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  • Colton Pankiewicz

Watson leads the Flock for NW

Photo by Shawn Turri

In his third and final season at the varsity level, Shawn Watson can very much be considered the focal point of Niagara-Wheatfield’s offense.

The 6’4” wideout has been the Falcons' leading receiver for the past two years, totaling 452 yards and six touchdowns in 2021 and 648 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022.

When the Falcons traveled to Kenmore West for their season opener, Watson made the most of what was a ground-and-pound approach offensively. Having finished with a team-high 45 yards and three receptions while adding six tackles on defense, Niagara-Wheatfield prevailed 27-24.

Week 2 showed a different side of second-year head coach Erik O’Bryan’s team, losing 42-6 to a strong Clarence team. Even in the loss, Shawn Watson still produced, hauling in a pair of catches and finishing his night 42 yards and a touchdown. Sitting at 71 career receptions, the three-year starter sits just four catches short of Frank Pavicich’s school record (76).

Pavicich (Class of ‘98) was twice named to the All-New York State, and All-WNY teams, as well as being named Buffalo News Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997. Being in such rare company, it’s no surprise the praise Watson receives.

O’Bryan, who has coached Watson since his eighth grade year when he made the varsity basketball team, says Watson impresses him just as much as a person as he does a player.

“He's a leader, when he has something to say he’ll say it. He makes sure my voice is heard, and that what I'm preaching reaches his teammates.” O’Bryan said. “Having known him for that long, he’s like one of my sons.”

Heading into week three, Niagara-Wheatfield will host McKinley with hopes of getting back above .500 and maybe even seeing a change of the guards between Frank Pavicich and Shawn Watson in Niagara-Wheatfield’s history books.

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