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Quakers back on top again OP tops Clarence; Hamburg triumphs

Orchard Park and Hamburg earned redemption, while Silver Creek put on quite the scoring display as all won titles at Wednesday's Section VI boys lacrosse championships.

In the marquee matchup of the evening, the final gathering of a combined crowd of about 3,500 at All High Stadium watched Orchard Park regain its spot as the Class A champion with a 10-8 victory over Clarence. It was a rematch of last year's final, in which Clarence ended OP's 16-year run as sectional champion.

Hamburg accomplished its season-long goal of reclaiming the Class B title, and the Bulldogs did it quickly has it scored the first nine goals in a 15-7 victory over Niagara-Wheatfield, the team that stopped Hamburg's four-year championship run last year.

Junior standout Zed Williams had five goals and 11 assists -- and he starred in an impressive third-quarter run -- as Silver Creek won its fourth consecutive sectional championship with a 29-15 victory over Akron.

Orchard Park (13-4), Hamburg (18-1) and Silver Creek (17-1) move on to Saturday's Far West Regionals against the Section V champions at Hamburg.

Silver Creek will try to beat perennial Finger Lakes power Penn Yan in back-to-back years at 1 p.m., OP will take on powerful Fairport in the Class A game at 3:30 and Hamburg will play on its home field against Irondequoit in the B contest at 6.

OP claimed its 20th championship in 22 years by making key plays in the final minutes.

"It's huge -- going 20 years dominating Section VI and last year having that letdown, we really had a chip on our shoulder," senior Ben Johnson said. "We've got our alumni here and its a big win for our whole program."

In a game that never saw a team take more than a two-goal lead, Clarence took an 8-7 lead with 7:40 left.

Senior Dan Murphy tied the game at 8 with 5:29 remaining as he picked up a loose ball and fired in a long shot. Junior Austin Goltz (four goals) put OP up, 9-8, with 4:45 to play after spinning across the goal mouth for a 9-8 lead. OP forced a Clarence turnover and Murphy again made a big play. He made a crosscage feed from the left side to an open Ben Johnson (three goals), who fired it in overhand for a 10-8 lead with 2:17 left. Clarence never really threatened in the final moments.

"We talked about the huddle -- last year maybe we would have panicked in that situation [late in the game]," Murphy said. "We just ran our stuff and it clicked for us there a little bit at the end of the game."

Senior Troy Boller had three goals for Clarence (13-5).

Niagara-Wheatfield stunned Hamburg in overtime in last year's final, ending the Bulldogs' run of four consecutive titles, and the Falcons came in with the great momentum of a six-game win streak that included a win over Orchard Park.

But Hamburg, who won the teams' regular-season matchup, 12-7, in early April, claimed this year's final right from the start. It led, 4-0, after one quarter and 9-1 at halftime.

The Bulldogs moved the ball well on offense with hard-shooting senior Ryan Jurek scoring five times, junior standout Max Maxwell (two goals, four assists) made plays throughout the field, and senior Tom Lipomi came up with standout saves to help Hamburg gain its big lead.

"It was a redemption year for us," Jurek said. "After what happened last year, we just said, 'Don't forget it.' It was the same team, we were in the same locker room as last year."

When Niagara-Wheatfield went on a run to cut the lead to 11-5, Hamburg got an other Jurek goal to end the third and then owned the fourth quarter, 3-0.

Senior Mitchell Shafer added three goals while senior Pat Nowak and junior Austin Bishop each had two.

Junior Rob McMicking, senior Marty Pittman and senior Cory Becker each scored twice for Niagara-Wheatfield (16-3).

The Class C contest was a back-and-forth offensive affair in the first half, but once the second started Silver Creek took over the scoring show.

Williams, regarded as one of the country's best junior players, showed why as he won several faceoffs and recorded nine assists in the second half. He had two goals and five assists during the Black Knights' game-seizing 10-4 third quarter as they took a 23-15 lead. Silver Creek had a 13-11 lead at halftime but scored eight goals in the first five minutes of the second half for a 21-11 lead.

"It feels good to add another one to our school history, but I just want to add a state championship to our school history," said Williams, who is now seven points away from the all-time state career record (Casey Powell's 553).

Silver Creek's scoring included 10 goals by sophomore Marvin Curry and eight with two assists by Brandon Brooks.

Sophomore Zak Hayes had seven goals while freshman Larson Sundown had five as Akron ended its best season at 14-4.

email: kmcshea@buffnews.com