Griffins varsity football wins third straight game, qualifies for playoffs
With the win, the Griffins qualified for the A playoffs. This is the first time S-GI football has accomplished this feat since 2004. Against Olean, the Griffs jumped out to an early 6 – 0 lead on a 13-yard touchdown run by quarterback Bill Dickinson, with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Coach John Sopko said that he has been impressed with Dickinson’s recent plays. “The quarterback play is very important in the type of offense we play and Bill has been exceptional,” Sopko said. “He has played his best when our offense has played its best.”
The Griffins added to their lead on a 3-yard touchdown, run by Chris Phinney, with 11:55 left in the first half, to make the score 12 – 0.
In the rushing yards department, the Griffs totaled 428 yards on the night. Dickinson ran for 101 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Phinney ran for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. Phinney called the performance “extremely satisfying,” adding, “It was awesome to finally have a great game rushing the ball; it’s been a while. Billy made some great reads on the defensive front, to break me free for a couple big runs.”
During the victory, the Griffs’ defense slowed down Olean’s passing offense. Springville’s Tyler Studd recorded two sacks, for the second straight game, while Ryan Cordova had an interception. Phinney made plays on both sides of the ball, in this game. Late in the second quarter, he intercepted a pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown, to put S-GI ahead 25 – 6 with 2:16 left in the half. “It was almost unbelievable. I dropped back into my zone and Ty Studd put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and he threw the ball right to me,” Phinney said. “The blocking downfield was great from [Andrew] Suffoletto and [Brandon] Ball.”
Tyler Conklin added a 6-yard rushing touchdown, late in the third quarter, as the Griffins cruised to victory and earned a spot in the playoffs, in the process.
After a 0 – 4 start to the season, Dickinson said that he is proud of the adversity the team has overcome. “We never put our chins in our chests. We knew we were so close in each of the first four games and we just needed to learn how to finish. We started that trend against Pioneer and we’ve kept it rolling, ever since.”
S-GI will begin the playoffs on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m., when the team travels to Eden. This will be a rematch of a week two game, when Eden defeated the Griffs in a 19 – 13 triple overtime.
Sopko said the message this week is simple: “This is another road game with an opponent that we’re very familiar with,” he said. “We have to stay focused on the task at hand and we’ll be fine.”