The Niagara Wheatfield Falcons kicked off the 2019 Section VI high school football season with a score, literally.
Senior Falcons wide receiver and defensive back Matt Lysiak took the opening kickoff 82 yards to the end zone as part of Niagara Wheatfield’s 26-6 victory against North Tonawanda.
With Rick Tomm back as head coach of the Lumberjacks, North Tonawanda settled down and found a way to score in front of their home crowd.
Tomm was last coach of the Lumberjacks in 2011.
North Tonawanda has a new head coach and a new starting quarterback, freshman Nash Rieselman.
Rieselman connected with senior Camerin Holmes from 22 yards for the Lumberjacks' lone score of the game.
Unlike North Tonawanda, Niagara Wheatfield is returning their quarterback Chris Gordon along with seven other starters. Gordon played the final two games of the season for the Falcons in 2018.
Gordon hit wide receiver Andy Klebaur from four yards out to make the score 12-6 with 11:56 left in the second quarter. The Falcons failed on the two-point conversion.
Gordon’s night was just getting started.
Later in the second, he found Lysiak from 29 yards out to put Niagara Wheatfield up 20-6. Junior Joe Kiszka Jr. ran in the conversion.
The scoring took a break after halftime. Neither team found the end zone in the third.
Rieselman and North Tonawanda found themselves driving midway through the quarter. The Lumberjacks seemed to be in business after picking off Gordon.
Rieselman completed a long pass to Holmes but the offense stalled.
The Falcons got the ball back and with 9:21 left in the fourth, Kiszka Jr. scored his first varsity touchdown for Niagara Wheatfield from four yards out.
The Falcons led 26-6.
Lysiak, who opened the game with a bang ended it with one as well. He picked off Rieselman to end any last minute scoring chances.
Niagara Wheatfield went into victory formation to run out the clock.
It’s another good start for a Falcons team that went 6-3 last season.
Head coach Russ Nixon looks to make it to the Class A-1 playoffs for the first time as he enters year four of being at the helm for Niagara Wheatfield.
Noecker breaks two records
Eighth grader Elle Noecker broke two Eden High School swimming records in a 117-68 loss to Hamburg.
She raced the 200-meter individual medley in 2:14.19, beating the 2:18.38 record set by Marissa Kordal, who now swims for Cortland.
Noecker then broke the school’s 19-year-old 100-meter backstroke record with a 1:00.52, surpassing the 1:03.48 time held by Megan Collins.
Portville overcomes jitters
Portville girls volleyball defeated Southwestern 25-16, 25-17, 25-9 on Thursday.
Despite the score, Portville struggled its first two sets, missing a total of 15 serves. Coach Kelly Unverdorben describes the miscues as first game jitters.
Laura Wilhelm led Portville with seven kills and two blocks while Shayla Wilhelm contributed 6 kills and two blocks. Olivia Emley served for nine points and three aces.
Lackawanna comes back
Lackawanna boys soccer needed all 90 minutes to defeat Lew-Port, 2-1. The Steelers were down 1-0 at halftime and it remained that way until the final 15 minutes.
Lackawanna scored two unanswered goals, both by Ali Alomari, to come back and win their third game this season. The Steelers are 3-0-0 in nonleague play so far.