Happy Week Six to all football fans out there.
It should be a busy, eventful night as we kick off the penultimate week of the Section VI regular season. We've got playoff spots and positioning on the line as well as some intriguing non-sectional matchups.
We'll provide scoring updates and video highlights throughout the evening so keep hitting that refresh button.
If you're at a game that we're not and are interested in providing us updates, send them via email (or send me your cell phone number) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can provide them in the comments section below.
5:41 p.m. We're starting at Amherst High because that's the earliest kickoff of the night -- it's a good matchup as well as Iroquois visits the Tigers with both teams vying for the No. 2 spot behind Williamsville South in Class A South.
Amherst's Dimp Wagner Alumni Field is adorned with pink balloons and banners for Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- the Tigers' "Pink the School" campaign to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has been going on all week.
6:01 p.m. We have kicked off here, with Amherst receiving -- the Tigers will start on their 29.
6:12 p.m. Amherst's first drive ended with a punt, as did Iroquois' -- put the punt became a BIG play. A bad snap sent the punter scrambling for the ball and he got away a hastened punt, but it went right into the chest of senior Conrad Peterson. The blocked punt was picked up by junior Mike Paglicci and he ran it in about 8 yards for a TOUCHDOWN and an Amherst 6-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter. The extra point missed wide left.
Iroquois had some nice running plays -- and holes -- for Mike Siejak but the Chiefs' initial drive was hindered by some penalties.
Here's video reporter Lauren Mariacher's footage from the first quarter, including that opening touchdown for the Tigers:
6:34 p.m. An update from the car -- Amherst comes up with another big special teams play to take a 14-6 lead 20 seconds into the second quarter.
The quarter actually began on a good note for Iroquois, who had Siejak go in for a 4-yard rushing touchdown -- the kick was missed -- to tie the game at 6-6 with 11:54 left in the quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Amherst senior Cameron Matthews showed off his blazing speed on an 85-yard return in which he found an opening to the left sideline and literally sprinted to the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Justin Twarog found senior standout Keeon Colvin in the left side of the end zone for a two-point conversion and the 14-6 lead.
We're headed now to Lockport at Riverside, where the fantastic new field is being named in honor of coaching great Charlie Dingboom. You can listen to that game on WJJL-AM (1440) or via this link.
7:09 p.m. A longgg trip around the I-290 got longer thanks to that wonderful Grand Island-bridge-related lane closures, but we're here on time for kickoff at Riverside. The PA just welcomed everyone to "Charles Dingboom Stadium." That's got a nice ring.
Last update from Amherst -- as I was driving past the field, I saw Amherst score on what appeared to be a touchdown pass to give them a 20-6 lead with 4:27 left in the second quarter. I literally saw the "20" go up on the scoreboard as I rolled by.
7:15 p.m. An UPDATE thanks to Alden PA man Kevin Okiec -- who will provide updates from the Bulldogs' game at Albion -- Maryvale is up at Medina, 6-0, with 8:40 left thanks to a 65-yard touchdown run by Bilal Clay.
7:19 p.m. Riverside gets a sack to end Lockport's first possession with a three plays-and-punt.
UPDATE from News video reporter Joe Popiolkowski at St. Francis: Akeel Lynch runs in on a 9-yard touchdown to put the Red Raiders up, 7-0, on Bishop Timon-St. Jude.
7:23 p.m. Riverside punts here. UPDATE from St. Francis: Red Raiders up, 14-0, with 2:53 left in first on a fumble return for a touchdown by Dave Murphy after a fumble by the Timon quarterback.
7:31 p.m. Lockport had a first-and-goal at the 9, Riverside keeps them out of the end zone but the Lions score when strong-legged sophomore Tyler Few booted a 22-yard FIELD GOAL for a 3-0 Lockport lead with 3:41 left in the first quarter.
UPDATE from News photographer Mark Mulville at Fredonia. On the first play from scrimmage, Southwestern's Jake Swan scores on an 85-yard touchdown reception for a 7-0 Trojans lead. Talk about a statement start to that meeting of unbeaten teams in Class C South.
7:39 p.m. Riverside gets a great, slashing 18-yard TOUCHDOWN run by junior D'Yontae Parker, followed by a two-point conversion run by junior quarterback Jeremiah Cormack, and takes an 8-3 lead with 37.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
UPDATE from Fredonia: Southwestern takes a 13-0 lead on the host Hillbillies after Evan Watson catches a touchdown pass on fourth-and-5 with 9:10 left in the first quarter.
I'm hitting the road -- I'm either going to catch a game swinging around the city to the Southtowns and then end up at Clarence, or I might just shoot out to Clarence.
