It's an interesting night as we get the final week of the Section VI football season started. Communities will gather for rivalry games while most of the league games being played tonight will have some sort of impact on completing the sectional playoff field.
We will have PrepTalkTV team members on hand at the T-NT and Lancaster-Depew games; I'll be stopping in at both of those games and perhaps another while I'll be providing updates from all over Western New York all evening. So stay tuned, or check back and hit up that refresh button.
5:30 p.m. Plenty of pageantry on hand here at Clint Small Stadium as the T-NT ceremonies begin with the senior cheerleaders and players being honored in a pregame program. Streets nearby are closed off to account for the large crowd, the red-and-blue supporters of the Lumberjacks are filling up the visitor bleachers while there are plenty of fans in Tonawanda Warrior maroon in the large home bleacher.
5:58 p.m. A great National Anthem -- and in typical fashion at Tonawanda games -- a freight train roars by the elevated track just south of the stadium midway through the song.
5:59 p.m. Nice touch as Rick Casata and Larry Bodie -- members of the all-time All-WNY team we selected a few years ago -- were honorary captains.
6:04 p.m. The T-NT game has begun as it has the last few years as NT scores on its first drive. It moved the ball fairly easily before Dan Montesanti took a pitch to the left and scored a 21-yard TOUCHDOWN. The run failed and NT has a 6-0 lead with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
6:09 p.m. First down for Tonawanda.
6:12 p.m. Tonawanda punts and NT takes over at its 20-yard line.
6:14 p.m. This matchup of a AA school with a ton of players on its sideline and a B school with maybe 11 reserves is personified in a Tonawanda defensive back. No. 9 Cody Wankasky, a junior who can't be taller than 5-foot-5, but he's in the mix on all the plays, throwing his body at guys like the much more mammoth Dan Montesanti (6-1, 215 senior).
6:15 p.m. Tonawanda gets good pressure on Joe Montesanti, playing quarterback, which forces an intentional grounding penalty, a loss of down and forces an NT punt. Tonawanda takes over on its 35 with 3:38 to play. Nice job early by Tonawanda.
6:27 p.m. That was quick. NT takes over after a punt and soon after Joe Montesanti keeps the ball on an option run to the right and he goes 69 yards for the TOUCHDOWN on what is the final play of the first quarter. Rob Wikierski adds a two-point run for a 14-0 lead for NT.
6:33 p.m. Tyler Hughes with an interception of a Joe Montesanti third-down pass and Tonawanda takes over at its 23 with 8:10 left in the second quarter. Hughes followed that up with a 20-yard first-down run to the Tonawanda 43.
6:35 p.m. A fumbled shotgun snap is scooped up by senior Luke Zacher and returned 20 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. The two-point conversion pass fails and NT leads 20-0 with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
7:04 p.m. At HALFTIME, NT leads Tonawanda, 20-0.
Here are some highlights from the first half thanks to video reporter Lauren Mariacher:
I made my way down to the field for the final minutes of the first half and was right next to Mariacher as Tonawanda executed a great screen pass play on third-and-17 from its own 47 to get to the NT 17 with 2:22 left in the half -- Warrior fans were fired up after that one. However, on the next play, Joe Montesanti picked off a pass at the goal line and returned it to midfield, where the Lumberjacks' drive fizzled in the final minute.
It was tough making my way through the crowd -- there are a ton of people here, I'd guess 3,000 or 4,000. I'm going to be headed East -- depending on how the trip goes I may stop by and see Alden at Maryvale (just kicking off) before finishing up at Depew at Lancaster. I had to get my car out of Tonawanda's grass area where they let me park quickly -- I was parked behind where NT was setting up it's de facto locker room area at the half.
UB's marching band, which it bills as "The Thunder of the East," was to perform at halftime (they arrived in a motorcade of several buses during the first half. I'm typing at the gas station at Grove and Delaware St. just a block or two from Clint Small, and I can hear the band doing its thing.
7:09 p.m. That was quick - just got a text update from Alden PA man Kevin Okiec: the Bulldogs have taken a 7-0 lead at Maryvale 49 seconds into the game.
7:45 p.m. Arrived at Maryvale to update the blog. I've been listening to Depew at Lancaster on WXRL 1300 AM with local high school football media megastars Rich Kozak and Sean Bruso teaming up on a very entertaining broadcast.
Depew took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run by Anthony Emmanuele with 6:50 left in the first; that came on the Wildcats' first drive. Lancaster stopped Depew on third down and forces a punt late in the first quarter. Redskins take over at their 4 with 14 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Just got another text update from Okiec as I'm within view of the bleachers here at Maryvale -- but I can't see the scoreboard. Thank goodness for the text: Alden leads, 21-7, with 5:06 left in the second quarter after a 25-yard run. I'm going to try and get some video late in the half.
7:56 p.m. I don't think this actually counts as me going to a game -- I walked in as Alden kicked an extra point to go up, 28-7, with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. I headed back to the car and the Kozak-Bruso radio cavalcade.
