Watch preview footage and highlights from last week’s win over Finney
By John Anderson, 10/1/21
The comments and support from the community, classmates and staff in Wellsville has made a difference for the football team.
Riding a two-game win streak after a 38-28 win in Rochester over C.G. Finney/Northstar and a home game tonight with South Seneca, things have changed.
“It’s finally back. I haven’t heard anything about Wellsville football for a long time. Now that we’re winning, I hear about it in the school and I just heard it when I was getting things in Giant Food Mart today,” said senior John Layfield. “People will talk when you put in the work and it shows.”
Layfield is the top running back on the Lions and is brought up on the short-list of greats over the years as he goes after a 1,000-yard season. But he is most vocal in the stands at other sports where loud fans are encouraged.
“No one really went to our games, so we decided to go to other games, soccer, volleyball, and then they came to support us,” Layfield said. “It showed at our last home game, it was packed. I think us all supporting each other has helped.”
The school pride week included America Monday, Tacky Tourist Tuesday, Wake Up Wednesday, Jersey Thursday and Orange and Black Friday.
Layfield said the themes and activities has brought the school together.
“It’s fun and fun to connect with the underclassmen,” Layfield said. “You meet new people and realize you share a lot of stuff with them and it’s fun.”
Senior Caleb Price said the win last week was big and as a senior, Homecoming week was special.
“It was hard-fought, it was rough, but it was good to get out of there with a win … two wins in a row … it’s been a long time since Wellsvlle has felt that. Now we have to work hard and try to make it three in a row.”We are just trying to get people hyped, get people ready, get as many people as we can there, get loud and bring home a win.
“It’s fun to see the way the school is, the excitement builds up all week and by the time Friday rolls around we are ready to go,” Price added.
Junior lineman Gavin Murphy sees a change in the school with a little more pride.
“A lot of people dressed up for red, white and blue day, people had American flags, Bills stuff, everyone was running around with pride,” Murphy said. “It’s really fun in school, people are rooting for us, the entire town is happy. The whole school is hyped up, we are ready and we are going to try to go out and do our best to win.”
During the win last Saturday, Layfield opened the scoring with a 51-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard TD rin. After a two-point conversion pass from senior quarterback Alex Perkins to J.J. Howard, Wellsville was up, 16-0.
From there, Finney answered the bell each time Wellsville scored. With the score 16-8, Perkins ran for a 5-yard score and with the successful conversion, it was 24-8 in the second quarter. Finney answered with a 43-yard run to cut the lead to 24-16 at the half.
In the third quarter, Finney scored on a 4th down run to cut the lead to 24-22 but Jeremiah Havens ran for a 40-yard touchdown and the two-point conversion for a 32-22 lead.
Finney closed the gap to 32-28 but in the fourth quarter, Havens sealed the win with a 25-yard touchdown run. The Lions defense led by Layfield and Connor Ferguson forced fumbles and stopped Finney at the end.
Senior Dalton Ketchner also had a big game on defense.
“A lot of times on defense we were making reads that were tough for them to counter, they were not sure exactly where to block,” Ketcher said. “And on offense, the line executed really well allowing Johnny to break off for a 50-yard run or Jerry to break off for a 40-yard run, so that worked out in our favor.”
It’s amazing, honestly. Around here, there has been a pre-set narrative, ‘Wellsville football hasn’t been a lot of success in the past few years.’ So we are trying to change that, and as coach says, take it one week at a time, don’t look three weeks ahead.”
Ketcher is also excited for tonight.
“I’m definitely more into it now knowing this is my last year. I’m going all out with the themes each day at school. It’s the last year of high school, try to embrace it all and take it all in,” he said.
Coach Bob McMorris is also pleased with the defense and the spirit in the community.
“It came down to our defense in the end. One thing I was happy to see is, we were able to put together a seven-minute drive that kept the ball out of their hands. We had more plays and had more yardage,” McMorris said. “They scored on a few big plays, but we kept the ball away from them.
“Homecoming is exciting for them, especially the seniors. They’ve been through three or four years where they have not seen a lot of success. We are 2-2 and we’ve won a couple in a row, but we have a lot of work to do if we want to get where we want to be at the end of the year,” McMorris continued. “We don’t want to show up and keep the game close, we are looking to keep winning going here.”
McMorris wanted to address the 8-man football. Wellsville trails undefeated Red Jacket and Frewsburg in the standings. They need a win over tonight’s opponent, South Seneca as the Lions chase Pembroke, Canisteo-Greenwood, Lyons/Sodus and Finney for a home sectional game.
“People ask, ‘Is this 8-man football real football or not?’ It’s real football, it’s just a faster pace and these kids are working their tails off to be successful at it. We’ve run into some good teams and good athletes. It’s true football,” McMorris said.
Coach Larry Peacock added, “In 8-man ball, anyone can score anytime and that is aggravating for a coach! But it was a great game and CJ Finney was well-prepared. But you want to win those battles. The defense made great stops and the offense kept the ball and had great drives.”
Peacock said as fun as things are for the high school, he said the elementary school kids “owned” homecoming.
“The elementary was all sorts of lit up. They had the jersey’s on, cheerleading uniforms, orange and black. I challenge the student section to make things happen tonight,” Peacock said. “Let’s pride them out, neon them out, I don’t care, just crowd them out!”
The Homecoming Dance is on Saturday.
NOTES: The school has announced Fall Sports Senior Recognition Dates.
Girls soccer will beat home on Oct. 5 at 4:45 p.m.
Swimming will be home on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m.
Volleyball will be home on Oct. 13 at 7:15 p.m.
Boys soccer will be home on Oct. 15 at 6:45 p.m.
Football and cheerleading will be home on Oct. 16 at 6:45 p.m.
(Tennis was held on Thursday)