But before I do, another text UPDATE from Mulville. Fredonia strikes back with a long bomb of a pass play to cut the Southwestern lead to 13-6 with 8:50 left in the first quarter.
Another text UPDATE: Alden takes a 7-0 lead at Albion after a lengthy opening drive of 77 yards, capped off by Tyler Stoldt's 1-yard quarterback keeper touchdown.
UPDATE from here: Williamsville South up, 7-0, on Lafayette on a Joe Licata running touchdown. ... McKinley up, 8-0, on Starpoint in the first quarter at All High Stadium. Now I'm hitting the road.
Here's video reporter Lauren Mariacher's highlights from the first half of Riverside-Lockport:
8:13 p.m. I was going right to Clarence, but after hearing that South had a 7-6 lead over Lafayette, I made a stop here on Main St. It is halftime with South holding that 7-6 lead. Whoa. I'll be here for the third. Halftime just started.
St. Francis' lead is 14-0 over Timon at halftime. Here's Joe Popiolkowski's report from Athol Springs before he heads to Lackawanna for its big Class B game against Burgard:
More UPDATES: Clarence and Jamestown tied at 6-6 just before the half. ... Southwestern now up, 27-6, at Fredonia with 5:21 left in the first half after a 7-yard John Mistretta run and a Swan 17-yard catch. ... Riverside's lead over Lockport is still 8-3 at halftime. ... From media/coaching star Sean Bruso: West Seneca West leads rival East, 9-7. ... North Tonawanda pounding Hutch-Tech, 54-0, in second quarter. Whoa - but not a shock unfortunately for Engineer fans. ... Medina has come back to take a 14-7 lead on Maryvale at the half. ... Jeff Klug's 15-yard touchdown catch from Stoldt puts Alden up, 14-0, at Albion with 1:36 left in the first half.
The updates continue -- Clarence has a 14-6 lead on Jamestown with 1:30 to go before halftime. That's courtesy of former News Sports Dept. Hall of Fame SuperClerk Alex Chambers, now a teacher and the boys tennis coach at Clarence.
Lackawanna leads Burgard, 14-8, thanks to an update text from Steelers boys basketball coach Tim Foley.
8:28 p.m. I'm headed to the South-Lafayette sidelines to catch some action and video. More updates coming as soon as I can get them up.
8:54 p.m. South now has a 14-6 lead on Lafayette with the clock ticking under two minutes in the third quarter. The Billies boosted their lead with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Joe Licata to Phil Stasiak, a neat slant across the middle that Stasiak took in stride and ran down the middle of the field for the score with 5:04 left in the third.
8:58 p.m. Lafayette just got a first down in which it pushed its pile a little bit more than South could on a fourth-and-1 at the South 26. That was the last play of the third quarter. Lafayette first down at the South 25 to start the fourth with South up, 14-6.
More UPDATES: Clarence took a 21-6 lead on Jamestown two minutes into the second half, then pushed it to 28-6 on what Chambers reported was a "beautiful" pass by Zach Lauricella with 9:30 left in the third. ... Lackawanna is up, 20-8, on a 30-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. ... Alden's lead over Albion remains 14-0 with 10:12 left in third. ... Fredonia gets a 48-yard touchdown catch from Dillon Cassidy to cut Southwestern's lead to 27-13 at halftime. ... Riverside's lead over Lockport is 8-5 after Lockport earned a safety in the third quarter.
9:06 p.m. Lafayette is hanging tough -- the Violets score on a slick quarterback keeper to make it a 14-12 game with 10:13 remaining; its attempt for two is a similar play which is stuffed by the South defense for an obviously huge play.
Lafayette is also hitting Joe Licata whenever it can. The Violets were called for a late hit penalty after Lafayette intercepted the ball and a player hit Licata away from the ball after the Lafayette defender ran out of bounds with the ball. It was a good call. Licata also took a whack after releasing the ball, nothing too bad there. After the extra point by South on the TD to go up, 14-6, a player rushing through seemed to hit Licata -- the holder -- and the quarterback seemed to be yelling towards that player after the play.
UPDATES: Clarence is rolling now, up 35-6 after a Cooper Wittig run with 4:52 left in the third. ... Burgard scores a 65-yard touchdown run to cut Lackwanna's lead to 20-16 with 11 minutes left in the game. ... Riverside forces a fumble, picks it up and scores a touchdown, then adds the two-pointer for a 16-5 lead over visiting Lockport. Lions' quarterback Gowronski limped off the field -- thanks to TML1000 of Prep Talk blog fame for those updates. ... Alden up, 20-0, at Albion at the end of the third quarter.
