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Chris Glenn’s 2nd Season as Head Coach

Will-East finished last season with a 3-7 record in the Section VI ECIC Class-A, North division. But that record is a bit misleading. The Flames lost by a combined 10 points in 3 of those games, and they had leads, late, in each.  “We need to learn how to finish games” 2nd year head coach Chris Glenn said. “We could have been 6-4”. Finish. That is the message he wants to deliver too his kids this season. With the ultimate goal of competing for the league title and playing for a state championship.

After graduating 28 players, the Flames have just 7 starters returning (Four on offense, three on defense). The team fields a roster of just 25 players, down from 42 last year. Senior captains Nick Falkides and Jordan Clement won’t let that be an excuse though. “It gives us extra motivation, everyone has to step up, do their part” Falkides said after practice Tuesday. Clement added “We are a tight group, especially the seniors. Guys were working out together during winter. The senior are really close.”

Clement is a big 6-foot-2, 318 pound lineman, playing both sides of the ball. He is a 2nd year starter and will lead a young core up front. “We have two sophomore’s starting at left-guard and left-tackle, I have confidence that our line can give Nick time to make plays”.

When the Flames travel to North Tonawanda to face the Lumberjacks on Friday September 2nd, Falkides will be making his first start under center. He came in to play QB at different times last year but never as the starter. In the team’s final game of 2015, he came in half-way through the 1st quarter and played great. Falkides set a Flames record for most attempts (61), completing 41 of them.

“I knew the offense last year and even more comfortable playing in it this year” Falkides said. He does have a slew of returning weapons that should take some of the pressure off his shoulders. TJ Allen is a quality running back and should excel in coach Glenn’s spread offensive scheme. This year they have added a Tight End to the mix in Ben Geiger to compliment wide receiver Drew Butler.

On the defensive side of the ball Geiger plays linebacker. Matt Gibbs and Jack Baumler join Clement on the line. Coach Glenn will be looking for guys like Dan Wagner, Joey Shifflet, Dan Wagner, Kevin Steele and Hunter Endres to make impacts. Shifflet had 12 interceptions last season on JV while Steele led the team in tackles. Shifflet’s name should sound familiar. His grandfather (Joe) was the former Sweet Home, Tonawanda and Niagara Falls head coach, now in the Greater Buffalo Hall of Fame. Glenn knows his opponents tendencies, expects to see a lot of spread offenses throughout the season. The defense will try to eliminate the short passes.

Will-East, predictably is a dark horse. They have a lot of youth that will be counted to make plays immediately. And they are talented. “We made an emphasis on making the playoffs this year, that’s one of our expectations” Falkides said.

The Flames will play two road games to start the season before hosting rival Williamsville South. A team that coach Glenn spent 9 seasons with on the sidelines. “That’ll definitely be a special one for me” Glenn said. “I consider Kraig (Coach Kurzanski) a father figure.” Glenn has some experience working with some really good quarterbacks over the years. One of them being Joe Licata, the former Billie’s star now with the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. The Flames are hopeful coach Glenn can bring out the best in Falkides.

Will East is short on players and will rely on many having to play both ways. They won’t let that stand in the way though. As both Falkides and Clement said “Everybody has to step-up”.

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