On Saturday three Section V championships will be up for grabs at SUNY Brockport and while Oakfield-Alabama/Elba and Alexander will battle it out in Class D, two more local teams will be looking to find their way to the top in Classes B and C.
And there will be a Blue Devils theme at Bob Boozer Field at Eunice Kennedy Shriver Stadium, with one program looking to maintain its dominance, and the other looking to get to the precipice for the first time.
In Class B, No. 1 seed and undefeated Batavia will be looking for its second straight title when it faces off against No. 2 seed Monroe at 6 p.m. Earlier in the day, upstart No. 3 Attica will be playing for the first sectional block in program history when it meets No. 4 and defending Class C champion East Rochester/Gananda at 3 p.m. Further, Batavia will be in search of the sixth sectional title in the era of head coach Brennan Briggs.
“Our team has continued to focus on improving everyday,” Briggs said. “They’ve come to work everyday with the mindset to get 1% better. We’re excited to have an opportunity to play for the block Saturday.”
Another similarity, both games will be rematches of regular season contests from earlier in the fall.
In Week 3, Batavia used a gritty performance, scoring a touchdown in all four quarters to take care of Monroe 28-7 in a rare Thursday night contest at Van Detta Stadium.
Playing without senior running back Aidan Anderson, Cam McClinic, Ja’Vin McFollins and Aavion Bethel led a balanced Batavia rushing attack that night that ran 33 times for 175 yards. McClinic led the way with 73 yards and a score on 10 carries, McFollins had 52 yards and the score on 11 carries and Bethel added 50 yards on 12 totes with the TD.
McFollins was also solid through the air as he finished 7-of-10 for 88 yards and the touchdown. Carter McFollins (38 yards) and Vincent Arroyo (31 yards) each had three receptions on the night.
Garrett Schmidt had another solid night on the defensive end in the win over Monroe as he led the way with 10 tackles, while Parker Kleinbach had five stops, including two for a loss, and a sack. Bronx Buchholz was also solid with five tackles, with four coming for a loss, while McClinic had four tackles and Ja’Vin McFollins had three; McClinic and Ja’Vin McFollins each had an interception on the night.
The Blue Devils have not stopped their domination since then as they have outscored their opponents 410-100 on the season. Batavia scored all 35 points in the first half of a shutout win over Dansville/Way-Co in the Class B quarterfinals, while it hammered Livonia 56-14 in the semifinals last week.
McFollins has been outstanding all season long in his first varsity season under center. Last week McFollins was superb for the Blue Devils’ offense in the blowout victory over the Bulldogs, completing 8-of-10 passes for 242 yards and three passing touchdowns to go with a rushing touchdown. On the season he has gone 64-of-88 for 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions.
“Ja’Vin has been a tremendous player and leader for this football team,” said Briggs. “He is cool, calm and collected on the field, and the kid wants the ball in his hands in big situations.”
Last week in the win over Livonia the Batavia offense racked up 548 total yards, aided by a dominant and balanced ground game.
Despite missing a bulk of the season with an injury, Anderson leads the team with 419 yards on just 63 carries, while McClinic has been strong as well with 405 yards on the ground on just 52 totes. Last week also saw the emergence of JV call-up Zay Griffin, who led the Devils in the semifinals with 141 yards and two scores on just eight carries.
The Batavia defense is allowing 10 points per game, but the vast majority of those have come with contests already decided.
Garrett Schmidt has been the leader of this balanced unit with 69 tackles (including 11 last week), while Bethel had 12 stops last week and has 42 for the season.
Vincent Arroyo has also been a valuable weapon in all three phases, while Carter McFollins has as well, including eight tackles and an interception in the semifinals. Arroyo leads the team in receiving yards, while Cole Grazioplene has added to the air attack as well.
Monroe lost a forfeit contest to begin the season but after the setback to Batavia the Red Jackets have been on a roll.
Starting with a 72-0 win over DWC, Monroe has won seven straight, while it has allowed just 38 points along the way. On the season the Red Jackets have outscored their opponents 318-68.
“Yes, Monroe is an improved team since we last saw them, and they have some new players from Florida since we last saw them so we need to prepare for some new things they do,” Briggs said.
