Round six of Lockport-Starpoint rivalry series at the Max
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
It’s a brand new high school football season in many significant ways for head coach Greg Bronson’s defending Class AA-champion Lockport Lions.
The blue and gold will open their 2013 campaign at 2 p.m. Saturday hosting Starpoint in a non-league contest at Max D. Lederer Field.
The Lions, winners of the AA North Division in 2012 and VI playoff semifinalists, are among nine large schools that are clumped together this year into the new, “AA Division.”
No longer is there a AA North and a separate AA South Division. The new AA Division comprises Lockport, defending AA-South champ and state finalist Orchard Park, Clarence, Frontier, Jamestown, Kenmore West, Lancaster, Niagara Falls and West Seneca West.
Bronson said the playoff format remains the same with the top four teams in the division earning postseason nods.
“Last year’s AA finalists — Orchard Park and Jamestown — are among the teams to beat this year,” Bronson said. “Both teams return a number of skilled players. Frontier will also be a strong team. It’s going to be a tough division to win.”
Lockport advanced to the VI semifinals last fall before losing to OP, 33-16. OP went on to beat Jamestown last Nov. 3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 35-20, claiming the VI Class AA championship. The Quakers then advanced as far as the state championship game, bowing to New Rochelle, 34-6.
Among the Lions’ key losses to graduation are their all-star tailback James Chambers and lineman Khari Demos, both walk-on’s at the University of Buffalo.
“That was a nice little feather in our cap,” Bronson said. Also lost to graduation is kicker Kyle Few, known as “The Foot” for his long kickoffs and leg strength in general, but the good news is that his cousin, Brandon Few, just a sophomore, will handle the field goal kicking duties this year.
Among the key returners are three-year starting quarterback Daniel Bronson, now a senior. The Lions will once again implement a no-huddle offense — something which has given opposing defenses fits for the past three seasons.
Bronson enters the season as one of the most highly-touted QBs in the section. Besides throwing the ball with accuracy and touch, Bronson will hand the ball off to fleet-footed Nick Hamilton, a member of the school’s record-setting 4-by-100 relay quartet last spring. Townsend, a great two-way player, will also carry the ball extensively, as will Tyler Fraas, who’s up from the JV and looking good at practice and scrimmages.
Defensively, new coordinator Brendan Brady from Williamsville East is implementing a new scheme that should make the most out of their top talents in three-year starters linebacker Moziah Townsend and linemen Marshall Taylor and Marcellus Hinton. Other LHS key returners include experienced defensive backs Javon Jenkins and Josiah Chandler.
Matt Vermette returns to coach the Lions’ offensive line and Trait Smith to coach the defensive linemen. Bronson said both units are learning and making progress every day.