Albion blanks Barker/Roy-Hart, 32-0, in VI football opener
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Turnovers were costly for Barker/Roy-Hart in Friday night’s Section VI football opener against visiting Albion in a Class B North contest.
The Purple Eagles broke open a tight, defensive battle in the first half with a couple of sophomore-to-sophomore long distance touchdown passes from quarterback Kyle Smith to Trey Hart and never looked back, winning big, 32-0.
“Getting that first win under our belt was important. I lost two nights of sleep thinking about their quarterback, Jake Haight. He’s such a great athlete and competitor He’s a three-sport athlete and the fact that we could keep him somewhat contained was a positive, but he’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Albion head coach Tony Osburn.
Under warm, partly cloudy skies at Bruno Pacini Field, the teams traded possession several times in the early going. The Purple Eagles finally starting moving towards midfield, but back-to-back sacks by Barker/Roy-Hart juniors Dillon Mangan (12 tackles) and Joshua Mead (9 tackles) put a stop to that drive and the first quarter ended scoreless.
Albion opened the scoring 50 seconds into the second quarter when Smith (4 for 7 passing, 93 yards, 2 TDs) heaved a long pass to a streaking Hart down the left sideline. Hart caught the well-thrown ball in stride and raced into the end zone. the 2-point conversion run failed, but the visitors led 6-0.
Fumblitis set in after that with both teams coughing it up.
Led by athletic senior quarterback Haight (11 carries 41 yards rushing, 2-for-10, 21 yards passing), the Rams drove into Purple Eagles territory, but fumbled the ball away. Two plays later, in a replay of the first TD, Smith threw another bomb and hit Hart in stride again, this time for a 45-yard score. The conversion pass failed, but the visitors led 12-0 with 8:32 left in the second quarter.
On their next possession, the Rams fumbled the ball away, but on the very next play, Albion fumbled it right back, recovered by Rams senior Tyler Childs.
After the Rams gave the ball up on downs, the Purple Eagles fumbled on their next series. Roy-Hart senior Matt Smolinsky fell on it, but the Rams lost the ball on downs and the first half ended with Albion leading 12-0.
“We just can’t give the football over and expect to compete with a team like Albion,” said Barker/Roy-Hart head coach Bill Bruning. “They’re big and physical and we gave them a short field for their two touchdown drives in the first — but we were only down 12-0 at halftime. We felt if we could come out in the second half and put something together, we would be competitive, but we couldn’t answer the call.”
The ball kept bouncing the wrong way for the hosts in the third quarter as the temperature dropped significantly. Haight gunned a pass to the right side that was deflected and fell right into the hands of Albion junior defensive back Dominic DiCureia. Moments later, senior Kollin Reynolds ran it in from 15 yards out. The conversion pass failed, but with 8:29 left in the quarter, Albion led 18-0.
Things went from bad to worse for Barker/Roy-Hart when Haight rumbled for a first down, but came up limping with severe cramps. After returning to the game two plays later, Haight was hurt again and sat out for several more minutes. Sophomore Andy Xapsos replaced him at QB temporarily.
The Purple Eagles went to the ground game exclusively after that and drove the ball mercilessly into Barker/Roy-Hart territory. Albion senior running backs Ed Wolfe (18 carries, 206 yards) and Reynolds (10 carries, 61 yards) did the damage as the Purple Eagles drove 85 yards to pay dirt.
Even a 10-yard holding penalty couldn’t stop the drive as Reynolds dove in from the 1 with 67 seconds left in the third. Senior Mike Eldred split the uprights and the Purple Eagles led 25-0.
Haight returned to the game as the third quarter ended, but took a pounding on a sack. On the first play of the fourth, Albion junior Manny Thompson picked off a Haight pass and the Purple Eagles took over at their 30, where Wolfe continued to chalk up big yards on the ground.
Moments later, after chewing up a lot of remaining clock, Smith capped the drive with a 14-yard TD run around the left side. Eldred’s PAT was perfect to round out the scoring.
Senior Amos Andrews had nine tackles for the Rams. Albion finished with 307 total yards.
“We’re young. We only have three starters back on offense and defense,” Bruning said. “But they’re working hard and they’re good kids. We’ll get better. It’s a long season.”
GAME NOTES — Among those attending the game were veteran Middleport Police Chief John Swick, outstanding Rams boys basketball coach and part time DJ Mark Rydza and R-H’s reliable athletics director John Jablonski … Roy-Hart sophomore Maddy Whitehead sang the National Anthem.
Akron 45, Wilson 6
AKRON — Trailing 14-0, the Lakemen scored their only touchdown of the evening on senior Kevin Daunce’s 80-yard catch from senior quarterback Tim Walch.
Lackawanna 38, Newfane 18
LACKAWANNA — The Panthers opened the scoring on the road Friday night as senior Nate Auernhamer caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Josh Kneeland.
After Lackawanna tied the game at 6-6, Newfane took the lead on a Kneeland 14-yard TD pass to senior Stone Geise, who later added a spectacular 60-yard kickoff return for a score.