Knights fall to Trojans, 18-12

JAMESTOWN – Tanner Hoose booted field goals of 32 and 35 yards, and Noah Weinstein connected with Mike Sandbloom on a 40-yard touchdown pass with 8:03 remaining in the fourth quarter to send the turnover-plagued Southwestern Trojans to an 18-12 victory over Silver Creek-Forestville in a Class C South football game Friday night at Charles A. Lawson Field.

The win improved the Trojans’ record to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the division.

The Black Knights (1-5, 1-4) elected to defer the opening kickoff to Southwestern (3-3, 3-2) and put their defense on the field first, which turned out to be the right decision.

After failing to get anything started on their first three plays, the Trojans made a bold decision to not to punt on fourth-and-4 in the opening drive. Quarterback Noah Weinstein failed to convert the down on a attempted pass and as a result the Black Knights started their first drive of the evening in good field position.

The first offensive possession for Silver Creek-Forestville began with solid running out of the option from both halfback Sherman Williams and quarterback Jacob Lewis. After their first few plays the Black Knights took a chance and went for a deep pass to Dylan Szumigala on a post route, which resulted in a 28-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Silver Creek made its own risky move in the opening minutes of the game and decided to attempt a two-point conversion that was unsuccessful.

Southwestern responded well after the Black Knights’ score, and began its next possession with rushing from Hunter Peterson and Nick Swanson. But the Trojans were the victims of a false start penalty that brought up a long third down. Coach Jay Siriani called for a run option that was fumbled and hastily recovered by Marvin Curry.

After receiving good field position once again from the Trojans, Silver Creek decided to try and add to its lead by going for it on a fourth and long. Lewis dropped back and was promptly picked off by cornerback Niko Pannes just short of the goal line.

Starting deep in their own territory, the Trojans once again started off a good series with their rushing attack. Switching between Swanson, Peterson and Kevin Ballardo, they were able to advance near midfield. But another turnover – Williams picked off a Weinstein pass – ended the drive.

Following the end of the first quarter the turnovers kept on coming for both teams. After Williams’ pick, the Black Knights were unable to capitalize and backed themselves up with two costly penalties. Lewis was then picked for a second time by Peterson at midfield.

Southwestern’s Weinstein was able to rebound nicely from his earlier mistakes, as he hit Mike Sandbloom on a very well thrown ball down the left sideline. However, the Trojans were unable to convert a third down, and were forced to kick a 32-yard field goal made by Tanner Hoose.

The Trojans were able to tie the game up with six minutes left in the half on another kick from Hoose, this time from 35 yards.

The Black Knights were able to get the ball back with ample time remaining, and were led down the field once again by Williams’ rushing. Two Trojan penalties put them in scoring range with just three minutes to play, and Williams was able to punch it in from a yard for the score.

After another failed two-point conversion, Southwestern got the ball back and was helped by a 50 yard return from Swanson that set up their tying touchdown on a rush from Bellardo. The attempted PAT was blocked by Curry and the half ended in a 12-12 tie.

The second half resulted in a close defensive battle that began with another interception by Lewis, who was picked off once again by Peterson. The Trojans were able to find themselves in ideal field position again, but were unable to take the lead after Weinstein was picked by Bryce Plecker.

Coach Jay Siriani lamented the Trojans carelessness with the ball and commented, “At the end of the game we wanted to give it away.”

The back and forth battle continued on into the fourth quarter with neither team being able to score until nine minutes remained. Weinstein completed a high pass to Sandbloom, who went up nicely to get the ball over coverage. This pass set up the final score of the game, which came from another connection between Weinstein and Sandloom that resulted in six points. Southwestern attempted a fake extra point that was snuffed out by the Black Knights.

Despite mounting an excellent final drive that was dominated by Williams, Silver Creek was unable to score in the closing minutes of the game.

“I thought our kids played great,” said coach Sean Helmer of Silver Creek. “We lost yet another starter early in the game which hurt us.”

Williams finished with 34 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown for Silver Creek, while Peterson, Swanson, and Bellardo shared the rushing duties for the Trojans. Swanson rushed for 70 yards, Peterson 48 and Bellardo 32.