WILLIAMSVILLE — The Central Catholic football team did to Williamsville something that had not been done all season by putting the Bullets in an early deficit.
Then, the second-seeded Bullets did what they’ve done to everyone else on their schedule and rolled to a 45-14 triumph in a Class 3A second-round playoff game Saturday at Paul Jenkins Field.
Williamsville senior quarterback Justice Ferrier unloaded 333 yards passing and four touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards to end seventh-seeded Central Catholic’s season at 9-2.
“They just outplayed us,” said Saints coach Mike Moews. “They were a better team. We talked a lot about their vertical passing game, but we just didn’t do a good enough job of defending it. It was a long day.”
The No. 4 state-ranked Saints became the first team in 11 tries to take a lead on second-ranked Williamsville. The Bullets mishandled the first snap of the game, and Central senior Declan Rhodes covered it up at the 15-yard line. That set up running back Sa’mond Davis’ 4-yard touchdown for a 7-0 Central lead less than 2 minutes after kickoff.
“Our kids were a little funky after that,” said Williamsville coach Aaron Kunz. “I was a little nervous because they were pretty quiet on the sideline after we went down early.”
Defensive back Cade Beckett rallied the troops with a remarkable play in the Saints’ backfield. He batted down a reverse pitch after it left quarterback Max Moews’ hands, it took a belt-high bounce and Beckett gathered it and raced 64 yards for a touchdown.
“If (Central) gets that pitch off, it was going to be a big play for them, because we were a player short,” Kunz said. “I really thought that felt like a 14-point swing for us.”
The Saints grabbed some momentum before halftime when sophomore Jack Moews’ interception set up an 18-yard touchdown reception by Austyn Ellison with 37 seconds left in the first half to trim the Williamsville lead to 22-14.
“Down 22-14, we felt pretty good at halftime,” Mike Moews said.
Ferrier, who misfired on five of his first six pass attempts, was a gunslinger in the second half. He completed 8 of 9 after halftime for 225 yards and had touchdown passes of 78 and 94 yards.
The 78-yarder was a pass of about 8 yards that senior Hunter Thompson caught, bounced off two Saints’ defenders and ran the other 70 for a touchdown and a 29-14 lead.
“We got a good hit on him, but we didn’t wrap,” Mike Moews said. “Late in the third and the fourth quarter, we just broke down.”
Central committed five turnovers and had just 36 yards of offense in the second half. The Saints also had five turnovers in their only other loss this season to Monticello.
Williamsville drove the dagger deep when Ferrier hit Thompson in stride along the left sideline for a 94-yard touchdown play with 10:54 left.
“That’s a good defense,” Kunz said of Central. “For us to score 45 points on them, I think that’s a great day. We were efficient in the second half and made some big plays.”
Central leading receiver James Morris played with his right hand heavily padded, having broken it in last week’s win over Beardstown. He was used sparingly on offense early, but ran a few routes in the second half and had two receptions.
Davis finished with 99 yards, including 76 in the first half.