Who: Cheektowaga Warriors (8-1) vs. Maryvale Flyers (8-1)
When: 3:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: New Era Field
Web cast: myspectrumsports.com
Rankings: Cheektowaga is ranked No. 1 in the News’ Small Schools poll and No. 10 in the New York State Sportswriters' Poll. Maryvale is ranked second and 12th in the state.
New Era records: Cheektowaga is 3-2; Maryvale is 1-3.
Coaches: Cheektowaga, Mike Fatta, sixth season (51-9); Maryvale, Jeff Buccieri, seventh season (34-27).
Cheektowaga key players and statistics: Jr. QB KeShone Beal (76-155-17 TDs passing; 127-969-18 TDs rushing), Sr. RB Michael Gray (103-649-3 TDs), Sr. WR Tommy Zolnowski (22-399-6 TDs), Jr. LB Taivaughn Roach (83 tackles, 13 TFL, 6 sacks), Sr. DB Alekzander Bryant (50 tackles, 4 INT), Sr. LB John Sweat (54 tackles, 12 TFL, 4.0 sacks).
Maryvale key players and statistics: Sr. RB/LB Rashad Law (98-850-12 TDs rushing; 13-237-1 TD receiving; 81 tackles, 2.0 sacks), Sr. RB/CB Dylan Casey (52-354-3 TDs rushing; 10-191-3 TDs receiving; 8 INT), So. QB Connor Desiderio (63-123-1238-13 TDs passing; 12-73-1 rushing), Sr. WR/DB Ray Blackwell (31-745-10 TDs receiving; 36 tackles, 2 INT), Sr. LB Nick Costanzo (111 tackles), Jr. NT/OT Chad Beyer (46 tackles, 8.0 sacks).
How they got here: Cheektowaga, the No. 2 seed, advanced to its fourth straight final by defeating defending champion and third-seed Dunkirk, 52-15. The Warriors piled up 474 yards with Beal completing 7-of-9 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown and rushing 17 times for 180 yards and three TDs. Lamar Reeves had a 90-yard interception return for a TD, and Taivaughn Roach had nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Maryvale advanced by taking out top-seeded Lackawanna, 27-8. Casey caught a 39-yard touchdown and gave the Flyers the lead for good returning the opening kick of the second half 90 yards for a touchdown. He also made two interceptions. Law rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown and made eight tackles, while Blackwell made 12 tackles.
Pre-snap read: This is a rematch of the Week Seven clash between the town rivals. Cheektowaga won that meeting 28-21 to clinch the division title – the second straight season the Warriors-Maryvale contest has determined the division champion.
The stakes are much higher now with Maryvale looking to win its first sectional title since 1985 and Cheektowaga trying to win its third in four seasons.
Beal proved to be tough to contain when these teams last met, but most teams have had issues trying to slow down the Warriors quarterback who's built like a fullback but with a good arm. The Flyers must figure out a way to stop him and play a full 48 minutes as well as they did in the final quarter of the last meeting with Cheektowaga.
The Warriors need to play fast and physical much like they did in Oct. 13 clash. Maryvale's Law gave them fits during the second half, though, rushing for two TDs and passing for another one. Slowing him down, along with Blackwell and Casey will be key.
Rivals have played entertaining contests past two seasons with last year's game decided in overtime.
What's next: Winner advances to Far West Regional against the Section V champion at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at SUNY Brockport.