drive, as Hinsdale hit John Swabik on a pass over the middle that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown. It was Hinsdale’s fourth touchdown pass of the first half, all to different receivers.
“I was taking what the defense was giving me,” Hinsdale said. “My guys got open. That’s something we work on a lot. … It was a credit to them for getting open.”
On the opening drive of the second half, Cooper picked off a Jamison pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
“With three blown coverages, the snap over Jamison’s head (in the first quarter) and the pick-six, that’s five scores,” Helmer said. “They’re very good, I’m not taking anything away from them. They beat us all over the place, but we just helped out way too much.”
Silver Creek/Forestville’s offense got on the board on the next drive, as Angel Caraballo punched in a touchdown run from 2 yards out. Following that drive, C/S/P sent out many of its reserves on offense, signaling the end of the day for Hinsdale and the offense after scoring touchdowns on five of its seven drives. Five different players scored touchdowns for C/S/P in the first half.
“I’ve been very spoiled the last few years with the number of talented skill guys I’ve been lucky enough to coach,” Harper said. “Those skill guys were ready when their number was called.”
C/S/P backup quarterback Bishop Kopta led the Wolfpack on a scoring drive to cap off the scoring for the night, punctuated by a 2-yard touchdown run by Roger Mack with nine seconds left in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was scoreless by both sides.
Moving forward, C/S/P takes on Franklinville/Ellicottville on Friday night.
“The most important game is always the next one, and we’ve got a huge game coming up next Friday night at Ellicottville,” Harper said. “They’re a great team, they’ve got some really good athletes over there and we’ve never beat them. That is going to be a big test for us and hopefully we can carry this momentum forward.”
Silver Creek/Forestville plays next Saturday afternoon at JFK.
“We need to get healthy,” said Helmer, who noted that multiple players were limited or out of Saturday’s game. “We’ve just got to execute. Our execution is just poor right now.”
NOTES: Saturday night was Military Appreciation Night at Silver Creek. All five schools — Clymer, Sherman, Panama, Forestville and Silver Creek — had a military veteran represent their school as an honorary captain at the game’s opening coin toss. “I thought the military night worked out really well. We had a great crowd. We just didn’t win the ballgame,” said Helmer. … Hinsdale finished 7-for-10 passing for 172 yards and four touchdowns. Cooper had 75 yards rushing on six attempts while Derek Sears had 68 yards rushing on 10 carries. … Silver Creek/Forestville’s Caraballo had 120 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. … The Black Knights finished with only 159 total yards while C/S/P had 362 yards of total offense. … Silver Creek/Forestville had three turnovers while C/S/P had one. … The Grape Bowl named Offensive and Defensive MVPs from each team. Honored from the Black Knights were Caraballo (offense) and Smith (defense). C/S/P’s honorees were Hinsdale (offense) and Zach Chase (defense). … The Intense Milk/Cross Training Athletics Character Athletes of the Game were C/S/P’s Lucas Rater and Silver Creek/Forestville’s Chandler Eggleston.
Clymer/Sherman/Panama 20 20 13 0 — 53
Silver Creek/Forestville 0 6 6 0 — 12
C/S/P–Cook 53 pass from Hinsdale (Svetz kick)
C/S/P–OGratto 10 fumble return (Svetz kick)
C/S/P–Cooper 68 run (kick failed)
C/S/P–Barmore 6 pass from Hinsdale (kick failed)
C/S/P–Overton 50 pass from Hinsdale (Svetz kick)
SC/F–Smith 45 fumble return (kick failed)
C/S/P–Swabik 23 pass from Hinsdale (Svetz kick)
C/S/P–Cooper 30 interception return (kick failed)
SC/F– Caraballo 2 run (run failed)
C/S/P–Mack 2 run (Svetz kick)