It’s been a while since Niagara Wheatfield won a home opener and a season-opening football game.
The Falcons killed two birds with one stone Saturday as they won a high-scoring thriller against Lockport, 43-42, in Class AA.
Host Niagara Wheatfield, which has won the Funke Consolation Bowl the past two seasons, rushed for all of its offensive yards – more than 400. Jake DeWolf had 129 on 12 carries and his third touchdown of the day – a 7-yarder in the fourth quarter wound up providing the decisive point.
Lockport scored twice in the fourth quarter, including its final touchdown and two-point conversion with 29 seconds left, but NW recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Jordan Parks added 140 yards and two TDs on 12 carries for the Falcons. Josh Brown had 55 yards on seven carries with two TDs, while Mike Ziegler made 13 tackles for NW.
“It was a wild one,” winning coach Russ Nixon said. “It’s probably been about 10 years since we’ve been able to win a home opener and a season opener. It’s a great way to start the season. A lot of credit to coach (Matt) Vermette and the Lockport athletes, as there was no quit from either team. It was a good way to start the season.”
Lions quarterback Javon Ford, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, rushed 171 yards and TDs of 16, 15 and 3 yards and also passed for a score. Nick Haney returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.
Kenmore West 23, Niagara Falls 14: Playing on a renovated Crosby Field, the scene of so many of their past triumphs, the Blue Devils opened the season with an impressive victory over the Wolverines. It was a 16-14 game in favor of West before senior quarterback Faisal Ahmadi connected on a 64-yard pass play to junior Cameron Crosier in the fourth quarter to give coach John Haynes’ team some breathing room.
Junior Joseph Stewart ran for a touchdown and caught a pass from Andrew Fron for another to get Kenmore West off to a 16-0 first-half lead but Niagara Falls struck back behind Deonte Mathews. The Wolverines’ junior quarterback ran 34 yards for a score and passed 34 to Rodney Barnes for another. Stewart had 80 yards in 17 rushing tries, and Fron completed 5 of 6 passes for 46 yards for the winner.
St. Joe’s 38, Archbishop Ryan (Pa.) 14: Junior quarterback Casey Kelly used his legs more than his arm to lead the Marauders to their season opening victory over victory Ryan on the campus of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa. Kelly carried 14 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Phaybien Livingston also had a 100-yard rushing game for St. Joe’s and scored from5 yards out.
Keon Howard, 235-pound junior back, carried for two St. Joe’s touchdown against the opponent from the Philadelphia Catholic League.
St. Mary’s 33, Bishop Timon-St. Jude 0: The Lancers played the role of spoiler in Joe Licata’s coaching debut with Timon, as quarterback Jashawn Collins’ second-quarter touchdown run broke a scoreless tie and got St. Mary’s offense rolling at Tifft Farm. The Lancers led 6-0 at halftime.
Pioneer 21, JFK 6: Senior running back Wake Kless carried 10 times for 100 yards including scoring runs of 10 and 5 yards in the Panthers victory. Caleb Riordan ran 4 yards for the other score.
Kless also had an interception and defensive end Trevor Smith had three tackles for loss and two sacks. Junior quarterback James Bailey passed 20 yards to Nick Baker for the JFK touchdown which made it a 14-6 game in the third quarter.
McDowell (Pa.) 23, St. Francis 21: A game-ending field goal by McDowell thwarted the Red Raiders’ quest for a comeback win as they took the lead with 2:14 left on Dawson Tyger’s 30-yard touchdown psas to Cole O’Connor. Retsen Daley (30-yard interception) and Dan Browning had touchdowns for St. Francis. The Red Raiders finished with 353 yards in offense. Tyger completed 14-of-23 passes for 120 yards and two scores.
Olean 21, Allegany/Limestone 6: Dylan Vincent scored twice as he rushed 13 times for 100 yards in the win.
Cheektowaga 42, Lew-Port 0: Keshone Beal completed 11-of-15 throws for 269 yards and three touchdowns in his varsity debut, while Tommy Zolnowski caught four passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns as the Warriors cruised.
Lackawanna 22, Newfane 6: Senior back Khalil Horton was a workhorse for the Steelers in their season opening victory. Horton carried the ball 15 times for 228 yards and a touchdown and was a stalwart on defense, too. Horton had 13 tackles, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble. Defensive end Jakwon Ingram had five sacks and 12 tackles for the winners. Lackawanna scored all its points in the first half and let Horton take over from their. The twin brother combination of quarterback Noble Smith to wide receiver London Smith produced two touchdowns for the Steelers on plays of 10 and 5 yards. The Smith brothers have been playing varsity ball since their sophomore years. Newfane’s only TD on a short drive after a bad snap on a Lackawanna punt attempt.
“We started off strong but got a little sloppy in the second half,” said Lackawanna coach Adam Tardif. “We had the usual Week One jitters.”