Get yourself ready for today's #PrepTalkLive action with everything you need to know about the day ahead in high school sports.
What to watch for Friday
1. Football - Friday Night Lights
The Section VI playoffs officially get underway with 17 quarterfinal matchups tonight. Here are three to keep an eye on:
- Class A: 4S-West Seneca East at 1N-Grand Island, 7 p.m.
- Class B: 5-Newfane at 4-Maryvale, 7 p.m.
- Class B: 6-Albion at 3-Dunkirk, 7:30 p.m.
The Vikings earned the first seed in Class A North by snapping a four-year losing streak against defending-champ Starpoint. They've yielded the second-fewest points in this bracket. West Seneca East, meanwhile, gave West Seneca West its toughest test yet in a 35-28 loss to the crosstown rival.
The Flyers and Panthers both have a strong ground game. Rashad Law is an impressing playmaker for Maryvale, while Newfane QB Brandon Gross and RB Julian Nixon from a two-headed monster in the backfield.
Albion at Dunkirk is a rematch from Week Six, when the Marauders won a close 18-15 game. Dunkirk suffered its first loss last week against Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton in a 15-8 upset. The Purple Eagles rebounded from that loss with a huge 51-22 against rival Medina.
Here's the complete Week Eight playoff schedule:
Miguel Rodriguez previewed all five playoff brackets in his Prep Talk column:
2. Boys soccer - Class A semifinals
The first semifinal playoff action of the fall season happens this evening in boys soccer. Winners advance to next Thursday's finals at Sweet Home.
- 6-McKinley vs. 7-Kenmore West, 5:30 p.m.
- 1-Grand Island vs. 4-Hamburg, 7:30 p.m.
at Sweet Home
- 2-Starpoint vs. 3-Pioneer, 5 p.m.
- 1-East Aurora vs. 4-Lew-Port, 7:30 p.m.
Grand Island, the two-time defending Section VI champ, plays a quality Hamburg team that has won ECIC II for four straight years. McKinley and Kenmore West both scored big upsets on Wednesday. The Macks beat 3-Kenmore East, while the Blud Devils beat Williamsville East.
East Aurora is undefeated and the favorite in Class A-2 after losing in the Class B-1 final last season to I-Prep/Grover. Lew-Port's riding a five-game winning streak. Seniors Max Balko (13 goals, eight assists) and Kyle Burley (20 goals) are the top offensive players for Starpoint and Pioneer, respectively.
3. Girls soccer - Class AA, B & C quarterfinals
With 16 games on the schedule, it's a huge day in girls soccer. The semifinals for all four brackets below are on Tuesday.
- 8-Niagara Falls at 1-Clarence, 3:30 p.m.
- 5-Frontier at 4-Orchard Park, 3:30 p.m.
- 7-Lockport at 2-Niagara Wheatfield, 3:30 p.m.
- 6-Lancaster at 3-Williamsville North, 3:15 p.m.
The Red Devils have made it to the state semifinals the past three seasons. Niagara Wheatfield and Williamsville North have had 10-plus win seasons, and Orchard Park has been coming on as of late.
- 8-Albion at 1-City Honors, 5 p.m. at Johnnie B. Wiley
- 5-Alden at 4-I-Prep/Grover, 4:30 p.m. at Riverside
- 7-Springville at 2-Newfane, 3:30 p.m.
- 6-Olean at 3-Tonawanda, 3:30 p.m.
- 8-Fredonia at 1-Olmsted, 6:30 p.m. at Riverside
- 5-Eden at 4-Wilson, 3:30 p.m.
- 6-Roy-Hart at 3-Southwestern, 3:30 p.m.
- 7-JFK at 2-Akron, 3:30 p.m.
The top seeds in Class B aren't the higher-ranked teams in this week's small schools poll. From Class B-1, No. 3 and defending-champ Newfane, No. 7 Tonawanda, No. 8 Olean and No. 10 Alden are ranked. I-Prep is honorable mention. From Class B-2, No. 5 Akron and No. 6 Southwestern are ranked, while Wilson is honorable mention.
- 9-Randolph at 1-Maple Grove, 3:30 p.m.
- 5-Portville at 4-Silver Creek, 3:30 p.m.
- 10-Cattaraugus/Little Valley at 2-Holland, 6 p.m.
- 6-Falconer at 3-Allegany-Limestone, 3:15 p.m. at St. Bonaventure
This might be one of the toughest classes in the playoffs. Three of the top four teams in the small schools poll are from Class C. Undefeated and defending-champ Maple Grove (16-0) is No. 1, Allegany-Limestone is No. 2 and Holland is No. 4. Silver Creek is No. 8, and Portville and Falconer are both honorable mention.
4. Girls volleyball - Williamsville East at Lancaster, 6 p.m.
No. 1 large school Williamsville East visits No. 4 Lancaster in a highly-ranked matchup.
The Flames already clinched their sixth consecutive ECIC II title, so now they turn to some nonleague tune-ups as they prepare to defend their sectional title. Setter Makayla Greenfield and hitters Rachel Steffan and Ally Jozwiak are three of the top players for East.
The Legends still have one more league game next Monday against Williamsville North and then follow that up with a short trip to crosstown rival No. 1 St. Mary's of Lancaster. Senior Julia Kurowski is one of the best players in Western New York.
5. Girls tennis - Section VI Championships
The top 48 area high school players will be competing for a chance to represent Section VI at the state tournament next weekend in Albany.
Play begins at noon today at the Miller Tennis Center in Williamsville and will continue through the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles. The semifinals start at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
- Girls volleyball: Grand Island at Niagara Wheatfield, 5 p.m.
- Girls volleyball: Maryvale at East Aurora, 6 p.m.
Today's schedule can be found at our high school scoreboard.
#PrepTalkLive updates: While we follow ALL the high school action via our Prep Talk team, we encourage YOU to also tweet updates from the games you are attending with the hashtag #PrepTalkLive attached.
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Story topics: Homeroom Announcements