Wheatfield ends season on sour note versus Kenmore West
By David Yarger
On Saturday, the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons' football season came to a close at Crosby Field and Coach Russ Nixon didn't have much to say to his team following a disappointing 40-20 loss at the hands of Kenmore West. He did say the team needs to focus in the offseason and work to build a foundation that lasts.
Freshman Zion Paige shined in the loss for the Falcons. Paige returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, and also had three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came from the arm of sophomore quarterback Chris Gordon. The pass was Gordon's first TD as a member of the varsity team.
Wheatfield had a chance to go up early and put pressure on the Blue Devils, but a red-zone interception derailed the Falcons chances.
The Falcons defense held West scoreless after one quarter, but early in the second, a 22-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion gave the Blue Devils an 8-0 lead. On Wheatfield's ensuing possession on fourth down, the snap from the long snapper to punter Brandon Higgins went over Higgins' head. Higgins tried to boot it away quickly after recovering but the Blue Devils were on him quick, and the kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown.
Paige returned the ensuing kickoff to put the Falcons' on the board and put the Blue Devils offense back on the field.
West tried to run a screen play for their running back but the ball was thrown backwards and picked up by Noah Mixon who ran it into the end zone. The problem was the referees deemed it to be a forward pass and incomplete. The call took points away from the Falcons and a couple plays later, the Blue Devils were in the end zone. At halftime the Blue Devils' lead was 24-6.
Jordan Parks scored the next Wheatfield touchdown, sneaking in from a yard out on fourth and goal. Parks, who saw time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, finished with the touchdown, 30 yards rushing, 50 yards passing and 31 yards receiving on two receptions. The 30 yards rushing left Parks just three yards shy of 1,000 for the year. Parks finished the 2017 season with 19 combined touchdowns.
Later on, Gordon found Paige in the back corner of the end zone from 11 yards. Gordon finished with 42 yards passing. Senior running back Josh Brown also finished the season strong, running 11 times for 88 yards.
The game was also the last time a few seniors would suit up for the Falcons. The seniors include, Matt Alexis, Jacob Ambrosia, Kris Azzarelli, Bailey Braunscheidel, Brown, Justin Clyde, Joel Flegal, Higgins, Connor Henderson, Mitchell Linnan, Bryan Lucinski, Nick Mancari, Vincent Musolino, Alex Padilla, James Pierce, Chris Smyth, Justin Stickney and Nick Weir.
Wheatfield's final record was 3-6. All three wins came at home, at Terry Harvey Field.