Pioneer knew it had to win by 18 points in order to secure the No. 8 seed in the Class B playoffs. They managed to do that and added a little wiggle room in a 39-12 win over a visiting Burgard team that was also fighting for its playoff life.
The score was only 8-6 in favor of the Panthers at the half, but they went on to score the next 24 points to open up a 32-6 lead.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” Pioneer coach Jim Duprey said.
Seniors Wake Kless and Caleb Riordan formed a two-headed monster on the ground. Kless ran for 178 yards on 26 carries and a 12-yard touchdown, while Caleb Riordan carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards and scoring runs of 23 and 4 yards.
Pioneer junior Mike Rigerman opened the scoring with a 66-yard pass from classmate Nick Rinker. Rigerman also added a 4-yard TD run and 13 tackles on defense.
Both of Burgard’s scores came from senior Myron Pritchett on a 35-yard run and an 85-yard kick return. The Bulldogs could have clinched a playoff spot with a five-point win.
Medina, the original No. 8 seed heading into Friday night’s action, is now out of the Section VI playoffs. Depew remains No. 7.
Clarence 20, Hutch-Tech 18: Jacob Reger had three 2-yard touchdown runs to help guarantee the Red Devils a home playoff game next week.
Clarence’s Dillon Tharp (five tackles) deflected a Hutch-Tech two-point pass attempt in the corner of the end zone that would’ve tied the game after the Engineers scored with 1:46 left in the game.
The Red Devils took a delay of game penalty on the ensuing possession and punted the ball away, leaving Hutch-Tech with 7 seconds and no timeouts. Clarence tackled an opposing player in bounds on the final play to secure the win.
Clarence’s Collin Maziarz intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it to the 3-yard line to set up Reger’s final score, which put the Red Devils up by eight.
Orchard Park 28, Jamestown 14: The Quakers clinched a playoff spot thanks to a 248-yard passing day from Jack Sharp. All three of his touchdowns went to Nic Bruce, who put up 108 yards on four catches. Dylan Bieler also surpassed the 100-yard mark, totaling 110 yards on five receptions.
Williamsville North 49, Niagara Wheatfield 14: The Spartans finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record and the No. 2 seed for the Class AA playoffs.
Three of QB Joe Nusall’s seven completions went for touchdowns. Jacob Orlando caught two for 28 and 6 yards. Dylan Kelly had the other for 37 yards. Marquel Wells ran the ball 11 times for 112 yards, including a 14-yard run to open the scoring.
Class A North
Grand Island 24, Williamsville East 7: The Vikings clinched the top seed in Class A North and will play West Seneca East next Friday at 7 p.m. Quarterback Cam Sionko went 16 for 23 for 195 yards and a touchdown, with a majority of his targets going to Zane Johnson. The Vikings’ leading receiver caught nine passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Frank DePalma led the defense with eight tackles.
Class A South
West Seneca West 35, West Seneca East 28: The Indians mounted a second-half comeback to down the Trojans for the first time since 2011. West Seneca West clinched the No. 1 seed in Class A South and will host Sweet Home next week.
Matt Myers was an unstoppable dual threat, throwing for 272 yards and a touchdown and running for 103 yards and three touchdowns. He scored the game-winning TD on a seven-yard run with 2:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Over half of Myers’ passing yardage belonged to Juston Johnson, who caught six passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Glinski led the defense with 12 tackles.
James Bailey scored twice for the Trojans, who led 20-19 at the half. Niam Bonner and Jared Maurino had the other touchdowns for East.
Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton 15, Dunkirk 8: The Badgers handed the Marauders their first loss of the season with a big road upset. Senior RB Brendan Plaister scored both touchdowns for Fredonia on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and a 4-yard run with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter.
Dunkirk, which will still remain the third seed in the Class B playoffs, took an 8-6 lead in the second on a 5-yard TD run and two-point run by Quantavis Kleckley.
