Who: West Seneca East Trojans (11-1) vs. IX-Cornwall Central Dragons (11-0)
When: 3 p.m. Friday
Where: Carrier Dome in Syracuse
How to watch or listen: All games in Syracuse will be available via livestream on the NFHS Network at www.nfhsnetwork.com with a fee. Both Section VI games will have an audio only broadcast as well via www.mixlr.com/wnyathletics
Rankings: West Seneca East is ranked No. 4 in The News’ large schools poll and fourth in the New York State Sportswriters’ poll. Cornwall is ranked second in the state.
At state final: West Seneca East is making its first appearance. Cornwall is making its second appearance. It lost in 2006 to Corning East (27-14).
Coaching records: West Seneca East, Jim Maurino, 15th season (86-59). Cornwall, Eric Holzapple, first season (6-0).
West Seneca East key players and statistics:Sr. QB/RB/LB Shaun Dolac (263-1,815-26 TDs rushing; 35-78-4 TDs passing; 138 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 INTs), Sr. DE/TE Dylan McNulty (59 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 6.5 sacks; 2-40-2 TDs receiving), Sr. RB Zach Arnone (53-277-6 rushing; 4-5-59-1 TD passing), Sr.WR/DB Jesse Pfeiffer (31 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 FR; 4-117-1 TD receiving), Sr. OL Nick Hamme, Sr. OL Jack Turner, Jr. OL Colin Wiley, Jr. OL Chase Pirro, Jr. OL Cam Cacciotti.
Cornwall key players and statistics: Fr. QB Aidan Semo (124-202-2,043-25 TDs passing, 50-245-3 rushing), Jr. RB Amin Woods (203-1,591-17 TDs), LB Steven Gazzillo (110 tackles, 8.0 sacks), LB Shane D’Dea (79 tackles, 3.5 sacks), LB Ryan O’Dea (73 tackles, 2 INTs).
How they got here: West Seneca East defeated Section III champion Indian River, 50-42, in the NYSPHSAA Class A semifinal at Ty Cobb Stadium at Union-Endicott High School. The Trojans scored 36 points in the second half to rally from a 22-14 deficit. Shaun Dolac rushed for 236 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries. He scored his team’s final four touchdowns, including a 51-yarder with under 2 minutes left. The Trojans also forced four turnovers, with Cam CacciottI returning a fumble 26 yards for a TD.
Section IX champion Cornwall edged II-Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 21-20, as Shane O’Dea blocked the game-tying extra-point kick midway through the fourth quarter. Amin Woods rushed 32 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Pre-snap read: A team similar to Irondequoit awaits the Section VI champion in its Dome debut. Cornwall runs the spread offense and, while it has a freshman starting at quarterback, Aidan Semo has performed with the poise of an experienced veteran, throwing for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. Junior running back Woods has thrived in his first year as a starter. The Dragons have a fast, aggressive defense.
There are no weak sisters at this point of the postseason tournament. West Seneca East must do what it has done throughout its run: Use its grinding style of play to wear down another opponent, follow Shaun Dolac’s lead and play relentless every down, complete enough timely passes to prevent Cornwall from stacking the box and, of course, protect the football. WSE has done a great job of taking the ball away from opponents while not turning it over. That proved to be key in last week’s win over Indian River.
Next: Season is over.
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