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Section VI Class A final is a reunion of ex-Timon teammates

Off in a corner of the press box in the M&T Bank Suite at New Era Field, Jeremiah Sanders got one of his mitts on Matt Myers.

In this instance, it was a friendly, how are you doing buddy kind of hug between former teammates who hadn't seen each other in a while.

Should Sanders have a chance to get his hands on Myers come Saturday night, though, it won't be a love tap. Of course, that is provided, Sanders can catch the big but ever elusive quarterback he once protected.

One of the matchups fans hoped they'd get to see during Championship Weekend will happen as great teams featuring several former Bishop Timon-St. Jude football teammates face each other when unbeaten West Seneca West (9-0) squares off against unbeaten South Park (9-0) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night at New Era Field for the Section VI Class A championship.

That is the last of five Section VI finals this weekend at the home of the Buffalo Bills. It's a game that will settle the debate as to which Class A South co-champion is the undisputed top dog of its classification in the section.

"This is definitely one of the games of the year because everyone wanted to see the Timon boys reunite," Sanders said. "Now we're enemies so we've got to do what we got to do. … Everybody wants that championship."

"I think this is how it's supposed to be," added West Seneca West junior and Timon transfer Juston Johnson. "Last game, undefeated. Everybody wanted to talk about the game all year. It's going to be a fun game."

The weekend kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with a rematch of last year's Section VI Class D final between defending champion Maple Grove (8-1) against Franklinville/Ellicottville (9-0). In perhaps the co-main event of  the card, unbeaten defending Class AA champion Lancaster (9-0) closes Friday's schedule, likely an 8 p.m. start, against fellow unbeaten Williamsville North (9-0). Both teams shared the division title as they didn't face one another during the regular season.

Saturday figures to be an exciting day for folks in Cheektovegas with three town of Cheektowaga schools among the six finalists. Defending Class C champion Cleveland Hill (8-1) kicks off the tripleheader at noon against Southwestern (7-2) in a rematch of last year's final. Town rivals Cheektowaga (8-1) and Maryvale (8-1) follow in the Class B final.

Then it's West Seneca West versus South Park – division co-champions who did not face each other during the regular season due to their being more teams than league games to go around. West is ranked third in the News Large Schools poll, while the Sparks are fifth.

"Both teams are here for a reason," said Myers, who has 18 passing touchdowns and 17 rushing ones. "It's going to be a great game to watch and great game to play in."

In case you missed it, there are ex-Tigers sprinkled through the lineups of both teams as several players transferred from Timon after the sudden resignation of then coach and athletic director Charlie Comerford in late June. That left the program with an uncertain future with several green-and-gold friends going their separate ways.

Former Timon players on West are returning first team All-Western New York selection and University at Buffalo commit Myers along with his favorite receiving target in Johnson. On South Park, there's two-time first team All-Western New York lineman Sanders, along with Greg Braswell, Jayon Renfro and Jaysen Armstead. Sanders is the lone senior of those four Sparks.

"Obviously Jeremiah is the best lineman in Western New York," Sparks coach Tim Delaney said. "He makes us fantastically better and the other three have relished in their roles, been great team players and have done really well."

Myers has amassed 1,687 passing yards and 599 rushing. Johnson has 645 receiving yards (20.16 yards per catch) and nine TDs. Sanders has anchored a line that's rushed for more than 1,900 yards and passed for more than 1,600. As impressive as those numbers are, he's part of one of the more feared defensive lines in the area as he has 108 tackles (including 16 for loss) to go along with 11 sacks. Renfro has five sacks and Armstead has caught a couple two-point conversions and has a sack in five games. Elijah Lewis leads the Sparks in sacks with 12.

"It's serendipitous that the two of us meet in this championship," WSW coach Mike Vastola said. "To be the best you have to beat the best. I'm glad to square off against those guys and put the issue to bed as to who's the better team and what a grand stage it'll be."

Myers, Sanders and Johnson had a grand time in a corner together during Tuesday's Media Day session, which moved indoors instead of taking place on the field due to windy, snowy weather in the area.

Gathering together for the first time since  they participated in offseason workouts at Timon, they spent some time reminiscing, renewing pleasantries, sharing more than one laugh and, of course, talking a little trash.

They also wondered.

"I thought we would've been here together at Timon, but a lot of crazy stuff happened," said Myers, who helped the Tigers reach the Monsignor Martin semifinals during his two season with the program. "We got over it and went to different schools and just played our season and played for our teams."

Each has done so very well with the trio looking forward to facing each other in the championship.

Any chance Johnson, a receiver, might cross paths with Sanders -- perhaps delivering a sneaky block?

"You never know," Johnson said.

"I'm not going out there (outside the hashmarks with the receivers)," Sanders said. "I know my limits … he doesn't have to worry about me, but Matt right there …"

"You have to catch me first," Myers said.

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