LACKAWANNA -- Rivalry Week and Championship Week will be one and the same at New Era Field.
That's because Maryvale punched its ticket to the Section VI Class B football final for the first time in 11 years by upsetting No. 1 seed Lackawanna, 27-8, on a wet, cool Saturday afternoon at Veterans Stadium.
Dylan Casey scored twice with his 90-yard kick return touchdown to open the third quarter giving the fourth-seeded Flyers (8-1) the lead for good as the big-play sparked a 21-0 second half that enabled them to secure a championship date next Saturday against rival Cheektowaga.
Player of the game: Casey, who also caught a 39-yard touchdown, rushed six times for 67 yards, recorded two interceptions and finished with five tackles.
Play of the game: Your choice. It's either Casey's 39-yard TD with 3:31 left in the second quarter, which was the first score against Lackawanna's defense since the fourth quarter of its 35-8 loss in Week Five at Class A finalist West Seneca West. The TD got the Flyers' offense untracked against the stingiest defense in Class B. Or, you can pick the 90-yard kick return to open the third quarter which gave Maryvale the lead and the momentum for good before an estimated 1,500.
Steelers strike: Lackawanna scored on the game's first possession on a fourth-and-short play. Senior Khalil Horton turned the corner, made one defender miss and found the end zone on a 27-yard run. He also ran in the two-point conversion. The key play came courtesy of quarterback Noble Smith, who plowed over a defender for a 43-yard gain.
Missed chances: Lackawanna had a couple positive drives that could have led to points but one stalled via turnover on downs at the Flyers' 25. The other, Casey made an interception late in the second quarter at Maryvale's 2 with the Steelers seemingly poised to add to their lead. They also turned it over on downs at the Flyers' 19 after yielding the kick return TD. That was almost a touchdown as Smith had a receiver open streaking to the end zone but had to unload the ball early to avoid taking a sack as the pass rusher threw the timing of the play off just enough for the incompletion.
Not 100 percent: The Steelers were missing one of their top players in London Smith, Noble's twin brother. London is a hard-hitter at safety and also is a deep threat at receiver. He suffered a serious upper body injury on a fluky play at practice in which he landed on the football in unprotected spot between his protective padding.
Laying down the Law: Rashad Law rushed 18 times for 121 yards and a touchdown for Maryvale. He scored on a 45-yard run to make it 20-8. He also finished with 10 tackles.
Records: Maryvale is 8-1, Lackawanna finishes 7-2.
Rankings: Maryvale is ranked No. 2 in the News' Small Schools poll, while Lackawanna is No. 6.
Next: Maryvale faces old friend Cheektowaga at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at New Era Field for the championship. The teams met in Week Seven with Cheektowaga winning by a touchdown to clinch the division title.