Give Lockport credit for setting up a nonleague game against Monsignor Martin Association heavyweight Canisius.
The Lions figured to be the underdog in this one and didn’t shy away from the Crusaders, playing hard until the end.
It wasn’t enough to produce victory.
Canisius pretty much ran at will in this one, overpowering Lockport, 60-6, in a Catholic versus public schools nonleague clash at the Stransky Complex on Saturday.
The Crusaders scored five of their eight touchdowns via the rush with potential Connolly Cup candidate Cole Burniston rushing for scores of 10 and 9 yards during an eight-carry, 70-yard performance.
But Canisius spread the wealth in this one as the only ways it did not score were by kick or punt return. The Crusaders did have a punt return TD called back by penalty.
Run, run, run, run: Canisius called 12 pass plays the entire game just to show foes it does has a quarterback (Jayce Johnson) and receiving corps to fear.
But the running attack could be really scary for opponents to deal with this year.
The Crusaders rushed for nearly 300 yards against Lockport. They had 161 on 16 carries in the first half. While it shouldn’t be a news flash that Canisius would want to run, especially with a big, fast running back like the 6-3, 225-pound Burniston leading the charge. The Crusaders flaunted depth they lacked at the position last year – when injuries limited Burniston’s effectiveness.
Four different running backs scored for Canisius, while a fifth, RaeQwon Greer also picked up chunks of yardage when his called upon to carry the ball.
Besides Burniston, fullback Mason Hoose (5-yard run), former Lockport Lion Kenyatta Huston (39-yard run) and Dan Harig (4 run) rushed for touchdowns.
Running the show: Jayce Johnson has experience running the point in basketball and didn’t look out of place quarterbacking Canisius’ offense. The 6-5, 200-pounder completed 6-of-12 passes for 125 yards, including touchdowns of 70 yards to Paul Woods and 12 yards to Keenan Ollison.
The future: Lockport may not have won this game but should be well-prepared for the physicality of division play in Class AA North, beginning with next Saturday’s clash against Lockport.
For the most part, the Lions came out healthy. Aside from a couple turnovers early in the third quarter that enabled Canisius to build on its 32-0 halftime lead with a pair of quick touchdowns via short field, the Lions did have two sustained drives in which they moved the ball well behind the hard-running of Xavier Barber and Shota Sprunger.
But any chance Lockport had of keeping close disappeared when the Crusaders produced a turnover on downs at their own 1 early in the second quarter. The Lions gained 5 yards on a fourth-and-goal from the 6. If they had punched it in, it may not have changed the outcome, but whatever momentum it had was gone by then.
Attendance: An estimated 1,500 attended the season opener.
Records: Canisius is 1-0; Lockport 0-1
Next: Canisius returns to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stransky versus Cardinal O’Hara. Lockport hosts Niagara Falls at 2 p.m. Saturday.