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Section VI Class AA football championship: Bennett vs. Lancaster

Section VI Class AA football championship: Bennett vs. Lancaster

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Lancaster Depew Football (copy)

Lancaster quarterback Noah Kimble steps up to throw. He moved from receiver last season, where he earned All-WNY third-team honors to quarterback this season.

Who: Bennett Tigers (8-1) vs. Lancaster Legends (9-1)

Where: Highmark Stadium.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Livestream: wnyathletics.com.

Championship game history: Lancaster is 7-7. The Legends defeated Orchard Park 28-21 in last season’s final at Foyle/Kling Field. The Legends have won the last five Class AA championships. Bennett is 1-3, winning the Class A title in 2016 against Starpoint. The Tigers have lost in the Class B (2014), Class C (2015) and Class AA (2018) finals.

Coaches: Lancaster, Eric Rupp, sixth season (55-8); Bennett, Steve McDuffie, 11th season (62-35).

Rankings: Bennett is ranked No. 4 in the Buffalo News large schools poll and 12th in the state Sportswriters’ poll. Lancaster is ranked fifth in the News’ poll and 17th in the state.

Bennett key players: Sr. RB/DB Dominac Allen (118-1,604-19 TDs, 31 tackles, 2 INT, 6 passes defensed); Sr. RB/LB Torey Anderson (71-739-7; 16 PAT runs); Jr. DE/LG Rashard Perry (76 tackles, 9 TFL, 17 sacks, 6 hurries); Sr. WR/LB Jayden Lewis (10-340-4, 48 tackles, 9 INT, 7 passes defensed, 6 TDs).

Lancaster key players: Jr. RB Micah Harry (224-1,209-18 TDs, 14 catches-212-3); Sr. QB Noah Kimble (83-129-850-7, 41 rushes-209-4); Jr. LB Sam Judasz (55 tackles); Jr. RB/LB Jakob Zimmerman (43-192-9; 45 tackles, 4.0 sacks).

How they got here: Top-seeded Bennett crushed fifth-seeded Orchard Park, 70-20, at All High Stadium. Dominac Allen rushed for five touchdowns, including the Tigers’ first three. Bennett led 54-14 at halftime. It rushed for 491 yards and averaged more than 13 yards per carry.

Lancaster blanked third-seeded Clarence, 27-0, as Noah Kimble passed and rushed for a touchdown. Micah Harry rushed for 128 yards and a TD.

Pre-snap read: Bennett won a wild regular-season meeting between the teams at All High Stadium last month, 48-24. The Tigers led 24-0 at the half but scored the final 24 points of the game after Lancaster tied it in the fourth quarter.

Big plays from the running game fueled the Bennett victory. The Tigers’ strength is to run up the middle behind Rashard Perry, Xavier Goodman, Delshon Taylor and company. No need to change. May need to make a play or two in the passing game should the Legends go all in on stopping the run.

Lancaster needs to control the pace of play and use its running game to keep Bennett’s offense on the sideline. The Legends coaching staff have been here before, a huge intangible in their collective pockets.

Next: The winner advances to the Far West Regional on Nov. 20 at Williamsville South to play the Section V (Rochester area) champion.

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News Sports Reporter

A University of Rochester graduate and former ice hockey goaltender, I cover high school sports. During my News tenure, I have also covered boxing, UFC, the Bills, college sports and all levels of hockey.

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