Dan-Way-Co football gets first win in program history

Dan-Way-Co combined team starts season off on right foot with a huge win over Newark/Marion on Friday night in Cohocton

Sean Curran
The Evening Tribune
Dan-Way-Co's Evan Pruonto hauls in a reception on Friday night as DWC picked up their first win in program history.

COHOCTON — The combined Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton Football Team got its first win in program history on Friday night as they dominated visiting Newark/Marion by a 38-6 final at the Cohocton Sports Complex.

DWC scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and then cruised to the 32-0 lead at the halftime break before getting everyone some playing time in the second half and securing their first win of the season in a resounding win.

Starting quarterback Nick Belanger earned his job over the summer, and has been a major part of seeing this team come together in the way it has. He stated on Friday night that the win was just a first step for Dan-Way-Co and that he was glad to be able to play the role in it that he does.

“I think this has been really good. All of the kids here have meshed pretty well, and I’m very glad to be the starting quarterback. It’s definitely amazing to have so many options. It feels good to be on the field with these guys,” said Belanger. “I think everybody was ready to win and we were all hungry to come out here tonight and win this game.”

The teams traded possessions to start the game, but the DWC offense quickly put things together in their second drive in order to get points on the board. Belanger set his team up with an incredible pass down the right sideline to Drew Morrow, who rose up and made a spectacular catch on the one yard line over the top of a defender. Belanger then capped off the short drive with a dive up the middle for the programs first touchdown in history, which also gave them an early 6-0 lead.

On the very next offensive play for Newark/Marion, Chris Giovine picked off a pass to force a turnover and returned the ball down the left sideline to set up the DWC offense with great field position. Once again, Belanger set up his team with another perfect pass down the right sideline, this time to Evan Pruonto and it set up DWC with a first-and-goal from the five yard line. Ben Teed then capped off the two-play drive with a five-yard touchdown run that made it a 14-0 game with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Dan-Way-Co's Collin Mehlenbacher outruns a defender down the sideline during a DWC win over Newark on Friday evening at the Cohocton Sports Complex.

“The whole basis of our passing game is to do it when the opportunity presents itself. Obviously, we are a ground and pound team, but Nick just did exactly what we wanted, and it supplemented into our offense. And the line did a great job of pass protection as well, considering they haven’t had a lot of time together,” said DWC Co-Head Coach Rich Welch.

After another quick stop from the DWC defense, the offense took over and quickly moved down the field. Mehlenbacher broke free for the biggest play of the night with a 45-yard carry down the right side of the field that set up DWC with a first and goal from the seven yard line. A false started moved the offense back, but it didn’t matter as Pruonto took a pitch to the left on the very next play and raced to the pylon to give DWC a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

At the start of the second frame, DWC got another stop on a 3-and-out thanks largely to the presence of the defensive line. The defensive line was dominant all game long, forcing an insane amount of pressure on passing plays and getting into the backfield to stop runs before they even started all night long.

“Between Holdyn Freeman, Ryan Belanger, Evan Gotshall and Peter Cicero — I mean they were men on fire tonight. Our guys were right in there on every play, and I wasn’t even doing a lot of blitzes or stunting because they were just getting in there,” said DWC Co-Head Coach Darren Knapp. “When you can disrupt things at level one, that’s a problem for any offense. And then the little bit of blitzing we did was effective. We knew their quarterback was a returning starter, so we knew we had to get pressure on him. And those guys executed perfectly.”

DWC took the ball back early in the second and then went right back to work on offense. Mehlenbacher put the offense in great field position with a huge punt return, and then Belanger connected with a wide open Giovine for a 10-yard touchdown score that made it a 26-0 lead.

DWC's Chris Giovine races down the sideline with one of his two interceptions on Friday night in a win over Newark/Marion.

It looked like the score would stay there through the end of the first half, but DWC put one final score on the board with a perfectly executed two-minute drill at the end of the half. DWC quickly moved down the field, and then Belanger lofted a perfect pass down the left sideline to Giovine for their second touchdown connection of the night on a 30-yard strike that made it a 32-0 lead going into the halftime break.

After the intermission, DWC got another score in the third quarter as Caleb Rigdon took a pitch to the right and raced down the sideline for a 21-yard touchdown score, pushing the lead out to an impressive 38-0.

Newark/Marion finally got on the board at the five-minute mark of the third quarter, but DWC was in complete control the rest of the night as they cruised to the win on opening night. DWC starts the season at 1-0 and now prepares for a Saturday contest against Wilson Magnet next weekend in Rochester at 12 p.m.

Stat book

D-W-C - Team Rushing

33 carries for 232 yards, 7 yards/carry

Collin Mehlenbacher 3 carries 67 yds 22.3/carry

Ben Teed 10 carries 49 yds 1 Td 4.9/carry

Gavin Hart 9 carries 40 yds 4.4/carry

Nick Belanger 6 carries 1 TD 30 yds 5/carry

Evan Pruonto 5 carries 23 yds 4.6/carry 1 TD

Calab Rigdon 1 Carry for 23 yds 1 TD

Jay Fairely 6 - 24 yds 4/carry 

Passing: Nick Belanger - 4 for 4 90 yds 2 TDs

 Team Receiving: 4 catches 90 yds 2 TDs

Chris Giovine 2 catches 41 yds 2 TDs

Drew Morrow 1 catch 24 yds

Evan Pruonto 1 catch 25 yds


Ben Teed 5 tackles

Nate Gardner 4 tackles 1 int

Jay Fairely 4 tackles 1 fumble recovery

Evan Pruonto 4 tackles

Collin Mehlenbacher 4 tackles 

Evan Gotshall 4 tackles

Drew Morrow 2 tackles

Holdyn Freeman 2 tackles

Jake Joseph 1 tackle 

Chris Giovine 1 tackle 2 INTs