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Spectrum going all in on Friday night high school football

Are you ready for plenty of Friday Night high school football?

Spectrum cable is planning to carry four Friday night high school games in the Buffalo area live and 16 across the state each Friday starting Sept. 1 in what is being billed as "Friday Night Matchup."

One of the four Buffalo-area games is being carried on cable television via the Spectrum News channel for the first time and the three others are being live streamed on the internet.

The games are being carried by Spectrum News rather than Spectrum Sports, which will cease operations in New York State this fall.

"We decided to leverage the power of our New York Spectrum News channels by scheduling marquee high school football games on the networks on Friday nights, while simultaneously streaming additional games so that our customers would have more options for live coverage," said Stacey Mitch, the director of sports and news communications for Spectrum.

The first game on Spectrum News on Sept. 1 features Grand Island at Kenmore East, which is the first night game at Kenmore East's remodeled home field. It starts at 7:15 p.m. after a short pregame show at 7 p.m. The cable TV games are carried on the news and sports websites, the Spectrum News App and the Spectrum TV app.

Sept. 1 is the same night that Spectrum's Rochester system is carrying the marquee game between Canisius at Pittsford on cable television. It will be available here on Myspectrumsports.com, the Spectrum News app and the news website.

"That is a huge, intersectional game," said Steve Arvan, senior director of Spectrum Sports for New York. "When I saw Canisius playing at Pittsford that was one that jumps out, it is a marquee matchup."

It is such a significant early season game that you might think that it would appear on the Buffalo cable channel, too. But Arvan said the goal is to carry four different games in the markets of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

"We are bringing more games to our customers on the platforms that they want to watch," added Arvan. "We are offering more games, more choices."

"We want to be the place to be for high school football games on Friday nights in Upstate New York," said Mitch. "It is really important for us to connect to the community. It is an expansion of our news coverage in getting into the communities."

The schedule of games on Spectrum News is entirely composed of suburban teams in the Buffalo area. Other than the Canisius game at Pittsford, there are no other games involving the Catholic schools even though they are generally believed to have the top teams in the area.

There are no games involving the city schools on the Spectrum News channel. McKinley, which has three streaming games, South Park and Hutch-Tech and South Park, are the only city schools on the tentative streaming schedule.

WGR's Howard Simon will do play-by-play and Len Jankiewicz color on the Sept. 1 opener between Grand Island and Kenmore East. Simon and Jankiewicz also will be working the Oct. 13 Lancaster at Depew rivalry game.

Simon and Jankiewicz are one of several on-air announcer teams.

Dave Miller does play-by-play and Mark Collins is on color for the Sept. 8 Sweet Home at Cheektowaga game and the Oct. 6 Niagara Wheatfield at Clarence game.

WGR's Sal Capaccio is on play-by-play with WGR's Nate Geary as analyst on the Sept. 15 Williamsville East at Williamsville South and Sept. 29 Starpoint at Grand Island games.

Steve Warzala is on play-by-play and Richard Walsh is doing color for the West Seneca East at Amherst game on Sept. 22.

Spectrum News, which is available in 45 percent of Buffalo area homes, will continue its coverage through the playoffs and the state championships.

Email: apergament@buffnews.com

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