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Week Eight Saturday: Things tightening up

A whole new playoff format later, we're back where we would have been a year ago.

This year saw the postseason extended to three weeks for Class AA, A and B teams (C and D had three-week playoffs last year).

And as we head to Week Nine, we've got the same lineup of sectional semifinals we would have had under the old format. In all three large-school classes, the home teams won to set up crossover matchups between the first- and second-place teams.

Shoot. That sounds like something I should write about for Tuesday's scholastic spotlight. I better save some of this stuff.

While the Section VI showdowns are set, the Harvard Cup had a few eyebrow-raisers and a certain Monsignor Martin Association finall found its footing.

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Today's sports section is loaded with high school coverage: we've got a game story on Kenmore West proving some Class AA North doubters wrong (yes, me included); a football roundup which has some notable news from publics, city and the Catholics; a story on the Section VI girls tennis finals, one on cross country's Super Saturday of league championship meets; and a High School Extra which features a great girls soccer comeback by Grand Island and a couple of fine-tuning boys volleyball tournaments before sectionals.

Whew.

Online here in blog-ville (just glance at the "recent posts" to the right), you'll find additional info on nice wins for Kenmore West, Grand Island, St. Francis and East as well as some extra details on the ECIC cross country meet.

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The official semifinal schedule will be determined by Section VI, but you can pretty much plan on the home teams hosting games when they usually do. Which means North Tonawanda, Orchard Park, Iroquois, Lackawanna, Alden, Southwestern and Maple Grove will be host games Friday night while Sweet Home, Cleveland Hill and Clymer will play on Saturday.

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From the commit-this-to-memory-and-type-it-as-often-as-possible department: Now you can get to our high school sports home page simply by typing: buffalonews.com/highschools. (ha!)

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And below, some extra football notes and quotes that we couldn't squeeze into our final edition:

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All season long people wondered how Clymer would stack up against the larger Class DD schools.

Well, the Pirates are moving on after beating Frewsburg, 20-13, despite not having their best day. Clymer had to recover an on-sides kick in the final minutes after the Bears scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"Well, it's good to be 8-0 -- we just really didn't execute very well today," said coach Marc Heiser, who lamented nine penalties for 65 yards. "Rushing we only gave up 16 yards, so that's good defense. Early on we had two scoring drives, and no penalties, and we were clicking. Other than that, we weren't clicking and we'll address that this week."

Clymer rushed for 188 yards on 40 carries, led by Nick Heil (21 for 136).

The Pirates will host another Class DD team in Portville next week.

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Todre Rogers had eight carries for 89 yards for Lafayette in its win over Niagara Catholic, the second straight week a Yale Cup middle-of-the-packer sacked the Patriots (East).

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Some notable results from among the consolation bowl games (of course, it helps that these teams called us to report their games.)

From the building-momentum-for-2009 department, Williamsville East won its third straight when Mike Silvestri's 5-yard run in overtime gave the Flames a 20-14 win over Hamburg. Mike Langfelder had two TD runs for East.

From the history-making department, Ben Boberg ran 23 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns as he set the West Valley school single-season rushing record in a 24-0 win over Franklinville.

Boberg has 1,256 yards on 198 attempts; he passed the 2003 mark of Steve Engels (1,245 yards, 219 carries). Franklinville's James Irwin carried 34 times for 163 yards.

Kevin Wagner of Kenmore East had another week of quality contributions in a 20-7 win over Lake Shore. He 17 times for 88 yards and was 4 of 6 passing for 83 yards while running and throwing for a touchdown. Mike Doherty scored two TDs while John Tiedeman had an interception and a key 29-yard reception in the third quarter.

---Keith McShea

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