ELBRIDGE — While the other players listed real colleges they plan to attend during their Senior Night ceremony, Dominic Walborn had some fun.
The Jordan-Elbridge quarterback’s questionnaire said he would be attending “the University of Krypton” to study to “become a superhero.”
His night wasn’t far off.
Walborn ran for three touchdowns — including the go-ahead score with 1:50 remaining — and threw for two more to lead the Jordan-Elbridge football team to a 41-34 win over Southern Hills at John Howes Stadium Friday.
“Captain America!” Eagles head coach Tim Hawkins said with a smirk. “This kid and this team — this is probably the most fun I’ve had as a head coach. This is a group of characters. No doubt about it.”
The win clinches the Eagles at least second place in Section III, Class C West, as well as a berth into sectionals.
“It’s a big one. We get into sectionals and I’ll definitely remember this the rest of my life,” Walborn said. “Senior Night. A big win. Sectionals. It’s a big deal.”
For Hawkins, Walborn’s effort to improve through camps in the offseason has paid dividends.
“He’s grown a little bit. He was about this size when he was a sophomore, just thinner,” Hawkins said with a smile. “To see him grow over the last three years and be where he’s at? A college is going to get one heck of a football player when they come and sign him.”
Highlighted by a 35-yard pass from Walborn to Nate Melfi, the Eagles quickly marched down the field on their first drive. Aidan Carpenter capped the eight play, 76-yard drive by rushing it in from the two yard line.
Southern Hills tied the score before the end of the first quarter, but Jordan-Elbridge retook the lead on Walborn’s 82-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Sparks 1:39 into the second.
Southern Hills’ Dante Cuttino rushed 58 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. After a successful onside kick, quarterback Jake Edinger finished off a drive with a 16-yard run to give the Storm a 20-13 lead at halftime.
Hunter Brunelle returned the second half kickoff to the Southern Hills 42, and Jordan-Elbridge drove down to the one-yard line, where Walborn punched it in to tie the score. After recovering a fumble on the 49, the Eagles went right back down the field and Walborn scored on a run from the 14 to give Jordan-Elbridge a 27-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Storm blocked a punt deep in Eagles territory and Cuttino scored from the two to even the score at 27-27 before the end of the third quarter.
Walborn connected with Brandon Wick for a 47-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Eagles the lead, but Edinger tied the score with a nine-yard run with 7:01 remaining in regulation.
After a failed onside kick put Jordan-Elbridge on the Southern Hills 36, the Eagles drove down to the 11, where Walborn ran for his third touchdown of the night with less than two minutes left.
“If you watch them on tape, once they had success with it, they’re going to keep going to it because they think they’ve got something,” Hawkins said of the onside kick attempt. “What I did was I replaced the two guys and put my seniors up front. I put (Walborn) up front and Wick on the other side, so I knew I was OK as far as hands.”
The Storm got into the red zone in the final minute, but Melfi’s interception in the end zone ended the threat.
“I hate it. I like 35-0,” Hawkins said of the close game. “These are the games you have a blast coaching. You like to see what kind of grit your kids have, and our kids showed they have grit. We can blow people out and we can win the close ones. That’s what you need to do to win championships.”
Despite a big win, Hawkins still saw room for improvement.
“We still have yet to play a complete football game,” Hawkins said. “Once these guys start playing a complete football game? Look out. I think we can beat anybody in (Class) C.”
Jordan-Elbridge (4-2) wraps up the regular season with a trip to Weedsport on Friday, Oct. 13.
“It’s Weedsport and Jordan-Elbridge. It’s a rivalry. They’re like, what? 10 minutes away?” Hawkins said. “They’ve grown up with some of those kids and played in leagues with some of those kids, so it’s going to be a great game.”