BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A historic rivalry has its 100th meeting while a trip to Highmark Stadium is on the line for a number of Section VI teams.
Here are four Western New York high school football games to watch this weekend. You can view a full schedule and each playoff bracket here.
MMA: 3-St. Joe’s at 2-Canisius
2 p.m. Saturday
There aren’t too many games in Western New York that fire up respective fanbases like Canisius-St. Joe’s, and the iconic rivalry will get its 100th installment on Saturday. To make it even better, there are layers to this matchup: Not only will the winner advance to the Monsignor Martin A Division title game, but they will also secure the edge in the all-time series, which is currently tied 48-48-3. The Crusaders (4-5) have won 18 of the last 19 matchups over the Marauders (3-5) which included a 49-7 thrashing earlier this season. Canisius has been led by standout freshman running back Elijah Kimble, who’s averaging 9.5 yards per carry and has totaled 14 touchdowns this season. The Marauders have not found much offensive success against local opponents this year, averaging just 5.3 points per game in those matchups, and will need a reversal of that fortune to pose an upset threat.
Class B: 3-Health Sciences/BASC/GC at 2-Maryvale
7 p.m. Friday
It felt like Class B was going to be the most intriguing sectional playoff bracket of the bunch, and that sense has persevered through to the semifinals. Maryvale (9-0) hosts Health Sciences (8-1) in a matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 small schools in the Buffalo News’ poll, respectively. Both teams are coming off dominant quarterfinal wins, with the Flyers topping No. 7 Alden 43-14 and the Falcons shutting out No. 6 Depew 46-0 behind a 210-yard, four-touchdown showing from running back Antwan Ceasar. Maryvale has leaned heavily on its run game throughout the season and will likely do so again Friday, with running back Brayden Tryon tallying 1,186 and 24 touchdowns this year.
Class B: 8-South Park at 4-Pioneer
7 p.m. Friday
We will very likely see some history come out of this game beyond the result. South Park quarterback Noah Willoughby is just four yards away from breaking the Section VI all-time passing yards record (6,671) currently held by Williamsville South alum Joe Licata, meaning it’s all but a formality the senior will stand alone atop the list. The Sparks pulled off the upset of the week when they shocked top-seeded Lackawanna, coming back from down 24-8 in the third quarter to win 28-24. They face a similarly tough test this week in Pioneer, who are led by running back Dalton Giboo and his 8.9 yards per carry and 20 rushing touchdowns. The Panthers, who shut out Iroquois 23-0 a week ago to reach the semifinals, downed South Park 44-12 in Week 2.
Class AA: 4-Orchard Park at 1-Bennett
7 p.m. Friday
After a bye week in the quarterfinals, top-seeded Bennett (8-0) hosts Orchard Park (6-3) at All-High Stadium for a semifinal rematch from last season. The Tigers have been the undisputed top team in Western New York this season and did nothing but support that claim their last time out, shutting out Hutch Tech 68-0. Bennett’s three-headed rushing attack of Ja’Meer Thomas, E’Ryan Lawrence and Noah McDuffie all have over 400 yards on the ground this season, while the Tigers’ stout defense has allowed an average of just 6.9 points per game. Orchard Park is coming off a 49-27 win over Frontier in the quarterfinals that was propelled by quarterback Brady Ciano’s strong game, finishing 18-of-25 for 294 yards and three touchdowns. This will be the second meeting between these two teams this year, as Bennett blanked the Quakers 40-0 in Week 3.