Undefeated grid Lions host undefeated Falcons at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Max
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The things Lockport was able to do in beating defending state finalist Orchard Park a week ago are the keys once again in Saturday’s Section VI Football Class AA mid-season showdown against visiting Frontier.
Get a quick start.
Don’t turn the ball over.
Head coach Greg Bronson’s Lions (1-0 AA, 2-0 overall) will tackle head coach Tim Myslinski’s Falcons (2-0 AA, 2-0 overall) in a highly-anticipated contest at 2 p.m. Saturday at Max D. Lederer Field.
The Lions are fresh off last Friday night’s 33-27 victory at OP — an impressive road win against the state’s defending finalists from a year ago — and a week one 7-0 victory over visiting Starpoint. The Falcons beat Niagara Falls last week, 24-6 and earned a 38-12 week one victory over Clarence.
“We scored points (last week),” Bronson said. “We had some pretty big plays on offense that got us into the lead and kept us there through the entire game. At the same time, our defense took advantage of opportunities. We forced four turnovers and stopped some of their drives inside the 20 yard line.”
The Falcons will run a quick, option style offense that’s been quite efficient in the first two weeks, producing 48 points. Frontier also features an aggressive, blitzing style defense that has allowed just 18 points combined in two games The Lions have scored 46 points and allowed 27.
Offensively, Bronson praised the efforts of his quarterback, junior Tyler Fraass (7 for 11 passing, 125 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) in last week’s win, as well as junior running back Nick Hamilton (15 carries, 89 yards, 3 rushing TDs; 2 catches, 48 yards, 1 TD receiving).
“Both Tyler and Nick stepped up,” Bronson said. “Nick scored four touchdowns and Tyler threw two touchdown passes and we didn’t turn the ball over.”
Defensively, Bronson said the Lions got a great game out of senior lineman Marcellus Hinton, who finished with just 1.5 tackles, but paved the way for others to have bigger stat games.
“Marcellus did tremendous job inside against one of the best offensive lines in the section,” Bronson said. “OP has four returning starters from their state finalist team and Marcellus did a great job inside taking care of blockers by forcing them to double on him.”
Bronson also praised the efforts of LHS sophomore linebacker D’Andre Jenkins, who had two interceptions and junior Zachary Myles, who deflected a couple of passes, including one that led to Jenkins’ 89-yard INT return that set up a Lions’ TD.
Senior Malik Harden led LHS last week with seven tackles. The hitman Mo Townsend had five-and-a-half stops and fellow senior Deshaun Williams added five tackles. Seniors Marshall Taylor and Josiah Chandler had four-and-a-half tackles each.
Continuing his outstanding play on both sides of the ball was Townsend, who added four catches for 67 yards. Playing his second straight solid game at wide receiver, lanky, sure-handed senior Charlie Sobieraski also hauled in a big catch, a 10-yard TD pass from Fraass, giving him three receptions on the young season.
“Mo was a very effective power runner and he’s a reliable target through the air,” Bronson said. “He shows up in situations where Tyler’s under pressure and presents himself and makes some pretty tough catches when the ball’s not on target. He’s very tough and got some important yards for us in numerous critical situations, especially when we were trying to take time off the clock and they were becoming more aggressive. Mo was able to power his way through.”
Bronson said the quicker his team can adjust to the speed and precision of the Frontier option offense, the better off they’ll be.
“It’s tough to replicate at our practices the precision and the speed in which they run their offense,” Bronson said. “We have to find a way to get up to speed as quickly as possible. It may take a couple of possessions or more to see the variety of plays they run, how they’re running them, where and the speed.
“If we can keep ourselves from falling behind by two or three scores early, then we’ll be able to settle down and adjust to what they’re doing. But if you get behind early, you’re scrambling and you’re pressing on offense and things could become more difficult.”