Frank’s Week 5 Games of the Week
This has already been one very entertaining season and we’re only through the first four weeks. Here is a look at some of the key match-ups for Week 5 broken down by class.
Bennett Tigers (2-1) At Lancaster Legends (3-1) | Foyle-Kling Field | Friday 7:00 p.m.
A rematch of the 2018 Section VI Class AA final kicks off this Friday in Lancaster. Can the Legends stop arguably the best football player in WNY in D’Jae Perry? Perry is having a great season as expected but has been slowed down by an undisclosed injury. At full health Perry easily rushes for 100 yards on any defense in WNY. Hopefully he can be nursed back before the playoffs start.
As for Lancaster it’s rare they lose a regular season game under head coach Eric Rupp but that’s exactly what happened two weeks ago at Clarence. Doubtful anyone on the team or coaching staff are dwelling on that overtime loss, good teams move on and focus on the next week. Mission accomplished as Lancaster rolled to a 57-12 win at Lockport last Saturday.
Bennett had a rough day at Orchard Park last weekend and struggled to move the ball. Perry was limited which didn’t help. Not sure how healthy he will be on Friday against a hard hitting, fast defensive squad captained by Conor Mahoney but will be should be an exciting game nonetheless.
Starpoint Spartans (3-1) at South Park Sparks (4-0) | All-High Stadium | Friday 7:00 p.m.
The Sparks have been terrorizing Class A-2 all season outscoring opponents 200-39. Junior quarterback Mykell Hepburn has been turning heads amassing 1058 yards passing and throwing 11 touchdowns and has been named a Connolly Cup Top Performer and was the Buffalo News Player of the Week.
Even more dangerous than the South Park offense is the defense. Led by Marqwan Fluitt (also a Connolly Cup Top Performer) and his 10 sacks. The Sparks are poised to win the A-2 division and a win over Starpoint guarantees that. It would be the Sparks fifth division title in 7 years.
The Spartans lost a tough one on Saturday against the upstart Sweet Home Panthers. It’s possible they were thinking ahead to this game as most local football fans were but in all honesty, Sweet Home is pretty freaking good.
Joe Carlson can get it done on both sides of the ball, he proves that each week. They have a young QB in Carson Marcus (’21) who is still learning but impressed me this past Saturday despite the losing effort. Jake Dean (’19) and Nathan Lee (’21) are two other players that are making things happen.
This won’t be a runaway for the Sparks.
Newfane Panthers (3-0) at Tonawanda Warriors (2-0) | Clinton Small Stadium | Friday 7:00 p.m. | Audio: mixlr.com/wnyathletics
For all intents and purposes the Class B-4 division will be settled this Friday night when Newfane invades Tonawanda. The Panthers have won three straight, all against division opponents. They have been playing some really good football, especially quarterback Garrett Strock. The dual threat player leads the team in rushing yards with 589, which is saying something considering that hulking back Jaden Heers is also on the team.
Heers is running very well, 9 touchdowns and just shy of 500 rushing yards.
The Warriors will be a huge test for the Panthers. Tonawanda’s defense was the staple of the team last year and it continues to carry them in 2019. Jason Fraser and Marty Latko lead the Warriors on defense with 18 and 12 tackles respectively while each have recorded two sacks. It’s a defense by committee, almost a dozen players have double digit tackles. They started the season with two straight losses by a total of 3 points. Tonawanda seemed to have turned a corner and with a win Friday can put their football team back on the map.
Fredonia Hillbillies (2-2) at Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds (2-2) | Friday 7:00 p.m.
This was supposed to be a big season for the Hillbillies, moving down a Class, and returning a very tough defense. They have been fighting for their lives in every game. Last Friday they ran into a buzz saw in Southwestern and looked average for the first time in a long time.
Chautauqua Lake shares a similar story.
These teams are in a must win situation if they are to reach the postseason.
Jake Skinner the standout receiver at Fredonia has faced double and even triple coverage all season. If the Hillbillies are to win they will need more guys to step up and make plays.
The Thunderbirds Ryan Jafarijan was recently named a Connolly Cup Top Performer and for good reason. The senior is having an outstanding season. He leads the team in tackles (19) and rushing yards (505).
The winner of this game will make the playoffs whereas the loser will be down to hope and a prayer.
Randolph Cardinals (1-1) at Cattaraugus-Little Valley Timberwolves (0-2) | Friday 7:00 p.m.
The Cardinals are coming off a 34-7 road win over Section V’s Cuba-Rushford. Catt/Little Valley on the other hand were shut out last weekend against the defending NYS champion CSP Wolfpack.
The Timberwolves are looking to find some consistency in their offense as division foes have held them to just 6 points this season.
Randolph needs a win to stay within a game of CSP and potentially host a playoff game.
St. Joe’s Marauders (1-0) at St. Francis Red Raiders (0-0) | Saturday 7:00 p.m. |Audio: mixlr.com/wnyathletics
The Red Raiders welcome the Marauders to Athol Springs for a Saturday night “Main Event” featuring two of the best in WNY. Despite losing 48-0 a week ago to the La Salle Lancers (Cincinnati, OH), the Marauders are still on top of the MMAA Large school standings thanks to their 32-21 win over Canisius.
St. Joe’s scored a combined 82 points over WNY opponents this season. Junior quarterback Callum Wither has a number of weapons at his disposal and has shown that with time to throw he knows how to use them. Sam Kline, Jimmy Scott and Micah Brown are well known commodities already but new on the scene is Wally Wisniewski (transfer from North Tonawanda). He had a huge impact in the win over the Crusaders.
Defensively the Marauders are explosive coming off the end with Scott and Jason Walker. The duo were unstoppable against Canisius.
For St. Francis the story hasn’t changed much. Jake Ritts, their stand out junior QB, is still slicing up defenses and has over 1,000 yards passing and 15 TD’s already. Can the Marauders mount any pressure on Ritts? Last year the Marauders line did a number on the Red Raiders and hope to do the same this year. Although I’m sure Eric Schon the Holy Cross commit will likely have something to say about that.
The Red Raiders passing attack might be the most explosive in the area between Antonio Corsi, Noah Kunzman and Mark Arrizza who have accumulated almost 800 yards and 11 touchdowns between them.
The “x” factor in this game will be Xzavier Janczylik the Frannies senior tailback who is one of the least talked about players in the area. That will change after Saturday.
St. Mary’s Lancers (0-3) at Cardinal O’Hara (0-4) | Saturday 1:00 p.m.
This game might not have the flair as St. Joe’s vs St. Francis but it features two football teams with some really dedicated athletes that deserve to be recognized. Both schools are really low on numbers and have taken some lumps thus far this season.
Last week the Lancers opponent cancelled their season leaving them with an open date whereas Cardinal O’Hara forfeited their game against Section 4’s Binghamton. The Hawks sited injuries led to their decision to cancel.
This is the first game for either team inside the Monsignor Martin small division and finally pits two teams of equal size against one another.
It also gives WNYers (and beyond) a solid look at perennial lineman Sam Torrie (O’Hara), Andrew Murphy (OL/LB) and Nigel Williams (OL/DL) also from the Hawks. For St. Mary’s kicker Jake Cianciosa, and running backs Ja’Qwan Manuel and Tyshawn Johnson are also players to keep an eye on.
Aidan Masters took over the starting QB role for O’Hara, he is the younger brother of C.J. who graduated last year.