By MIKE MEILER
Niagara Gazette — Kyle Deween kicked a 27-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the Niagara Falls football team a 15-14 win over Kenmore West and the second seed in Class AA North in a wild and windy game Saturday afternoon at Sal Maglie Stadium.
The Wolverines (3-3, 3-1) took over possession late in the fourth quarter. With the Blue Devils (2-4, 2-2) defending against the pass, Niagara Falls turned to running backs Shaolin McCray and Amir Myles, who cut through the middle of the spread-out defense, moving the ball 30 yards to set up Deween's kick. The senior set up into the wind and off the dirt of the infield at Sal Maglie, and the ball cleared the crossbar by less than a foot.
"That was absolutely the biggest kick of his career," Niagara Falls coach Don Bass said. "He's made some kicks for us, but this is tops. Twenty-seven yards into a cross wind, out of the dirt. It was huge. He kicked us right into the second seed."
Ken West rode running back Alex Price to a 14-0 lead in the first half. The junior scored on runs of one and 17 yards, and extra points kicks on both scores sailed through the uprights to extend the lead.
"We did what we've done previously," Bass said about the Wolverines' first half. "We came out and couldn't hold onto the ball, made some mistakes, and Ken West capitalized early."
Niagara Falls got on the board in the third quarter on a 63-yard run by senior Rickey Bailey, who returned to quarterback after replacement Jaylin Smith hurt his throwing arm.
Smith had replaced Bailey as the starter after Bailey hurt his arm earlier this season, and Bass said the plan all along was to ease Bailey back in at quarterback.
"We had initially planned to use both of them to allow Rickey to get acclimated and let Jaylin get out on the edge," Bass said. "Rickey came in and led us back. He played like a senior leader today ... I'm very proud of him."
A failed PAT left Niagara Falls down 14-6 in the fourth quarter, until McCray took a handoff, cut back behind a block and scampered into the end zone from 20 yards out. The two-point attempt failed, setting up Deween's eventual kick.
The win clinched the No. 2 seed and a home playoff game in the Section VI playoffs. They'll host the No. 3 team in AA South on Oct. 19 or Oct. 20.
"With Jamestown beating Orchard Park, we don't know how that's going to turn out," Bass said. "We're excited."