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Storm shifts Cheektowaga’s state football semifinal to Sunday

This November-to-remember storm continues to wreak havoc with the high school sports calendar.

Cheektowaga announced via Twitter that its New York State Public High School Athletic Association semifinal contest against defending state Class B champion Maine-Endwell of Section IV has been moved from Saturday to 3 p.m. Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester. Coach Mike Fatta confirmed the move to The News late Wednesday afternoon.

As of this moment, that’s the only state semifinal game involving a Section VI team that has been rescheduled due to Mother Nature. Jamestown (Class AA), Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (Class C) and Randolph (Class D) are the other Western New York representatives in this weekend’s state football semifinals. Randolph plays at 5 p.m. Friday against Tioga. The Class C and Class AA semifinals are at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Class A semifinal between V-Irondequoit and III-Indian River also has been moved from Friday night to noon Sunday due to snow issues in the northern Syracuse area, the location of Indian River.

“Anytime our schools and students are impacted by a weather event of this magnitude, we must consider all aspects of the situation and make accommodations where possible,” said NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas. “We have adjusted our state championship schedules to allow for teams to travel to our events and it is my hope that the communities and families who are impacted by the storm travel safely this weekend. We keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

The issue for Cheektowaga is that school has been closed since Tuesday and wasn’t expected to open Thursday. With another band of snow expected to roll through the hardest hit areas, including the southern portion of Cheektowaga, and a driving ban in place, there’s no guarantee the Warriors would be able to leave Saturday for a playoff game in Rochester.

“It’s pretty frustrating for the kids and coaches,” said Fatta of the situation in which the storm has prevented the team from preparing for the biggest game in program history. “We did our Monday thing, which is a preliminary walk through, a game-plan thing, but that’s the extent of it.”

Friday is a staff and development day for Cheektowaga, which means that could be a potential day for the team to gather and practice – most likely in the school’s gym.

The Warriors, appearing in their first state semifinal, face a Maine-Endwell team that’s looking to win its fourth straight state title. The Spartans, ranked No. 1 in the state Class B poll, bring a 49-game winning streak into this weekend’s semifinal.

“We’ll do the best we can,” Fatta said.

Earlier this week, the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association moved its championship game from tonight at Ralph Wilson Stadium to 6 p.m. Monday at All High Stadium. That game features unbeaten Canisius (10-0) against Bishop Timon-St. Jude (8-3). Tickets are available at both schools and will also be sold at All High on game day.

The storm has not had any impact on the schools in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. It’s been business as usual down there with school and extracurricular activities.

The state also announced that the swimming and diving championships scheduled to begin Friday will be delayed by two hours for teams traveling to Ithaca for the meet. Warm-ups start at 11 a.m., the Parade of Seniors prior to the start of competition will be at 1:05 p.m., with the meet slated to begin at 1:15 p.m. Saturday’s schedule remains the same with competition starting at 10:15 a.m.