Tonawanda News — •••
O’Hara at St. Joe’s, 2:30 p.m.
With early season losses by Canisius and Orchard Park, St. Joe’s, with wins over New York City powerhouse St. Anthony’s and Clarence, looks to be the top team in Western New York early on.
But the Marauders (2-0) aren’t taking crosstown rival Cardinal O’Hara (1-0) lightly.
St. Joe’s coach Dennis Gilbert said his team is excited to play the Hawks this afternoon in its league opener.
”Our kids are excited. They have a bunch of kids from Kenmore and Tonawanda, and we’ll know a lot of the kids we’re playing against,” he said. “It’s one of those games where the kids get a chance to play against their buddies. It’s the opener for our league season and the kids are excited. They’re ready to go.”
The Marauders’ team speed is the focus for every team that lines up against them. O’Hara coach Angelo Sciandra knows that to beat them the Hawks will have to slow them down.
”They’re very, very fast. That’s a fast, fast football team,” he said. “We don’t have that kind of speed. I’m not saying we’re slow, but we don’t have that kind of speed. Their speed is scary. (Nigel) Davis is the real deal. He’s one of the best players in the area and Rod Payne is also one of the best players in the area, without a doubt. Both of those kids are outstanding football players.”
Gilbert said O’Hara, who knocked off Nichols in Week One, will try to slow the game down to offset the speed advantage.
”I think offensively they’re going to try and slow the game down and try to control the ball,” he said. “They have to be concerned with our speed — getting to the edges and being able to turn the corner. We’ll be ready for that. It’s kids coming out to play football just like we are.”