PITTSFORD — It was an imperfect ending for the Weedsport football team.
Mistakes and turnovers haunted the previously undefeated Warriors throughout the first half and they never fully recovered, as Section III Weedsport fell to Section V’s Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, 48-6, in the eight-man regional at Pittsford Sutherland High School Saturday.
It was the final game of the season for both teams, since there's not yet an official state tournament for eight-man football.
"We won our league championship and our section championship. This doesn't diminish anything we accomplished," Warriors head coach Jon Sgarlata said. "The (finals at the Carrier Dome) took a toll on us. We were hungover a little bit from that and very beat up."
The Warriors were without a few of their regular impact players, including senior co-captain Max Horsford, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.
"The replacements are all 10th graders, which is great to build on for next year," Sgarlata said. "But it takes a toll when you're three best offensive players aren't going to be ready to go."
Taino Follett was named the most valuable player for Weedsport.
OAE quarterback Colton Dillon galloped for three touchdowns, while Ty Mott added a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Weedsport, the Section III champion, stopped OAE on the 1-yard line on its initial drive, but Dillon punched it in from the 2 on the next OAE possession. Dillon scored again from the 6 after the Warriors turned the ball over on downs, and Weedsport trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Dillon and Mott each broke free for 50-plus yard rushing touchdowns after Weedsport fumbles in the second quarter, and OAE led 28-0 at halftime.
For Sgarlata, it took time for some of his players to adjust to new, bigger roles on the team.
"I knew the wind would be a factor and our offense is a silent count, so the timing really gets disrupted when — not only you're playing a good team — but when you have guys in new positions, especially in the beginning when it's starters on starters," Sgarlata said. "We fumbled a lot last week. We really took care of the ball well all year and it just seems the last couple weeks it's bit us."
Hunter Morgan returned the second half kickoff 57 yards to put the Warriors on the board early in the third quarter, but Mott scampered 44 yards for his second touchdown of the day and Gage Dierterle added to the OAE lead with a 42 yard run before the end of the third quarter.
Ty Kornow added a 6 yard rushing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and OAE cruised the the victory
While the final score isn't what they hoped for, the Warriors were glad some of the younger players were able to get big game experience. Weedsport is only graduating two seniors from the team.
"Jake Maloof and Reese Ahern and Hunter Morgan and Joe Guy and all those guys that are the future skill guys for us, they got some minutes this year but in clean-up time," Sgarlata said. "So for them to go against a championship team's juniors and seniors and to hold their own? They ran the ball hard and moved the ball. We really stopped ourselves by turning it over, but when we executed well, they ran well. It just shows us where we're at heading into next year."
Weedsport went 6-0 in the regular season, beat South Lewis 76-46 in the section semifinals and then took home the section title with a 30-18 victory over Altmar-Parish-Williamstown in the Carrier Dome Nov. 3.
Sgarlata said the team was first notified of a possible regional game the week before the section finals. The hope is for a full state tournament to be put together next year.
"It was more of just 'Let's play a football game in November and try to get a little better and look to see what we need to do for next year,'" Sgarlata said. "If we're able to get back here next year, this is the type of team we'll have to deal with."