Weekly Feature

2018-10-11 / Sports

Lancaster football bounces back with win over Niagara Falls


The Lancaster football team bounced back with a strong defensive effort Friday, defeating Niagara Falls 43-12.

The Legends, now 5-1, were coming off a tough loss to Bennett that saw them give up more than 300 yards rushing. This week, the team held Niagara Falls to just 18 yards of total offense, including two passing yards. At halftime, the Wolverines were sitting at negative 37 yards of total offense.

“It was a great team win,” Lancaster coach Eric Rupp said. “I felt that defensively, we weren’t as prepared as we should have been for Bennett. I take full responsibility for that. I was really happy with the way our defense bounced back.”

The loss to Bennett was an eye-opener for Lancaster. The Legends hadn’t come close to having that much trouble with an offense in the two-and-a-half season run the coaching staff has had together.

“After the loss, we just kind of sat down as a staff and reevaluated the way we did things defensively,” Rupp said. “Coach Mansell and the defensive coaches had a great week of practice. We brought pressure from everywhere and it gave Niagara Falls some trouble.”

The Wolverines actually opened the scoring in the game with an interception return for a touchdown off Lancaster quarterback Jason Mansell. The Legends bounced back on the next drive, however, as Gianluca Fulciniti punctuated the series with a 2-yard run to take a 7-6 lead.

The ensuing drive saw Niagara Falls attempt to punt, only for Lancaster to block the kick and Connor Mahony to recover it for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Mansell found Nick Meara for a 29-yard touchdown to take a 21-6 lead. A few drives later, Anthony Santos-Larosa made a tackle in the end zone for a safety. The Legends drove down the field and scored just before halftime on a Mansell touchdown pass to Brian Martin from eight yards out.

“We had good field position all night,” Rupp said. “We were efficient with what we did. We struggled a little bit up front running the ball at times. But Niagara Falls also had seven guys in the box all game so it was tough.”

Lancaster kept its foot on the gas in the third quarter, coming up with touchdown runs from Tim Gardner and Fulciniti to run the lead to 43-6. The offense was efficient all night, taking advantage of good field position. Mansell was 10-19 for 140 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Martin had three catches for 52 yards and a score. Shawn Davis had two catches for 31 yards.

“They came out and played us man to man and our receivers ran some good routes,” Rupp said. “Jason delivered the ball on time.”

The Legends will next host Depew in the 99th annual rivalry game between the two programs. It’s something both communities take great pride in.

“It’s one of the best weeks of the year,” Rupp said. “I’m honored to be a part of this great tradition. It should be a great game. You throw the records out the window. There is a lot of history, tradition and a crosstown rival. It’s going to be an awesome game.”

The Wildcats are only 1-5 this year, but they have played a lot of close games and are coming off a win. They are versatile on offense and could be hard to stop.

“Offensively, they’re pretty versatile,” Rupp said. “Sometimes they’ll be double-tight with three backs in the backfield. Other times they’ll be in the shotgun, four or five wide. They certainly give us a lot to prepare for. We definitely have to do our homework.”

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