By JOHN ANDERSON, 9/5/21
Alex Perkins took a step back on Friday night and smiled. The Wellsville Lions quarterback was on the losing end of a 55-28 game to Pembroke, but the senior had other things on his mind.
“I missed it. When we had spectator limitations last year during COVID in the spring, it wasn’t as energetic as having the crowd outhere cheering us on, it was beautiful,” Perkins said.
It was also historic. Wellsville was forced to drop to 8-man football this season because of numbers at the varsity level and the program has strong numbers at the modified and youth levels.
“Having only five days to practice 8-man football, you have your jitters in the first half,” Perkins said. “But once you get over the jitters and get into the second half, you step it up and keep going.”
Keep going indeed. Wellsville outscored Pembroke 26-25 after a slow start, and had one touchdown called back. But as the game wore on, the Lions were able to have five different players catch passes and five different players run the ball.
Tyson Totten had a huge game for Pembroke rushing for close to 300 yards and had a huge 95-yard touchdown run in the first half. Pembroke reached the Section V title game last season.
Wellsville’s John Layfield had 177 yards rushing and 146 yards receiving with three touchdowns. On defense, Layfield had seven tackles. Connor Ferguson led the Lions with 12 tackles, three for a loss. Perkins threw for three touchdowns and was on the mark all night. Jeremiah Havens had a 65-yard touchdown reception.
The Wellsville team is coached by Bob McMorris and Larry Peacock. Despite the loss, McMorris was encouraged by the performance and the atmosphere.
“It was fun, and it is fun. I definitely was looking to win the game, I am a competitive person. But I told the kids, we had five days to prepare for 8-man and we had to completely revamp our whole playbook, and I’m not making excuses but it’s a totally different ball game,” McMorris said. “It was our first experience live and I am proud of the way the kids stuck in there and never quit. We made mistakes, we will clean those mistakes up, but overall, we made some plays and that is something we will build on.
“I am glad to see the support that came out and I hope they are not disappointed. We will get better and better. It was nice to see the support tonight,” McMorris added.
Wellsville (0-1) will travel to Red Jacket (1-0) on Friday for a 4:30 p.m. start. Red Jacket defeated Canisteo-Greenwood on Friday.
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