Addition of 8th football game proves popular

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 June 2020 at 5:32 pm

The release this past week of the new Section VI opening weekend schedule of high school football games really shows how much coaches and schools wanted that eighth game returned to the regular season schedule.

In all 29 games are now scheduled for the new season opening Labor Day weekend which is being called “Week 0”. The games come on the weekend which in previous years had been used for scrimmages.

“I’m not surprised.  In fact, if not for Covid 19 situation, I would bet we probably would have had everyone,” said Section VI Football Co-Chairman Ken Stoldt.  “The landscape of football has changed so much over the last 10-15 years.  Going back in time, coaches couldn’t be with their kids very much in the off season.  Now, if you’re not with kids doing camps and 7 on 7’s your behind so just about everyone is doing those things.  The days of showing up on Day 1 and installing your offense and defense are gone.  Everyone is now doing that in the off season at 7 on 7 tournaments etc..    Coaches will now use the first 10 days to get kids in shape and progress through the contact stages.  I think it’s a positive for NYS football.”

The additional game was made possible when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association voted last month to give schools the option to either scrimmage or play an eighth game on Labor Day weekend.

Locally four of the five Niagara-Orleans League schools which play 11 man football took advantage and added an eighth game.

The season is now scheduled to kickoff on Friday September 4 and locally Albion will visit Batavia (Section V) at 7 p.m. for a non league intersectional contest.

Then on Saturday September 5 there will be three Section VI interdivisional games involving area teams as Medina will host East Aurora at 1 p.m., Akron will entertain Lackawanna at 7 p.m. and Wilson will host Alden also at 7 p.m.

Albion will then begin Class B2 Division competition on Friday September 11 as the Purple Eagles host Depew.

That same evening Medina will host Class A2 foe Williamsville East in an interdivisional contest. The Mustangs first Class C North Division game will be a home contest against Newfane on Friday September 18.