A celebration

Hillbillies roll to 41-7 victory over Black Knights on Homecoming

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Fans take the field to join the Fredonia Hillbillies, including Juan Mendez (67), after winning on homecoming Friday at the Orange Bowl.

Homecoming is a time for celebration, and the Fredonia Hillbillies had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Friday night.

The Hillbillies defeated the Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights 41-7 in a Class C South game at the Orange Bowl.

“We needed something like this,” said Hillbillies head coach Greg Sherlock. “It’s good for everybody on homecoming night. It’s good for the kids. I’m happy for them and we can have a good weekend on that.”

On the first play from scrimmage, Fredonia (4-1, 2-1 Class C South) forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead, just 11 seconds into the game.

“When your defense can come out on fire like they did and make big plays, it just keeps them pumped for the entire game. … Defense really sets the tone in a lot of games,” said Sherlock.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Fredonia’s Davion White carries the ball during the second half.

“I think he was down, honestly, but it was crushing,” said Black Knights head coach Sean Helmer of the opening fumble. “It’s not the difference in the game and wouldn’t have been the difference in the game (either way). … (The Hillbillies) were way more physical than us and they deserved everything they got.”

The Hillbillies added to their lead with a touchdown after recovering another fumble — this time on offense — in the end zone for a score. After a failed extra-point attempt, Fredonia led 13-0 less than five minutes into the game.

The Black Knights (2-3, 1-2 Class C South) were unable to stop the Hillbillies offense in the first half. Micah Davis scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first quarter to extend the lead to 27-0. Then in the second quarter, Hillbillies quarterback Ethan Fry connected with Keegan Whitfield on a 30-yard touchdown pass. Fry later rushed the ball to the 1-yard line and then punched it in on the next play for the final Fredonia touchdown.

“One thing we wanted to do coming into the game is we wanted to run the ball more effectively,” said Sherlock. “We’ve got a ways to go, but I think we took a big step forward.”

Fredonia did not punt or turn the ball over before the intermission and led 41-0 at the break. Many of the starters did not play in the second half, including Fry and Davis offensively. Fry instead borrowed pom-poms from a cheerleader and joined in on cheers on the sideline for the homecoming crowd.

“We’ve got one of the best quarterbacks in Western New York (Ethan Fry) and we have a great receiving corps, we know that. But people are going to know we’ve got other running backs behind Micah Davis,” said Sherlock.

Among the players filling spots on the field in the second half was Fredonia sophomore Brady Helmer, the son of Black Knights coach Sean Helmer on the opposite sideline. “It’s weird, but it’s good. … You try not to watch. I think he handled it pretty well, probably better than I did. … It just is what it is,” said Sean Helmer.

“I trust those guys with my kids,” Helmer added, “both of my kids have played there.”

Silver Creek/Forestville scored a touchdown in the third quarter on a carry by Gavannie Kuppel to avoid the shutout. The Black Knights were shutout 41-0 by Southwestern last week and faced the same deficit before the third-quarter touchdown.

“I was proud of our kids. They didn’t quit, they fought. We challenged them at halftime and that’s a big stepping stone for a lot of them — to realize they can handle the physicality of the game,” said Helmer.

The Black Knights also recovered an onside kick to begin the second half down 41-0. “Part of it is, what are we dressing up for if we’re not trying to play football,” Helmer said. “The other side is, you’ve got to have some confidence yourself — and why not?”

The Black Knights now will host Allegany-Limestone on Thursday night in Silver Creek. Meanwhile, Fredonia will head to Southwestern for a rematch of last season’s two epic showdowns between the Hillbillies and the Trojans — both one-score victories by Fredonia.

“Hopefully we come to play,” said Sherlock. “I’m happy with who we have and I’m sure they are happy with who they have. It’s going to be a war, that’s for sure.”


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