WNY Athletics

Maritime/Health Sciences Grind Out Season Opening Win Over Cheektowaga

In a game that featured nearly a dozen turnovers ranging from interceptions to fumbles to blocked kicks, the Maritime/Health Sciences Falcons pulled off the biggest win in their short program history, defeating the two-time defending Section VI Class B champion Cheektowaga Warriors 18-12 in overtime.

The game ended on a 16-yard end-around by sophomore wide receiver Demetrious Potts.

“It’s a special win for our program,” Falcons head coach Ty Parker said. “I was just so happy for our guys.”

Special doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of the Falcons players and staff as they ran over to their fan section to celebrate after the win. After winning just two games last season, the team came out with a mission to make other programs aware of their skills on the field. Parker said after the game that the coaches knew they had the talent to play against anyone, it just took some time to prepare for that next step.

“The first year it was all rough spots,” Parker said, alluding to the fact that most of the players hadn’t played organized football in two, three years when the team started a year ago. “It was the guys getting back in football shape, getting football savvy. Once we got our feet up under us – it took a year – but now we got it done and it showed today against a great defending championship team.”

On the other side of the field, the Warriors couldn’t have asked for a worse start as the team fumbled the ball away on each of its first two possessions. Luckily for coach Mike Fatta and the rest of the Cheektowaga coaching staff, the defense was able to keep Maritime/Health Sciences off the scoreboard despite having starting field position inside the Cheektowaga 25- yard line each time.

“The defense is, maybe, our strong point this year, but we’ve got to take care of the football if we’re going to play that [defensive] kind of game,” said Fatta.

The defense continued their strong play for Cheektowaga, holding Maritime/Health Sciences to less than 250 total yards on offense. However, the Warrior offense continued its struggles throughout the night. After keeping the Falcons out of the endzone, another three-and-out ended with the Warriors having a punt blocked. The block lead to a Falcons touchdown just moments later to open the scoring in the first half as running back Maurice Vaughn ran it in from ten yards out.

Cheektowaga would finally find a groove on offense late in the second quarter, driving nearly 90 yards downfield on nothing but running plays. Cameron Warburton ultimately found paydirt on a three-yard run to tie the game up at six apiece.

After coming out tied to start the second half, the Warriors once again caught the turnover bug, losing fumbles on their first two drives of the half. The second fumble resulted in points against when it was recovered in the endzone by the Falcons’ Mekhi Bridges. That lead was short-lived, however, as Tariq Clark would take a quick pitch in for six from four yards out.

After getting the ball to start overtime, the Warriors turned the ball over on downs after a costly sack. A delay-of-game penalty forced them to attempt a 4th and 17 just to keep the drive alive. After holding Cheektowaga, it only took the Falcons five plays to find the back of the endzone and put the game away.

“I don’t know if we could’ve played worse,” said Fatta. “I think we [the coaches] failed our kids in terms of getting them prepared. I gotta do better next week.”

For the Warriors, next week means a battle with Lewiston-Porter at home while the Falcons head south to take on Dunkirk.


The featured image used in this article was provided courtesy of Ty Parker.


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