Section VI Championship preview: Class C

Sports

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — There are only five undefeated teams left in Western New York, and two of them are playing in the Class C Section VI Championship on Saturday. Fredonia and Medina have both had fantastic seasons all year long, and are squaring up for what’s sure to be an instant classic on Saturday.

“Obviously they’ve been here before, they’re a good football school, they have a ton of athletes, and they have the experience. This is our first time being here in a couple years,” Fredonia quarterback Nick Whitfield said. “We just study them, watching film, they’re probably watching us but as soon as we won against Southwestern we went right to Medina, we took no break. No off days. We watched film on Sunday even though the Bills were playing, we still watched film, just getting ready for them.”

“Fredonia is a big, physical, athletic team, more-so than anyone we’ve seen this year. We’re expecting to be in a very physical battle,” Medina head coach Eric Valley said. “We know we’re going to have to match that in order to keep pace with them. They kind of have a two-headed monster in their running back and quarterback and they spread things around and do a real nice job, so we just have to continue to do the things we’ve been doing week in and week out.”

The Mustangs are the top ranked team in Class C in New York State, and Fredonia is ranked sixth.

After outscoring opponents by an average of 34 points, Medina comes into Saturday’s matchup as the reigning Section VI champs, but even after back-to-back undefeated seasons, due to the shortened season in the spring, this is the first time the Mustangs are back playing in Highmark Stadium in three decades.

“Even more than the school and the program, it’s the community of Medina. We haven’t been up here since 1988 so it’s a great feeling,” Medina quarterback Xander Payne said.

“It’s a great experience. The last time I was here as a program was 33 years ago, I was in 10th grade,” Valley laughed. “A couple of my coaches on staff played in that game. So it’s been a long time for us. Talking to the older coaches, it’s a lifelong memory that I’m hoping these kids just enjoy the ride and being a part of it.”

While the 2021 spring season went really right for Medina, it did not go exactly according to plan for Fredonia. The Hillbillies narrowly missed the playoffs, and their season ended after five games. This season, their offense has been rolling. With seven players combining to rush for over 2,000 yards and Nick Whitfield throwing for almost 1,700 yards, Fredonia has really figured it out.

“As soon as that COVID season ended, we went 3-2 and didn’t get a chance to play in the playoffs, but as soon as that season ended we were like hey, we’ve got to step it up, get in the weight room more, do more team stuff and skill training,” Whitfield said. “In the summer we were traveling all over, going to camps, getting better, take stuff that college coaches were telling us and bringing it back here, tell our teammates, share the knowledge, and just hard work. That’s really all there is.”

“We have an experienced team. We returned most of our starters from last year so it’s good to just get everyone back, everyone hit the weight room. Our line carries us honestly, and we just follow them. They’re the beef of our team, and that’s how we went undefeated,” Fredonia running back Matt Lotter said.

Fredonia and Medina kick off the action on Saturday with the noon game at Highmark Stadium.

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