OLEAN, NY - A cold rainy evening could not stop the Olean Huskies from advancing on to the Section VI Class B playoffs.
With under five minutes to go in Friday’s game against the Alden Bulldogs and the Huskies down by just three points, the Olean defense forced a three-and-out to give the team the ball back.
Senior quarterback Garrett Boldt scrambled out of the pocket to avoid an Alden Bulldogs tackler and found junior running back Dylan Vincent open. Vincent dodged two tacklers and took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown catch.
Boldt said it was simple: “Dylan said throw me the ball, I said, ‘All right, I’ll look right and throw it to you.’”
The Bulldogs had one last shot when they took over the ball with 1:34 left in the game. But on a fourth-and-21, the Huskies defense collapsed on junior quarterback Bryan Cybulski and took him down for the sack. The Huskies took over downs and took a knee to end the game and move on to the second round of the playoffs, defeating the Bulldogs 21-17.
Vincent credited the win to the team sticking together as one and never giving up hope.
“We are a family and we don’t stop fighting for each other,” he said. “If we weren’t a family we wouldn’t have won that game.”
Boldt said the Huskie players “fight to the end, and we love each other.”
The Huskies and Bulldogs went back and forth with scoring all night. The Huskies jumped out to an early first quarter lead as sophomore running back Icar Simon caught a pass from Boldt to put Olean up 7-0. The Bulldogs wasted no time and knotted the game up with a touchdown catch by junior wide receiver Riley Pastuszynski.
Starting the second quarter, the Huskies were inside Bulldog territory when Boldt rushed into the end-zone for a 29-yard touchdown to put the Huskies up 14-7. At the end of the half, the Bulldogs tied it again with a 25-yard screen pass to junior running back Christian Snell.
The Huskies fell behind toward the end of the third quarter when the Bulldogs kicked a field goal to put them ahead 17-14. Then Olean rallied for the winning score.
“We fight; that’s what we are we are fighters, and it doesn’t matter if we are losing 40 to nothing,” said Boldt. “We are still going to fight until the end.”
Huskies head coach Phil Vecchio praised the Bulldogs’ efforts.
“Hats off to their defense; they took it to us,” Vecchio said. “We were able to get outside on them earlier in the game, and they were bringing those ends outside and bringing pressure up the middle. They really made it difficult for us.”
Like his players, Vecchio said his team’s never-give-up attitude has been a key to this season’s success.
“All year long that’s something we preach and something they believe in, and thank God we have had some results,” he said. “In the fourth quarter, they knew and they believed. They know the game isn’t over until there are three zeroes on that scoreboard.”
Vecchio said Friday’s victory was especially rewarding because of the way the team played in muddy conditions on a field that was in poor condition.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way and we are advancing,” he said.
The Huskies will next take on the Cheektowaga Warriors, who defeated the Bulldogs of Buffalo’s Burgard High School. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at a neutral site.