Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 30, 2012

Nagel era begins in the Blue Zone

Grid Panthers open 2012 slate at noon today in Buffalo

By John D'Onofrio
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

NEWFANE —  

The Chuck Nagel Era of high school varsity football has begin in Newfane and it's a promising one for the Panthers, who bring size and athleticism back in 2012.
The optimistic Nagel has been a teacher at Newfane for the past eight years and was coach of the Panthers' junior varsity football team for the past six years.
The Panthers are hoping to improve upon last year's 3-6 varsity record and the loss to graduation of some important leaders and producers, including Sean Seefeldt (now kicking at Edinboro University), Steve Lakes, Max Russell and Jeremy Deschambeau.
Among his key returners is senior tailback/linebacker Connor Sears, whom coach Nagel said will carry the load on offense for the royal blue and white.
“He's six feet, almost 200 pounds and he's got above-average speed for a guy that size,” Nagel said. “He's very agile and he's a tough kid.”
The quarterbacking position remains up for grabs in the Blue Zone and Nagel said that will carry over into this afternoon's Section VI season opener (noon, versus Buffalo East at Wiley Stadium) as both junior Josh Kneeland and senior Jake Bow are expected to take snaps.
Kneeland was brought up last year as a sophomore and played very well. Bow played his last few seasons in Lockport, but has quickly earned his new teammates' respect, being voted a Newfane team captain.
“Jake's a serious kid. He takes the game, including workouts and practices, very seriously. He's a quality leader and a quick player. If he isn't playing quarterback, we'll definitely have him at wide receiver.”
The Panthers' offensive line is led by senior co-captain Todd Capen, one of several players Nagel praised for their hard work in the weight room throughout the summer. Other linemen working out diligently include fleet-footed senior guard Kenyon Rizzo, 6-2 Seth Greg and 6-1 junior Sean Costello.
Wideouts include Chris Hannah, Brian and Stone Geise and Colin Huntington.
Defensively, the Panthers are led by two of the team's toughest players in senior linebackers Matt Finch and John Schmidt. Senior Jake O'Keefe joins Bow and Sears at defensive back. Defensive linemen include 6-3 junior stalwart Bryan Gertz.
Newfane's kicker this season is senior Brian Ratajczak. Sears will handle the punting duties.
“We'll have to play smart against Buffalo East,” Nagel said. “We'll need to contain their quarterback and running backs and we'll need to tackle well and play mistake-free ball.”

 

NEWFANE PANTHERS
FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Today     @ Buffalo East     Noon
9/8     DEPEW     2 p.m.
9/14     @ Medina     7:30 p.m.
9/22     BARKER/R-H     2 p.m.
9/29     ALBION     2 p.m.
10/6     WILSON     2 p.m.
10/12     @ Alden     7 p.m.
 
PANTHERS' ROSTER
NO.     NAME     GRADE
62     Luke Adams     11
22     Nathan Auernhamer     11
77     Zach Bancroft     11
1     Jake Bow     12
8     Jimmy Branca     11
67     Jordan Brawley     11
90     Tyler Caltagarone     12
66     Todd Capen     12
70     Sean Costello     11
78     Cody Coulter     12
32     Matt Finch     12
60     Will Frank     11
3     Bryan Geise     12
82     Stone Geise     11
88     Bryan Gertz     11
58     Chad Gilson     11
69     Seth Gregg     12
56     Jimmy Haas     11
89     Chris Hannah     12
4     Connor Hastings     12
80     Dakota Hildebrandt     11
13     Colin Huntington     12
74     Miles Johnson     11
2     Josh Kneeland     11
64     Kasey Kubiniec     11
34     Aaron Matsulavage     11
72     Mike McCann     12
33     Nick Murty     12
24     Jake O'Keefe     12
10     Brian Ratajczak     12
50     Louis Raymond     12
54     Kenyon Rizzo     12
36     John Schmidt     12
44     Jimmy Schultz     12
26     Connor Sears     12
75     Josh Seib     12
65     Jason Troy     12
55     Jake Warner     11