In contrast to Batavia, Monroe has had to battle its way to the title game. The Jackets took a 16-0 win over No. 7 Geneva in the quarterfinals before they outlasted Honeoye Falls-Lima 12-7 in a defensive slugfest last week.
Monroe has a solid offensive attack led by quarterback Khaya Moses, who was 11-of-16 for 130 yards in the win last week. Nazhier Wilson has been strong out of the backfield and he ran well in the win last week with 73 yards. Roberto Robinson provided a solid second option out of the backfield for the Red Jackets as well.
Jayden Ferrell has been a beast on the defensive end for Monroe and was again last week against the Cougars as he finished with 2.5 sacks to go with eight tackles. Meanwhile, Wilson, Dashon Constantine and Noah Mather have also been big on the defensive end this season for a unit that allowed double digits points in just two contests this season.
The winner will face the winner of Section VI’s Iroquois and Pioneer in the Far West Regional final next week.
No. 3 Attica (8-2) vs. No. 4 East Rochester/Gananda (9-1)
In search of their first sectional title in program history, the Blue Devils have been on an absolute tear.
Since a three-overtime loss to Le Roy and a hard-fought setback to Section VI’s Bishop-Timon/St. Jude, Attica has reeled off six straight wins to advance to the sectional final game for the first time since it fell to Letchworth/Warsaw in 2019.
“The mood around the locker room this week has been very business-like,” Attica head coach Jeff Cusmano said. “The boys know what’s at stake but are approaching it like any other game.”
And while they haven’t been dominant the whole time, the Blue Devils have steadily improved to get to where they wanted to be now. Attica edged L/P/W for the second time in three weeks in the quarterfinals, while it had an easier time last week in a 25-7 whipping of Penn Yan in the semifinals. And it has been the emergence of junior Landyn Thomas that has led the way offensively.
Thomas ran for 192 yards and three scores in the win last week as the Blue Devils racked up 325 yards on the ground and nearly 400 yards of total offense. Thomas leads the team with 908 yards and 12 touchdowns on 124 carries, while he has also caught 10 passes for 125 yards and two more scores.
Senior Wyatt Kauffman continues to battle for yards out of the backfield as well as he is second on the team with 526 yards and four scores on 110 totes. Sam Strzelec (53-298, 6 TDs) and Clayton Bezon (40-258, 3 TDs) have also aided to the stellar ground attack that has rushed for 2,224 yards and 27 TDs.
Junior QB Braden Allein hasn’t had to do much but has been solid, going 36-of-66 for 438 yards and four TDs.
Case Hill has been a forced on the defensive end for this improving unit and the multiple-time Class C Defensive Player of the Week leads the team with 93 total tackles.
Bezon has been impressive as well with 73 stops, with six coming for a loss, while Kauffman has added 67 tackles, Robert Becker has 57, Ethan Harmon had 56 and Geoff Eisensmith has chipped in with 53. Bezon also has 4.5 of Attica’s 15.5 sacks this fall.
The Blue Devils have also forced 19 turnovers on the year and they have made most of them count. Bezon has four interceptions, while Jordan Anderson has added three picks.
Since a 40-32 loss to Attica in Week 2, the Bombers have been on a roll as well, winning eight in a row, with many coming in dominant fashion. ERG ripped Lyons/Sodus 38-0 in the quarterfinals before they held off top-seeded Le Roy 22-21 last week in the semifinals at Hartwood Park. On the season the Bombers have outscored their opponents 324-146.
While Manny Sepulveda is the high-profile name on the offense for ERG, the Bombers have plenty more weapons to attack with.
Quarterback Brayden Dohse was outstanding in the win over Le Roy last week, going 12-of-16 for 158 yards. Meanwhile, Cadearrell Sneed Jr. and Michael Daniels provide an excellent one-two punch out of the backfield. Sneed Jr. had a pair of touchdowns and two-point conversions last week, while Daniels led the way with 107 yards on 13 carries.
While Le Roy shut down Sepulveda, another of the ERG athletes did the damage in the passing game as Miles Caviness had 107 yards on seven grabs.
“ER has a lot of weapons and they are spreading the ball around, we need to be disciplined in our assignments,” Cusmano said.
Daniels and senior Jeremy Blanchard have paced a defense that has given up some points but has shown the tendency to lock it down at the most important times, as it did last week against the Knights.
The winner will get Section VI winner Lackawanna in the Far West Regional final.