Brian Rybak and Depew fell to Alden in a battle for first-place among Class B East teams. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)
Alden bests Depew in Class A East first-place battleBy Mike Pidanick
Alden has been one of the most dominant small schools in Western New York in recent years. The Bulldogs have 25 straight wins over Section VI opponents, two straight sectional titles and have reached Ralph Wilson Stadium in each of the last four seasons.
In what was being called Class B’s Game of the Year, the Bulldogs did their best to show that run isn’t ending any time soon. Alden celebrated its Homecoming Night in an impressive 34-13 win over rival Depew.
“It’s always good to win on Homecoming, especially against the No. 2 team,” said Alden defensive back Matt Shields, who scored on an interception return. “I feel like we made a statement with this win.”
Depew is always known as a team with a rock-solid line and this year is no different. But the battle in the trenches was clearly won by the home team.
That was proven by the numbers of two of the area’s elite running backs in the contest. The line of seniors Jason Bunk, Scott Rosier and Josh Weisbeck and juniors Phil Zobrest and Eric Feitshans was impressive from the opening kickoff to final gun.
Alden’s Corey Barczykowski ran for 252 yards and three touchdowns. Depew standout sophomore Rodney Turner was limited to 49.
“The kids played great,” Alden coach Dick Diminuco said. “I thought our offensive line did a real nice job and Corey was terrific. I appreciate their effort.”
The game started out sluggish for the Bulldogs, who turned the ball over on their first two possessions. Turner capitalized on the first one, running it in for a 5-yard touchdown run.
But the Bulldogs’ defense turned the tide from there. Alden forced two first-half turnovers and took advantage short fields to take a 14-7 lead at halftime on scoring runs by Barczykowski and quarterback Brian Stoldt.
Shields made perhaps the play of the season in Class B East early in the third quarter. He stepped in front of a pass and returned it 36 yards for an Alden touchdown.
“I knew as soon as the quarterback threw it that it was mine to take,” Shields said. “I got a jump on the ball – I was as surprised as anyone else when I got into the end zone. They were all over me, but I managed to get into the end zone. I thought that was the game-changer.”
Depew bounced back with a 27-yard touchdown run by Anthony Buono – who benefitted from a big block by Turner at the Alden 12. But the Bulldogs put the game away with two more Barczykowski touchdown runs.
“It was a little bit shaky at the beginning, we weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Zobrest said. “But we knew we were No. 1 and we pulled it together in the end.”
West Seneca East's Scott Ackerman finds a hole as classmate and quarterback Andy Smigiera looks in the team's win over Hamburg. (Photo by Ron Larson)Unbeaten W.S. East relying on leaders in 5-0 startBy Mike Petro
Whether they’re running or throwing the ball, Scott Ackerman believes he and fellow West Seneca East seniors Andy Smigiera and Ryan Johnson are all on the same page and have helped steer the team in that same direction.
It doesn’t matter if he or Johnson are carrying the ball or if Smigiera is the featured part of the offense, tossing the ball around the field as he’s done so often and well over the past two seasons. Winning has the been the top priority, and together they’ve done that well.
East is off to a 5-0 start and leads Class A South with one division game remaining before the team’s Week 7 showdown with cross-town rival West Seneca West on Oct. 12.
On Friday (Sept. 28), it was the running games time to shine as East turned to the ground in a 34-14 win at Hamburg in Class A South action. Ackerman finished with 137 of the team’s 206 yards rushing on the night. He scored once and Johnson added two rushing touchdowns.
“That’s the thing with me, Andy and Johnson, we are just trying to lead this team, so if Andy’s not having his best game, we know we can still run the ball,” Ackerman said. “They couldn’t stop us on the run. It worked out in our favor.”
East head coach Jim Maurino said those three are an example of what his team has been all about this season.
“The biggest thing about the group is that they’re a bunch of team players. They’re not ‘me’ guys at all,” Maurino said. “They realize, if we need to run the ball, the linemen need to hunker down and go after it and vice versa.”
In a close game at halftime, East used a 21-0 third quarter advantage to pull away from Hamburg. Leading just 14-6 to start the third, Smigiera, who’s usually known for the damage he does under center, ran back the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
The Trojans scored on their next two possessions, also featuring an aerial assault while continuing to be able to run the ball. Hamburg had actually taken a 6-0 lead with 8:49 left in the second quarter.
