When the flag weren’t flying Saturday, Kenmore West senior tailback Alex Price had an outstanding afternoon, scoring three touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils over Lockport, 34-12, in a Section VI Class AA contest.
In a bizarre game in which neither team could gather any momentum due to the uncharacteristic excessive amount of penalties — flags before or after virtually every play — head coach Rich Harris’ Blue Devils (4-2 AA, 4-2 overall) secured home field advantage for the first round of the AA playoffs. The Lions (1-4 AA, 2-4 overall) will need a win in their regular-season finale next Saturday over winless West Seneca West to clinch a postseason berth.
Blue Devils head coach Rich Harris was asked whether it was difficult establishing any rhythm in the contest, after Ken West was penalized 13 times for 123 yards, and the Lions were flagged 10 times for 69 yards.
“Yes I was very shocked and I don’t know what to say,” Harris said. “They’ve got five officials out there and they’re making a case to have five officials at all the games in the future. I couldn’t believe it, really and I’m not going to comment on it any more, but that’s adversity too for a football team. We get something started and then we have to go backwards and we’re on long drives.”
The Blue Devils benefitted from a questionable pass interference call on third and 10 on their opening drive, then opened the scoring on a 5-yard run by Price (17 carries, 43 yards, TD rushing) around the left side. Senior kicker Brandon Salas booted the extra pont and the visitors led 7-0 before the pizza arrived.
Ken West made it 15-0 moments later when the Lions blew a defensive pass coverage. Blue Devils senior quarterback Adam Fron (9 of 17 passing, 241 yards, 2 TDs) hit wide open sophomore wide receiver Terrell Ford and Ford could have made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before sprinting 74 yards untouched to the endzone. Sophomore Deangelo Walker added the conversion run.
The Lions went to their big scoring threat, senior wide receiver Charlie Sobieraski, to open the second quarter. Sobieraski went up high to snare a TD pass from junior quarterback Tyler Fraass (10 of 30 passing, 191 yards, 2 TDs, INT) that cut the KW lead to 15-6 at the half.
“We had our opportunities in the first half,” said Lions head coach Greg Bronson. “We blew a coverage for them to score their second TD, we had the ball first down on the one yard ine and we went backwards before we even snapped the ball and we had the ball first down inside the 10 and we fumbled the ball the first play. If we execute and get out of our own way and don’t make those mistakes, we could have been up at halftime, but those are the things that have plagued us.”
Despite an outstanding defensive afternoon for Lockport senior lineman Marshall Taylor (4 sacks), the Blue Devils drove in for another score. A 1-yard Price TD run up the gut and another Walker conversion run increased the visitors’ lead to 23-6 after three quarters.
After a surprising and unsuccessful Blue Devils fake punt attempt in their own zone, Sobieraski hauled in another lob pass from Fraass in the corner of the endzone to cut into the Ken West lead and make it 23-12.
But Fron dropped back and calmly found Price streaking wide open down the center of the field and hit him in stride. Price’s 80-yard TD scamper and two-point conversion run by sophomore fullback Jayson Taylor made it 31-12.
Salas rounded out the scoring with a 39-yard field goal as time expired, as the Blue Devils were trying to add points to stay ahead of potential playoff tie-breaking scenarios.
The Lions, who finished with minus 4 yards rushing, need a victory next week to clinch a AA playoff spot. A victory will likely put LHS in the seventh seed position.
The Blue Devils are celebrating their fourth straight win and home field advantage in week one of the upcoming AA playoffs.
“I’m really proud of this team. We started the season 0-2 and we had a real bad opener against Lancaster with six turnovers,” Harris said.
“Then we came back and played Jamestown — and in my opinion we played them as tough as anybody. It looks like we’ll end up in the bracket with them. We have an opportunity to head into the playoffs on a high note to play Lancaster and Jamestown again and that’s what these guys are really looking forward to.”
