Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton football making history again with home playoff win

Dan-Way-Co defeats Pal-Mac in a rainy affair to advance to the Section V, Class B semifinals

Sean Curran
The Evening Tribune
Dan-Way-Co quarterback Nick Belanger rushes toward the edge on Friday night in the Class B playoffs.

DANSVILLE – The Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton combined football team made history once again on Friday night as they picked up the program’s first Section V playoff win with a 6-0 victory over Palmyra-Macedon at Ralph Clements Field in Dansville.

After finishing 6-2 in the regular season, DWC officially earned a home playoff game for the Class B playoffs. The combined team then continued to set the bar as high as possible by getting a home win in the first round over a very strong No. 5 Pal-Mac squad.

“I’ve always said, you can’t draw this stuff up. It’s just a good combination of kids. We definitely did set the bar high for the first season, and I’m really proud of them. We are excited to head onto the semifinals and see what we can do,” said DWC Co-Head Coach Darren Knapp.

“It’s amazing to watch these kids. Tonight, they had their backs against the walls. The defense balled out tonight, and they never gave in. They made the six points enough and we are so proud of them. They are setting the bar high, but that’s what you want for a good program. That’s what great programs do, and the fact that we are able to do it this early is just a testament to the boys,” said DWC Co-Head Coach Rich Welch.

Pal-Mac opened up the contest with a drive down into the DWC territory, but the defense made their presence felt right from the opening minute as they forced a punt. Dan-Way-Co took over possession of the ball on their own 33-yard line and went to work on their first drive of the game.

But in a repeat from last week’s game against Midlakes, the DWC offense needed just one play to get on the scoreboard. Ben Teed took a handoff up the middle of the formation, broke through the line to reach the second level and then simply outran everybody on the field for a 67-yard touchdown that put DWC up by a 6-0 mark less than two minutes into the game.

DWC's Ben Teed is officially off to the races on the lone touchdown of the game in a win over Pal-Mac in the Section V Playoffs on Friday evening.

“It happened last week too, ironically enough on the same exact play. We will take it and it ended up being the difference tonight. I’m not going to complain. The rain was the same for both teams, and so we were a little limited on what we could call. But we held onto the ball and the boys did what they needed to do. Credit Pal-Mac because they played hard, but we were able to come out on top,” said Welch.

Had the downpour of rain stopped right then and there after Teed’s touchdown, the game could have easily descended into a shootout. But the weather had no intention of making this a high-scoring game as the rain poured down onto the field and field conditions quickly deteriorated.

Each time the offenses started to put together a drive, it was quickly stifled by a penalty, a dropped snap, a fumble or even a player simply slipping in the mud. Pal-Mac’s offense started to put together some great drives down the field, and while the conditions did make things difficult, it was also clear that DWC was simply not going to allow a touchdown.

“Playing Pal-Mac already we were lucky to have some film on them and know a lot of what they do. But those kids played tough and their coaching staff had them prepared. So we knew that this was going to be a close game because it’s playoff football. There are no holds barred. We had a great week of practice and we were able to dial in defensively,” said Knapp. “I mean the playing conditions probably didn’t hurt. With our style of defense, it probably helped a little bit. But I just told the kids to go out there and play the game and leave good memories for yourself on this field. And they certainly did that.”

Pal-Mac had one final opportunity to come away with a score in the fourth quarter, but the DWC defense pushed them backwards on the final two plays of the game, eventually getting a turnover on downs when Pete Cicero made the game-sealing sack in the backfield.

DWC running back Evan Pruonto dives on a fumble during Friday's win over Pal-Mac.

In the moment, the game was simply a cold and rainy slugfest between two playoff teams. The conditions were miserable and neither team was able to get any momentum going.

In other words, it was perfect football, and a memory that will last a lifetime for everyone who played in it.

“It was just awesome. We told them before the game, even though we knew it was going to be such a tight one, that this is the type of game that you remember for the rest of your life. I think I played in one snow game in college, and it’s just something that stands out in your memory. And I know this one will stand out for them. It was great stuff,” said Welch.

“We’ve been on the other side of this a few times, and finally we ended up on the good side. It was great to know that these kids are going to have this memory going down the line. That’s the kind of thing that keeps you coming back. It’s the reason I got into coaching. I’m sure that’s why Rich got into coaching. It’s because of games like this and what it can do for you as a young man and a man in general,” said Knapp.

DWC running back Evan Pruonto rushes to the outside in the rain and the mud on Friday evening in a playoff win over Pal-Mac, the first in Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton history.

With the win, Dan-Way-Co improves to 7-2 on the season and now heads off to the Section V Class B Semifinals, where they will meet top-seeded HFL on the road with a time and date yet to be determined.