There is a glitch with the scoreboard at Cheektowaga, as there are a few light bulbs in each corner that remain lit regardless of the score.
It created some confusion once the Warriors scored more than 10 points. In fact, the only time the score looked normal after Cheektowaga broke double-digits was when it hit 50 in the third quarter.
That was pretty much the only thing that went wrong for Cheektowaga (2-0, 1-0) during its home opener, and that proved to be bad news for Lewiston-Porter (0-2, 0-1).
The defending Section VI Class B champions looked the part Friday on a pristine night for football as the Warriors won their home opener in runaway fashion, 50-7.
Despite the graduation of several key players who helped Cheektowaga reach the state semifinals last season, there are still plenty of Warriors capable of making big plays as they showed in this Class B West clash.
It didn’t take running back Tyree Billingslea long to do that. On the third offensive play of the game, the senior took a handoff 53 yards for a touchdown just 49 seconds into the game. That was the first of three touchdowns in the opening quarter for the Warriors, who led 34-7 at halftime.
Play of the game: In a game with so many big plays, Billingslea’s 53-yard touchdown run is the choice because it set the tempo in this one. He took a delayed handoff on a trap play, bounced off a tackler near the line of scrimmage and was off to the races.
“We practiced that all week,” Billingslea said of the running play. “When it came game time, we just executed.”
Game MVP: Billingslea could’ve run for more than 200 yards if the coaches kept feeding him the rock but finished with 184 on 20 carries as Cheektowaga got others involved in the rushing attack with the game no longer in doubt in the second half. Billingslea also ran for a 6-yard TD in the third quarter to make it 43-7. The hosts finished with 400 yards in offense, 271 on the ground.
Unsung hero: Quarterback Eric Bartnik, who completed his first eight passes of the game. Cheektowaga led 28-0 at the time of his first incompletion. His accuracy and ability to move the chains gave Billingslea that much more room to work with as the junior finished 13 for 20 for 129 yards and one touchdown, a 14-yard strike late in the second quarter to Stephan Parker. He also uncorked some nice punts to further frustrate the Lancers.
Pick sixes: Curtis Hathcock took an interception to the house, a 13-yarder on a tipped ball, with 4:55 left in the first quarter to help the Warriors take a 21-0 lead. Justin Williams took one to the house with five minutes left in the third quarter to complete the scoring. His TD was on a 33-yard return.
More defense: Lew-Port played this one without starting quarterback Donald Allender, who is nursing a lower body injury. He passed for 191 yards and rushed for more than 100 last week as the Lancers put up 41 points in a loss to Medina.
With Allender sidelined, Lew-Port moved the ball at times but did not help its own cause with four turnovers. Allender’s absence enabled the Warriors to key in on the run, resulting in tough sledding for tailback Michael Fritz and backup quarterback Brad Webber. Cheektowaga made three interceptions and limited the Lancers to 175 yards.
Trevor Darlak had two sacks for the winners, while Williams made seven tackles.
Tyler Summage also recorded an interception as Cheektowaga’s defense dominated a Lew-Port team that had to play its backup quarterback.
Quotable: “There’s some kids who can play. They just plug into the system,” said Cheektowaga coach Mike Fatta on the big-play ability of his team after graduating several players who delivered big plays during last year’s playoff run.
Quotable II: “They’re the champions and they’re the champions for a reason,” Lew-Port coach Jon Hoover said. “They’re going to be really hard to beat in the section.”
Attendance: About 1,200.
Week Three: Cheektowaga hosts Newfane at 7 p.m. in another Class B West contest. Lew-Port has its home opener against Maryvale.