Tonawanda News — Tonawanda took a 14-10 lead into halftime — the first time a Tonawanda team has done so since 1998. But in the second half of the 103rd T-NT game Friday night, North Tonawanda showed why they've won now 13 times in a row.
North Tonawanda's defense shut out the Warriors in the second half, and the Jacks prevailed, 17-14, in what was one of the most exciting and closely contested T-NT games in recent memory.
Lumberjacks senior wide receiver Ian Gilhousen said the victory is one he's been waiting for since he was a little boy.
"It's a great feeling," he said. "There's nothing better than coming out here with my coaches, good friends and with the whole community watching me — it's a dream come true."
The Jacks (2-5, 1-5 Class A) had two standout performances, one on each side of the ball, that helped them hold off a Warriors team that seemed determined to end their losing streak.
Sophomore running back Nehemiah Stone rushed for 127 yards on 17 carries and scored both NT touchdowns. Senior cornerback and kicker Luke Topolski had an interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery, five tackles and, just for kicks, converted on the what would be the game-winning field goal.
NT coach Tony Truilizio called the win "a great victory for the program." He said he's proud of his players and the way they've come together as a family. He knew they'd need a great effort to knock off the Warriors.
"I knew from the moment I saw (Tonawanda) on film three weeks ago that this team could put points on the board and move the ball," Truilizio said. "We were fortunate to also have an offense that can move the ball. Out of all weeks for the defense to hold up solid — the interception by Luke was great."