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Familiar foe, new sport for OP West Genesee next in state semifinals

Gene Tundo and Orchard Park have faced West Genesee in the state semifinals before.

But Saturday will be a whole different ball game. They'll be playing football instead of lacrosse.

Tundo, who coaches OP's powerful programs in both sports, has coached against the national lacrosse superpower in the state semifinals eight times, going 1-7.

"I guess it's kind of ironic, but our football guys don't really care too much about that," said Tundo. "It's not like they all played against them in lacrosse. I guess for me, it makes me want to beat them that much more."

Orchard Park (11-0) will face West Genny -- which is located in Camilius, just west of Syracuse -- at 6 p.m. in the state semifinals at Rochester's Paetec Park.

That was the site of OP's major breakthrough win last week, a 49-27 victory over Canandaigua which put the Quakers in their first final four as they broke an 0-for-7 drought in the Far West Regionals. Junior running back Jeff Tundo (the coach's son), ran for five touchdowns and a state tournament-record 368 yards on 35 carries in the win.

OP's record against West Genesee in lacrosse isn't the greatest, but the one win was the biggest in the vaunted program's history. The Quakers beat West Genny, 7-5, in 2000 to become the first Section VI team to advance to the state championship in lacrosse.

If OP is to clinch a spot in the Nov. 25 state final at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse (which would be Section VI's first Class AA finals berth since Jamestown made it in 2000), it will have to contain the spread passing attack of West Genesee (9-2).

"We have a very big task ahead of us in stopping the passing game," said Tundo. "Their quarterback is a great athlete -- he can not only throw but he runs, too."

That quarterback is Tim Moran, who entered the regional round having completed 153 of 252 passes for 1,809 yards. His top target out of a multiple-receiver sets is Joe Faziol while the top running threat is senior Ben Waldron (814 yards on 124 carries entering the regional). Luke Cometti makes an impact at tight end, linebacker and kicker.

The Section III (Syracuse area) champion Wildcats won the school's first AA sectional crown since 1988. They advanced to the semifinals with a turnover-filled, 21-7 win over three-time Section IV (Binghamton area) winner Union-Endicott Saturday. West Genesee forced five turnovers, returning two of its four interceptions for touchdowns. West Genesee also committed four turnovers in the game, including an interception that was returned for a score.


Around the field

*The matchup for the Harvard Cup championship on Thanksgiving Day will be decided Saturday at All High Stadium when Riverside meets Grover Cleveland at 11 a.m. and McKinley takes on Lafayette at 2 p.m.

*Grover beat Riverside, 28-0, in their regular season matchup, but that was all the way back in Week One. Riverside is riding a five-game win streak in which it has only given up 12 points. McKinley beat Lafayette, 14-0, in Week Two. The Macks have spent the entire year in The News large school top 10 while Lafayette has come on strong after an 0-3 start.

*The McKinley-Lafayette game can be heard live on WJJL (1440 AM) while the Grover-Riverside semifinal will be heard at 3 p.m. Monday.

*The Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week for Week 11 was Cardinal O'Hara's Angelo Sciandra. The Hawks won their third straight Monsignor Martin Association championship with a 35-0 rout of St. Mary's.


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