Niagara Gazette — ORCHARD PARK — Underdogs on paper for sure, the Lockport football Lions shredded the papyrus Friday night, defeating the Orchard Park Quakers, 33-27, in the biggest upset win so far of the 2013 Section VI football season.
It was the first home loss for the Quakers (1-1 AA, 1-1 overall) in seven years. With the win, head coach Greg Bronson’s Lions improved to 1-0 in Class AA and are 2-0 overall.
“These kids love each other,” Bronson said after the game. “With our starting quarterback out and having played Starpoint 7-0 last week and with OP having not lost a home game in so many years, yes you’d have to consider this an upset.”
Lions junior running back Nick Hamilton and junior quarterback Tyler Fraas, playing in place of injured senior three-year starter Daniel Bronson, both rose to the occasion on a wet, hostile away turf.
Hamilton opened the scoring with an 86-yard touchdown run on Lockport’s opening possession in the first quarter. Kyle Few’s PAT was good and the visitors led 7-0.
Senior Charlie Sobieraski hauled in a 10-yard TD pass from Fraas and Hamilton burst in from the 1, set up by an 89-yard D’Andre Jenkins interception, rounding out the first-half scoring as LHS led the defending state finalists, 19-13, at halftime.
The Lions came out with the momentum in the third quarter and made the most of it, taking nine minutes off the clock, driving the length of the field for another touchdown — an 8-yard run by Hamilton (15 carries, 91 yards, 3 TDs) to pay dirt. Fraass (7 for 11, 126 yards, 2 TDs) hit Hamilton on a two-point conversion pass and Lockport upped its lead to 14 points, 27-13.
Lockport increased its improbable lead to 21 points a few minutes later when Hamilton took a Fraass screen pass, used his speed and dashed 44 yards for the Lions’ final score, making it 33-12.
“Tyler went out and played football like he’s done in the past. He’s a player,” Bronson said. “He does it in football just like he’s done for the varsity baseball tea,. He plays.”
Two late Quakers TDs made it interesting, but the Lions held on to earn their biggest road victory in years.
- John D’Onofrio
Grand Island 20,North Tonawanda 14
NORTH TONAWANDA —North Tonawanda quarterback Chris Woodard’s desperation pass with six seconds left from the Grand Island 25 yard line fell incomplete, and the Grand Island Vikings escaped George J. Vetter Stadium with a 20-14 victory in a Class A North showdown Friday night.
Woodard had time for one last desperation heave, but the Vikings pass rush hurried his throw, and the pass was batted down.
Woodard led his team from his own 18 to the Grand Island 25 with no timeouts and 1:18 remaining, but could not complete the comeback. His pass with 25 seconds left to Jake Ferry in the Grand Island went in and out of his hands.
“We expected the game to come down to the end,” Grand Island head coach Dean Santorio said. “Even at 20-7, you’re one shot away from letting someone get back in the game. We feel very well about the win.”
Grand Island built a 20-7 halftime lead based on the running of of Paul Sukmanowski (25 carries, 142 yards) and Giuseppe Campanella, who completed 8-of-15 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Campanella’s main target was Ben Goc, who had six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
“He came through huge today when we needed him,” Santorio said. “Our entire offense played real well today.”
Grand Island won the field position battle in the first half. Their last two touchdown drives started from midfield and the NT 46, respectively.
“We just couldn’t get the ball out of our 10, 20 yard-line,” NT coach Tony Truilizio said. “When we flipped field position, it was a different game.”
Campanella got the start for Quinn Corrao, who was out with a high-ankle sprain. He led the Vikings to a mistake-free game, and perhaps made his biggest play of the game by recovering a Grand Island fumble at midfield, not allowing the Lumberjacks to gain momentum and prime field position.
Grand Island fumbled the ball four times in the second half on the messy terrain, but recovered each time. North Tonawanda fumbled once, and a promising drive was ended with a recovery by Grand Island lineman Dominic Petrilli on the Grand Island 43. It was the only turnover in a game played mostly in rainy conditions.
North Tonawanda took the opening kickoff and went 80 plays in just four plays to take the 7-0 lead. Woodward faked to Jon Zeller and faked out a Grand Island defender on an impressive cut and ran untouched on a 34-yard touchdown run.
Not to be undone, the Vikings marched 65 yards on just four plays as well, finishing off the drive on a one-yard run by Joe Chiaravalle. The Vikings, which scored touchdowns on each of its first three drives, built its lead on two TD passes from Campanella, 35 yards on a play-action pass to Sukmanowski, and a 18-yard pass to Goc, who beat the North Tonawanda defense on a double-move.
“We didn’t tackle in the first half, and in the second half, we did,” Truilizo said. “It’s as simple as that.”
NT shut out the Vikings for the second half, and cut into the Grand Island lead with a one-yard Woodard sneak with 6:48 remaining. Woodard, stymied by the Vikings in the first half other than his TD run on the first drive of the game, finished with 114 yard passing and 78 yards rushing, including both touchdowns and both PAT conversions.
“When you play a team like NT that runs the option, you have to play assignment football,” Santorio said. “We did a good job of staying in our lanes today.”