Silver Lake Wellsville High's football season ended with a 35-21 Class 3A quarterfinal loss Friday night to Silver Lake, but each player could hold his head high.
For huge underdog Wellsville (6-6), walking away with a 14-point loss to its Eagle counterparts wasn't that tough to swallow. Silver Lake (11-1) historically is a 3A powerhouse.
"We had them in our sight, we just didn't quite shoot them down," Wellsville coach Bill Oshel said. "But I'll take a shot at them anytime if I could."
After a remarkable season, the Eagles, 0-5 at one point this season, finished one game away from the state semifinals after six straight wins.
"I've never been prouder of any group of kids," Oshel said. "Great kids, each and every one of them."
The contest started well for Wellsville.
On the game's third play, senior running back Gary Van Horn spun, juked and split the Silver Lake defense for a 69-yard score. Van Horn finished with 97 yards off 13 carries, but 90 of those came in the first half.
After Van Horn's run, Silver Lake running back Josh Workman went to work. He put up three touchdowns with 63 yards off 13 carries and also caught five receptions for 99 yards.
Silver Lake quarterback Kyle Kruger also thrived, completing 14 of 32 passes for 236 yards, an interception and a passing and a rushing touchdown.
Wellsville quarterback Ryan Oshel didn't complete a pass until 14 seconds remained in the third quarter, but he did find senior running back Gary Van Horn for 66- and 85-yard bombs, the latter for a touchdown.
Oshel finished with 6-for-24 with 174 yards. He could have had 80 more yards on a fluke play, but Wellsville was called for offensive pass interference that negated a touchdown catch by Devin Erlacher.
"We kind of mirrored our season," Bill Oshel said. "We could have laid down but we didn't. We kept fighting. They showed what they were made of."
The younger Oshel agreed.
"We were always confident," Ryan Oshel said. "Some people gave us the respect and some didn't. We always knew we belonged in the elite eight."