Tonawanda News — After the final whistle blew Thursday night at George Vetter Stadium, North Tonawanda wide receiver Jake Ferry took a look around the field and then up at the lights to take the moment in.
It was the senior’s last game at home in a Lumberjacks uniform, and his 90 yards receiving and interception on defense helped his team to a 30-7 win over Williamsville East in the opening round of the Chuck Funke Bowl Classic.
“Looking at these lights right now — I’m never going to forget this night,” Ferry said. “We turned it into a game (in the second half), and showed them what NT football was really about.”
The Flames controlled play in the first half and dominated the time of possession battle. They took a 7-6 lead into halftime, but Will. East could have been up a bit more if not for a few big stands by the NT defense, stifling two long drives by the Flames.
NT coach Tony Truilizio said he was pleased with the way the defense played, especially in the first half.
“The defense really did an incredible job. Williamsville East had some real threats and they were real strong on the offensive line,” he said. “In the halftime talk I told them, ‘You’re not serious and that’s the problem.’ They realized it and I put it on the seniors as well. The second half was the team I knew we had. Everything was clicking the way it should.”
Sophomore RB Cody Sikora, playing in place of injured senior Christian Mahoe, got the Jacks on the board late in the first half with his first career rushing touchdown. In the second half the NT offensive line took over and opened up big holes for every ball carrier. QB Chris Woodard ran for 66 yards, senior FB Jon Zellner finished his career with 71 yards and two touchdowns. Nehemiah Stone chipped in with 57 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
NT took the lead in the fourth quarter on Stone’s first TD and never relinquished it, scoring 24 unanswered points to close out the game.
Zellner said it was a great feeling to go out with a win in his last home game.
“We started rough but the line really picked it up. I couldn’t have done anything without those guys,” he said. “Every game you have to play like it’s any other game. I just go out there and trust the guys next to you and go 110 percent every play. … It’s a great way to finish at home and everybody really came together.”
Woodard finished with 124 yards passing and continued to display his chemistry with Ferry, who is now only 27 yards away from the all-time receiving record at NT. He said he wouldn’t have been able to do anything this season without his coaches and Woodard.
“Everything I did in the offseason helped me to be able to produce this season. The coaches helped me get to the level I needed to be at to play varsity football,” Ferry said. “These catches I’ve been making — I mean we go over it and over it in practice so we can be perfect in the game, and I give a lot of credit to my quarterback Chris Woodard. He puts it where it needs to be for me to make a play on the ball, and I have a lot of trust in him and he has a lot of trust in me.”
The Jacks move on to the championship game next Wednesday at Tonawanda High School’s Clint Small Stadium, where they’ll face Hamburg at 5:30 p.m. for the Chunk Funke Bowl Classic Class A championship.
“It’s important to go out Wednesday night and win,” Truilizio said. “They need to be focused and put in the extra hours in the video room. They have to know it’s likely the last game they’ll ever play. It’s going to be a bit emotional.”Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.