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Section VI Football Championship Weekend

Well, we’re here. The 10 best football teams from the five different Classes that make up Section VI will go head-to-head this coming weekend at New Era Field. Now that the stage has been set, here’s a quick preview of the match-up’s ahead.

Class D: Friday – 5pm

Maple Grove Red Dragons (8-1) vs Franklinville/Ellicottville Titans (9-0)

We’ve seen this before, last year the Red Dragons took care of business with a 33-6 win over Franklinville/Ellicottville (FE). The Red Dragons have been “King of the Hill” in this division since rejoining in 2016. They won Class C back-to-back the previous two seasons (2014-2015). So, it was no surprise to see them end

up in Orchard Park with a chance to win another title.  Standing in their way are the Titans, who defeated Maple Grove, convincingly back in week three 26-6. FE has been one of this season’s most dominant teams in WNY and not just in Class D. Through 10 games, the Titans are outscoring opponents 45-10 and it’s not hard to see why. Broch Blecha their senior QB has put together an impressive season.

The Red Dragons will have their hands full with Blecha, who utilizes his weapons well. Griffin Chudy led the team in rushing but has proven to also be one of the top receivers, along with Sam Erickson, Deric Leiper and Austin Grinols. Defensively the Titans have been stout, as they held the Maple Grove, Clymer/Sherman/Panama (CSP) and JFK offenses in check in their meetings, earlier this season.

Still, Maple Grove has the right experience you want in a team with a championship on the line. Nick Fabrizio, Easton Tanner, Zach Fischer and Carter Russo are well conditioned for post-season football as they demonstrated last Friday in their win over CSP. Russo had three sacks and a fumble returned for a TD while Fabrizio, Tanner and Fischer all had big days on offense.

A rematch seemed likely and now that we have it this could go down as one for the ages.

Class AA: Friday – 8pm

Williamsville North Spartans (9-0) vs Lancaster Legends (9-0)

The perfect season, it will continue for one of these teams after Friday night. The Legends have been one of the most talked about teams in WNY and rightfully so. They’re fantastic from top to bottom, trying to find a weakness is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The Legends are looking to win Class AA for the second straight season under head coach Eric Rupp. Most of the

roster is still intact and some observers believe this team is even better than last year’s team. Lancaster boasts one of the beefiest offensive lines and a tenacious defensive corps. They are senior heavy and ready to improve on last year’s loss to Section V’s Victor at the Far West Regionals.

Standing in their way are the Spartans. A younger team that has faced plenty of adversity this season. They match up well with the Legends at the skill positions but in the trenches, they have not faced a team with this much size all season.

Head coach Mike Mammoliti is in his 17th season at the helm and is no stranger to playing for Titles. His 2017 team might not have the experience of their opponents Friday night but they know how to win. His JV teams have gone undefeated the past three seasons, some of those players have never lost a high-school game.

Does Williamsville North have a defense that can stop Andrew Hersey (RB) and Max Giordano (WR)? Can Marquel Wells and Ivan Gehmmegne keep the chains moving and that high-powered Legends offense off the field? Those questions will be answered soon enough. One thing you can count on is a physical game, both teams have been talking about playing one another since last season.

Class C: Saturday – 12:00

Southwestern (7-2) vs Cleve-Hill Golden Eagles (8-1)

The last time these teams met was in week 4 with Cleve-Hill coming up with the shutout win, 12-0 over the Trojans. A much closer game than a year ago, when the same two teams met for the Class C title with Cleve-Hill running away with a 52-12 win. Cole Snyder, Trojans QB has come of age recently and with a more experienced group up front, the junior put up great numbers this season, over 1400 yards through the air, and 17 touchdown passes, helping to lead his team back to a spot in the finals. It wasn’t all easy though. If not for a failed two-point conversion last Friday night we wouldn’t be talking about a rematch with the Golden Eagles.

Cleve-Hill has one blemish on their record, a week one loss to a non-conference opponent that just so happens to be playing for a title themselves (Maryvale). Head coach Glen Graham brings another hard-hitting team with him to Orchard Park. The Golden Eagles literally ran away from the field in Class C North. They’ll most likely use the same recipe this weekend in an effort to keep Snyder off the field.

They say third time’s a charm, Cleve-Hill will be looking to debunk that old myth Saturday.

Class B: Saturday – 3:15

Maryvale Flyers (8-1) vs Cheektowaga Warriors (8-1)

Two weeks ago the same two teams met up in a highly anticipated rivalry game. At the time Maryvale was undefeated and playing at its highest levels in quite some time. Cheektowaga, however prevailed and at times made it look easy. Flyers head coach Jeff Buccieri was anxious to find out how his team would respond after the Warriors 28-21 victory.

In Week 8, Maryvale struggled early in their playoff game vs Newfane but came away with an 18-15 win. A week later they faced Lackawanna (8-1) who looked to be every bit as good defensively as Cheektowaga. The Flyers roasted the Steelers 27-8 to help set-up another date with the Warriors.

Rashad Law has proved to be one of the best players in Class B this season making plays on both sides of the ball while sophomore QB Connor Desiderio and his favorite target, senior Ray Blackwell have been torching defenses week after week. The trio will have their work cut out for them this Saturday as they face one of the more dynamic QB’s in WNY, KeShone Beal. The junior QB looks more like a running back then pocket passer but don’t let his size fool you. He, like Desiderio likes to spread the ball around and has a couple nice targets in Tommy Zolnowski and Keon White (both senior wide-receivers). Michael Gray III, known as MG3 is a capable back. The Warriors strength however is their offensive and defensive line.

The Warriors have won the last four meetings against the Flyers, Maryvale will be looking to change history on Saturday afternoon.

Class A: Saturday – 6:30

South Park Sparks (9-0) vs West Seneca West Indians (9-0)

Before the season started there was one glaring omission on the schedule, no meeting between South Park and West Seneca West. Good things come to those who wait and without question the final game at New Era Field this weekend will be a good one.

The Sparks have had a roller coaster year, undefeated, but not without adversity. Meanwhile the Indians, for the most part have made it look easy. West Seneca West trailed just once all season in the 4th quarter, back in week 7 versus their rival West Seneca East. Other than that, the Matt Myers led Indians have been nothing short of spectacular.

On Saturday, they’ll face a South Park team that has been battle tested and still have a few players left from their State Title team from 2015. Perhaps none more important than lineman Jeremiah Sanders. The uncommitted senior anchors one of the top defensive fronts in Class A. There is some history between the two teams that make this game even more intriguing. Myers and Sanders were teammates last season at Bishop-Timon and after a chaotic off-season the former teammates found themselves back in Section VI.

Head coach Tim Delaney knows his Sparks might be young but will be ready to face the revamped Indians.

In addition to Myers, who will attending UB next fall, the Indians have some potent weapons in juniors Juston Johnson, a 5’8″ WR (also from Timon) and running back Bryan Ball. WSW is known for putting points on the board, but don’t think this team is one-dimensional. The Indians defense has been stellar as well, giving up just 116 points through 9 games.

South Park has a pretty nice QB in junior Deabeyon Humphrey, who runs well. Sophomore Clarence Thomas and junior Latrell London have been solid and Dayquan Anderson is a threat in the passing game. The Sparks are well-balanced, Sanders and Elijah Lewis led the team in sacks.

This game should go down to the wire and could prove to be the best game of the weekend.

The Forecast

Friday Nov 3 – High 53/Low 40 – Sun and areas of low clouds

Saturday Nov 4 – High 49/Low 43 – A couple of showers possible

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