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Section VI Thursday Night Football: Falcons looking to stay unbeaten

Divisional foes are set to clash Thursday night in Hamburg, N.Y, as the Bulldogs will play host to the Niagara Wheatfield Falcons to open up week three. However, with the new division alignments in 2018, this is the first matchup between these two schools as divisional opponents.

Niagara Wheatfield will be coming into Hamburg with a lot of momentum. The Falcons are off to their first 2-0 start since 2007 and have put up shutouts in their first two games of the year, defeating North Tonawanda week one 48-0 and division rival Frontier 19-0 in week two.

“I think we may have opened some eyes outside of our program,” said Falcons’ head coach Russ Nixon. “The major difference this year is that with the leadership role our seniors have not only embraced it but they’ve taken it on their shoulders.”

Along with senior leadership, Niagara Wheatfield has a lot of size and strength on their roster; they start nine different players on the offensive and defensive line.

Senior quarterback Jordan Parks will be a player to watch on Thursday night. Nixon described Parks as “a mobile threat with a good arm.” Despite having the flu last weekend, Parks had touchdown runs of 52 and 94 yards against Frontier. Junior Chris Gordon will see action at quarterback as well.

Other standouts on the Wheatfield offense include senior receivers Noah Mixon, Noah Bennett and Tommy Peltier. On the defensive side, senior safety Jake DeWolf and senior defensive end Antonio Conklin are two tough, fast and gritty players to look for.

Hamburg heads into week three sitting at 1-1. After an impressive 48-14 week 1 win over class B Alden, the Bulldogs fell in their first divisional matchup to Jamestown 28-14. The 2018 division realignments didn’t help Hamburg population-wise; they’re the smallest school in enrollment size in the A-1 division.

“The challenges don’t really stop this year for us,” Hamburg head coach Jeff Tripp said. “The A-1 division is certainly a tough class…we’re not taking Niagara Wheatfield lightly and I think we’re happy we’ve got them at home. Our guys are excited, so I’m excited too.”

Similar to Wheatfield, Hamburg has solid lines on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. That size upfront is a major reason why the Bulldogs’ offense is bread and buttered in their run game. Hamburg will use three different guys in their backfield; senior Nick Hafner along with juniors Spencer Dix and Dominic Manzella will all get some carries throughout the game.

Tripp said he believes his defensive unit is strong as a whole and have been playing hard and tough. Logan Garza is a key piece of that defense; not only does the junior play defensive tackle but he’s also the starting center.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Hamburg high school. To follow the game and get live updates, scores and more you can follow us on twitter @WNYAthletics and like our page on Facebook.

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