WNY Athletics

Sparks get W, Learn Lesson

Make no mistake, head coach Tim Delaney was happy that his Sparks came away with the victory. But my no means was he pleased by the manner in which it was obtained.

Brandon Brown and Justin Johnson scored touchdowns at South Park topped WNY Maritime/Health Sciences, 12-0, in their Section VI Class A-3 Football game that was played at Robert E. Rich All-High Stadium Saturday afternoon.

A game that saw both teams having trouble taking care of the ball the Sparks lost two fumbles and QB Dabeyon Humphrey threw an interception.

Addressing his team after the game Delaney stated the root of their troubles was based in low energy.

Humphrey,  who got his team on the board when he connected on a 12 yard pass to Brandon Brown, said his coach was right. They weren’t properly focused and underestimated the first-year Falcons.

“We gotta block up front. Be better on offense. Stop underestimating other teams,” Humphrey candidly stated.

“This is their first year so (we) underestimated them…We’ve been here for so long. So that’s basically what it was.”

Brown’s TD came on the heels of Maritime/H.S. being called for an unsportsmanlike penalty that dropped them back to their own 10 yard line. The Falcons turned the ball over on downs, setting the stage for Brown’s TD reception.

Justin Johnson’s 19 yard TD run with 1:35 left to play in the game secured the win for South Park (1-0, 2-0).

The Falcons  (0-1, 0-2) defense, which included three goalline stands, kept them in the game, but their offense simply could not connect.

After losing to Canisius last week in their first game, WNY Maritime head coach Charlie Comerford said it’s not about focusing on wins and losses. It’s more about looking at the whole picture of how guys compete, grow and handle the bumps in the road.

Feeling from day one that his team had enough talent to compete, Comerford was pleased that his team showed that sense of battle and passionately gave every thing they had.

“I think the way we compete is good. I think we’re there,” said Comerford. “I think the fact that we’re a first year team shows a lot of the time with some of the mental mistakes that we make. Just stuff that will get better week by week. To beat teams like this we gotta do stuff better in all phases.”

The Sparks were without two of their top players in Clarence Thomas and Keith Jackson, so missing those key pieces impacted their overall execution on offense. To be able to gut out a win without two top players reinforces that they can win under adverse situations, which is a plus. But the biggest take away was the reminder that they have to be prepared, mentally as well as physically, every day.

“I think we’re tough and we’re physical,” said Delaney. “What I do like is that our expectations as a team and as a program are to win games, not necessarily about this opponent or any opponent, to win games convincingly. The fact that we did not do that brings a little bit of disappointment which we’ll hope that we’re able to learn from; to play a little harder. Work a little bit harder in practice and prepare a little bit more.”

Anthony Mack had a fumble recovery and interception for the Sparks.

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