ORCHARD PARK — From the moment Cameron Barmore raced untouched into the end zone on a 67-yard reception in the game’s first minute, Clymer/Sherman/Panama put Franklinville/Ellicottville in unchartered territory.
The Titans, who entered Saturday’s Section 6 Class D football championship undefeated, had not trailed all season. And F/E’s closest game of the year was way back in Week 3, when the Titans beat CSP 24-8. But CSP delivered an early punch on Saturday, and F/E never fully climbed off the mat against the defending state champions. The Wolfpack defeated the Titans, 22-0, avenging the Week 3 loss and repeating as sectional champions.
“That was the first time all season we’ve been behind,” F/E coach Jason Marsh said of his team’s season-ending loss. “I still think the kids played hard … it’s just we didn’t win the battles up front. We’re still super proud of our kids, we have a great locker room. Losing a game today doesn’t change any of that. You still have tight bonds in our locker room. We’re going to have some guys move on, and then the guys that are going to be coming back next year, we’re just going to work harder to get better for next year.”
Barmore’s only two catches produced CSP’s first two scores. First, the 67-yard pass from quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale put the Wolfpack ahead early on. Then, after leading 6-0 at the half, Barmore completed a stunning, 69-yard play off a pitch-pass from running back John Swabik for a two-score lead.
“The first one, we came out, they stuffed us the first two plays and it’s pretty easy coaching, you just give the ball to your best player when things aren’t going right,” CSP coach Ty Harper said of Barmore. “We dialed up a play for Cam, he made a guy miss and scored. Great momentum for us, unfortunately it was really the only big play we had the entire first half.
“The second half, we needed to get something going too, so we’ve been working on that pitch-pass, so again two of our best athletes just made a great play.”
On defense, the Wolfpack shut down an F/E attack that produced 367 total yards (317 rushing) in Week 3, allowing just 143 yards (51 rushing) this time.
“The biggest thing is they won the battles up front. We got a taste of our own medicine,” Marsh admitted. “The first time we played them, we were winning those battles and they really put (an) emphasis on it this week, and this week they won the battles.”
CSP sacked F/E quarterback Logan Frank five times, two by Keith Gormley and one each by Barmore, Lucas Rater and Alex Dunneowld.
Frank managed to throw for 92 yards on 8-of-19 passing with an interception. He briefly left with an injury in the third quarter after taking a hit along the sideline that Marsh considered late, drawing a penalty when he came out to dispute the non-call.
“I ended up getting an unsportsmanlike conduct off of that, and I’m not happy about that, but to me it looked like he was out of bounds,” Marsh said. “He’s a warrior, he gutted it out and we probably won’t know the full extent of (his injury) until later, but he definitely was banged up and it definitely affected how he played.”
Jordan Grinols had 11 carries for 41 yards to lead F/E’s rushers. Niklas Logel caught four passes for 63 yards.
For the F/E defense, Zack Wolfer had seven tackles (four assists) including a strip-sack and a fumble recovery. Clayton Rowland and Ryan Dekay also recovered fumbles for F/E and Devin Neamon had a sack.
Connor Cooper had 12 carries for 64 yards and CSP’s last touchdown. Hinsdale completed 5-of-9 passes for 96 yards.
F/E held a 3-1 turnover advantage but couldn’t take advantage of any of its takeaways to score.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” Harper said. “Credit to coach (Chis) Payne for the game plan that he put together. Our defensive line got manhandled the first time we played them and we were in their face all week at practice, challenging them and I think it was very obvious that they were up to the challenge today. I couldn’t be prouder of the way our defense played today. They bailed us out several times in the first half.”
Marsh’s first season as the Titans’ head coach ended earlier than he would have preferred, but the former Salamanca coach and F/E assistant saw plenty to be proud of through an undefeated regular season and a trip to New Era Field.
“We’re happy with the fact that we got here,” he said. “We had eight straight wins. It hurts when you lose the last game of the season. But we’re real proud of our kids. We’re proud of the kids and we’ve just got to keep working.
“We have a good nucleus of guys coming back. It just depends on how hard we work and we’ve got to have that fire in our belly, that same type of fire that CSP came in here today is what we’ve got to carry with us throughout the offseason.”