OLEAN - For the first time since 2006, when they followed a Week 3 loss to East Aurora with a Week 4 loss at Lackawanna, the Southwestern Trojans suffered defeat in consecutive games on Saturday evening at rickety Bradner Stadium in Olean.
After being shut out by Westfield, the Trojans were very nearly blanked once again had it not been for 41-yard field goal by kicker Tanner Hoose in the game's waning moments. The distance was a mere 2 yards shy of tying the school record, set by Nick Swanson in 2010, and made the final score 18-3 in favor of the hosts.
Prior to the field goal, the Southwestern offense managed to push its way into Huskies' territory just once - on the opening possession of the second half - when Ryan Schutte and quarterback Jake Pilling had back-to-back runs of 11 yards - but the drive was stalled when Pilling, on the ensuing play, threw the second of his three interceptions.
Southwestern quarterback Jake Pilling is brought down by Olean’s Wil Bathurst while running a keeper in Saturday’s Class B South game at Bradner Stadium. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
Southwestern completed just 2 of 15 passes for 15 yards while the rushing attack gained 155 yards on 36 carries and was led by Kevin Bellardo, who had eight carries for 42 yards.
Following the game, Southwestern coach Jay Sirianni was tough in his assessment of his team's offensive performance.
"Our offense was pretty pathetic," he said. "We're throwing too many incompletions and interceptions. There's no one reason (for the struggles), we're just not clicking. If you can't throw the ball you're very one dimensional, and we really don't run the ball well either, so I guess we're no dimensional.
"It's a good thing I'm not coaching in the NFL because as the offensive coordinator I'd be fired."
The Trojans drop to 1-2 overall, but they remain at 1-1 in the league as the Huskies are in Class B South. Olean, meanwhile, picked up its first victory of the season.
After trading possessions and turnovers for much of the first half - in one three-minute span Olean quarterback Chase Anzivine was picked off by Nick Baglia, then Southwestern lost possession with a fumble three plays later and finally Olean's Jaryd Plaud lost a fumble two plays after that - Olean managed to get on the board with 7.4 seconds remaining when Anzivine tossed a swing pass out to Dante Tarr, who beat a number of Southwestern tacklers and rumbled into the endzone from 44 yards out to make it 6-0 at the break.
The score remained 6-0 through the third period, but on the opening play of the fourth Anzivine, who completed 10 of 27 passes for 205 yards, pump-faked left, rolled right and found receiver Pat Scholla deep down the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown that, following a failed two-point conversion attempt, increased the Olean advantage to 12.
Those two plays were the lone blemishes in an otherwise solid outing for the Trojans' defense.
"I think our defense played outstanding," Sirianni said. "I was very pleased. It was just two plays - the play at the end of the half where I felt like we didn't play our hardest and then the long pass. But I thought our defense played very, very well and gave us some opportunities."
Despite Hoose's field goal, the Trojans have now gone eight quarters without a touchdown. Sirianni is hoping that by avoiding the shutout his squad will have more confidence heading into its battle with Salamanca on Friday.
"I think (getting the points) was big," he said. "Getting points on the board, especially in the state we're in offensively, that's a definite positive for us.
"We're just looking to score touchdowns. We need to do something offensively and we hope it comes together. Nobody is getting down and nobody is jumping ship so we've just got to keep working and try to get better week to week."
Southwestern0 0 0 3 - 3
Olean0 6 0 12 - 18
Ole - Tarr 44 pass from Anzivine (kick failed).
Ole - Scholla 68 pass from Anzivine (pass failed).
Ole - Anzivine 1 run (kick failed).
SW - Hoose 41 FG.