“East is a heck of a football team and it says a lot for us that we were right there with them in that first half,” Hamburg head coach Mike McFadden noted.
From there, East put together consecutive scoring drives before the end of the first half. Ackerman scored a nine-yard touchdown to give East a 14-6 lead with 2:41 left in the half. Johnson had finished off East’s first scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Johnson later scored on a four-yard run to put East up 27-6, which was followed by Smigiera hitting Austin Spindler on a 23-yard scoring play.
“Our quarterback has taken the lead this year, but we also have a good offensive line and good skills kids playing behind him,” Maurino said. “Depending on what other teams decide to take away, we can run it or pass it.”
Anchored by Andy Theal, East’s young offensive line led the way for Johnson and Ackerman. Theal is the lone senior on an O-line featuring three juniors and a sophomore, and according to Maurino, really gets the unit going.
East’s defense made it difficult for Hamburg to run the ball, along with sacking Hamburg quarterbacks four times. Zach Osmanski and Tyler Olivieri made a number of stops behind the line of scrimmage, including picking up one-and-a-half and a half-sack, respectively. Earning a sack each were Johnson and Devin Lindner.
“Our defense has been playing very well,” Maurino said. “I’ve got to give it to our defensive coaches, whose game plans are spot on. We take away what team’s do well and make them do what they’re not comfortable with.”
Maurino hopes his players continue to think one game at a time in taking care of their business the remainder of the season.
He said East has a chance to win the division in its next game, which is a feat the program has not accomplished in years, and in the final regular season game, will have the opportunity to play for town pride against West, which is also enjoying a good season playing in Class AA.
“The way we look at it is we start with six league games — we finish that season, and then West is a whole another season for us.”
But Ackerman is among teammates who can’t help but think about what could be in the future for this talented group.
“It’s all of the hard work that we put in during the offseason that’s paying off,” Ackerman said. “We just want to go to The Ralph. That’s our goal.”
Timon quarterback Ryan Dougherty returned to action four weeks after tearing his ACL in Timon's win over St. Mary's. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)Dougherty returns as Timon beats St. Mary’s in league openerBy Michael Straw
The quarterback is the catalyst of an offense, and when Timon-St. Jude signal caller Ryan Dougherty suffered a torn ACL in the team’s season opening game against Williamsville South, the offense became somewhat stagnant.
On Friday (Sept. 28), the cog was back in the offense as Dougherty, who had forgone surgery in favor of rehab to comeback this season, returned to the Tigers lineup to lead them in their first Monsignor Martin Athletic Association game of the season.
He didn’t look to have missed a step. The 6-foot-4 senior went 8-of-14 for 209 yards and a touchdown as he helped lead the Tigers to a 28-21 win over the St. Mary’s Lancers.
“It felt good. It felt really good actually,” said Dougherty. “The brace actually helps a lot. I feel normal. I recovered a fumble in the first half, and I nicked it up a little bit, but it felt good [to be out there].”
He said that with him not knowing what to expect out of himself, he was a little nervous, but he was able to get the jitters out early after getting hit and then getting into a groove.
Head coach Charlie Comerford said that it was great to see his quarterback back on the field.
“I thought he looked great,” he said. “I thought his arm looked as strong as ever.”
He added that while he was somewhat surprised with how well Dougherty played in his first game back, it’s something that he’s come to expect from his leader on offense even with the question marks hanging over him due to his injury.
“I saw him in practice, and he looked like same old Ryan,” he said. “But you know the injury and what he has, and you know how hard it probably is for him so there’s a little anxiety with him being out there, but he’s such a good quarterback that once the game starts you forget about that.”
The Tigers also got a spark from running back Jackson Brown who ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score from two yards out that capped off a 70-play drive with just five minutes left in the game.
“Jackson played great,” said Comerford. “With Ryan back we have a pretty good offense, and we’ve got a pretty good balance with him back. It’s pretty exciting.”
Tyler Graham caught a touchdown pass in Maryvale's loss to Lew-Port last weekend. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)Maryvale falls to Lew-Port but doesn’t give inBy Marquel Slaughter
Headed into last Friday (Sept. 28) night with a .500 record, Maryvale may have gotten a little too caught up playing host to Lewiston-Porter for their Homecoming game. The Flyers found themselves in an early hole and could never fully recover, losing to the Lancers 47-32.
