Who: Lancaster Legends (9-0) vs. Williamsville North Spartans (9-0).
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Where: New Era Field.
Television: Spectrum News.
Rankings: Lancaster is ranked No. 1 in the News Large Schools Poll and second in the New York State Sportswriters Poll. North is No. 4 in the News poll and ranked 14th in the state.
New Era records: Lancaster is 3-7. The Legends defeated Orchard Park, 27-7, last year to win their first title since 1999. Williamsville North is 1-0, defeating Sweet Home, 21-12, in 2013.
Coaches: Lancaster, Eric Rupp, second season (19-1); Williamsville North, Mike Mammoliti, 17th season (77-75).
Lancaster key players and statistics: Sr. QB Ryan Mansell (104-147-1629-17 TDs, 3 INT), Sr. RB Andrew Hersey (140-959-18 TDs), WR/DB Max Giordano (36-648-5 TDs receiving; 21-25 extra-point kicks; 3 kick return TDs; 2 punt return TDs), LB/QB/OL Joe Andreessen (73 tackles, 13 TFL, 4.0 sacks; 29-246-10 TDs rushing; 1-1-8-1 TD passing), Sr. LB/TE/OL Ben Damiani (60 tackles, 13 TFL, 1.0 sack, 2 INT), Sr. LB/RB Brett Beetow (47 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 4 pass defensed).
Williamsville North key players and statistics: Jr. LB/OL Scott Becht (75 tackles, 2 sacks), Jr. QB Joe Nusall (77-142-1308-16 TDs passing), Sr. RB/DB Marquel Wells (89-759-7 TDs), Sr. RB Ivan Ghemmegne (81-384-9 TDs), Jr. WR/LB Dylan Kelly (23-464-7 TDs receiving; 30 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), Sr. K Eddie Bianco (40-41 extra points; 3-5 field goals).
How they got here: Lancaster advanced by bludgeoning Jamestown, 61-12, in the Section VI semifinals. The 61 points matched a school record previous set in a Week Five win over Niagara Wheatfield. Mansell completed 11 of 16 passes for 231 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half. Prep Talk Football Player of the Week Giordano scored four touchdowns three different ways (two via receiving, one kick return, one punt return).
Williamsville North defeated Niagara Falls, 31-8, in the other semifinal. Ghemmegne rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Kelly recorded a safety as the Spartans pulled away with a big third quarter after taking a 7-0 lead into halftime.
Pre-snap read: This clash between Class AA division co-champions is one of the highly anticipated matchups between unbeaten teams this weekend at New Era Field. Like the Class A final between West Seneca West and South Park, neither faced each other during the regular season due to their being more teams than alloted game dates in Class AA.
Both teams have size and speed but the Legends have the experience of having recently played and winning this game on their side. Mansell needs 94 yards to become the program's all-time leading passer. One of his favorite targets is Giordano, who needs one reception to reach 100 for his career. The team is 20 points away from matching last year's school-record total of 445 points accomplished in 11 games. Lancaster's starting defense has yielded just six points – a touchdown that came in Week Three against Orchard Park.
Williamsville North figures to be the best team the Legends have faced up to this point. The Spartans have improved from being slow starters earlier in the season. Getting off to a good start will be important. Another key will be figuring out how to slow down Lancaster's offense which can gain yardage via its normal base offense or in its big wildcat formation with Andreessen shifting from tackle to quarterback. It's a different team than four years ago, but remember the underdog Spartans shocked folks when they ended Sweet Home's six-year title reign in their last championship-game appearance. Mammoliti knows how to coach up his team.
What’s next: Winner advances to Far West Regional against the Section V champion at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 Capelli Sport Stadium in Rochester.