TAKING IT TO THE HOUSE — Pictured above top, Paul Brinkel runs for a touchdown, during Frontier’s 49 – 0 win against West Seneca West on Sept. 29. Directly above, AJ Licata closes in on blocking a kick. Photo courtesy of Mark Webster.
A barrage of first half touchdowns and a smothering defense were keys to a lopsided Sept. 29 win for Frontier, which rolled by Class AA opponent West Seneca West 49 – 0.
Five of seven first-half drives ended in trips to pay dirt for the Falcons, who overwhelmed the winless Indians, en route to a homecoming game victory and a 4 – 0 start to the season. Frontier rushed for more than 350 yards, as a balanced ground attack gave the Falcons an early edge that was never relinquished.
Quarterback Tyler Gaglia accounted for three touchdowns, two rushing and one throwing, as the senior was 6 of 8 passing for 130 yards, to go along with a team-high 102 yards on seven rushing attempts. Defensively, senior linebacker AJ Licata recorded a team-high 11 tackles, two sacks and a blocked punt. Licata also contributed two catches for 50 yards, on the offensive side of the ball.
Frontier jumped out to a lead, as many in the capacity crowd celebrating homecoming weekend settled in their seats. It was 21 – 0 Falcons after one quarter and 35 – 0 at halftime. Long touchdown runs by Ken Kahler, who went for 55 yards on the play, and Cameron Coon, 30 yards, closed the scoring in the second half. Frontier’s defense never allowed West Seneca West the opportunity to get in close scoring range.
Falcons head coach Tim Myslinski cited his team’s strong mental approach, leading up to the game and during the contest. One week after dismantling league contender Lockport, Frontier compiled another 60-minute effort against W.S.W.
“Last week [after the win], we were saying it was ‘three down, one to go,’ and now we’re saying ‘four down, one to go,’” Myslinski said, in reference to his team’s “one-step at a time” philosophy. “We’re stressing that every game is as important as playing at The Ralph, like a playoff game. [Postgame discussions focus] on the statement that we haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
Opponents have had their hands full, dealing with Frontier’s offense. Against the Indians, Kahler went for 85 yards on six carries, while junior running back Paul Brinkel added 83 yards on three attempts and Coon, 63 yards on nine attempts, each recorded touchdowns while providing different looks out of the backfield.
Senior receiver Ricky Fitzgerald led the Falcons with three receptions for 62 yards and two touchdowns, one on a screen in which the wideout maneuvered his way 22 yards to pay dirt, to put Frontier up 14 – 0. Brinkel broke a 70-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage. Gaglia showed his prowess on first-half TD runs of 50 and 22 yards. The Falcons even used a bit of playbook trickery on their fifth TD, as backup running back Vinny Pupo hit a wide open Fitzgerald on a halfback option pass from 19 yards.
Seniors Ryan Harvey and Kevin Hamilton each recorded interceptions. Frontier was ranked No. 23 in New York state among Class AA schools, heading into Friday’s game. The Falcons will travel to Kenmore West on Saturday, Oct. 5 for a 2 p.m. league showdown. Frontier lost to Kenmore West two years ago, in the Section VI semifinals, and Myslinski said his team should be in for a challenge, once again.
“That’s a great team, a physical team that we have to be ready for,” he added.