Springville (4-4) @ Cheektowaga (8-0)
Springville lost the first four games but won out the next four to make it to the semi-finals. The Griffiths losses were by one point to Salamanca on a last second "hail Mary" play to Burgard and to Eden in triple overtime to Eden 14-8.
John Sopkos' squad is one of the top defensive teams and have only given up 2 rushing TDs in 8 games. Quality players for Springville are Bill Dickenson, Troy Studd, Chris Phinney, Ethan Benz, Bob Fisher and Ryan Cordova. Kicker John Morrow could be a difference maker.
Cheektowaga's Mike Fatta has done and outstanding job in his first year as Head Coach. Tim Whelan, Jr. QB, has gotten better as the season progressed and is a team leader. Star RB Marquel Jackson has ended his season after 6 games, but Robert Pulley and Preston Summers are excellent RBs and are capable of taking it to the house at any time. Other key players for the Warriors include James Hanners, who excels defensively, Alec Morris, Kenny Dillenburg and Matt Bartnik.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
The Griffiths must limit big plays from Tim Whelan and the RBs, avoid penalties, and to control the clock. The Warriors need to get off to a fast start, get excellent production from Tim Whelan and avoid turnovers.
Opponents record for Springville was 29 wins and 27 losses while Cheektowaga's opponents had a record of 21 wins and 35 losses.
This game is a tossup and the Warriors have homefield advantage. I feel that the Griffiths' defense and kicking of Morrow might be the difference maker.
Springville - 17, Cheektowaga - 12
Depew (7-1) @ Alden (8-0)
This is a rematch with Alden defeating Depew 34-13 in week 5. Wildcats have won 3 consecutive games since the loss and were very impressive in their performance defeating Burgard 34-20 in the Quarterfinals.
Brian Wilson has done an excellent job in his first Head Coach and the Wildcats come to play every game.
Key players for the Wildcats are Jr. QB Anthony Buono, who has improved every game, along with his brother Rob, who excels on both sides of the ball, Brian Ryback, Brandon Atlas, Rodney Turner, Marc Bethge and Derrick Sekuterski.
The Bulldogs have had an incredible run the past three seasons, posting a 28-2 record. Dick Diminuco (239 coaching wins) and his staff have done an excellent job.
Brian Stoldt, Jr. QB, is one of the top QBs and team leaders in WNY. His lack of stats keep him under the radar screen since the Bulldogs are primarily a running team.
Other key players for the Bulldogs is RB Corey Barczykowski, who is a candidate for "player of the year" honors. The Senior has scored 23 TDs and rushed for a WNY high 1,451 yards this season; Jason Bunk one of the top linemen in the area, Jarontay Thompson, Matt Shield, Alex Darrow, Scott Rosier and Domenic Brotz who honors the defense.
Games between these teams are very physical as both play smash-mouth football.
This is the fourth meeting in 2 years and the Bulldogs have won the previous three contests.
The Bulldogs need to avoid turnovers, control the clock, and have a big game running the ball from Barczykowski. The Wildcats need to avoid penalties and turnovers, limit Barczykowski's production and win the battles in the trenches.
This game is a tossup, but the edge goes to Alden who is playing at home.
Alden - 32, Depew - 20