BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the weather turns, the high school football season is just getting warmed up. Week 7 features several games with sectional playoff seeding implications, and and highly anticipated non-league showdown between two of Western New York’s premier programs. Here are four games we’re watching.
Medina (6-0) at Newfane (6-0)
7 p.m. Thursday
The traditional Niagara-Orleans rivals kick things off with a Thursday Night Lights clash that will decide the Class C North division. The three-time defending champion Mustangs, ranked No. 6 in the state, have beaten four opponents by an average of 44 points, with two forfeit victories. The No. 13 Panthers have a 30-point scoring margin in six wins. Medina outstanding line leads a rushing attack averaging 337 yards per game, and 9.4 per carry. Newfane’s Nate Snow has thrown 12 touchdowns with only one interception, averaging 207 yards per game. The Mustangs have won the past three meetings in blowout fashion.
Canisius (3-3) at Lancaster (5-1)
7 p.m. Friday
It’s a rematch of the last season’s instant classic, the first public vs. private school matchup of its caliber WNY had seen in almost 25 years. Two of the area’s top three large schools, Canisius is ranked No. 18 in the state in Class AA, while Lancaster is No. 23, with its only loss coming against No. 7 Bennett. Canisius has won its past three games by more than 30 points after an 0-3 start. Crusaders freshman Elijah Kimble, who recently received a scholarship offer from Oregon, has rushed for over 1,000 yards in six weeks. The Legends, who won 24-20 in last year’s game at Foyle-Kling Field, regrouped from the loss at Bennett with a big win last week against Jamestown.
Bennett (6-0) at Jamestown (5-1)
7 p.m. Friday
The reigning state champion Tigers can clinch the top seed in the AA playoffs and extend their winning streak to 14 since last season’s forfeit fiasco. But winning at Jamestown’s Strider Field is tougher than most. Top-tier programs have net met since 2019, when Bennett won 28-26 at home in double overtime. Bennett speedster Ja’Meer Thomas just committed to Syracuse. Jamestown’s only loss is against Lancaster.
Southwestern (5-1) at Salamanca (4-2)
7 p.m. Friday
This one gets the nod over another notable non-league matchup — Sweet Home (4-2) at Iroquois (5-1), both teams ranked top 25 in the state — because the Southern Tier schools are both 4-0 in Class C South games. Southwestern, which won 15-10 at home last season, is No. 18 in the state, while Salamanca is an honorable mention.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.