BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Saturday’s Section VI Finals start with the Class D match up between CSP and Franklinville-Ellicottville.
The Wolfpack and Titans are no strangers to playing for the Section VI Championship. There have been six appearances and two Class D titles between the two programs since 2015.
“It’s a good feeling to be here, but ultimately, it’s not good enough to be here, we want to win the game,” CSP head coach Ty Harper said.
“This is great, the kids set this as one of their goals this season, to make it to New Era Field, and it’s nice to see them accomplish their goals,” Franklinville-Ellicottville head coach Jason Marsh said. “To see how far they’ve come this season, it’s just excited.”
This is the second time this season that these two teams have met on the gridiron. The first time around, Franklinville-Ellicottville came away with a 24-8 win to hand CSP their only loss of the season.
“Having graduated so many kids last year, we knew that coming in, some point we were probably going to see some adversity this year,” Coach Harper said. “Franklinville-Ellicottville is a really good team, and they took it to us the first time we played them. Hopefully we learned from that and have gotten better, and we play a better game on Saturday.”
That 24-8 game was the lowest scoring game for both teams all season. Through their undefeated 8-0 season, the Titans average 37 points a game, and they point their success this year to something off, rather than on, the field.
“If I had to say our greatest strength, I’d probably say our brotherhood,” FE lineman Zack Wolfer said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team that is so close like this team, it kind of helps.”
“I think it helps tremendously,” FE Jordan Peplinski said. “Someone you actually care about.”
“Brotherhood is huge for us, we have a unique situation where we take two schools and we combine them to play football. In every other sport, they’re rivals,” Coach Marsh said. “You’re really up against a wall when it comes to making these kids come in, and this has been such a great group of kids. They’ve been so receptive to forming these friendships and creating this brotherhood that we’ve had this year.”
Even though they lost in the first match up, the Wolfpack have shown tremendous growth in all aspects of their game, and are ready for the rematch between these two top teams.
“It’s going to all come down in the trenches,” CSP quarterback Gerrit Hinsdale said. “Week three we kind of struggled, because we had two starts on our offensive line under our belt, we lost all of our offensive line last year, so this week we’re going to have eight starts under our belt on the offensive line. I think it’s going to all come down to them, we’ll see if they can give me time to throw, provide the holes for our running backs, it’s going to be a tough task but I think we can get it done.”
“They’re dangerous. CSP is real dangerous, they have really good skill players, and we know we have to keep them in check because they can score at any moment,” Coach Marsh said.
“I think it’s 100% going to come down to the trenches,” Coach Harper said. “Whoever is more aggressive at the point of attack, whoever is playing aggressively at the line of scrimmage, they did a really good job of that the first time we saw them in week three. I think whoever does that, probably has a really good chance this weekend.”
“I think we just have to stick together, keep our brotherhood together, and play for each other,” FE tight end Nicklas Logel said. “We all just have to play hard and focus this week, and just play good.”
“Being able to focus in practice, don’t let up any big plays, you don’t want to be that guy that does that,” Wolfer said.
“Just be physical out there,” Peplinski said. “You play hard football, hit someone, you’ll get somewhere.”
The Titans and Wolfpack play the first game of the day on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon at New Era Field.