Football: Wayne prevails over Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton in Dansville debut

A pair of previously unbeaten teams took to the gridiron in what wound up being a very energetic and entertaining battle

By Frank Williams
The Express

DANSVILLE — It was a spirited atmosphere on Friday evening as the Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton Football Team made its debut at Ralph Clements Field. It was Senior Night as 20 athletes were honored prior to the game, and it also not only marked one of only two games to be played at the "Mustangs Corral," but possibly one of the final ones played at the Clara Barton Street site.

A pair of previously unbeaten teams took to the gridiron in what wound up being a very energetic and entertaining battle as the Wayne Eagles would take their first lead just prior to halftime, and held off the charging hosts late for a 34-27 win on the road.

It seemed like the game would start on an "up note" for the red-black & gold (as D-W-C sported their Dansville black and red jerseys with the metallic gold Way-Coh helmets) as they forced Wayne to punt following their first series of downs. D.W.C. would march right down the field, but a potential TD pass was picked off in the end zone curtailing the opening drive.

After another good defensive series Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton would get the football on its own 14 yard line. A big pass play from Nick Belanger to Evan Pruonto notched a first down near mid field. Moments later Collin Mehlenbacher took a quick pitch around the outside and went up the sideline 41 yards for a touchdown with 2:51 showing on the first quarter clock. Chris Giovine booted the PAT and the home team had a 7-0 lead. 

Wayne would take it as a challenge and marched the ball downfield for a 4 yard TD run by Dylan Vance and Joshua Harrison's kick would knot the score with 1:20 left in

the opening period.

D.W.C. would get the momentum back immediately 11 seconds later. Wayne attempted an on-sides kick which never made it the necessary 10 yards. D-W-C's Calab Rigdon alertly picked up the football at the Wayne 48 yard line and was off like a lightning streak to the end zone giving the rowdy crowd something to cheer about as the conversion was good making it a 14-7 game late in the first.

The visiting Eagles would tie things up again early in the 2nd quarter when Wayne quarterback Mason Blankenberg hooked up with Devon Forrest for a 13 yard pass play for a score that would eventually make it 14-14. Both defenses would take center stage until late in the period when Wayne put together a 53 yard scoring drive that took 40 seconds as the Blankenberg-Forrest combination clicked again, this time for 15 yards and a score with just 50 seconds left in the half as the blue & gold took a 21-14 lead in at the intermission.

The second half would see Wayne increase their lead with a 27 yard scoring run by Dylan Vance with 4:35 left in the 3rd quarter upping their lead to 28-14. The D.W.C. team showed a lot of heart as they weren't about to back down. Evan Pruonto ripped off a 43 yard run to the Wayne 1, where Nate Gardner took it in on the next play. The PAT failed and the Eagles held a 28-20 lead with 2:39 left in the 3rd quarter.

Dansville's Drew Morrow would pick off an Eagles tipped-pass early in the 4th quarter, but the locals couldn't move the ball on the drive and had to punt it away. Wayne would look to "seal the deal" when they went on a 64 yard drive that milked 5 minutes off the clock as Mason Blankenberg called a quarterback draw that went for 18  yards and a touchdown increasing the margin to 34-20 with 2:57 left in the game. 

Co-coaches Richie Welch and Darren Knapp put together a 54 yard scoring drive that took just :34 seconds as Nick Belanger hooked up with Evan Pruonto for a 16 yard pass play for a touchdown. Chris Gionvine's conversion made it a 34-27 contest as D-W-C was still in the hunt. An attempt at an on-sides kick wound up in Wayne's possession where they would run the clock out to claim their third victory without a defeat. 

Senior Night

The D-W-C seniors who were honored Friday included cheerleaders Meghan Schledorn and Kayleigh Camacho. Football players were Ryan Belanger, Preston Bell, Austin Dollinger, Jay Fairley, Holdyn Freeman, Gavin Hart, Chris Giovine, Jake Joseph, Brady Knudsen, Collin Mehlenbacher, Drew Morrow, DeShawn Owens, Evan Pruonto, Calab Rigdon, Ben Sick, Ben Teed and Edwin Washington.

Stat book

Rushing: 30 carries for 169 yards. Evan Pruonto 7 carries for 85 yards, Collin Mehlenbacher 3 carries for 40 yards 1 TD, Ben Teed 15 carries for 37 yards, Nick Belanger 4 carries for 6 yards, Nate Gardner 1 carry for 1 yard 1 TD. 

Passing: Nick Belanger 6/14 90 yards, TD

Receiving: Evan Pruonto 4 catches for 82 yards 1 TD, Drew Morrow 1 catch for 19 yards, Chris Giovine 1 catch for 3 yards. 

Kick Return: Calab Rigdon 1 return for 40 yards, 1 TD. 

Tackles: Evan Pruonto 10 tackles, Ben Teed,Collin Mehlenbacher, Nate Gardner (sack), Jay Fairly 6 tackles, Chris Giovine 5 tackles, Holdyn Freeman 4 tackles, Evan Gotshall 3 tackles, Ryan Belanger, Drew Morrow (INT), Aazan Sohail, Edwin Washington, Jacob Allen, Kyle Porter 1 tackle.

Next up 

Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton (2-1) heads off for a noon time showdown in the city on Saturday (Sept. 25) as they battle Bishop Kearney/Rochester Prep./ Roch. Academy Charter on Kings Highway in Rochester.