I should be getting a text update on the touchdown I just missed in seconds! :-)
8 p.m. Sure enough: Okiec just zapped me the score a few minutes ago.
Lancaster has tied it up with Depew on a TD run by junior quarterback Ryan Radke followed by an Alex Debbins extra point for a 7-7 game with 9:16 left in the second quarter.
8:06 p.m. Depew has a bad punt snap go through the end zone for a SAFETY for Lancaster, which leads, 9-7, with 7:25 left in the first half.
8:15 p.m. Depew recovers a fumble on Lancaster's next possession and takes advantage of the field position with by going in for a touchdown and Depew leads Lancaster, 13-9, 4:58 left in the second quarter.
8:23 p.m. I'm going to sit tight and listen to the game and provide updates until the half before heading over.
8:28 p.m. FINAL SCORE from T-NT: North Tonawanda 35, Tonawanda 0.
Here's Lauren Mariacher's video report from the T-NT game:
8:30 p.m. UPDATES: I heard "Touchdown Maryvale!" from my car and Okiec's text says it was a Bilal Clay 1-yard run with 5:04 left in the third, but I just saw an Alden celebration in the end zone -- sure enough, the text reports a 50-yard touchdown by Dakota Peel for a 34-14 lead with 3:45 left in third ... now another TD by Alden ... Whew.
It is HALFTIME at Lancaster with the Redskins leading Depew, 16-13, after a huge play to end the half.
With Depew up, 13-9, and on the verge of another score, Geoff Franger intercepted a pass in the flat and ran 95 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. Debbins added the extra point for its 16-13 lead. It was absolute bedlam in the press box -- you could hear the home box rooting for Franger to "GO! GO!" and Kozak's radio call was a trip with all the noise. Great stuff.
I just got called out by Bruso on the radio because I'm not there!
Check out Joe Popiolkowski's video of that Franger touchdown.
UPDATE from Prep Talk blogger extraordinaire Milt Latimer, who had someone call me to tell me that Iroquois had a 25-0 lead over Hamburg after three quarters. ... Scott Kindberg of the Jamestown Post-Journal reports that Southwestern is up, 35-0, over Wilson with 8:40 left in the second quarter and he got word from Jamestown that the Red Raiders have a 14-3 lead over OP.
I'm off to Lancaster.
9:11 p.m. Hello from the very full press box at Foyle-Kling Field. Bruso said my seat was saved. There's a sign that says "MacKay" on it. Nice! I'll take it.
UPDATE from Lackawanna: EDEN LEADS LACKAWANNA, 20-6, to start the fourth quarter. Thanks to Steelers hoops coach Tim Foley for that update.
9:16 p.m. Depew has taken over with 2:12 left in the third quarter at its 33 with Lancaster still up, 16-13.
9:20 p.m. UPDATE from Lauren Mariacher -- now Eden's lead at Lackawanna is 20-14 with 7:45 to play. ... FINAL SCORE: Alden 48, Maryvale 21.
9:28 p.m. Depew gets a big play, an interception in their end zone by Sam Sallaj; Wildcats take over at their 20 with 8:35 left.
9:33 p.m. FINAL SCORE: Iroquois 31, Hamburg 0. Thanks to Milt for that one. ... Lackawanna fumbles on a late drive and Eden takes over with 2:51 left.
Lancaster stops Depew, forces a punt, and takes over at the Lancaster 38 with 6:32 left.
9:36 p.m. UPDATE from Lauren: Eden makes an interception at its own 5 with one minute left. Whoa. ... Update from noted blogger Malt Blathermore! Medina up on Albion, 36-14, with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth.
9:42 p.m. WOW. Depew's Aaron Ertel hits three passes on the Wildcats' drive, the last a slant pass over the middle to Joe Miller for a 46-yard TOUCHDOWN with 1:36 left in the game. The extra point goes wide right and Depew leads Lancaster, 19-16.
9:49 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Depew 19, Lancaster 16. WOW.
Here's the winning touchdown from video reporter Joe Popiolkowski:
Interview time; I'll have more updates from other games as soon as I can get them on here.
Here's Joe Pops' complete wrapup of the game:
10:31 p.m. Sorry for the delay; had a little wait for interviews, then did some PrepTalkTV-ing.
FINAL SCORES: Eden 20, Lackawanna 14. That's huge.
Check out the reactions after Eden's win, thanks to video reporter Lauren Maraicher:
Also big in the B playoff picture: Medina 44, Albion 14.
Dan McGrath told me Depew will be the No. 2 seed in Class B behind No. 1 Alden.
The wins by Amherst, Will South and Iroquois mean that Lafayette takes the fourth and final playoff spot in Class A South.
Randolph wins the D East division title with a huge win over Portville.
OP comes back to beat Jamestown and take second place in AA South; No. 3 will be Frontier; No. 4 will be Jamestown.
Pioneer wins at East Aurora, meaning that B South will have three teams (Pioneer, Lackawanna and Eden) all in the playoffs at 5-1. Pioneer reports that they have won the division on tiebreakers.
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As always, we want to hear from you if you were at any games. Tell us about the players, teams -- even the concession stand.