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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Lysiak, Niagara Wheatfield Secure Opening Night Win

Saying Matthew Lysiak’s first game of organized football went well would be an understatement.

The Niagara Wheatfield senior returned the game’s first kickoff for a touchdown as one of several big plays he made in the Falcons’ 26-6 victory over the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks in Section VI Class A1 football action on Thursday night.

“We watch him in practice and we know what we see,” Niagara Wheatfield coach Russ Nixon said. “But stepping under the lights, after a short turn around from your scrimmage and literally it being the first time he’s played organized football. I’m impressed.”

Lysiak, who previously only played baseball at Niagara Wheatfield, also had a touchdown reception and an interception.

“Well, you know I came out there, I know I have speed,” Lysiak said. “And I just got to use it and try to get by them. Make plays, fly around the field, fly to the ball, see ball, get ball.”

With the quick momentum of Niagara Wheatfield stirring from the get-go, North Tonawanda quickly responded on the ensuing drive that began on their own 35-yard line after the kickoff went out of bounds.

In just a few short plays the Lumberjacks found themselves on their opponent’s 22-yard line where Nash Rieselman found Camerin Holmes to tie the game at six to close out the opening quarter.

The Falcons took the lead early in the second as QB Chris Gordon threw to Andy Klebaur for a three-yard touchdown.

Both teams played sloppy at times, which is expected for a season opener, committing more penalties than they would’ve cared for.

One North Tonawanda drive began inside their own ten after a special teams mishap. Due to some penalties, the Lumberjacks couldn’t move the ball and punted out of their own endzone. Three plays later, Gordon found Lysiak for a 29-yard touchdown to give Wheatfield a 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter.

“We talk about discipline and mental toughness, so penalties is discipline,” North Tonawanda head coach Rick Tomm said. “You got to clean that up. You cannot win games unless you play fundamentally sound football.”

The Lumberjacks did not lose motivation as Aidan Pless snagged an interception with 49 seconds left in the half.

NT quickly capitalized on the situation. Holmes caught a 39-yard pass bringing the Lumberjacks to their opponent’s 31-yard line. Holmes made another key play that moved the ball inside the ten. However, the Lumberjacks couldn’t punch it in. With three seconds left on fourth and goal, NT took a shot at the endzone but the pass fell incomplete.

The Falcons added another score with a four-yard touchdown run by tailback Joey Kiszka, Jr. with just over nine minutes left.

Lysiak put away any hope of a comeback for the Lumberjacks with an interception in the game’s final minutes.

Up next for Niagara Wheatfield is a home tilt with Williamsville North next Saturday, September 14th at 2 p.m.

North Tonawanda will be on the road visiting Williamsville East on Friday, September 13th at 7 p.m.

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