By Dave Ricci
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — As his teammates stood on the sideline chanting "defense! Defense!" James Hengel broke through the line for the first sack of his career to seal the biggest win of the season for Kenmore West.
The Blue Devils used a quick start to fuel their most complete effort of the season as they knocked off previously unbeaten Frontier, 26-21 in Section VI Class AA action at Crosby Field on Saturday.
Stuck on their own 11 the Falcons (4-1) were hoping for a Hail Mary pass to steal a win from the Devils.
Even though QB Tyler Gaglia had seven men dropped back protecting him, the Blue Devils were in a spread defense trying to guard against the pass and only rushed three players.
Hengel found a seam, broke though and absolutely engulfed a helpless Gaglia as he brought him to the ground.
"It's not just that play," Hengel said. "We won it as a team. It was a whole team effort and one play doesn't win you a game. It was a whole team effort. I'm really proud of our guys. We were the underdogs in this game and we fought until the end. We just didn't give up on anything. We were the underdogs but we didn't let that get to us."
With the victory Ken West improves to 3-2 and clinches a spot in the post season. A victory on the road at Lockport next Saturday will secure a home playoff game for the Devils.
Pleased that this was a complete effort from start to finish, West coach Rich Harris said a fast start was crucial as they needed to set the tone and keep the Falcons on their heels.
"Theme all week was to start fast," Harris said. "Nobody had jumped on this football team. They had jumped on all four opponents. They got early leads and they put 'em away, they went for the jugular right away.
"I said we've gotta start fast. They'll be very uncomfortable, and they were. The second theme of the week was we had to finish strong, which we didn't do last season and we didn't do earlier this season. The execution was great, but it was the start and the finish too."
Offensively the Blue Devils were clicking as everybody did their job. QB Adam Fron was solid as he completed 6 of 13 for 157 yards and a 70-yard TD strike to Terrell Ford that put West up 12-7 in the second quarter.
Ford hauled in the pass from Fron, then raced down the left sidelines with AJ Licata in pursuit. Just when it appeared Licata had Ford (124 yards receiving) tied up, he was able to shake free and burn to the end zone.
Alex Price (112 yards on 12 carries) was in on three of the Blue Devils touchdowns. He ran for two and connected with Nick Wojnar on a 35 yard pass with 27 seconds to play in the first quarter, giving West a 6-0 lead.
Price's 2-yard TD run that put Ken West up 20-7 in the third quarter was the culmination of an opening drive that lasted 7:13.
Trent White led the way defensively with 16 tackles, Anthony Catania had nine and Gary Halt had eight.
The Falcons got touchdowns from Kenny Kahler (24 yard TD run), AJ Licata (4 yard reception) and Cameron Coon's run that cut the score to 26-21 with 2:30 left to play.Follow @tonanewssports and @DaveARicci on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.