Union-Endicott came up two victories shy of a state title for the second straight season.
Williamsville North quarterback Ryan Majewski passed for 206 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans ended U-E’s season with a 27-14 victory Friday night in a Class A football semifinal at Sahlen’s Stadium.
On the same field where its season ended a year ago with a 40-22 semifinal loss to Sweet Home, U-E (8-4) found its usually-potent offense stifled by a strong Williamsville North defensive line and its defense gashed for big plays by Majewski.
Majewski had touchdown passes of 9, 36, and 52 yards, the 52-yard score to Kolbe Hughes putting Williamsville North (9-3) ahead 27-0 with 9:03 remaining in the third quarter.
The senior completed nine of 15 passes in helping send Williamsville North to its first state title game appearance in school history.
“We put a couple of wrinkles in (offensively), and he came up big time,” Williamsville North coach Mike Mammoliti said of Majewski. “He’s a senior quarterback and three-year starter, and he played just like that. That’s what you expect out of your senior, I couldn’t be any prouder.”
U-E came into Friday’s contest averaging 40 points a game, and in the early going looked like it might in for another good offensive night.
With quarterback Joey Orlando completing four of five passes for 55 yards, the last of those an 18-yarder to C.J. Krowiak, U-E reached the Williamsville North 14-yard line on the game’s opening drive. But after a pair of runs yielded nothing and Orlando threw an incompletion on third down, the drive stalled when Orlando was sacked for a 9-yard loss by John Hecht.
That was pretty much it for the U-E offense for the next three quarters, the windy conditions and the Spartans’ stout defensive line limiting the Tigers to three first downs on its next six possessions.
Meanwhile, Williamsville North seemingly moved the ball at will against a U-E defense that was coming off a decent stretch.
The Spartans used 11 plays, including three runs of over 10 yards, to get their first score, that coming when Majewski found Derick Isler in the back left side of the end zone on fourth-and-goal for a 9-yard touchdown pass and 7-0 lead with 2:39 remaining.
Williamsville North then seized control with a pair of second-quarter scoring drives.
The first of those came after a U-E fumble gave Williamsville North the ball at the U-E 43. A 27-yard pass from Majewski to Jacob Ames moved the Spartans to the U-E 4, and three plays later Dean Thompson scored on a 4-yard run to put the Section 6 champions ahead 14-0 with 5:51 left.
U-E went three-and-out on its next possession, and Williamsville North took advantage of a Tigers miscue to get its third touchdown.
On fourth-and-1 with Williamsville North preparing to punt, U-E jumped offside, the penalty giving North a first down at the U-E 36. On the next play, Majewski tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Zac Kelly to make it 20-0 with 1:47 remaining in the first half.
After Majewski’s long touchdown pass to Hughes in the third quarter, U-E managed to make the score respectable with a pair of Lucas DePofi fourth-quarter touchdown runs. However, the Tigers were hampered in part by nine penalties and two lost fumbles.
“We really didn’t play our sharpest game,” U-E coach Tom Baleno said. “Some of that was on our part, but a lot of it goes to Williamsville North.
They’re a good ballclub, and when you’re not on your A-game against a club like that, you get an outcome you don’t want.”
Orlando finished 14 of 27 passing for 150 yards, with Krowiak hauling in seven passes for 73 yards. The U-E ground game did little, gaining 83 yards on 31 carries, many of those yards coming on the game’s final drive.