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Trojans ground T’birds to win Class C South

October 12, 2016
By Cody Crandall - , Westfield Republican

LAKEWOOD - Prior to the start of the season, Southwestern coach Jehuu Caulcrick said his team's primary goal was to end the season atop its league.

After the Trojans' impressive 37-8 win over Chautauqua Lake on Friday night at Charles A. Lawson Field - Mission accomplished.

Cole Snyder completed 10 of 13 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown; Brian Burns hauled in three passes for 81 yards and a touchdown; Casey Williams and Erik Johnson both reached the end zone; Faizon Munir intercepted two passes; and Southwestern's defensive unit as a whole turned in a tremendous all-around performance en route to clinching the Section VI Class C South title.

"I'm very impressed (with this group of guys)," Caulcrick said after the game, "because they bought in, they knew what our goal was. That's what our goal was all year long actually. They bought into it and they were able to accomplish it."

Southwestern (5-1, 4-0) made a statement early Friday, when the Thunderbirds couldn't gain possession of the opening kickoff and the Trojans recovered in prime field position.

Several plays later, Snyder hooked up with Burns from about 25 yards out on fourth-and-long to stake the home team to a 7-0 lead minutes into action.

"(Winning the turnover battle) is huge," Caulcrick emphasized. "Especially when you can start the game off that way, getting the opening kickoff. ... It just shows the hustle and the pride that we take on special teams. It was a great job, a great momentum swing."

Williams scored on a 3-yard run, Snyder recovered a Chautauqua Lake fumble in the end zone following a botched snap on a punt, Johnson found the end zone and Alex Card nailed a 26-yard field goal, all in the first half, to give the home team a convincing 30-0 lead.

Chautauqua Lake (2-4, 2-2) played well at times on both sides of the ball, but the key turnovers and the inability to get big stops on defense ultimately made a huge difference.

"Unfortunately, we gave up the ball first play deep in our own zone," Chautauqua Lake coach Adam Erickson said. "And then we get (Southwestern) in fourth down, did a great job, and then we give up the fourth-down conversion. Coach (B.J.) Monacelli and I preach the little things and unfortunately, they kind of burned us."

Munir picked off his second pass of the game in the third quarter and ran it back for an 11-yard touchdown. Also defensively for the Trojans, Wyatt Perry made 13 tackles and Alex Calabrese was in on 10.

"All week long we talked about playing assignment football and doing your job," Caulcrick emphasized. "And the biggest thing is just swarming to the football because we know Chautauqua Lake has a lot of athletes. We were able to do that (defensively) today."

For the Thunderbirds, quarterback Devin Pope was 9 of 16 through the air for 141 yards. Pope was also responsible for Chautauqua Lake's lone score of the game, when he punched it in from several yards out in the fourth quarter.

In addition, freshman Aiden Carson caught a 74-yard pass in his first career varsity start and Bryce Rowe hauled in five passes for 43 yards. Defensively, Blaine Thomas was in on five tackles, including one for a loss, Rowe made seven tackles and Ben Szymanowski accounted for a sack.

Still a major part of the playoff mix, the Thunderbirds will look to bounce back in their final regular season game Friday at home against Allegany-Limestone.

"We want to finish over .500 in our league," Erickson stressed. "That's the biggest thing on the line for us. And we want to position ourselves in a situation where we can go into playoffs with a winning record (in league play). ... I told these guys, 'Have faith in me like I have faith in them and good things will still happen.'"

Southwestern on the other hand will end the regular season with a matchup on the road against Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, one of the area's longest and most storied rivalries.

"It's definitely business to take care of," Caulcrick said. "We want to end the league undefeated and our goal next week, the theme is going to be (to) finish."

NOTES: Prior to the game, Southwestern honored all of the seniors on its roster. When asked about what each and every senior has meant to the Trojans' program, Caulcrick said, "They are huge to this program. They are a group of guys who have bought in since I've been here and just continued to work each day. They are very coach-able kids and they are leaders."... Williams ended his night with 55 yards on 13 carries for the Trojans.

Chautauqua Lake 0 0 0 8 - 8

Southwestern 14 16 7 0 - 37

Sou-Burns 24 pass from Snyder (Card kick).

Sou-Williams 3 run (Gustafson kick).

Sou-Snyder fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed).

Sou-Johnson 8 run (Gustafson kick).

Sou-Card 26 field goal.

Sou-Munir 11 interception return (Gustafson kick).

CL-Pope 3 run (Wood pass from Pope).



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