At All High Stadium in Buffalo
Matchup with state rankings: No. 8 Orchard Park (9-1) vs. No. 12 Aquinas (7-3). When: 6 p.m. Saturday.
Snaps: Orchard Park seems to show up each year in this round with a team capable of pushing around opponents. The Quakers ran for 476 yards last week against Jamestown, another team proud of its running game. Jamestown was held to 103. Senior quarterback Ben Holmes was a receiver on last season’s state champion team, but is back at the position he played through the program.
The last two opposing offenses, including high-scoring Rush-Henrietta, scored 20 points combined against the Aquinas defense. While the Little Irish held back those opponents, the Aquinas offense put together at least one long scoring drive that seemed to give the team control of the game. How much headway will Aquinas running back Billy Lombardi and his teammates make against Orchard Park?
Matchup with state rankings: No. 2 Sweet Home (10-0) vs. No. 4 East Irondequoit Eastridge (10-0). When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Snaps: Sweet Home is the team that renewed its rivlary with Aquinas during five consecutive state quarterfinals. The winner often won the state title. This is senior Mike Torrillo’s first season as the Panthers’ quarterback, but his father is a coach. Torrillo also has small, quick running backs to work with and the Panthers know how to make Plan B work when the original fails.
A win by the Eastridge Lancers would get attention around the state, put them at another level, at least temporarily. Records were set as Iroquois scored 67 points during Eastridge’s last appearance in this quarterfinal, but that was seven years ago. This is the round where a team’s passing game begins to gain importance. Will Eastridge’s have to pass the test?
Matchup with state rankings: No. 2 Alden (10-0) vs. No. 6 East Rochester/Gananda (9-1). When: 3 p.m. Saturday.
Snaps: Maine-Endwell, the 2011 Class A state champ, is the only team ahead of Alden in the rankings. That’s how big and bad the Bulldogs have been. Win No. 242 for Section V Hall of Famer Dick Diminuco would finally push Alden into the semifinals after two losses to Hornell in the last three years. It will become clear quickly that junior quarterback Brian Stoldt knows what he’s doing. Alden’s go-to-player? Probably senior Corey Barczykowski (24 touchdowns).
East Rochester/Gananda must stand firm against the run or plan to score on each of its possessions. The Bombers may be able to hold their own against the run with lineman Ryan Fountain, linebacker Brian Delgado, lineman Jordan Trabalzi and lineman/linebacker Sam Beckenbach. East Rochester/Gananda has five defensive touchdowns.
Matchup with state rankings: No. 10 Cleveland Hill (8-2) vs. No. 1 Hornell (10-0).
When: Noon Saturday.
Snaps: This might be the only regional in which the Section V team is the favorite, without a doubt. Cleveland Hill can sting a defense with plays for big gains. The Eagles scored three touchdowns of 55 or more yards last week. And what if the Cheektowaga-based Eagles can force Hornell to throw often?
That may be easier said than done. Hornell left no doubt last week that it’s willing to keep handing the ball to Zack Bacon, even if a team knows he’s coming and is good enough to stop him. The Red Raiders defense not only is physical, but flexible to the point that some players are allowed to adjust on the field for results.
Matchup with state rankings: No. 4 Randolph (7-2) vs. No. 2 Avon (9-1).
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Snaps: Randolph began the season 1-2, then transformed into something impressive. The Cardinals shut out Maple Grove, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, last week. Avon can expect to see plenty of senior Jordan Dowiasz (24 TDs), who also is a standout defensive back.
This is a new round for the Avon Braves, who have a tough quarterback in senior TJ Crye, who also is a capable passer. Jake Martinez made Batavia Notre Dame pay for too much attention for Crye. The Braves did OK against an effective ground game last week. Randolph junior quarterback Mitch Maycock can hurt defenses with play-action passes, a fake handoff, followed by a throw downfield.