“It almost seems like all this hoopla and Homecoming got the best of us and the focus wasn’t on football,” said Flyers coach Jeff Buccieri. “But the guys never quit. They fought hard to the end.”
Senior quarterback Mike Wawrzyniak led Maryvale with five total touchdowns in an effort to overcome a 33-6 halftime deficit, but the Flyers couldn’t get enough stops.
“Hats off to their quarterback,” said Lancers coach Jon Hoover. “He’s a hell of a quarterback. He got outside of the pocket, which we didn’t want to let him do.”
Buccieri was proud of the way his team persevered in the face of such a deficit.
“But we did not come out ready to play football,” he noted. “We had too many mental mistakes that cost us the game last week and they carried over.”
Lew-Port senior quarterback Josh Daul tallied four total touchdowns, with senior Bill Schiavitti catching two, and senior Dan Reagan scored on both sides of the ball for the Lancers.
“I did everything I could and the team did everything they could,” said Wawrzyniak. “[Lew-Port] came out more hyped than us in the beginning. That was our downfall.”
Lew-Port had a 14-0 first quarter lead after junior tailback Dan Hogan rushed in a score, and Reagan recovered a fumble and took it back for another.
After Daul found Schiavitti for a 29-yard touchdown, junior tailback Zak Nalbone rushed one in. Reagan found paydirt again after reeling in a floater from Daul to give Lew-Port a 33-0 lead.
Maryvale’s finally got on the scoreboard when Tyler Jordan caught an 11-yard screen pass from Wawrzyniak to go into the half down 33-6.
Buccieri’s halftime speech touched a little on how the season ended for Maryvale last year.
“We told them no one’s quitting,” said Buccieri. “I’m not going to let them quit. The coaches are not quitting, either. We’re not going to have a repeat of last year. We’re fighting until the bitter end.”
The Flyers came out of the half with a 42-yard touchdown pass, caught by senior wide receiver Tyler Graham. Wawrzyniak, who started the game at running back, lined up there again for the halfback pass to start the third scoring, cutting the deficit to 33-12.
“He’s a multidimensional player,” said Buccieri. “He’s been a team guy all year. We started off the game putting him at tailback. A lot of guys would’ve complained, but he sucked it up and ran the ball hard. He can throw. He can run. He can do it all.”
Lew-Port responded on fourth-and-goal from the 20 with a touchdown pass from Josh Daul to sophomore receiver Jesse Daul.
Three minutes later, Maryvale’s sophomore running back Brandon Bojanowski caught a 23-yard strike from Wawrzyniak to make it a 39-18 game.
Toward the end of the third, Maryvale’s defense earned what appeared to be a three-and-out, but a roughing the punter penalty gave the ball back to Lew-Port, who scored on a 67-yard catch-and-run from Daul to Schiavitti to make it 47-18.
Maryvale scored on consecutive drives in the fourth as Wawrzyniak threw his fourth touchdown to a fourth receiver with an 8-yard pass to senior tight end Troy Mason, and the called his own number on fourth-and-goal for a 1-yard touchdown.
“We knew we were still in it,” said Wawrzyniak. “So we kept trying our hardest and trying to come back. I thought we did a pretty good job of staying in it. We’re going to try until that final buzzer.”
The Flyers regular season finale is next weekend, when they visit Cheektowaga Central, who is undefeated and at the top of Class B West.
Record-setting kicker Kyle Few and Lockport came back to defeat Kenmore West which clinched the Class AA North title. (Photo by Metro Staff) Lockport comes back to claim AA North titleBy Dave Ricci
Big time players step up in big time games. Daniel Bronson and James Chambers did just that with the Section VI Class AA North title on the line.
Bronson was 8 of 14 for 255 yards and three touchdowns as Lockport come back from an early deficit to beat Kenmore West 36-21 to claim the division title at Crosby Field on Sept.29.
The Lions rang up 411 yards of total offense, 156 on the ground led by Chambers, as they beat the defending Class AA North champion Blue Devils.
“We haven’t won the division since I believe I was in eighth grade,” said Chambers, who scored three touchdowns in the win. “So we really wanted it. We knew we could get it if we tried as hard as we (could)...It just means a lot to us.”
