Greece Athena won a Section V football title for the first time in 35 years last week. The Trojans enter Friday’s state quarterfinal matchup against Buffalo Bennett unbeaten.
Section V vs. Section VI Football
State regional round
at New Era Field
Matchup and when: Greece Athena (10-0) vs. Buffalo Bennett (8-2), 8 p.m.
State rankings: No. 4 Athena Trojans, No. 9 Bennett Tigers.
Playbook: The Tigers, who were moved up from Class B this season, also have students from other schools in the city of Buffalo. There are some sentimental feelings around the team, given the Bennett school’s uncertain future. Isaiah McDuffie is Bennett’s dominant player. A running back in Bennett’s run-heavy offense, his future may be as a linebacker at Boston College. The Tigers may have the best set of linebackers in the Buffalo-region.
It would be a shock if the Tigers do anything but have those players focus on Athena quarterback Tavon Granison as their primary responsibility. Section V’s playoffs have had plenty of Granison highlights (15 touchdowns), as a runner and passer, but the Trojans almost certainly will need receiver Kenny Speed to stay on his string of strong performances or have someone else start one. Athena’s defensive line, including senior ends, 6-foot-4 Kyle Benham and 6-3 Israel Dudley, may hold the key against Bennett’s offense.