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Jayhawks’ medal count up to 36 in Florida

MAYVILLE — Looking for its second win of the year on Senior Night, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton hosted winless Allegany-Limestone, and thanks to a big first quarter, the Thunderbirds let their seniors walk off their home field for the last time with a win.

The Thunderbirds beat the Gators 24-0 with all 24 points coming in the opening frame, while their defense stifled the Gators offense for the entire game.

“I’m very proud of the defense,” Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton coach Ryan Gibbs said. “We’ve had a rough last three weeks, they really held their own. It’s our first shutout in a while. All of the seniors played with a lot of heart.”

After both teams turned the ball over on their first possessions, the Thunderbirds found their groove, both offensively and defensively.

They scored in 10 plays starting from their own 29, eating four minutes of the first quarter. Running back Nate Engdahl shouldered the load, carrying the ball four straight times for 14 yards. Luke Waters had a couple of big completions, one to Brett Meadows for 11 yards and another to Ricky Syper for 16. On first-and-10 from the Gators’ 29-yard line, Engdahl took it to the house, while Waters and Syper converted the 2-point conversion to give the Thunderbirds an 8-0 lead.

The Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton defense was good too, forcing a three-and-out, leading to another Thunderbirds score. Starting at the Gators’ 38, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton made quick work of it. In just five plays, the Thunderbirds were in the Gators’ end zone once again. Waters hit Syper for 23 to start the drive, then on a third-and-5, Waters found Meadows to set up first-and-goal at the 4. Syper this time finished it off with a 4-yard carry, while reeling in another 2-point conversion, pushing the lead to 16-0 with 2:20 to go in the first.

Once again, for every bit as efficient as the CL/W/B offense was, the defense was just as strong. The Gators started their next drive at their own 20, and Giardini was sacked for huge losses on second and third downs, forcing a punt from the 3-yard line. The Thunderbirds began at the Gators’ 20-yard line, and in one play, Waters found Gavin Sauerland for a touchdown. Engdahl ran in the 2-point conversion, and the Thunderbirds were up 24-0.

“I don’t know exactly what the stats are but the defense held tight,” Gibbs said. “We put them in some bad positions a couple times and they came through and got us the ball back.”

In the second quarter, the Gators were stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the CL/W/B 35-yard line and later were sacked on a fourth down at the Thunderbirds’ 27-yard line.

The Thunderbirds defense continued to shine in the second half. Allegany-Limestone backup quarterback Mike Frederick threw two interceptions in the second half, but both teams spent most of the half turning the ball over on downs. Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton was able to run out the clock and sit on its 24-0 lead after their complete game from the offense.

“Overall it was a great team win,” Gibbs said. “Ricky Syper made a couple catches. Nate ran hard and Luke had some nice throws threading the needle.”

One player on defense who played particularly well was Easton Seager, a senior playing his first year of football. When the opportunity arose to shift things around on defense, Seager stepped up.

“The last couple weeks we’ve struggled at safety, we moved Easton in at corner after moving a corner to safety and this was his first game,” Gibbs said. “He definitely delivered. This is his first year playing football ever. I’m pretty proud of that kid.”

Engdahl ended the game with 23 carries for 97 yards, a touchdown, and a 2-point conversion, while Waters was 10 of 23 for 126 yards, a touchdown, an interception and two 2-point conversions for the Thunderbirds. Brett Meadows had three catches for 46 yards.

Anthony DeCapua led the way for the Gators with 16 carries for 48 yards.

The Gators (0-4) wrap up their season next Friday as they’ll take on Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, while the Thunderbirds (2-3) end their season with a trip to Newfane.

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