Wolverines enter season with plenty of new faces
By David Yarger
At the end of last season, the Niagara Falls Wolverines wrapped up the regular season with the team's first win in program history over Orchard Park. The win earned them a home playoff game.
The game didn't go as planned, as the Wolverines lost by inches near the end, 14-6, to Hutch-Tech. The Falls finished with one of their best records in program history though, going 6-2.
Heading into 2017, coach Don Bass says his returners remember the sting of the defeat.
"It did leave a sour taste, longer than I wanted it to, even with me," Bass said. "So, I've got them focused on the next, not the last."
To get back to where they were, the Wolverines must do it with some new faces. They lost 21 seniors to graduation, including quarterback Jhamir Isom and All-League award winners Cortese Myles and Del Hunt.
Bass said, although it's taking some getting used to, he expects the new players to succeed.
"That's an awful lot to replace, but the guys have stepped up and I think we'll be fine. We're young and inexperienced, but some of the guys coming up will be fine," he said.
Bass named his replacement at quarterback, Deonte Matthews, to step up from the junior-varsity.
"He's the JV quarterback from last year, which is good and what I'm looking for, because it gives me two years with a junior. I like that," he said.
Bass added he doesn't want Matthews to go out of the box, but just run the offense and do what he can do and do it well.
Going back to 2016, the Wolverines were known for having a stout defense. In eight games, the defense only gave up 124 points, averaging out to 15.5 points allowed per game.
Bass expects much of the same and even better from this year's team.
"Team's will remember our speed, but I think this defense has the opportunity, if we stay healthy, the opportunity to be the best we've ever had," he said.
Bass said if the offense can score, not turn it over and take time off the clock, they should be in games because of the defense's ability.
The Wolverines open on the road vs. Kenmore West, whom they defeated 41-15 in mid-September last season. The matchup takes place Saturday at 2 p.m.
Wide receiver Rodney Barnes