BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Section VI football postseason begins on Friday with over a dozen quarterfinal matchups. You can see the full slate of games here.
Here are four games to watch as the battle for a 2023 sectional title commences:
Class A: 5-West Seneca West at 4-Sweet Home
7 p.m. Friday
After sitting at 2-3 just over midway through the season, West Seneca West (5-3) propelled themselves into the playoffs with a three-game winning streak to close the season. The Warhawks’ one-two rushing punch of Jarod and Bernard Freeman, who have combined for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns, has been a force on offense, while their defense allowed just 12 points in their last three matchups. Sweet Home (6-2) also enters the playoffs on a three-game win streak, and quarterback Rocco Panepinto has been one of the standouts at the position across Western New York. The junior sits third in the section with 1,599 yards and tied for fourth with 16 touchdowns.
Class B: 5-Iroquois at 4-Pioneer
7 p.m. Friday
The Class B sectional playoffs might be the toughest to predict of any of the classifications, with every team competing holding a winning record. While any of the four quarterfinals could have made this list, the Friday matchup between Iroquois (6-2) and Pioneer (7-1) pins two explosive offenses with plenty of weapons against one another. The Chiefs were regarded as the cream of the crop among small schools when the season began, but a one-score loss to Maryvale and a nonleague stumble against Sweet Home makes them a dark horse to win Class B. Pioneer’s lone loss came to Health Sciences in Week 4, but they’ve since bounced back with four dominant wins, including a 61-14 triumph over Springville last Thursday. How both defenses handle the QB-RB duos of each opposing offense, Iroquois’s Justus Kleitz and Trevor Barry and Pioneer’s Gavin Schwab and Dalton Giboo, will be the in-game matchup to watch.
Class C: 6-Portville at 3-Newfane
7 p.m. Friday
Portville (6-2) makes the over two-hour drive up to Newfane (6-2) for a battle of the Panthers. The matchup to watch will undoubtedly be the Portville defense, allowing just 7.9 points per game, squaring off against a Newfane offense that’s averaging 35.8 points per game. The Newfane offense has been spearheaded by dual-threat quarterback Nate Snow, who leads his squad in passing and rushing yards and has totaled 25 touchdowns on the season. While Portville’s defense speaks for itself, the Panthers’ offense is run heavy and powered by senior back Kaedon Holcomb, who’s tallied 1,184 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. With that strong running game in mind, a key stat to watch will be Portville’s time of possession, which could lead to keeping Snow off the field and helping alleviate the pressure on their defense.
8-Man: Allegany-Limestone vs. Frewsburg
Noon Saturday at Salamanca
There is, in fact, championship football this weekend. The Section VI 8-Man football title is on the line as Allegany-Limestone (4-3) takes on Frewsburg (4-2). The two sides squared off back on Oct. 14, with the Bears, who are ranked No. 9 in New York State, narrowly defeating the Gators 28-26, making the higher stakes rematch all the more intriguing.