9:11 p.m. South comes right back, and it's a familiar connection. Licata hits Stasiak on the left side for another 40-yard TOUCHDOWN and Josh Nuess adds the extra point kick for a 21-12 lead with 8:21 to play. Whew. What a night.
UPDATES: Whoa -- Clarence now up, 42-6. Red Devils are really rolling. ... Southwestern's lead is 27-13 at Fredonia at the end of the third quarter.
9:26 p.m. Lafayette couldn't answer South, as its next drive went backwards due in part to some penalties. South comes right back -- stop me if you've heard this before. Licata hits Stasiak for a 15-yard score -- a pass to the left side of the end zone -- and South takes a 27-12 lead with 1:58 left in the game. South calls timeout before the point-after.
South fans doing a "I believe that we have won chant. That should not be allowed. St. Joe's owns that -- it should only be used for and against them.
Licata to Stasiak again on the two-point conversion; a laser to the back of the end zone as Stasiak whizzed across. South leads, 29-12, with 1:58 left.
I'm getting ready for postgame here but I'll have updates as soon as possible. Lauren Mariacher has gone on to Clarence; I'm staying here to get interviews after the exciting second half.
9:31 p.m. Things getting interesting in Fredonia -- Hillbillies score on a Smith keeper to cut it to 27-20 Southwestern with 8:44 left in the game.
Sidenote: I'm typing while sitting cross-legged on the South paved long-jump track on the sidelines here.
9:34 p.m. Clarence is running out the clock leading, 42-6. That would be the final.
Here's Lauren's chat with Clarence quarterback Zach Lauricella:
Here's Lauren's chat with Clarence coach Tom Goddard:
We have our first official FINAL: Lackawanna 26, Burgard 16. ... Alden leads, 27-0.
Here's Joe Popiolkowski's video report as Lackawanna remained undefeated:
We have a FINAL here: South 29, Lafayette 12.
10:03 p.m. Finished interviews, then had to drive closer to Buffalo to get a clearer signal of WJJL -- I've now pulled over in the Lord Amherst parking lot on Main (seriously) and just finished listening to this FINAL: Riverside 23, Lockport 16 in OVERTIME. Whoa.
Mulville has seen an exciting one in Fredonia. Southwestern leads, 27-20, with 2:45 left in the game; the Trojans just stopped the Hillbillies on downs after Fredonia drove to the Southwestern 35. ... Final from Albion: Alden wins, 27-0.
10:03 p.m. Check that. It's a FINAL in Fredonia: Southwestern 27, Fredonia 20. Whoa again. "Best game I've watched all year," texts well-traveled Mulville.
Here's Mark's talk with victorious Southwestern after it kept its win streak going as it claimed the Class C South crown:
John Mistretta had yet another outstanding game -- so we should have spelled his name right in the video. Our apologies.
Ready for another whoa? Amherst 28, Iroquois 27 final in DOUBLE overtime, thanks to an email report from Gary Borek.
* * * Check out our scoreboard from tonight's games. * * *
Both the gallery and the scoreboard will be updated throughout the night.
10:16 p.m. Final score via text from WJJL play-by-play man extraordinare/city football guru Rich Kozak: Frontier beats Lancaster, 16-13. OK. We're heading home to get more video reports and finals.
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Postgame reactions from Williamsville South are below (thanks for the Bee's hard-working Pat Nagy for the top-notch interviewing).
Phil Stasiak, who had three touchdown catches in the second half, after South led just, 7-6, at halftime and after fellow senior Kevin O'Connell was knocked out of the game:
Will South quarterback Joe Licata completed 12 of 24 passes for 225 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions -- the first of which was in the second quarter and was by returned by Lafayette's Anthony Finch for the Mighty Violets' first touchdown. Like classmate Stasiak, he talked about how the second half was reminiscent of throwing the football around as little kids:
Coach Kraig Kurzanski on Lafayette's plan of attack against South's passing game:
Kurzanski described O'Connell's injury as a "double charley horse" and said he was kept out of the game for precautionary reasons; it sounds like O'Connell could be back next week.
The first traditional rivalry week game to be held was won by West Seneca East, which defeated West Seneca West, 29-23.
Here's News photographer John Hickey's talk with the winning Trojans:
You may have caught some behind-the-scenes journalism there -- like any good photographer, Hickey asked Andrew Joksimovic to spell his last name. But we're not supposed to show him spelling his name on the video :-) (but nice enunciating, Andrew).
Here's my audio wrapup of a hectic night:
We'll be back tomorrow for Saturday Afternoon Live.
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As always, we want to hear from you about the games you saw. Tell us what you thought of the teams, the players -- even the concession stand -- via the comments section below.