Asposto seizes opportunity in Redskins’ backfield
With the game on the line in Week One, the junior did just that. Asposto’s 18-yard run up the gut gave the Redskins the winning points with a little more than two minutes left in a 16-10 win over Niagara Falls on Aug. 31.
“He hit that hole hard on the outside and ran right in like a dart,” coach Chris Dickson said. “He’s very aggressive to the hole and that’s what we like about him. We’re going to keep moving the ball, that’s what we want to do.”
Lancaster’s rushing attack was stymied for most of the season-opener by the Wolverines. In fact, it was one of only three runs of more than 10 yards on the day for the Redskins. But when it mattered the most, Asposto and company got the job done.
While Asposto’s name goes next to the touchdown in the books, he was quick to point out there was a lot of other involvement in the big play.
“It was a great play by everyone,” he said. “The offensive line did an awesome job; I had a big hole to run through. If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t have got that touchdown.”
Lancaster’s backfield is most-certainly a committee attack. Asposto was one of seven players to record a rush in the first game, but that’s just fine with all of the Redskins.
“We don’t care who gets the ball as long as we score and as long as we win,” Asposto said. “We’ve got plenty of talented players and we’re going to use everybody.”
Just because the Redskins are using a bunch of runners doesn’t mean they don’t have anyone worthy of a featured role. Asposto, Mitch Fuller and Matt Szymanski are among the many ball-carriers the Redskins can, and will, turn to often this season.
Although Lancaster totaled just 82 yards on the ground in the hard-hitting opener, some mid-week adjustments should help boost those numbers in the coming weeks, especially with so many talented runners on the roster.
“It’s nice to have that many weapons,” Dickson said. “We still need to clean some things up offensively, but we’re working on that.”
Lancaster pulls out Dickson’s coaching debut
As Chris Dickson walked toward the locker room at Foyle-Kling Stadium following his first victory as the varsity head football coach at Lancaster High School, he was greeted by one of his new biggest fans.
“Twelve more to go,” retired coach Len Jankiewicz exclaimed to his former assistant before a congratulatory hug.
The 12 more wins -- which would mean a state championship -- would be terrific, but after a nail-biting opener, the Redskins were just glad to get the first one in the books. Lancaster rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to get past Niagara Falls, 16-10.
“We had to get this win in Mr. Dickson’s first game,” junior receiver Dan Corbi said. “It’s always nice to get the first one out of the way, that’s the most important one.”
It wasn’t easy, but the Redskins bounced back from an error-prone first half by scoring 16 unanswered second-half points for the win.
Connor Asposto scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:14 to play as he went 18 yards on a counter run for the score. Mitch Fuller scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Colafranceschi and Alex Juhasz added a 19-yard field goal in the decisive second half.
Some critical mistakes led to the halftime deficit for the Redskins. Both of Niagara Falls’ first-half scores came in possessions that started inside the Lancaster 35-yard line.
But the Redskins kept their composure and bounced right back in the second half.
“They believed and they did what they had to do,” Dickson said. “I told them (at halftime), ‘We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re going to be aggressive and this thing will get turned around.’”
The Redskins turned the ball over twice, the biggest coming in the final two minutes of the second quarter. On a second and goal inside the 1-yard line, Colafranceschi was stripped by the Wolverines’ Daqurie Simmons, who raced 72 yards the other way. Four plays later, Niagara Falls got its touchdown as Rickey Bailey hit Amir Myles for the 7-yard scoring strike.
“We protected the ball better in the second half, that was the difference,” Dickson said. “We felt the turnovers really helped them get those 10 points and we can’t be doing that. If we want to be a better football team, we have to protect the ball.”
Colafranceschi was unfazed by that fumble as he bounced right back with a big second half, leading the Redskins on three scoring drives. He finished his first varsity start at 10 of 18 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown.
During a stellar defensive effort, Lancaster forced a pair of turnovers and held the Wolverines to just 102 yards of total offense.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the defense,” said Dickson, whose team fellin its Class AA South opener to West Seneca West. “Coach (Brandon) Benham did a nice job with those boys in training camp getting them ready for Week 1.”