GAME NOTES: Among those attending the Lions’ 2013 Homecoming contest at Max D. Lederer Field was Lockport’s all-time leading rusher David Fluellen, currently second in the NCAA in rushing as a senior member of the Toledo Rockets … Among others attending the game was John “Elvis” Lang, one of the most recognizable National Football League fans in the nation and a man who is prominently displayed in the fan section at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton … LHS sophomore kicker Brandon Few did not play due to a strained quad in his right leg … A stunning, harmonic version of the National Anthem was performed by members of the LHS Choral Club.
Grand Island 14, Starpoint 6
PENDLETON — A few sloppy plays and a surprisingly-stout Starpoint defense made it more difficult than expected, but the Grand Island Vikings clinched a spot in the Section VI Class A playoffs with a 14-6 road win over the Spartans in an A North football game Saturday afternoon.
Defense ruled the day, save for one drive late in the second quarter. After the GI ‘D’ stuffed the Spartans on a fourth-and-five well inside Viking territory, quarterback Quinn Corrao and the offense took over at their own 20-yard-line with 1:30 left in the half.
Up 7-6, Corrao marched the Vikings downfield quickly. From the Starpoint 14, Corrao hit running back Joe Chiaravalle with a pass in space, and Chiaravalle did the rest, breaking a tackle and rumbling into the end zone for the game-winning score.
The drive was reminiscent of a pair of Corrao-led two-minute drills in a win over Williamsville North last season, and GI coach Dean Santorio said the ability to move the ball late in halves is an important skill for his team.
“We always spend time on it,” Santorio said. “We have to be prepared to run it.
“Sometimes I think we probably should just go to it regardless of the clock to pick up the tempo a bit.”
The Vikings (5-1, 4-1) opened the scoring in the first quarter. Corrao hit T.J. Morgan for a 35-yard gain down to the Starpoint 25, and sophomore Jared Brandon scampered in from there. Kurtis Johnson nailed the extra point to open a 7-0 lead.
It was only Brandon’s second varsity game after being called up from the junior varsity team due to injuries.
“We felt as though he was good enough (to play varsity) early in the season,” Santorio said. “We’ve been banged up, so we called him up. He’s definitely not out of place.”
The Spartans (1-5, 1-4) held up against GI’s ball-control offense outside of the two scoring drives. They had a chance to tie early in the second quarter when Julian Mott ran in from 13 yards out, but the extra point kick was blocked.
Starpoint played with star running back Evan Majewski, who has been dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries for most of the eason. Head coach Al Cavagnaro said he was proud of his team’s effort in a tough situation.
“We played our best game, or close to it,” he said. “(Senior QB) Sam (Terrazzino) finally got into a bit of a groove, and the line did a wonderful job giving him time.
“Defensively we played well, but we gave up that last score that ended up being the difference in the game. We put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and shut down their inside running game.”
Matt Wetzel had nine tackles, while Mike Chase grabbed an interception for the Spartans, who held top GI running back Paul Sukmanowski to 53 yards on 11 carries.
Brandon carried six times for 29 yards and the TD, while Corrao finished 7 for 14 for 109 yards with a TD and the pick. Tommy Doctor led the GI defense with 10 tackles, two sacks and a pass deflection.
GI will finish with the fifth or sixth seed in Class A, pending West Seneca East’s game against Hutch Tech this Friday. If the Trojans win, GI, WSE and Will. South would all finish with 4-1 league records. The Vikings would grab the sixth seed based on point differential.
Starpoint will look to build on its performance in a non-league game against Iroquois.
Newfane 33, JFK 6
NEWFANE — Head coach Chuck Nagel’s Panthers celebrated Homecoming with a big win over visiting JFK on Saturday.
The Panthers jumped out to a 26-0 lead and never looked back.
Trevor Noon had three touchdown passes to three different receivers, finishing the beautiful day under sunny blue skies with 130 yards.
Kyle Guerriera had two TD runs and Kyle Burdick rushed for 157 yards.
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