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NYSPHSAA Class A football semifinal preview: West Seneca East vs. Indian River

Who: West Seneca East Trojans (10-1) vs. III-Indian River Warriors (11-0)

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Union-Endicott High School

Tickets: $10

Rankings: West Seneca East is ranked No. 4 in The News’ large schools poll and sixth in the New York State Sportswriters’ poll. Indian River is ranked fifth in the state.

At state semifinals: West Seneca East is making its first appearance. Indian River is making its second. The Warriors defeated Irondequoit, 49-22, in 2014 en route to winning the state championship.

Coaching records: West Seneca East, Jim Maurino, 15th season (85-59); Indian River, Cory Marsell, 13th season (96-17)

West Seneca East key players and statistics: Sr. QB/RB/LB Shaun Dolac (233-1,579-21 TDs rushing; 31-72-4 TDs passing; 126 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 INTs), Sr. DE/TE Dylan McNulty (53 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks; 2-40-2 TDs receiving), Sr. RB Zach Arnone (52-278-6 rushing; 4-5-59-1 TD passing), Sr.WR/DB Jesse Pfeiffer (26 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 FR; 2-59-1 TD receiving)

Indian River key players and statistics: Jr. RB Guillermo Rosario-Acosta (115-1,544-15 TDs), Sr. RB Kwazsi Gaddis (147-1994-24 TDs), Jr. DE Tanner Colvard (75 tackles, 15 sacks, 2 FF), Sr. LB Felix Rosario-Acosta (106 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 INT), Jr. QB Rob Alexander (16-32-427 8 TDs passing).

How they got here: West Seneca East defeated Section V champion Irondequoit, 15-8, in the Far West Regional last week at Clarence High School. Devare Mathis scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 6-yard run early in the third quarter after Dolac forced a fumble recovered by teammate Cam Cacciotti. Dolac also rushed for a touchdown for the Trojans, who yielded a total of 198 yards.

Section III champion Indian River rolled over Section IV counterpart Vestal, 48-7, in the Central Regional contest at Cicero-North Syracuse. Rosario-Acosta ran for 158 yards and scored four touchdowns on 15 carries, while Gaddis added 235 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Indian River rushed for 470 yards on 45 carries (10.4 yard average), attempting just one pass against Vestal.

Pre-snap read: After facing opponents that attempted to spread out their defense in West Seneca West and Irondequoit, the Trojans face an opponent that embraces smash-mouth football. Indian River uses a tight double-wing, with Rosario-Acosta as a powerful runner who thrives in traffic and Gaddis as the slasher. West Seneca East’s defensive line has thrived as games go on, but this will be its toughest test. The team that wins the battle in the trenches and protects the football likely wins this game. Of course, a special teams touchdown could be the ultimate difference-maker.

What’s next: The winner advances to the state final at 3 p.m. Nov. 23 at Syracuse University's Carrier Dome against IX-Cornwall Central or II-Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. That game is Friday at 8 p.m. at Middletown High.

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