Olean 26, Springville 8: The Huskies started slow, but ended the game scoring 26 unanswered points in the final three quarters. Olean put up 339 yards of total offense, with most of its production coming through the air. Luke Chapman went 8 for 14 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Daunte Jeter led the team with 81 yards receiving in addition to his four solo tackles, four assisted tackles and a tackle for loss on defense.
Lackawanna 46, Roy-Hart/Barker 0: The Steelers locked up a 5-0 record in Class B-3. Lackawanna succeeded both on the ground and through the air, as Noble Smith threw for three touchdowns and Khalil Horton ran for 109 yards and a score. Nine Steelers had four tackles as the group slowed down a Roy-Hart/Barker offense that ran on every play.
Class C North
Akron 42, Eden/North Collins 0: The Tigers clinched a playoff spot in dominant fashion thanks to a six-touchdown performance from running back Jacob Sarow. He rushed for 309 yards on 29 attempts.
“Kid’s a freak,” Akron coach Andrew Clouse said. “Most of his yards come after contact, behind the line. He’s a strong runner.”
Akron holds the fourth seed in the division.
Franklinville/Ellicottville 28, Clymer/Sherman/Panama 6: The Titans clinched the No. 1 seed in the Class D playoffs with a 7-0 record. Griffin Chudy ran for 50 yards and caught three passes for 39 yards, scoring a touchdown both ways. He also snagged an interception on defense. Austin Grinols caused two turnovers, recording an interception and forced fumble.
Quarterback Brock Blecha had an efficient day, racking up 138 yards and two touchdowns on 10 completions.
Albion 51, Medina 22: Doc’s Rock belongs to the Purple Eagles after its big win over the Mustangs in a rivalry that dates back to 1898.
Ugene Harrison led the ground game with 201 yards and two touchdowns on 14 rushes. William Jones ran the ball seven times for 73 yards and a score. Tony Vallejo-Miller also had a rushing TD. QB Bryce Pritchard was 6 of 11 passing for 129 yards and two TDs to Meach Gardner (nine tackles) and Nick Moore. Matt Kobieleski added eight tackles on defense and Jessie Cruz seven.
Frontier 22, Hamburg 20: Dylan Kmitch ran for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons squeaked by the Bulldogs to snap a four-game losing streak in the rivalry. Brian Meegan and Max Fleming led the Frontier defense with 10 tackles a piece.
Lancaster 43, Depew 7: Legends QB Ryan Mansell was a perfect 14 of 14 passing for 194 yards and a 51-yard touchdown pass to Max Giordano, who also scored on a 67-yard fumble return.
Andrew Hersey ran the ball 12 times for 176 yards and three scores of 30, 44 and 18 yards. Joe Andreessen had eight tackles as the Legends won their third straight in this storied rivalry.
Jordan Ciesielski scored Depew’s touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard run.
Newfane 47, Wilson 20: The Panthers’ offense clicked and the defense shut out Wilson in the first and fourth quarters in the rivalry matchup. Reese Casinelli, Chad Dunbar and Joe Snyder all got interceptions, with Snyder returning his for a touchdown. The offense relied on the run. Brandon Gross rushed for 307 yards and three touchdowns, while Julian Nixon ran for 189 yards and three scores.
Wilson QB Steven Frerichs had a hand in all three Lakemen touchdowns. He threw a 52-yard pass to Marcel Wilson and a 12-yard pass to Drew Westmorland to bring the deficit to 21-14 at the half. He also ran one in from 2 yards out in the third quarter that made it 27-20.
North Tonawanda 41, Tonawanda 6: The Lumberjacks continued their long winning streak against the crosstown rival Warriors with a dominating effort.
Five different players rushed for touchdowns for NT, which led 34-0 at half. Senior Marcellus Overton scored twice, while Nate Brown, Kyle McNeill and Angel Pabon each scored once.
Tonawanda senior Noah Gillis scored the last touchdown of the game on a 6-yard run in the third quarter.