Watch the highlight video from the Lions big night
By John Anderson, 10/2/21
You could forgive the Wellsville Lions football team for being a little too excited Friday night. With one of the largest crowds in years to see a football game in Wellsville on homecoming weekend, The Lions trailed South Seneca/Dundee, 14-6 after one quarter.
However, senior quarterback Alex Perkins threw for five touchdowns, the defense made adjustments and a balanced offensive attack led to a convincing 42-14 victory.
Wellsville (3-2) has now won three in a row and will go on the road next week to face 5-0 Frewsburg.
“I didn’t expect five touchdowns, but I knew I would throw the ball more this week,” Perkins said. “I had a couple of reads, saw who was open and tried to throw the ball to them in stride for big plays and we executed really well.
“It was homecoming night, we had a packed student section and even around the railings of the field,” Perkins added. “It set the tone for us and now we have the dance and a big weekend.”
Perkins finished his monster night 11-for-15 passing for 310 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. On defense, Perkins had two interceptions and was in on seven tackles. With the interceptions, punt and kickoff returns, Perkins went over 500 for all-purpose yards.
Senior wide receiver Dalton Ketchner caught four passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’ll be honest, coach stressed earlier in the week we would pass more in tonight’s game and that I had to be watching for the ball even if the play wasn’t to my side … but I’m shocked!” Ketchner said. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I play basketball and this is right up there with the Hornell games we play. Big props to all the students who came out tonight, made noise and helped us get it done.”
Ketcher’s first touchdown covered 40 yards and his second score was a 35-yard pass to cut the lead to 14-12. Perkins found senior Jeremiah Havens for a 32-yard touchdown and ran in the conversion for a 20-14 lead. South Seneca/Romulus had a chance to take a lead at halftime, but the Wellsville defense held on four straight plays inside the red zone.
In the third quarter, a Ketchner made his best catch of the night, tipped a ball with a defender on him, hauling it in and getting in the endzone for a touchdown. Havens caught the two-point conversion for a 28-14 lead.
Running back John Layfield got in the act catching three passes for 101 yards and added 77 yards rushing. Layfield was in on 12 tackles on defense and had a sack.
Shane Davidson ran for 87 yards while Havens had 57 yards rushing and Sam Childs ran for 30 yards including a 10-yard touchdown run.
Senior Caleb Price caught a 15-yard touchdown.
On defense, senior Connor Ferguson was in on a game-high 14 tackles. He said the adjustments worked on defense after Wellsville was trailing.
“On defense, we were running a lot more stunts, us linemen were going to different gaps and the linebackers were filling the normal gaps,” Ferguson said. “I saw the fans and got so excited and hyped up. it was packed, everywhere I looked there were people. That’s the most I’ve ever seen at a game. Winning three in a row feels so good. All the hard work has paid off. We’ve worked hard the last few weeks.”
Wellsville assistant coach Tim Keenan called the offense Friday night and said the game plan worked to perfection.
“Coach (Bob) McMorris and Coach (Larry) Peacock really dialed up a great game plan for this week,” Keenan said. “It was homecoming and we wanted a team effort here and everybody got hyped up because they knew we were going to play everybody and we were going to try to distribute the ball and it worked out, we got everybody involved.”
During the game, Layfield saw something open on offense and Keenan called the play. The players were disciplined as South Seneca tried to get the Lions to jump offsides on short-yardage plays.
“It’s phenomenal. That’s what you aim for as a coach, they understand enough so they are coaches on the field,” Keenan said. “We told them before the game, they are the most advanced group I’ve seen in a six week period in anything, teaching or coaching, they’ve really picked everything up really quickly and it’s sohwing on the field Friday nights.”
Peacock also talked about the adjustments made to win.
“They were really closing down our A-gaps pretty hard, pinching in and taking away our trap,” Peacock said. “That isolated the lineback to our interior so we were able to get up over the top of them a few times, we had a couple great crossing routes and Coach Keenan really dialed up the offense.”
Peacock also smiled when the five-touchdown performance of Perkins was brought up.
“Alex Perkins … you have a young man who is tough, he’s smart, he’s a leader. He’s what you want at the quarterback position,” Peacock said. “It’s funny, he has a little Mahomes-esque to him. I mean, the kid is falling on his left foot and whipping it off with his right arm and it’s pin-point.
Everyone had an opportunity and stepped up and played well,” Peacock added.