The Section VI Federation has completed its football schedule for this fall, and there are a few surprises.
Seven games are on tap between Federation teams and teams from the Monsignor Martin Association. That's up from one game last year.
Monsignor Martin has trouble filling its schedule every year. The nine-team league plays in two divisions: League AA (four schools) and League A (five). After playing each team in their division, the schools are left with plenty of open dates.
The Federation has its own scheduling headaches, as it is required to provide all 69 member schools with four home and four away games. That's 552 games with consideration to travel, enrollment numbers, stadium availability and rivalry games.
Brian Kiszewski, president of the MMA, and Jerry Smith, coach/athletics director at St. Francis, were invited to the Federation's recent scheduling meeting at Lancaster.
St. Joe's was the only League AA team to get a game. The other six games went to League A teams.
"I think it was approached in the right way, where we talked and didn't demand anything," said Kiszewski. "I think it's a huge step. Just to have this type of rapport with the Section shows things may be opening up a little bit, at least the lines of communication. We hear good things. I can only say we're doing the right things and making sure all our schools are doing the right things."
This fall's matchups:
Week 1: Walsh versus Hinsdale
Week 3: Niagara Catholic versus Roy-Hart
Week 4: St. Mary's at Cleveland Hill
Week 5: Sherman versus Walsh
Week 6: Gowanda versus Nichols
Week 7: O'Hara versus Wmsv. South
Week 8: St. Joe's at Niagara Falls
>Two Chiefs sign for football
A pair of All-Western New York linemen from Iroquois have signed national letters of intent.
Matt Gartler, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound defensive lineman, has signed with Division II Gannon in Erie, Pa.
"He's a beast," said coach Frank Payne. "It's a good fit. He's a blue-collar kid going to a blue-collar town."
Jesse Jesonowski, 6-5, 265, earned the 2005 Trench Trophy award as Western New York's top lineman. He's ticketed for Central Connecticut University, an NCAA Division I-AA program.
"He's a steal for Central Connecticut, to put it plainly," said Payne. "He really came on this year. He's just starting to blossom."
There is other news out of Iroquois. The Chiefs' Latimer Field is getting lights.
"It took me six years, but we're finally getting them," said Payne. "Playing on Saturday afternoon is nice, but it doesn't do anything for your program. You play on Friday night -- that's high school football."
>Replacing Timon's 'Fitz'
Bishop Timon-St. Jude has a new football coach for the first time in 28 years. Its old one, Paul Fitzpatrick, retired after the Tigers' final game last fall. He ended his career with a 161-84-5 record.
Taking over will be Al Monaco, a coach at Timon for the past 20 years. He was the Tigers' junior varsity coach the past 14 years and a varsity line coach prior to that. Monaco, a 1979 Timon graduate, played on Fitzpatrick's first team in 1979.
In replacing the iconic Fitzpatrick, Monaco said: "I either got to love football or be nuts. He's more or less been my mentor. It's hard to replace a legend."
>Wrestling with a loss
One thing harder than trying to reach the New York State wrestling tournament is trying to get there twice. Matt Metzler of Salamanca and Brian Marmo of Starpoint found out how tough it was, losing in the finals at the Section VI Tournament.
Last year, Metzler placed fourth at 96 pounds and Marmo represented the Section at 125. While Saturday's losses brought an abrupt end to Metzler and Marmo's seasons, the state is putting in a new system next year to help proven wrestlers like them get back to states.
In some years, wrestlers who got to states had a first-round bye because their weight class wasn't full. Next year, those openings will be filled by wild-card wrestlers in a system recently introduced by the state.
"I have a kid who gets to states, and the next year he loses, 5-4 [in the sectional final]," said Section VI Chairman and Portville coach Mike DeBarbieri. "Each section takes those kids they think are worthy of going to fill one of those extra spots, and submits them based on a formula."
The wrestlers chosen would be placed in the weight class until the 16 spots in both divisions are filled.