MASCIO ELUSIVE — Former Lake Shore and Canisius quarterback Tyler Mascio helped lead South Park over Hamburg. Photo courtesy of Ron Larson.
With a storybook ending in mind, the Hamburg football team was in search of something miraculous to happen.
Despite a second-half comeback, the first-place South Park held on for an 18 – 13 win on Hamburg’s senior night, Oct. 11. With 94 yards separating Hamburg from a comeback that would have kept it in the playoff race, South Park was up for the challenge.
“We haven’t had a real tight one where a team really makes a good push,” said South Park head coach Tim Delaney. “Hamburg’s a tough football team and we knew they were. They’ve given everybody a good run all season, and we were able to make a few more plays than they were, down at the end.”
South Park led 18 – 0 at halftime as they were controlling the running game and Hamburg’s offense, in the process. The Sparks had 272 yards of total offense in the first half and held Hamburg to 33.
The Sparks rushed for 142 yards in the first half and ended the game with more than 200 yards on the ground. They were led by seniors T.J. Scott, who rushed for 59 yards on 13 carries, and Laron Watkins, who carried the ball 11 times, for 57 yards.
The second half was different, as junior quarterback Alex Suchan came out throwing and accounted for both Bulldog touchdowns through the air.
He connected with Brendan Ryan on a 28-yard fade route in the corner of the end zone, to make the score 18 – 6. Suchan connected with Bryce Hite on a 10-yard strike in the back of the end zone, midway through the fourth quarter, to make it a one-possession game.
After the Bulldogs forced an interception on fourth down, they had to drive the length of the field to win the game. Suchan led them across midfield, but was intercepted to end the game, after being hit by two Sparks’ defenders. The Hamburg defense allowed 119 yards of total offense in the second half.
The Bulldogs dropped to 2 – 4 on the season, as they still search for a way to win close games.
“We’re fighters. We’re going to battle,” said Hamburg head coach Pat Cauley. “We’ve proved it all year; we just have a hard time getting over the top. All I know about life is if you keep battling, sooner or later your time comes and we’re going to get up, dry our eyes and dust ourselves off.”
Suchan finished the game 12 of 25 for 198 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. His coach said that he has been impressed with the junior’s growth and maturity in tight games. Suchan came up with a number of tight throws in major spots and spread the ball to five different receivers, as he led a comeback march. Griffin Ryan had a team-high four catches for 76 yards and Brendan Ryan added three receptions.
“Alex is tough, smart and the other kids believe in him and he’s getting better each week,” Cauley said.
Hamburg will not have much time to sulk after the loss, as its final game of the season will come on the road next Friday, against the rival Frontier Falcons.