The North Tonawanda football team has talked all season about going deeper in the playoffs this year. After opening the postseason with a very impressive victory, the Lumberjacks have their shot.
North Tonawanda, ranked second among large schools, rolled over No. 8 Clarence, 37-0, in the Section VI Class AA quarterfinals Friday night. The host Lumberjacks used a 21-point second quarter to take a 24-0 halftime lead and it would hold a 31-0 lead for much of the second half.
The victory gives the Lumberjacks (8-0) a chance to exact revenge on the team that eliminated them last year. Lancaster, which defeated Lockport by a 42-0 score Friday night, will visit NT in next weekend's sectional semifinals. The Redskins won at NT, 10-7, last season.
"It's a big step for us, because I think a lot of seniors were dreading last year and how we came out on our home field and didn't get the job done -- but we came out and we executed and we definitely did what we needed to do," said junior Aaron Davis, who kicked a 20-yard field goal, ran for a 24-yard touchdown and had an interception on defense. "We played Lumberjacks football."
Brandon McClinsey ran 13 times for 106 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave him the NT record for touchdowns in a season with 19, surpassing the mark set by Andrew Davis in 2005.
Senior Matt Potalivo had 11 tackles and senior Joe Gravino had 10 tackles for the NT defense, which had four interceptions.
"The competition is going to get better and better," said NT coach Eric Jantzi, "and hopefully we can too and keep it rolling."
Clarence (4-4) absorbed a serious blow in the first quarter when senior running back Jack Vogel suffered a dislocated elbow. Vogel -- called the team's "heart and soul" by coach Tom Goddard -- had run two times for 12 yards.
"They're a great football team," said Goddard. "We knew we had to play perfect football to beat them."