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Giardina Guides the Blue Devils Back to the Winning Track

The Kenmore West Blue Devils came into Saturday’s homecoming game against the Niagara Wheatfield Falcons with an unusual feeling, coming off two losses in a row. The Blue Devils got back to a more comfortable feeling with a 27-21 win over the Falcons in the Class AA North battle.

After going back and forth in a scoreless 1st quarter, the Blue Devils got on the board as soon as the 2nd quarter began when QB Faisal Ahmadi threw a beautiful ball along the sideline to Joe Stewart for a 25-yard touchdown.  Later in the quarter, senior Cory Ratka came up with an interception and returned the ball to the 10. The next play, Erriono Giardina found the endzone to give West the 14-0 lead at the half.

However, the Falcons refused to go down. Jack Mazzara got going for the Falcons and so did his offense. KJ Welch finally got Niagara Wheatfield on the board as he took it in from two yards out. Not long after, the Falcons offense put together another strong drive ending on a 15-yard touchdown run by QB Jordan Parks, to tie the game at 14 heading into the 4th.

But the Blue Devils were unphased and scored on the first play of the 4th quarter with a 16 yard touchdown run by Giardina.

Niagara Wheatfield got lucky on the ensuing kickoff, as Ken-West attempted an onside kick that failed, giving the Falcons good field position. But the Falcons could not take advantage as Ken-West’s Luis Colon picked off Parks on the goal line.

With under 6 minutes’ left in the game the Blue Devil offense drove the ball down the field, and Giardina finished the drive with another touchdown run.

Giardina finished with 113 yards and 3 touchdowns on 25 carries. Giardina believes although he had a strong stat line, that it was a team win saying, “First I thank my lineman… I think we all played as a team”.

“When he’s (Giardina) healthy he’s a hell of a football player” said Kenmore West Head Coach John Haynes “He has really grown up as a football player. He’s a leader. He brings a punch for a 145 pound kid.”

Mazzara and the Falcons mustered up another score but it proved to be too little too late and multiple personal fouls on the Falcons during and after the PAT attempt, forced Niagara Wheatfield to kick off from the 10 yard line. Their onside kick attempt was unsuccessful.

Marzzara finished with 91 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

According to Niagara Wheatfield Assistant Coach Russ Nixon, Mazzara is like a coach on the field, “Jack is a great football player. He has a great football mindset. He sees things like a coach” says Nixon.

Haynes was pleased with Kenmore West’s victory but expects more going forward from his football team saying, “A win is a win. I was not happy with the execution in the 1st half. We’ve just got to get better as a football team.”

The Niagara Wheatfield coaches were proud of the way their team played, Nixon said after the loss, “They (the players) battled, they played with heart. We told them the outcome was not what we wanted, but the output was exactly what we expect from our team”.

Next week the Blue Devils (1-2, 2-2) host the Lockport Lions (0-3, 0-4) on Saturday afternoon at 2pm. The Falcons (0-3, 0-4) will take on the Niagara Falls Wolverines (2-1, 3-1) at Wheatfield on Saturday afternoon with a 1pm start time.

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