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Clarence Tames Lockport In AA North Showdown

On a wet Saturday afternoon, the Clarence Red Devils took one more giant step towards the postseason as they tamed the Lockport Lions, 38-22, in a Class AA North matchup at Emmett Belknap Stadium. After preventing the Red Devils from scoring to start the game with defensive back Kyle Brown’s interception, Lions halfback Shota Sprunger (16 carries, 87 yards, 2 touchdowns) marched the offense down the field and ran in for a 7-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion. The Red Devils responded with a four-minute drive, capped off by Brendan Cimerman’s 2-yard score and Jacob Reger’s two-point conversion. The score was tied at 8 until senior halfback Niko Mullen (13 carries, 102 yards, 2 touchdowns) scored from eight yards out near the end of the first half. A 2-point conversion from Reger once again gave the Red Devils a 16-8 lead going into halftime.

The Red Devils extended their lead to a two-score game halfway through the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Jack Putney (10 carries, 52 yards, 2 touchdowns) scampered in for a one-yard score behind the right side of the offensive line. “Jack is an outstanding player,” said head coach Mark Layer after the victory. “The sky is the limit for him.” The Lions didn’t go down without a fight as senior Tavon Chambers returned the following kick to the Red Devils 25-yard line. 12 seconds later, Sprunger trimmed the deficit to 10 points with his 25-yard score.

But the Red Devils running-back committee of Putney, Mullen, Jack Shaver and John Stevens wore down the Lions defense for the rest of the second half with their hurry-up offense. Another Putney touchdown run gave Clarence a 30-14 lead. The Lions offense made the home-town crowd excited in the fourth quarter as quarterback Luke Hausrath (9 of 22, 140 yards) found Chambers for a 17-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion that followed trimmed the deficit to 8, 30-22. After the Lions defense forced a turnover on downs with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, the Red Devils intercepted Hausrath’s pass a few plays later and ran the ball to wind down the clock. Their final drive was capped off by another Mullen score.

With the loss, the Lockport Lions fell to 0-3 on the season but made positive strides on both sides of the ball as Chambers and Brown shined on offense. 230-pound lineman Jason Robillard was the heart and soul on defense. They will take on the Starpoint Spartans in a non-league matchup on September 23rd (7 PM, 1340 WLVL.)

As for the Clarence Red Devils, they will wrap up their four game road trip with a visit to Niagara Falls on September 24th (12 PM, 1340 WLVL) in a matchup of 3-0 teams in Class AA North play. “We need to work to be more consistent defensively,” Coach Layer said after the game. “Offensively, we have to find a balance between the double-wing and spread [formations].”

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