Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Sports

Depew football gets first win of the season


Depew football broke through in a big way Thursday night, getting its first win of the season. The Wildcats defeated Springville 33-14, finally putting it all together after three close defeats and a pair of blowouts.

“It means a lot,” Depew coach Mark Dirienzo said. “It’s been a long time coming for the whole season. It was a good feeling to win a division game and to do it by several touchdowns. Everything was clicking that night.”

Joe Pagano led the way for the Wildcats, running for three touchdowns and throwing for another. He was able to read the defense well and took off when they didn’t have anyone to contain him in the pocket. Sean Miller had six catches including the touchdown, while Alex Neu was strong in the running game.

“He did a great job of taking what the defense gave us,” Dirienzo said. “They pretty much dropped in coverage a lot, so scrambling was open. He took a lane in the middle of the defense most of the time and had some nice long runs. They only rushed four and dropped everyone else. He was able to maneuver easily. Our offensive line did well.”

Springville actually took the lead on the first drive of the game, but was unable to score again until the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. The Depew defense clamped down and made life hard on the Griffins. Josh Goss, Dante Dirienzo and Jake Wentland each had at least 10 tackles while Sean Miller returned an interception five yards for a touchdown.

“The first series of the game, they basically took the ball down the field and scored,” Dirienzo said. “But after that we tightened up, we had some blitz packages that we sent in and they couldn’t really pick them up. We had several guys in double digit tackles.”

The Wildcats will close out the regular season Friday night by travelling to Lancaster to take on the Legends in the 99th edition of the rivalry game. Dirienzo has been around the game for more than two decades as a player and coach, but this is his first as the varsity headman.

“It means a lot,” Dirienzo said. “This year is the 99th year of the rivalry. It means a lot to be a part of one of the oldest rivalries in the country. To play here and now be a coach at Depew, it means a lot.”

The Legends are having another strong year as they now sit at 5-1 on the season. They run a no-huddle offense that can be tough to keep up with, but the Wildcats are working hard in practice to ensure they will be prepared come Friday night.

“I anticipate pretty much the same thing that they did last year,” Dirienzo said. “They have good athletes and they’re well-coached. They run a no-huddle offense and that presents a lot of challenges to the defense. You kind of have to wait them out. They make their call at the line and you have to make your call to counter what they do. It does present some challenges and puts a lot of stress on the defense. If you’re repping enough during practice, you can hope to counter some of the things that they do.”

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