HS Football Week 7: Medina, Akron meet for Class C North supremacy

Paul Battson/contributorIn this Sept. 11 file photo, Medina's Iverson Poole carries the ball during a Class C North win at Newfane.

MEDINA — Two teams undefeated in Class C North play square off at 7 p.m. Monday with the right to be called champion on the line.

Medina and Akron were originally scheduled to meet on Sept. 24, but Akron temporarily moved to distance learning due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the district. Now the last two unbeaten teams in league play will decide the championship and can push for the top seed in sectionals.

The Mustangs play Albion in Week 8 in a non-league game, but Akron still has another league game with Cleveland Hill on Oct. 22. Still, even if the Tigers were to lose the final game, a head-to-head win would give them the edge over Medina in the standings.

Akron’s won three games that required second-half surges to win before suffering its first loss of the year to Franklinville/Ellicottville, 40-7, on Thursday. The tandem of Travis Fry and Brody Hibbard will need to control the clock to keep the ball away from Xander Payne and his plethora of weapons.

Payne threw four touchdowns to four different players in a win over Wilson last week, while Greg Thompson (5), Joe Cecchini (4), Jarin Rhim (4) and Iverson Poole (3) have the capability of getting loose for a score.

Grand Island (5-1) at Niagara Wheatfield (1-5), 7 p.m. tonight

If someone is going to slow down Grand Island, stopping its first-half onslaught will be the key. Niagara Wheatfield will have a tall task in shutting down an offense that has outscored opponents 144-8 in the first half the last four weeks.

The Viking offense has been humming this season, but the defense has allowed 26 points in four Class A North games and is surrendering 11.6 points per game for the season. The defense has recorded 12 sacks and 11 interceptions, as defensive backs Tyler Figliola and Jackson Jones have four picks apiece. In total, the defense has forced 16 turnovers this season.

The Falcons are searching for their first league win of the season, but will have to take care of the ball to stay close. Xander Fletcher has completed 64.4% of his passes this year but will need to avoid interceptions. Three of his four picks this season have come in the last three games.

Lewiston Porter (1-3) at Williamsville South (4-2), 7 p.m. tonight

Lewiston-Porter needs to find some offense, but Williamsville South may be a daunting opponent to do so against.

The Lancers scored two points in a loss to Burgard last week and are averaging eight points per game this season. Williamsville South, meanwhile, has not had any trouble putting points on the board, averaging 35.6 points per game since a 34-7 season-opening loss to Frontier. The Billies are also winners of four straight after starting the year 0-2.

Running back Christian Dewer is the man to stop for Lew-Port. The junior has rushed for 699 yards and seven touchdowns on 7.2 yards per carry.

The Lancers are also back in action, hosting Cheektowaga at 7 p.m. Tuesday. By the end of the regular season, they will have played five games in 18 days.

Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyn (0-5) at Cheektowaga (1-4), 7 p.m. tonight

Roy-Hart/Barker/Lyndonville returns to action after last week’s game against Pioneer was canceled due to COVID-19. Before the cancellation, the Silverbacks were beginning to show signs of improvement, particularly on offense.

RBL had a chance to tie or take the lead on its final possession of a 17-14 loss to Lewiston-Porter on Oct. 5 and appears to have found an identity running the ball.

Jordan Terwilliger had 119 yards on 20 attempts against the Lancers and leads the team with 383 yards on 6.3 yards per attempt.

Cheektowaga needs a win to climb back into the top-four of the standings in Class B North. At 1-2 in league play, the Warriors are behind Maryvale (2-2) and Burgard (2-3). Cheektowaga’s lone win was a 40-6 win over Burgard on Sept. 9 and it plays Maryvale in the final game of the season.

The top four teams in each division qualify for sectionals in Class B.

Cleveland Hill (2-4) at Newfane (3-3), 2 p.m. Saturday

Both Newfane and Cleveland Hill must win to stay in contention for the Class C playoffs this week, but the loser is likely eliminated. With Medina and Akron in the driver’s seat for the two automatic spots given to the top-two teams in each division, both teams need a win to get to .500 in league play.

Lackawanna (2-1), Salamanca (2-1), Wilson (2-2) and Southwestern (2-2) are all currently ahead of both squads in the race for the final two spots in Class C. In total, 13 teams in Class C have two losses or fewer.

The Panthers are winners of three consecutive games, while the Golden Eagles have dropped their last three. Ryan Kramp and the Newfane passing game could be the difference. He has eight touchdown passes in three wins, compared to one in three losses.

Kenmore East (0-5) at Lockport (3-3), 2 p.m. Saturday

It’s quite simple: Lockport needs to win to stay in the Class A North playoff race. Saturday’s contest against Kenmore East is its final league game of the season, so the Lions must win and hope for some help in Week 8.

For Jason Green, it is a chance to get back on track after Lockport had a first half to forget against in last week’s 43-12 loss to Grand Island. Green threw three interceptions after coming into the game with three all season. This game should be an opportunity to regain some confidence after last week’s slip up.

Gio Munisteri was thrust into the starting lineup in place of usual starter Danny Klein for the Bulldogs and a talented Bennett squad rolled 58-0 win last week. Munisteri had 82 yards and two interceptions, while Kenmore East was held to minus-12 yards on the ground. The Lions have 19 sacks this season and have a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Orchard Park (3-3) at Niagara Falls (1-5), 2 p.m. Saturday

Niagara Falls picked up its first win of the season with a shutout of Hutch Tech last week, but that tough defense will get a big challenge from Orchard Park.

The Quakers have been limited to fewer than 25 points once this season. Junior quarterback Ben Gocella is the Western New York leader in passing yards (1,915) and touchdowns (22). He also has talented receivers, including Kegan Mancabelli, who leads WNY in receptions (42) and yards (785) and Dylan Evans, who leads WNY with 12 touchdown catches.

Starpoint (5-1) at Kenmore West (3-3), 2 p.m. Saturday

This is perhaps the Class A North game with the biggest stakes this week, as both teams enter win one loss in league play and are currently in the top four of the standings.

A Starpoint loss and a Lockport win over Kenmore East would put the Spartans out of the top four spots needed to make the playoffs based on point differential and leave them hoping for help in Week 8 while they non-league game. A Kenmore West loss is not quite as critical, thanks to a head-to-head win over Lockport, but a win betters seeding for sectionals.

The Spartan defense is shaping up, allowing 26 points in the last two games, but must stop a Kenmore West rushing attack that features Jason Britton and Jermaine Atkins. Britton has 415 yards and eight scores, while Atkins ran for 251 yards and seven touchdowns last week against North Tonawanda.

Wilson (3-3) at Alden (1-5), 2 p.m. Saturday

Wilson gets a brief respite from worrying about the playoff picture with a non-league game at Alden. The matchup comes at a good time as Wilson looks to get back on track after dropping three of the last four games.

The Lakemen must rediscover their passing game after quarterbacks Tyler Yousett and Drew Dabill went 6 of 24 for 59 yards last week and the team was outscored 26-0 in the second half by Medina. In three losses, Wilson has completed 28% and averaged 88.7 yards per game, while throwing one touchdown and six interceptions. In wins, the Lakemen have completed 53.8% of passes and 110.3 yards per game, while throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions.

Alden, meanwhile, has lost five consecutive games and has scored four touchdowns in that span.

Nick Sabato can be reached via email at nick.sabato@gnnewspaper.com or on Twitter @NickSabatoGNN.

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