With the score tied at 21 in the fourth quarter and the momentum on Buffalo's side after the Bison erased a two-touchdown deficit, the Tigers decided to make a statement and did so in convincing fashion with a series of big plays on both sides of the ball that led to a 35-21 win for the program's first of the season.
The fourth quarter belonged to Versailles Friday night at Buffalo.
With the score tied at 21 and the momentum on Buffalo’s side after the Bison erased a two-touchdown deficit, the Tigers decided to make a statement and did so in convincing fashion with a series of big plays on both sides of the ball that led to a 35-21 win for the program’s first of the season.
“It was everyone,” said Versailles junior quarterback Coby Williams who led the Tigers to a pair of game-winning touchdown drives in the final frame to seal it. “We are all in this together and we just told them to do their jobs, stick with it and it will work out in the end and it did.”
Well, it is certainly ok for Williams to take a little credit. After all, he converted a pair of 4th-down plays to keep those drives alive and ended Buffalo’s night by snagging an interception while playing safety.
His night got off to a fairly nice start as well.
It began in the first quarter after an empty first drive where Versailles struck first and quickly found the end zone when Williams found a wide open receiver in senior Wyatt Espinosa who hauled in the pass and took it 61 yards to the house to make it 7-0. After the Tiger defense forced Buffalo to its second straight three-and-out, Williams converted a 4th-and-1 run at the Buffalo 21-yard line and senior running back Michael Trotter finished things off with a 6-yard touchdown run to give his team a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“We had to do a better job of starting and we did,” Versailles coach Broc Silvers said after a tough 68-30 loss at Knob Noster last week. “It was our best first quarter I think I’ve had sincee we’ve been here the last six years.”
But Buffalo decided to respond with a 43-yard touchdown run to chop the deficit in half on the ensuing drive. A recovery on the ensuing kickoff kept the Bison momentum going, but the next series came up empty and Versailles answered back with a methodical 80-yard drive that took just over four minutes of clock. Williams went to junior wideouts Payton Lafoy and Brayden Morrison for a couple of quick strikes to compliment the run game and it culminated with Williams 4-yard quarterback draw to extend the lead to 21-7 with 3:05 left to go in the half.
“We cannot be one-dimensional. For us going forward, we are not going to beat Southern Boone or compete with Blair Oaks and all those guys being one-dimensional,” Silvers said of the offense. “We are not good enough to throw it around all the time and not get our quarterback killed or sit there and try to pound it.
“We have to be 50-50, we are working our way there and there are some bright spots and things we have to work on obviously, but it’s still week two.”
Buffalo came storming out for the second half and used a pair of empty Versailles possessions to their advantage as they marched down the field with the counter run that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run and 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with 34.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Each drive only took about two minutes to complete.
The momentum was with Buffalo, but it would not last. The first Versailles scoring drive that began to deflate Buffalo’s momentum and gave the Tigers back the lead went for 73 yards, soaked up over six minutes of clock and culminated with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Williams to senior wide receiver Colbey Boicourt in the corner of the end zone on 4th-and-6.
“It was originally supposed to be a hitch (route), but the defense starting flooding in so I had to roll out,” Williams said of the play. “We ran the scramble game so we went to the corner of the end zone and he was open so I just threw it up and hoped for the best.”
The best outcome certainly came to fruition and Versailles coach Broc Silvers has no doubt in the playmaking ability of his field general.
“He has outworked every single kid on our team, he has never missed the weight room and plays three sports all year round,” Silvers said of the quarterback. “If the game is on the line, that is who I am going to, period, end of discussion. I had a great coach tell me one time that at the end of the game with the game on the line, you don’t think about plays- you think about players.”
Buffalo had an opportunity to respond on the ensuing drive, but the Tiger defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out that eventually led to a botched snap on a punt that Versailles recovered at the Buffalo 15-yard line. Facing 4th-and-1 at the Buffalo 5 on the next drive, Williams trusted his offensive line to generate some push and they did just that, allowing him to secure the first down on a draw play and eventually plow into the end zone for a 1-yard score to create the final margin with just under two minutes remaining.
“I could have probably handed it to Trotter and probably had the same success. Trotter wanted the ball and I like that about him, but I need his 220-pound body to get a great block,” Silvers said of the final touchdown. “Nobody complains about that stuff because it is about getting the win… It was a great team win and we definitely needed that.”
It was certainly a refreshing night for the program after a tough outing in week one at Knob Noster where Versailles allowed the Panthers to put up 486 rushing yards. It seemed Buffalo had found its groove in the second half with the counter run, but Versailles made its stand.
To borrow a basketball phrase, Silvers said he talked all week to his players about “making somebody beat them left-handed,” which implies the idea of taking away an opponent’s strength. On one of the final crucial drives the defense was up to the challenge as some blitzing caught the Bison off guard, but Silvers said things will certainly need to be cleaned up by the time Southern Boone comes into town next week for the Tri-County Conference opener.
“I think we did a much better job as a coaching staff and obviously hats off to my guys getting our guys ready to go and we challenged ourselves. It was not about winning, but being tougher and more physical,” Silvers said.
“You don’t want to blitz a team that is countering a lot because you can run by it, but we did and tried to make some big plays… We have to get that fixed next week or it is going to be an ugly game. On the bus ride home we can enjoy it, but we have to go back to work and get our kids to understand what is going on and how we can stop it.”
Williams led the rushing attack with 145 yards and and completed 16 of his 23 passes for 163 yards to go with four total touchdowns. Espinosa was his top target with five receptions for 80 yards and Trotter churned ahead for 38 rushing yards respectively. Trotter also led the defense as a linebacker where he recorded 10.5 tackles, including two for a loss.
The win will put Versailles (1-1) in a good mood heading into a battle with Southern Boone for the home opener on Friday at 7 p.m.
“That win is huge going into the Tri-County. Plus, it is probably big in our district,” Silvers pointed out. “I don’t know how many teams have won games, but we played a class up against an undefeated team and hopefully Knob Noster keeps winning so we stay in the top four of that playoff system.”
Ultimately, the overall goal is to stay healthy and get better each week so the team is firing on all cylinders by the time the playoffs roll around in week 10.
“We just have to keep playing and keep getting better because if anything, our kids now know when we get to week 10 no matter what happens, we can be competitive,” the coach said. “Especially with a win here, we get a couple more under our belt and we are going to be better come week 10 and maybe get a home game.
“Keep people healthy, keep getting better, keep tweaking what we do to find what we are really good at and just let our kids enjoy their football season.”