STOPPED — Pictured above top, Frontier’s Adrian Cannon stops a Lockport run play in its tracks. The Falcons’ defense held Lockport to 122 yards in a 23 – 0 win Sept. 21 on the road. Frontier is now undefeated in three games. Directly above, fullback Kenny Kahler follows his blocks. Photo by David Marino.
Three down; one to go.
That is the motto the Frontier football team adopted, after it remained unbeaten with a 23 – 0 Class AA victory against Lockport last weekend, in the Falcons’ third win of the year. Now they are focused on four.
“One play at a time; one down at a time [and] one game at a time,” Frontier coach Tim Myslinski said. “That’s our motto.”
The Falcons held the Lions, now 1 – 1 in Class AA and 2 – 1 overall, to 122 yards of total offense, in a showdown of unbeaten teams on a rain-soaked Max D. Lederer Field in Lockport. They pressured Lockport quarterback Tyler Fraass to the tune of nine sacks and did not give much up on the ground.
Myslinski credited his defensive coaching staff for the victory. “Coach Joe Fasciana and Coach Mark Privateer just did an amazing job getting these guys ready to play against a very good offense,” he said. “To put that goose egg up – granted it’s a sloppy day – but it’s a great coaching job by my defensive staff.”
The defensive prowess Myslinski alluded to played a hand in both of the Falcons’ first two scoring plays. Early in the first quarter, Frontier had pinned Lockport deep in its own territory. On second-and-21 from the 1-yard line, Lions’ running back Nick Hamilton was dropped in the end zone by Brandon Wilczewski for a safety.
On the Lions’ next offensive possession, Falcons’ linebacker Rocco Russo recovered a fumble at the Lockport 13. After committing a penalty and giving up a sack, the Falcons faced third-and-24 from the 27-yard line, but quarterback Tyler Gaglia found fullback Kenny Kahler on a screen pass to pick up the first down. Gaglia scored on a keeper the very next play.
“We had them in a third-and-long situation and they throw a screen pass and they end up scoring a touchdown on it,” Lockport coach Greg Bronson said. “Those are situations you have to be aware of. You have to execute, and we didn’t.”
The Falcons upped their lead to 16 – 0 on the next drive. Backup tailback back Paul Brinkel punched it in from 2 yards out, with 26 seconds left in the first quarter. Brinkel and fellow junior Vinny Pupo both saw an increased workload on the ground after standout running back Cameron Coon sustained what was called after the game “a lower-body injury” in the first quarter.
“He’ll be fine. He’s a warrior,” Myslinski said, about Coon. “Paul Brinkel and Vinny Pupo did a super job stepping in and Tyler Gaglia ran that offense fantastic today.”
Gaglia found receiver Alex Licata for a 2-yard passing touchdown later in the half, to close out the game’s scoring. The senior signal-caller finished 5 of 12 for 63 yards, with a touchdown pass and a rushing score. Brinkel had six carries for 23 yards and a touchdown and senior fullback Kenny Kahler had 16 rushes for 62 yards to go with a 25-yard reception.
On the defensive side, Licata had 12 tackles, four sacks and an interception. Kevin Hamilton added 13 tackles, three sacks and an interception and Russo, two sacks and a fumble recovery, during the game.
“The weather fell in our lap with the type of offense that we run and our defense put us in great field position all game,” Myslinski said.
Lockport struggled offensively for most of the game. The team put up 33 points in a Class AA upset win at Orchard Park last weekend, but could not get into a rhythm on Sept. 21. Bronson said that last week’s win had his players unfocused.
“We were sky high and we talked about being one-week wonders and, in this instance, we were,” he said. “We weren’t consistent enough in how we prepared; we weren’t consistent enough in our execution.”
Defensive lineman Marshall Taylor said he agreed with his coach.
“As a whole team, we got what we put in to it,” Taylor said. “We’ve got Niagara Falls next week and I think practice is going to be a whole lot better. This was our wakeup call.”
D’Andre Jenkins had nine tackles and half a sack, to lead a Lions’ defense that improved, as the game went on. Deshaun Williams and Moziah Townsend each had seven tackles, while Malik Harden added five and recovered a fumble. Taylor had 3 1/2 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.
The game created early-season separation between the teams atop the Class AA standings. The Falcons, now 3 – 0, with all three wins in league, are in a three-way tie for first place. But Myslinski has his players focused on what is directly in front of them: this week, a game against West Seneca West.
“The mindset right now is directly on West Seneca West,” Licata said. “We’re 3 – 0, but that’s a great team over there at West Seneca West. We’re looking to go in our homecoming night and come out with a win.”
Frontier will host West Seneca West at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 as the Falcons celebrate Homecoming weekend at the school in the Town of Hamburg. West is still looking for its first win of the season.