BUFFALO - As Silver Creek coach Bill Brennan walked off All-High Stadium with his star senior Zeddie Williams, he patted him on the back and congratulated him for a fifth straight Section 6 Class C crown.
It took another stellar performance from the nation's all-time leading scorer as the No. 1 Black Knights rallied past No. 2 Akron, 17-12, in the championship game.
"This group, this is my last group so I am happy to do that with them," Williams said.
OBSERVER?Photo by Craig Harvey
Silver Creek’s Bill Brooks reaches for the ball during the Black Knights’ Section 6 Class C title game against Akron at All-High Stadium in Buffalo, on Tuesday.
"It's exciting," Brennan added. "It hasn't sunk in yet. Five in a row is great. We put in a lot of hard work. I told the boys it would pay off at the end and everything did today. I always talked with Zeddie and prepared him for this season. Our team would have to be a team that works harder. I told him he doesn't want to be a senior and not win a Class C championship. I was so glad he went out on top winning five in a row."
Silver Creek got off to a slow start as it trailed, 4-1, after the first quarter and 5-4 at halftime.
Making things difficult for the Black Knights was the solid play of Akron goaltender Gowah Abrams who made multiple saves on quality scoring chances by Silver Creek.
"Their goalie was doing a great job," Brennan said. "If he wasn't there, (the score) would be a lot higher than it was. He kept them in it, without a doubt."
In the second quarter, Silver Creek was able to close the margin of deficit as Akron opened the quarter with four straight turnovers and nine in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Black Knights, they were not able to capitalize on many of those turnovers.
"Any time you have turnovers, you have to capitalize," Brennan said. "I think we forced (the offense a little too much. We should have settled it down when we didn't have the numbers. The boys like to go play and do their thing. I had to pull them back a little bit."
In the first half, Williams netted all four goals for the No. 1 seed.
Enter sophomore Jonah Mohawk.
Mohawk scored four goals in the third quarter and two more in the final frame.
"Jonah is a boy we had high expectations for all season," Brennan said. "At halftime I told him we need four or five out of you and he came out to play. What was huge was Zeddie went and talked to him. When a player comes up to you and says this is where I need you to be, he listened to everything Zeddie said, he benefited from it."
Williams netted four goals himself in the third quarter as he and Mohawk engineered a 10-5 run for a 14-10 lead.
The Tigers tied the score 9-all with 3:42 left, but from there, it was all Silver Creek. A key reason the Black Knights were able to shut down Akron's offense was thanks to a defensive adjustment.
"We weren't playing our game early on," Brennan said. "We were playing Akron's game. Defensively, we were not on the same page. I told them we had success with the 3-3 defense all year long. We went into it and the rest of their goals were transition goals. They didn't have any goals from set plays."
And with that, the Black Knights are on to the Far West Regionals Saturday at St. John Fischer College against the same team they have faced the last three years - Penn Yan.
"It's just a rematch," Williams said with a smile. "Three in a row, so it should be fun."
"We are going to prepare for them, but we aren't going to change anything out of our style," Brennan added. "Hopefully we come out on top. It has to be 100 percent effort from everyone on the team. They got one on me. I love playing them. They are one of the top programs."