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High School Football: Cheektowaga takes battle of unbeatens

The highlight game of the Section VI football semifinals matched a pair of unbeaten teams from Class B. As could be expected, both teams didn’t go away easily.

However, it was Cheektowaga that will be headed to New Era Field for the sectional championships.

The Warriors outscored Olean, 56-35, in a battle of 8-0 teams. Cheektowaga will play Dunkirk, another hot team, at the Buffalo Bills’ home stadium.

Eric Bartnik had another fine game at quarterback for the Warriors. He finished 25 of 36 for 300 yards. Bartnik threw three touchdown passes and ran for 130 yards. Stephan Parker caught 10 of those passes for 120 yards.

Cheektowaga scored 20 points in the first period, allowing only an 85-yard kickoff return by Garrett Boldt. Dunkirk scored four touchdowns in the middle periods to make it interesting, but the Warriors outscored Olean, 14-0, in the fourth quarter to wrap things up.

It is Cheektowaga’s third straight trip to the Section VI final, which will be played next Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Dunkirk won its seventh in a row, a 38-8 triumph over Lackawanna. The Marauders gave up the first score of the game, and then ran off 38 points in a row to punch a ticket to the final. Alton Ingram ran for 161 yards and two scores, while Isiah Velez chipped in 114 yards and two TDs. Elwin Gomez had seven tackles and a sack, while Dontrell Clemons had five tackles and a sack.

Class AA

Lancaster 35, Hutch-Tech 12: The No. 1 team among large schools in Western New York showed no sign of weakening. The Legends scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and weren’t seriously threatened from there.

Zach Samborski rushed for 183 yards, and Max Giordano had all three of those early touchdowns, and they came in three different ways - a 75-yard kickoff return, a 25-yard reception, and a 28-yard run. Samborski capped the scoring with a one-yard run for a TD in the fourth quarter.

The Legends play Orchard Park next in New Era Field (3:15 p.m. next Saturday), and that will be a rematch of their memorable regular-season game in which Lancaster pulled out the win in the final moments.

Class A

Starpoint 20, McKinley 13: The Spartans came into the season with high hopes of making it to New Era Field, and those hopes came true. Starpoint (9-0) is headed to the Section VI final for the first time since 1989. The Spartans bounced back from a 5-0 deficit in the second quarter by scoring three straight touchdowns.

Anthony Robinson caught a 56-yard pass from Aaron Chase for a score to put Starpoint ahead for good. Robinson finished with 110 yards rushing on 15 carries. Sam Mazzara added two interceptions, including one with 1:29 to wrap up the victory.

Bennett 44, North Tonawanda 23: Isaiah McDuffie had 175 yards rushing for the Tigers, and added 10 tackles on defense. Jamel Lofton had 110 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while Marcelus Toliver ran 70 yards for a score with a fumble recovery. The Class A final will be at 8 p.m. on Friday.

Class C

Southwestern 17, Allegany-Limestone 6: The Trojans never trailed in the game against the Gators, as Eric Johnson had a touchdown. Southwestern will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Cleveland Hill and Gowanda/Pine Valley in the C final at New Era Field.

Class D

Maple Grove 28, Randolph 0: The Red Dragons advanced to the Class D final with a victory that kept them unbeaten. Maple Grove is ranked second in Western New York among small schools in The News poll, and is rated as the top Class D team in all of the State. The Red Dragons won the Class C title last year, and were eliminated by Bath in the Far West Regionals. Maple Grove joined Chautauqua Lake last year, but the schools split into separate teams this season.

Franklinville/Ellicottville 56, Silver Creek/Forestville 33: The Dragons will play Franklinville/Ellicottville in the Class D final, which will be held at 5 p.m. Friday at New Era Field.

Nonleague

Cathedral Prep (Pa.) 28, Canisius 24: The Crusaders dropped their second straight game, this time on a road trip to Erie. Jayce Johnson threw for 139 yards and ran for 107. Raeqwon Greer had an interception return for a touchdown. Canisius had been ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA before last week’s loss to Bishop Timon/St. Jude, but slipped to No. 22 after the loss.

Matchup games

JFK 20, Depew 19: The Bears came back from a 13-0 deficit after the first quarter to win. James Bailey of JFK scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 10 seconds left to cap a 95-yard drive.

Amherst 54, Riverside 8: D’Shaun Barefield ran for four touchdowns, and quarterback Brian Fulford also had a running TD as the Tigers romped.

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