BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The football teams from St. Francis and Bishop Timon-St. Jude retained their champion status in the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association on Friday night.
St. Francis held on for a 21-20 victory against Canisius to win its third consecutive A division title, while Timon repeated in the B division with a 49-7 win against Cardinal O’Hara.
The Red Raiders (5-5), ranked No. 3 locally and 25th in the state in Class AA, advance to the Catholic state championship game, while the Tigers (9-1), ranked 16th in Class B, finish the season with their best win total since 2014.
St. Francis was playing without standout rusher Terrence Pendergrass, but still opened a 21-0 lead on a pair of quarterback sneak touchdowns from Landon Welka, with the Red Raiders defense making an early goal line stand, and Johann Vasquez scored on a 5-yard run after a St. Francis takeaway.
Canisius (5-6) came back in third quarter, as Vincent Zimmerman threw a pair of long TD passes to Jack Eskridge, and freshman Elijah Kimble ran for a score, but a missed extra point kept the Crusaders from pulling even.
The Red Raiders defense came through in the fourth quarter after Canisius had a change to take the lead following Darryl Smith’s interception in the end zone.
Watch St. Francis coach Jerry Smith get splashed with a water bucket to celebrate the win, the program’s seventh in 13 consecutive title games matchups with Canisius. It was a closer contest than last season’s championship, which St. Francis won 50-20, and the 41-24 regular season victory for St. Francis two weeks ago.
Timon got two touchdowns from James McNeil, a University at Buffalo recruit, and Charles Prude in its runaway win. Sophomore quarterback Dominic Anzalone threw for two TDs.
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.