Who: West Seneca West Indians (11-0) vs. Whitesboro Warriors (8-3)
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Ty Cobb Stadium at Union-Endicott High School
Television: Spectrum News
Rankings: West Seneca West is ranked No. 3 in the News Large Schools poll and third in the New York State Sportswriters' Poll. Whitesboro is ranked 11th in the state.
At NYSPHSAA semifinals: This is West Seneca West's first appearance. Whitesboro is 1-3 all-time in this round, winning in 1996 over V-Marshall (15-12) and losing in 2009 to Sweet Home (36-13), in 2010 to Aquinas (35-12) and in 2016 to Greece Athena (41-21).
Coaches: West Seneca West Mike Vastola, third season (19-10). Whitesboro, Tom Schoen, 44th season (275-129-4).
West Seneca West key players and statistics: Sr. QB Matt Myers (119-203-2031-22 TDs, 2 INTs passing; 115-872-20 TDs rushing), Jr. RB John Speyer (93-749-9 TDs), Jr. RB/S Bryan Ball (41-335-5 TDs; 88 tackles, 11.0 TFL), Jr. WR/CB Juston Johnson (40-749-10 TDs; 3 INT, 1 TD), So. LB/TE Mike Glinski (128 tackles, 12 TFL, 2 sack), So. DE Liam Scheuer (88 tackles, 19 TFL, 10.0 sacks).
Whitesboro key players and statistics: Sr. RB/MLB Phil Gilberti (151-1101-18 TDs), Jr. RB Zach Hoage (106-840-10 TDs), Sr. QB Dave Camerota (148-821-12 TDs rushing; 25-47-405-3 TDs passing); Sr. OL/DL Christian Pawlowski, Jr. OL./DL Josh Weiler.
How they got here: West Seneca West advanced by taking out Section V champion Wilson Magnet, 40-22, in the Far West Regional last Friday at SUNY Brockport. Myers finished with 425 all-purpose yards and had a hand in five touchdowns in the victory. He rushed 19 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns – including a 76-yarder. He passed for three TDs, including a 74-yarder to Kyle Haettich.
Whitesboro, winners of three straight Section III championships, won the Central Regional at IV-Union-Endicott, 28-7, to reach its second straight semifinal. Hoage rushed 30 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns, while Gilberti ran for 122 yards and a score.
Pre-snap read: It's West Seneca West's balanced offensive attack versus Whitesboro's ground-and-pound style. West has faced a couple opponents this season that are more power based than finesse and passed those tests with flying colors. The Indians will need to be tough in the trenches and fire off the snap quickly to force Whitesboro into uncomfortable down-and-distance situations.
West also needs to limit Whitesboro's possessions and give Myers and company as many offensive opportunities as possible. They showed last week in frigid, snowy conditions that once they get rolling they're pretty tough to stop – with Myers leading the charge with a dominating performance. Whitesboro has some size up front. Should the Warriors pressure with four or five, the Indians may need to counter with the quick passing attack they utilized against South Park in the sectional final.
What's next: The winner advances to the state championship game where it will face either I-Yorktown or II-Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake at 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.