Maryvale football may be known for their high-flying offense, but Friday night it was the defense that shined.
The Flyers’ defense shut out the Burgard Bulldogs, 27-0 in an early season high-stakes Class B1 football matchup.
Maryvale treated the Week 4 matchup as a playoff game.
“We told the guys that the playoffs officially start now,” Maryvale head coach Jeff Buccieri said.
“They are motivated and want to make a legacy here at Maryvale. They recognized the opportunity they had. It was enormous win.”
The win brings the Flyers to 4-0, 2-0 in the Class B1 division and step ahead in what has been a tight playoff race between Maryvale, Burgard and Cheektowaga for the past few years.
Rashad Law got his number called multiple times on the first drive, helping the Flyers get into the redzone. The Maryvale offense moved quickly as they went 70 yards in a matter of three minutes. Dylan Casey powered his way 11 yards for the touchdown.
The Flyers’ offensive energy to start was matched by its defense. The Bulldogs could not get anything going on their first drive of the game.
Law and the Flyers were immediately motivated when they watched Burgard come onto their side during introductions.
“To be honest, they stepped on our 50 (yard line). That’s not something you should do,” Law said afterward. “We were all pretty mad about that. We wanted to go after them.”
Quarterback Connor Desiderio found Ray Blackwell for 48 yards to put Maryvale in the redzone to start the second quarter. A few plays later, Law caught a 16 yard pass to get down his team to the one yard line.
After Flyers were pushed back on first and goal, Law finished the drive off with a three yard touchdown run to put Maryvale on top, 13-0.
Law, only a junior, had two touchdowns and made several big plays at safety. According to Buccieri, he is a special player.
“A lot of our game plan revolves around putting him in spots where he can make tackles and cover guys in space,” Buccieri said. “Offensively when we need tough yards he’ll put his shoulder down and get them, as well as be elusive in the passing game.”
The Flyers had two chances to punch in another score before the half ended.
A 50-yard bomb from Desiderio to Casey got Maryvale to into the redzone. But, back-to-back dropped passes stalled the drive at the Burgard 11 yard line.
On the ensuing drive, the Flyers’ defensive line once again cause havoc in the Burgard backfield and force a three-and-out with just under a minute left in the half.
Maryvale had strong field position after a bad punt by the Bulldogs. On fourth down, Desiderio got the ball to Ray Blackwell along the sideline for the first down. That was followed by a big gain from Law that was brought back on a holding call, that ultimately doomed the drive.
The Flyers were driving down the field late in the third quarter. A pass interference call on the Bulldogs defense put Maryvale in the redzone. However, the passing game let the Flyers down again as Burgard defensive back picked off Desiderio.
The Maryvale defense once again bailed out their offense stopping a fake punt attempt by the Bulldogs.
This time the offense took advantage as Law took it in from 5 yards out to give the Flyers a commanding 21-0 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Later in the quarter Maryvale linebacker Chad Beyer laid a huge hit on the Bulldog runner knocking the ball out. The Flyers recovered the fumble, quickly turning it into points as Desidero found a wide-open Blackwell in the endzone for the game’s final score.
According to Buccieri, Beyer is a part of the Flyers’ strong linebacking core that includes Zach Vaticano and Nick Costanzo.
“We’ve haven’t had linebackers like this in a long time,” Buccieri said “They had a strong game for us.”
According to Law, the Friday night was another check mark on the list that they’re hoping will lead them to division title.
“This a huge win,” Law said. “We’re one step closer to winning the division.”