CLYMER — Is there anything Bryce Hinsdale can’t do?
Clymer/Sherman/Panama’s sophomore wide receiver/kicker made a game-winning 22-yard field goal as time expired, scored all of his team’s points and caught a Western New York-record 17 passes for 148 yards as the Wolfpack beat Franklinville/Ellicottville 22-20 in Class D action Saturday afternoon.
“It’s too bad that there’s such a stigma against smaller schools. I think Bryce is as good as any receiver in Western New York. I think he could play at Orchard Park, Canisius, Lancaster or any of those big schools,” Hinsdale’s head coach, Ty Harper, said postgame. “Teams aren’t going to have an answer for him and we’re going to take advantage of that.”
“In the end it comes down to Nos. 14 and 1,” Titans head coach Jason Marsh said of Wolfpack quarterback Tate Catanese and Hinsdale. “Hats off to those guys. They stole the show.”
Clymer/Sherman/Panama trailed 20-19 after Titans quarterback Gian Nuzzo ran for a 35-yard touchdown with 4:54 remaining, but the Wolfpack’s Drake DiDomenico and Lucas Lisciandro teamed up to stop the 2-point conversion run.
“Those two were unbelievable today,” Harper said. “(Lucas) usually knows the play before it’s run and I thought Drake was spectacular today, too.”
Clymer/Sherman/Panama took over at its own 31-yard line before Catanese completed passes of 5 and 9 yards to Hinsdale sandwiched around a run of 8 yards of his own. The Wolfpack eventually faced fourth-and-3 at the Franklinville/Ellicottville 49-yard line, but Catanese connected with Hinsdale for a 9-yard completion and a first down.
On second-and-10 from the 40-yard line, Catanese threw a ball downfield that was caught by a diving Alex Barmore to make it first-and-goal from the 9-yard line with 1:19 remaining.
“We felt like they were starting to sit on the screens to Bryce … so we thought, ‘Let’s take a shot downfield,'” Harper said. “Tate did a nice job of putting it out there for him and it was just an incredible catch.”
After running for short gains and nearly fumbling the ball away on second down, Clymer/Sherman/Panama called timeout with three seconds remaining.
On the winning kick, Gabe Roth snapped the ball to Catanese, who placed it on the 12-yard line just in time for Hinsdale to get the winning kick away just before the Titans’ Hunter Smith arrived.
“It came down to a field goal and our line did a great job of holding up as long as they needed to before I knocked it through,” Hinsdale said. “I felt like I needed to get it off quickly, but I just remembered my fundamentals.”
Hinsdale celebrated with his teammates on the field before a lengthy embrace with Harper near the sideline.
“That was pretty wild,” Harper said.
The win sends the Wolfpack to 5-2 overall and in the league on the season, and ironically, may not have much bearing on playoff seeding when all is said and done. Assuming Randolph beats Portville and Franklinville/Ellicottville beats Cattaraugus-Little Valley next Friday, Randolph will earn the No. 1 seed while Nos. 2-4 appear to be Portville, Franklinville/Ellicottville and Clymer/Sherman/Panama respectively.
The Wolfpack suffered an unfortunate start to Saturday’s game when Catanese’s second throw of the game was intercepted by Noah Shenk and returned 51 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead just 55 seconds into the contest.
“That first throw that got intercepted was probably more my fault than anything,” Harper said.
Clymer/Sherman/Panama responded on its next possession with a 13-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard touchdown from Catanese to Hinsdale to make it 7-6 after a Hinsdale point-after kick. Twice during that drive the Wolfpack converted fourth downs.
“We had a few opportunities to get off the field,” Marsh said. “They made their plays and we didn’t.”
On its next drive, Clymer/Sherman/Panama took advantage of 20 penalty yards before eventually settling for a 34-yard Hinsdale field goal.
Trailing 10-6 at halftime, Franklinville/Ellicottville opened the third quarter with a five-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 40-yard touchdown run by Smith. Nuzzo added the 2-point conversion as the Titans regained the lead 14-10.
“Guys were opening holes,” Marsh said. “We had some balance in the running game.”
The Wolfpack answered with a seven-play, 58-yard drive that was capped by a 15-yard touchdown from Catanese to Hinsdale. Roth had a key 26-yard reception on a third-and-10 early in the drive.
“Gabe Roth made a couple of big plays,” Harper said.
A 35-yard field goal from Hinsdale with 7:13 remaining in the game extended the Wolfpack’s lead to 19-14 before Nuzzo’s touchdown capped a four-play, 65-yard drive by the Titans.
“We just have to make one more play in there somewhere,” Marsh said.
Franklinville/Ellicottville will now get ready for the playoffs by closing its league schedule against the Timberwolves while Clymer/Sherman/Panama will host nonleague St. Mary’s next Saturday afternoon.
“You are not going to blow these guys out,” Harper said of the upcoming Class D playoffs. “They are well coached and have great players.”
NOTES: Catanese finished 21 of 33 for 247 yards through the air and also led the Wolfpack with 52 rushing yards. … DiDomenico was in on nine tackles and Lisciandro was in on seven while Barmore had six tackles and a sack. … Nuzzo ran 21 times for 123 yards and Smith added six carries for 89 yards for the Titans. … Smith was in on 11 tackles and Isaac Towne was in on seven.
Franklinville/Ellicottville 6 0 8 6 — 20
Clymer/Sherman/Panama 7 3 6 6 — 22
F/E–Shenk 51 interception return (pass failed)
C/S/P–Hinsdale 11 pass from Catanese (Hinsdale kick)
C/S/P–Hinsdale 34 field goal
F/E–Smith 40 run (Nuzzo run)
C/S/P–Hinsdale 15 pass from Catanese (kick failed)
C/S/P–Hinsdale 35 field goal
F/E–Nuzzo 35 run (run failed)
C/S/P–Hinsdale 22 field goal