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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

“Jumpin’ Joe” Leads Lumberjacks Past Billies Again

If there was one moment from his junior year that stood out to him, Joe Dotterweich would likely say his game-winning touchdown last season in North Tonawanda’s 49-48 overtime victory over Williamsville South. Just as the first week of school ended, Dotterweich now has one of likely many more gems for his senior year. The senior rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries in the Lumberjacks 22-6 victory over the Billies Friday night, bringing home the bragging rights to the Lumber City for another year.

“The offensive line did an amazing job tonight,” Dotterweich said after the game. “They made the holes for me and I was able to run through them. We worked so hard in the offseason to get bigger, faster and stronger and we knew we had the ability to have them at our will.”

After the Lumberjacks started the game on a three-and-out drive, the Billies marched into NT territory and were on the scoreboard first as junior quarterback Josh Foster (12 of 21 passing, 115 passing yards, 49 rush yards) found speedy wide receiver Chris Nelson down the left sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass. But after the scoring play, Foster and his receivers seemed to be out of rhythm for the rest of the game as they turned the ball over on downs four times and missed multiple passes.

“Josh is a tough player,” said Williamsville South head coach Kraig Kurzanski after the loss. “He plays his heart out all the time. He runs the ball super well. He didn’t throw particularly well tonight but I know he can.”

After the Billies scoring drive, the Lumberjacks seemed to be in control for the rest of the night. North Tonawanda went on a six-minute drive in the first quarter which culminated in Zack Woodard’s (13 carries, 53 yards) one-yard score, which gave them a 7-6 lead. The Lumberjacks extended their lead to a two-score game when Woodard pitched the ball to speedy halfback Chris Labonte (14 carries, 63 yards) for a 24-yard scamper before heading into the locker room.

“It was a team effort tonight,” said North Tonawanda head coach Henry Fumerelle after the victory. “We had a couple of turnovers, which we got to limit, but we are getting better every day and we had a strong finish.”

With the victory, the Lumberjacks will next hit the road to face the Sweet Home Panthers in a Class A North matchup September 16, their first battle since 2014. If NT wins, it will be the first time the program has had consecutive 3-0 starts to their season since 2008-2009. Two-way lineman Bryce Schmigel will likely be a game-day decision as he left tonight’s game with a leg injury. “We just have to continue to execute on both sides of the ball and we should be fine,” said Dotterweich.

As for the Billies, coach Kurzanski will look to steer the ship in the right direction when they face their neighbor, the Williamsville East Flames, on September 17 at 2 ET. “We just have to come back to work on Monday. We’ll try to get everybody better, make some personnel changes, go to Williamsville East next Saturday and begin the next phase of our season.”

Photo credit to: Brad Ferry

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