Niagara Gazette — The Wilson Lakemen host the Newfane Panthers at 7 p.m. tonight with more than a Class C North win on the line — the rivals will be playing for year-long bragging rights in what’s become an annual contest.
Both teams were shellacked in league losses on opening weekend, with the Lakemen dropping a 45-6 decision at Akron and Newfane falling 38-18 to host Lackawanna.
“The were a much better football team than we were,” Wilson coach Bill Atlas said of the Tigers.
The Lakemen (0-1) struggled to contain Akron’s Austin Lauricella and Peter Szlapek, but Atlas said that shouldn’t be an issue this week.
“I don’t think Newfane has anybody like those two,” he said.
The local rivalry springs from proximity. In the past, students from both districts often played together in the New-Wil-Ran youth football league, and the high school teams still get together for workouts over the offseason.
“We see them a lot during the summertime because we’re so close,” Atlas said. “We do a lot in the offseason. These kids all know each other.
“We shouldn’t have to talk about being motivated, we just have to make sure we stay focused and not overhype it.”
Wilson beat Newfane, 12-6, in a meeting last season.
Grand Island at North Tonawanda, 7 p.m. tonight
The Vikings will have their hands full with the Lumberjacks’ triple-option offense when these two local schools meet in each’s Class A North opener.
Grand Island (1-0) eked a 17-6 non-league win at Hamburg last week, while NT topped Lake Shore, 46-28.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to key offensive players. GI quarterback Quinn Corrao went down with an injury during the second quarter against the Bulldogs, while NT running back Nehemiah Stone suffered a knee injury during the offseason.