Falcons eliminate the grid Lions in overtime thriller
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The Lockport Lions did their homework in preparation for Friday night’s Section VI Class AA football quarterfinal at Frontier High School. Better yet, Tyler Fraass and Charlie Sobieraski teamed up for a Show and Tell that will be talked about in the Lock City for many more years to come.
It just wasn’t enough.
Frontier senior running back Cameron Coon scored on a 5-yard run in overtime to lift the No. 2 Frontier Falcons over the No. 7 Lions, 27-21.
For three quarters, head coach Greg Bronson’s Lions (3-5) stymied and frustrated the Falcons (6-2) on both sides of the ball, but a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback by the Falcons set the stage for a one-sided OT session. The Lions turned the ball over on the first play of their first possession, setting the stage for Coon’s winning TD on a second and goal from the 5.
“That was one of the best high school football games I’ve ever been associated with,” said Frontier head coach Tim Myslinski. “They had a great first half and we had a great second half. That guy over there, coach Bronson, is a class act. Every time we play them it’s a dogfight.”
The Lions were poised for an upset, hoping to avenge a Week 3, 23-0 loss to the Falcons back in late September.
Better prepared and more motivated and focused, the Lions wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, marching 73 yards on 9 plays, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from their gutsy junior quarterback Fraass to the certain Section VI all-star receiver senior Sobieraski. Sophomore Brandon Few’s extra point made it 7-0 Lions with 8:21 left to go in the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Lockport junior tailback Nick Hamilton took a first down handoff from Fraass, sprinted around the left side, broke a shoe-string tackle and scampered 62 yards to pay dirt. Few’s PAT was blocked, but the underdog Lions led 13-0.
That woke up the Falcons as they responded with a six-play, 68-yard drive to get on the scoreboard. Coon ran right and tight-roped the sideline for a 48-yard TD run. Falcons senior kicker Adrian Cannon booted the first of three extra points and the LHS lead was cut to 13-7 with 4:29 left in the first half.
Following a big kickoff return by Lions senior Malik Harden, Lockport struck again. Sobieraski — in surprising single coverage throughout the first half — beat his defender and Fraass threw a perfect pass to catch the lanky wideout in full stride. The 50-yard TD pass play and two-point conversion lob pass from Fraass to Sobieraski — in single coverage again — made it 21-0 Lockport at intermission.
The Falcons came out of their locker room with steam coming out of their ears, but the Lions defense stiffened in the red zone and the Falcons found themselves down by 14 heading to the final stanza.
Playing with a sense of urgency and aided by several Lions penalties, the Falcons cut the Lockport lead to 21-14 with 8:42 left in the game when senior quarterback Tyler Gaglia ran in from 5 yards out.
The Lions committed their biggest blunder of the game moments later when a high snap sailed off of Fraass and right into the arms of Frontier senior Kevin Hamilton, who jogged into the endzone to tie the game, setting the stage for overtime.
“We played a heck of a lot better than we did the first time,” Bronson said. “We had the heart tonight. Sometimes you just don’t have the horses.”