That’s seven touchdowns and 45 ribbons for Clarence Diebel.
Lockport senior James Chambers scored a school record seven touchdowns in Saturday’s 49-9 Class AA North football victory over visiting Niagara Falls, but while everybody else was talking about him after the game, Chambers talked about someone else.
“I dedicate every touchdown and this win to Mr. Diebel,” said Chambers, who scored three rushing TDs, two on kickoff returns, one on a punt return and one on a pass.
Chambers was talking about Clarence Diebel, the father of Lions’ senior defensive stalwart Will Diebel. Lockport players wore ribbons on the back of their helmets Saturday to honor Clarence, a staple of LHS games who’s undergoing treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about him,” said Chambers, who wears number 23. “Our thoughts are with him and his family.”
Niagara Falls head coach Don Bass summed up the game this way. “Twenty three, twenty three and more twenty three. We wanted to stop James and keep the ball out of his hands — then we kicked it to him three times.”
Chambers’ electrifying performance began with the opening kickoff, taking Kyle Deween’s boot at his own five, hitting a huge hole, cutting right and running 95 yards for a touchdown. The extra point by senior Kyle Few (7-for-7 PATs) made it 7-0 Lockport (2-0 AA North, 3-1 overall) just 14 ticks into the game.
Just moments later, after the Falls (1-1 AA North, 1-3 overall) went three and out and shanked punt gave LHS great field position, Chambers took a third-down handoff from junior quarterback Dan Bronson (9-for-18 passing, 150 yards, TD) and scampered around the right side 44 yards for a score to make it 14-0.
Lockport junior middle linebacker Mo Townsend recovered a fumble deep in Wolverines territory, then Chambers (7 rushes, 55 yards, 3 TDs; 3 catches, 52 yards TD) went left this time from a yard out to make it 21-0 Lions just 250 seconds into the game. The third LHS score was set up by a nice 18-yard Bronson pass play to senior wide receiver Tevye Maslowski (3 catches, 53 yards).
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot on simple stuff, like exchanges. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Bass said.
Both teams held on downs, then Bronson engineered an 11-play, 83-yard drive, capped by Chambers’ 44 TD pass from Bronson to open the second quarter that made it 28-0 Lockport.
Wolverines senior Fred Bryant (7 rushes, 25 yards) made a big defensive play when he stripped the ball from Townsend. The Falls promptly marched 85 yards on 14 plays, capped by senior co-captain Imani Davis’ two-yards TD run. Senior co-captain Kyle Deween’s extra point cut the LHS lead to 28-7.
But the Falls kicked off and put it right back into Chambers’ hands. This time, the LHS tailback hit another huge hole, then followed senior fullback Mitchell Evans down the left sideline all the way into the endzone to make it 35-7 at the half.
“What’s most special to me was the way that each of our players took pride in their role, whether it was blocking — whatever it took,” Bronson said. “We had linemen running 40 yards down the field blocking two or three people. I’m very proud of Mitchell. He isn’t running the ball as many times as he did last year, but he’s taking his blocking role without jealousy or resentment.”
The only scoring in the third quarter came when Wolverines sophomore defensive end Marcus Johnson tackled Evans in the endzone for the rare two-point safety.
Bronson hit Maslowski on a 34-yard pass to set up Chambers’ sixth TD, a five yard run around the left side to make it 42-9 Lions in the fourth quarter, then Chambers closed out the scoring on a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown with about eight-and-a-half minutes left.
GAME NOTES — LHS Homecoming King was Kyle Schlager and there was a tie for queen between Megan Isherwood and Shantell Woods, all seniors. Among those in the press box doing LHS stats was the queen’s dad, John Isherwood ... The game was telecast live on LCTV, with announcers Jim Slowey, Danny Sheehan and John Lombardi ... The game was also broadcast on 1340 AM WLVL Radio with Norm Palmer ... The public address announcer was Dave Shambach.
Niagara Falls at Lockport (Max D. Lederer Field)
2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 “Homecoming”
Lockport 49, Niagara Falls 9
NFHS 0 7 2 0 — 9
LHS 21 14 0 14 — 49
LHS — Chambers 95-yard kickoff return. Few kick. 11:46.
LHS — Chambers 44-yard run. Few kick. 9:46.
LHS — Chambers 2-yard run. Few kick. 7:10.
LHS — Chambers 22-yard pass from Bronson. Few kick. 11:23.
NFHS — Davis 2-yard run. Deween kick. 1:39.
LHS — Chambers 92-yard kickoff return. 1:25.
NFHS — Johnson tackles Evans in endzone for safety. 6:40.
LHS — Chambers 5-yard run. Few kick. 10:57.
LHS — Chambers 75-yard punt return. 8:26.