Bronson, who got his bell rung with 3:51 left in the second quarter when he was brought down on a roughing the passer penalty, would rebound and fire three absolute lasers on pinpoint passes of 65, 67 and 20 yards to help the Lions climb out of a 15-0 hole.
The Lions, who improved to 3-0 in the division and 4-1 overall, felt that if they could tie the game by halftime they would be able to regroup, let their skilled players take over, and take charge of the game.
“It was huge to get tied by the half because then we could talk about the things we wanted to do,” Lions coach Greg Bronson said. “We saw how they were going to play us. They brought some pressure, they manned up with us in those empty sets and we knew that we would have some match up advantages.”
Bronson, the coach’s son, was key in that regard as he picked apart the young Ken West secondary that featured two speedy, but on this day, overmatched freshmen.
“Bronson was the difference. He just put that ball right on the money,” Ken West coach Rich Harris said. “We’re playing two ninth graders in the secondary and the kids were doing everything they could to stay with those receivers. They didn’t even have to break stride. Some of those passes were phenomenal.”
Bronson maintained his composure under heavy pressure that included him getting sacked by Gary Halt and Greg Howell when the Lions spread the field in the shotgun with five wide outs. But eventually going to the empty set would help Lockport turn momentum in its favor.
The Ken-West defense came up with two big fourth down stops in the first quarter. One of those stops led to a 41-yard TD strike from Adam Fron to Trent White on the ensuing play with 2:30 remaining in the first to give Ken West the 8-0 lead.
The first of Alex Price’s three scores put Ken-West up 15-0 with 8:17 in the second quarter.
A roughing the passer play that shook Bronson up midway through the second quarter set the stage for a three-yard TD run by Chambers, who logged 83 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Chambers would also find the end zone on a 67-yard pass from Bronson and 12-yard run late in the game.
Bronson would tie the game when he connected with RD Hillman on a 65-yard pass for a score that tied the game 15-15 at halftime. Hillman finished with 149 yards on four catches.
“We just weren’t patient enough to take care of them (at first),” coach Bronson said. “In the second half, we relaxed a little bit and we let our better athletes get the ball in situations that would be advantageous for us.”
The Lions had a tense moment after Price’s third TD made the score 22-21 early in the fourth. However, Tevye Maslowski 20-yard touchdown reception soon after extended the Lions lead to 29-21 with 7:42 to play in the game.
The Lions picked off the Blue Devils’ Fron twice.Looking Forward to Week 6Wednesday, October 3
Riverside @ All-Limestone 6:30pmFriday, October 5
(7:30 p.m. start unless noted)
Clarence @ W. Seneca West 7pm
Orchard Park @ Jamestown 7pm
Lancaster @ Frontier
Hamburg @ Iroquois 7pm
Bennett @ South Park (RF) 7pm
W.S. East @ Lake Shore 6:30pm
Will. East @ Will. South 7pm
McKinley @ N. Tonawanda 7pm
Olean @ East Aurora
Eden @ Pioneer 7pm
East @ Depew
Alden @ Medina/Lyndonville 7pm
Cheektowaga @ Lew-Port 7pm
Maryvale @ Lackawanna 7pm
Tonawanda @ Burgard (AH) 7pm
Barker/Roy Hart @ Albion 7pm
Springville @ Dunkirk
Cass. Valley @ Southwestern
Fredonia @ Akron 7
Forestville @ Brocton/Westfield
Finney @ All-Limestone
Silver Creek @ Frewsburg
Maple Grove @ Portville
Randolph @Chautauqua Lake
IPrep @ Catt/Little Valley
Clymer @ PineValley
Roch. U. Prep at Nichols 4:30pmSaturday, October 6
(2 p.m. start unless noted)
Kenmore West @ Niagara Falls
St. Joes @ Lockport
Riverside @ Hutch Tech (AH) 4pm
Will. North @ Sweet Home
Grand Island @ Niag-Wheatfield
Starpoint @Kenmore East
Amherst @ Cleve-Hill
Wilson @ Newfane
Gowanda @ JFK 1:30pm
Wilson @ Newfane
Amherst @ Cleve-Hill
Ellicotville/W. Valley @Panama
Franklinville @ Sherman/Ripley
St. Francis @ St. Mary’s 1
Timon-St. Jude @ Card. O’Hara
Aquinas @ Canisius 3