WNY Athletics

Warriors Break the Streak

The feature image used in this story was provided courtesy of Angela McDonald
Not one single player or student in that on field celebration was alive the last time the Warriors won the T-NT Classic.
Let that sink in. Once it does then you will truly understand the magnitude of the moment.
Jason Frazer was a beast as he led the Warriors to a 23-0 win over North Tonawanda on Friday night as Tonawanda finally ended the Jacks 18-year winning streak.
“I was thinking about this game every day since last year,” Jason Frazer said. “This year I knew we were going to do it.”
The Warriors last won in 2000. Since then, with the exception of a few games (2006, 2012, 2018), the Jacks have dominated the rivalry. In this night though it was the Warriors turn to dominate.
As the final buzzer sounded the Tribe student fan base rushed to join coaches and their classmates on the field.
They hugged. Cheered. Took pictures and videos.
It was pure magic. A Hollywood style celebration that these kids will always remember.
“Just amazing,” junior QB Justin Mangold said. “The fact that we could give all these people that came out here, and this whole city, a win after 19 years is just the best feeling you could ever ask for.”
But if some people had their way this moment would have never happened.
Ten years ago NT won back-to-back games by 61 point margins.
The Jacks were at their highest point ever as a program. The core of the teams that won those two years were comprised of the unbeaten 2009 Class AA state champs. So yeah, they were pretty darn good.
And the Warriors, quite frankly, were at one of, if not the lowest, point in their history.
So the buzz of “it’s time to end the rivalry” began to stir. Countless people said it was time to end the game. That it wasn’t a rivalry anymore. It wasn’t fair. NT was too big of a school. Too good of a program. Tonawanda didn’t have the numbers to compete.
I on the other hand never bought that. Not for one minute.
In the wake of the 2009 game I wrote how the TNT game has to continue.
That it was more than just a Friday night football game.
It was about spirit week. The TNT luncheon. Players feeling like stars throughout that whole week.
The sense of pride everyone on both sides of the Canal felt for their city, their school and their team.
If you came to one game a year it was the TNT Classic.
When the rivalry began Tonawanda was the power house and NT was struggling to find its way.
What if the powers that be decided back then the rivalry wasn’t fair and said “let’s end the game”?
Both communities would have been robbed of 90 plus years of memories going forward.
I said that one day the Warriors would break through and end the streak. And when they did the boys on that team would be heroes. You can’t rob kids of that kind of memory. That kind of accomplishment.
On Oct. 18, 2019, in the 110th meeting, the Warriors finally broke through. They ended the curse and every single one of those kids, in the eyes of their town, are heroes.
“It’s the best day of their lives. It really is,” head coach Joe Kelly said. “And you know what they deserve it. They work hard.”

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