By Nick Sardina
ORISKANY – Westmoreland quarterback Tyler Deveans couldn’t have started his senior season any better.
Deveans rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns as the Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage to defeat rival Oriskany 49-6 on a steamy Saturday afternoon at Bernie Block Field. The victory in the Battle of Cider Street game was the 10th straight for the Bulldogs (1-0), who rushed for 392 yards on 42 carries, and outgained Oriskany 424 to 128.
After forcing a three-and-out on Oriskany’s open possession, the Bulldogs needed only one snap to take the lead as Deveans, on a read-option keeper, broke free over the right side and raced for a 78-yard touchdown. On their next drive, the Bulldogs powered 74 yards in eight plays and took a 14-0 lead when Kris Harrison broke free on a 12-yard scamper.
“As a team, we blocked very well,” said Deveans, a three-year starter and four-year varsity performer. “My speed gives me an advantage, but the line hit their blocks and opened up big holes all day. They deserve a lot of credit.”
On their next series Oriskany showed some life and were moving the ball. However, quarterback Kyle Liddy, after a nice 23-yard run, fumbled after being hit by Westmoreland’s Mike Vecchio and linebacker Joe Becker recovered and returned it all the way to Oriskany’s 22-yard line. Four plays later, Deveans powered through a wide open hole on the right side, made a few tacklers miss at the 5-yard line, and powered into the end zone for a 20-0 lead with 2:25 remaining in the first quarter.
The Redskins (0-1) have had a rash of injuries to key players, and couldn’t match Wesmoreland’s physicality throughout the entire game. Quarterbacks Ryan Enos, who is out for the year, and Ethan Juarez had to sit due to injuries. Wide receiver Shamis Lasher is also injured, but toughed it out while playing with a cast on his right arm. Those losses were critical on both sides of the ball, as the Redskins needed everyone playing their best game if they hoped to compete with Westmoreland.
“They just execute,” Oriskany head coach Jerry Tine said. “I can’t simulate that with our backup players. We know what’s coming, but they are bigger, stronger, and faster and execute their offense so well. … That’s a good ball club.”
Touchdown runs by Deveans (57 yards) and Becker (1 yard) gave Westmoreland a 35-0 lead at halftime. Showing their mental focus, the Bulldogs came out of halftime and scored on their opening two drives on runs by Deveans (14 yards) and Harrison (6 yards) to make it 49-0.
“This is a rivalry,” Deveans said. “It’s Oriskany, and even though they had some injuries, they were going to fight for four quarters, so we had to keep playing our best. This was a good start. We hope to build off it and keep the train going.”
Westmoreland head coach Tim Gates didn’t completely know what to expect from his young team, but liked how his kids responded.
“We don’t have a lot of experience back,” Gates said. “I knew what to expect from our returners, but the rest of the team was a question mark. I’m very pleased with our start.”
The Bulldogs host Class C Herkimer at 1 p.m. Saturday and Gates knows he’ll need another good effort from Deveans.
“His speed is going to be difficult for teams to handle,” Gates said. “We have things we need to work on, and we have a very difficult schedule this season. Herkimer will be a tough game.”
Liddy rushed for 59 yards and Chad Johnson scored a touchdown for the Redskins (0-1), who hope to even up its record when they travel to New York Mills Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Westmoreland 49, Oriskany 6
Westmoreland 20 15 14 0—49
Oriskany 0 0 0 6—6
W-Tyler Deveans 78 run (Dawson Cook kick)
W-Kris Harrison 12 run (Cook kick)
W-Deveans 20 run (kick failed)
W-Deveans 57 run (Deveans run)
W-Joe Becker 1 run (Cook kick)
W-Deveans 14 run (Cook kick)
W-Harrison 6 run (Cook kick)
O-Chad Jackson 5 run (run failed)