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Wolfpack’s Harper: “I Couldn’t Be Happier For A Group Of Kids’

Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s Gabe Roth, right celebrates his touchdown with teammate Jordan Svetz during Saturday’s nonleague football game against Springville. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

CLYMER — With the long-awaited return to football finally in the rear-view mirror, Clymer/Sherman/Panama coach Ty Harper stood at one end of the field and greeted his team following its nonleague opener against Springville.

As he did so, one of his players asked, “Are we singing?”

That might seem like an odd request, but to anyone connected to the Wolfpack program the last several seasons it’s understood that a victory isn’t complete without a celebratory choral rendition of “The Bear Went Over the Mountain.”

After 16 months without seeing the field, they were in full throat Saturday afternoon.

John Swabik scored two touchdowns, Owen Gratto returned an interception for a pick-6 and the team amassed 392 yards in total offense en route to a 46-0 victory over the Griffins.

“I’m so happy for the kids more than anything,” Harper said. “For so long, especially in the fall, we reached the peak of frustration, because it just felt like it wasn’t meant to be this year. For them to have an opportunity to have a season and be able to play … I couldn’t be happier for a group of kids.”

After a slow start, the Wolfpack put the game away in a 25-point second quarter, courtesy of 17-yard touchdown pass from Bishop Kopta to Swabik; a safety; Kopta’s 1-yard TD run; and Swabik’s 2-yard burst to paydirt.

Armed with a 33-0 at the break, Clymer/Sherman/Panama rode its defense the rest of the way, while sophomores Gabe Roth (30-yard run) and Austin White (39-yard scamper) closed out the scoring.

“It was great for the seniors, but it was also encouring to see some of our younger guys come out and play well today, too, because this is their introduction to varsity football.”

It was an impressive opening day for the Wolfpack, whose last game was Thanksgiving weekend 2019 when it claimed its second straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D championship at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

A lot has changed since then.

In addition to the COVID-19 pause for the 2020 fall season, Harper now finds his program in Class C South with a schedule that will take it to Chautauqua Lake (this Friday) and Southwestern (April 16), before ending the regular season with home games against Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (April 24) and Fredonia (May 1). The Wolfpack was supposed to open with Allegany-Limestone, but the Gators had to cancel for safety reasons, leaving Clymer/Sherman/Panama to scramble to find an opponent.

Springville was willing to do so.

The Wolfpack didn’t blink.

One bit.

“We definitely have things we need to improve on,” Harper said. “You saw miscues there in the first half especially. We looked a little bit rusty, but all things considered with how hectic the last two weeks have been, I thought we did as well as could be expected.”

NOTES: Kopta completed 11 of 15 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. He was picked off twice. … Swabik caught eight passes for 92 yards and one TD, and carried the ball twice for 19 yards and another score. … Derek Sears ran for 52 yards, Roth 51, Connor Cooper 46, Austin White 41 and Kopta 26. … Kopta, Swabik, Roth and White scored touchdowns. … Defensively, Gratto had 11 tackles and an interception for a touchdown; Roger Mack added 11 stops; Swabik and Alex Dunnewold (two for loss) had seven apiece; and Gormley collected six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Springville 0 0 0 0 — 0

C/S/P 8 25 6 7 — 46

C/S/P–Gratto interception return (Gormley pass from BKopta)

C/S/P–Swabik 17 pass from BKopta (Cooper run)

C/S/P–Safety (Springville punter tackled in end zone)

C/S/P–BKopta 1 run (Cooper run)

C/S/P–Swabik 2 run (Svetz kick)

C/S/P–Roth 30 run (kick fail)

C/S/P–AWhite 39 run (Svetz kick)

CARDINALS ROLL

CATTARAUGUS — Randolph opened it season with a bang, scoring 56 first-half points en route to a 69-6 victory over Cattaraugus-Little Valley in a Class D game.

The Cardinals rolled up 302 yards on the ground, led by Christian Bush who rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Xander Hind added 59 yards and three TDs; and Ashton Bushey had 44 yards and a pair of scores. Bushey also completed two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Ryan Carpenter led Randolph’s defense with eight total tackles, Carson Conley picked off a pass and recovered a fumble, and Bushey recoverd a pair of fumbles to go along with his seven total tackles.

Tayien Dumas had a 66-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for Cattaraugus-Little Valley.

Randolph 21 35 6 7 — 69

Cattaraugus-Little Valley 6 0 0 0 — 6

Rand–XHind 17 run (kick fail)

Rand–XHind 17 run (IHind run)

Rand–Bushey 13 run (Shields kick)

CLV–Tayien Dumas 66 run (pass fail)

Rand–Bush 30 pass from Bushey (kick fail)

Rand–XHind 11 run (IHind run)

Rand–Bushey 20 run (Shields kick)

Rand–XHind 18 run (Shields kick)

Rand–Burch 3 run (Shields kick)

Rand–Burch 56 run (kick fail)

Rand–Conley 6 run (Shields kick)

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