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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Bennett Knows their A, B, and C’s

Coming into Friday, the Bennett Tigers had already been to that stadium where the Bills play two years in row. However, that was in Class C and B. The Tigers now had to get there in Class A. Although the game was close early, the Bennett Tigers pulled away from the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks in the Class A Football Semifinals by a score of 44-23.

With the win, Bennett makes their third consecutive appearance in a Section VI final, all three in separate classifications, 2014 Class B, 2015 Class C and now Class A.

“I’m just proud of the kids. They played in Class C last year. To play in Class A and to accomplish what they have accomplished it is just a great feeling” said McDuffie, “We went to the Ralph at the C level, the B level and now the A level. For the community and the alumni it’s just amazing.”

The Lumberjacks came out strong to start the game. On the first drive the defense drove the Bennett offense back 19 yards. NT got the ball at midfield and the offense marched down the field on a drive that ended on a Joe Dotterweich 2-yard touchdown run.

The Lumberjacks and the Tigers went back and forth for much of the first half. NT took back the lead for the last time early in the second quarter as the Lumberjacks tried a QB sneak on 4th and 1. The initial push had been won by the Bennett defensive line, but QB Zack Woodard spun out and took it 20 yards for the score.

The NT defense came up with a goal line stand, but on the ensuing drive fumbled, giving Bennett great field position. The Tigers made them pay as QB Derek Bishop found Brandon Barksdale for 28 yards to come within two points.

It didn’t take long for Bennett take the lead as the Lumberjacks fumbled again. The Tigers took advantage as Jamel Loften ran it in from two yards out for his second score of the game.

Before the half ended, Bishop scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown to give Bennett a 28-16 lead at the half.

Derek Bishop ended with three touchdowns in the win.

“(Bishop is) the difference, when he was hurt we really missed him. We’re just a different team because you have to cover and watch everybody,” said Bennett Head Coach Steve McDuffie.

Dispute the sound individual performance, Bishop gives the credit to his teammates who recovered after coming out the gate slow, “It’s a team effort. We started off slow, got it back in the second half,” said Bishop.

Marcelus Toliver made one of the gutsiest plays of the year. After picking up an NT fumble, Toliver ran the ball 55 yards for a touchdown, whilst having a cramp for the last 35 yards.

When approached by the media, North Tonawanda Head Coach Henry Fumerelle told reporters that he would talk to them later, and left the stadium. Attempts to reach Fumerelle by phone were unsuccessful.

Next Friday, the Bennett Tigers will face the undefeated Starpoint Spartans, who defeated McKinley 20-13 Friday night, from the North Division in the Section VI A Final at New Era Field at 8 pm.

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