ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Class AA Section VI Championship features the Lancaster Legends yet again, but this time, they’re going to be facing the top-seed Bennett Tigers, the only team that beat the Legends this season.
“We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” Lancaster senior linebacker Joe Podraza said. “They’re the only team that’s been able to beat us in Section VI, and here we are in the championship game. We’re going to make sure that there’s no doubt that we’re the best team in Section VI. We’ve been preparing all week and we’re really looking forward to get the opportunity to have a little payback. It’s going to be fun.”
“I’m expecting a dogfight. They’re going to put their all into this, we’re going to put our all into this,” Bennett junior lineman Rashard Perry said. “That’s how the last game was. They’re a great team, but we’re trying to come out on top.”
“It feels great. We love the competition, and we just have to be more physical than ever,” Lancaster senior quarterback Noah Kimble said. “It’s all mental this week, and we’re going to put it together this week. All team effort.”
“It’s two programs that have been here before, and right now they’re the champs. We understand that to be the champ, you gotta beat the champ,” Bennett head coach Steven McDuffie said. “I expect it to be a great street fight, nobody will flinch, and hopefully at the end of the day we’re going to give our best effort, and probably they’re going to give their best effort also, and the team that does the best will be the last one standing at the end.”
Bennett enters Saturday’s championship game with an 8-1 record, and they have been dominant in those wins. The Tigers outscored their opponents by an average of 35 points per game in their eight victories this season, and after falling to Orchard Park in Week 4, Bennett responded in the Sectional semifinals last week with a 50-point victory over the Quakers.
“Discipline. Once we started becoming a team and focusing on one another, the pros and cons of all of us and finally get it together, that positive energy, we started winning,” Perry said.
After Bennett fell to Orchard Park in Week 4, they came back with a vengeance in their next game, the Week 5 matchup against the Legends, and came out with the 48-24 win, handing Lancaster their biggest league loss since 2015. But with the loss came lessons, and the Legends say that it opened their eyes.
“It honestly was. We went undefeated the season before, and it was just humbling because we finally realized how it is to lose and that it’s all about how you bounce back, and I think we did that,” Kimble said. “It’s all going to show Saturday when we get our revenge.”
Bennett and Lancaster square off in the final game this weekend. Kickoff for the AA Section VI Championship is set for Saturday at 6:30 pm.