Medina gridders facing big challenge at No. 1 Bennett in Class B quarterfinals
Having earned a spot in the sectionals for the second straight year and the third time in the last five seasons, No. 8 seed Medina will visit undefeated (7-0) No.1 seed Bennett in the Class B quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Buffalo’s All-High Stadium.
The contest will be a rematch of a week 2 regular season game which saw Bennett romp past Medina 46-14 in route to posting a perfect 6-0 B North Division championship campaign.
“They are a very good, very talented, very big and very athletic team but I definitely think we are a better team than we were in week two. We have everyone healthy now,” said Medina Coach Eric Valley.
The Mustangs rebounded from that setback to win three of their last four B North contests, including a regular season ending 46-30 victory over rival Albion, to earn a sectional berth.
“It’s a great opportunity anytime you get into the sectionals,” said Valley. “We’re excited about the opportunity.”
Medina, which brings a 5-2 record into the sectionals, is led offensively by senior quarterback Jason Hellwig who as completed 78 of 133 passes for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hellwig, who is already the Mustangs career TD passing leader with 40, has 4 scoring passes to Brandon Schoolcraft, 3 to Dylan Lewis, 2 to Brett Pecoraro and 1 each to Ty Hrovat and Tom Follman.
Pecoraro leads Medina in rushing with 949 yards and 9 touchdowns as Devin Joy has 373 yards and 7 TDs.
Defensively, the Mustangs have been led by Follman with 48 tackles, Charles Beach 46, Pecoraro and Eric Neace 44, and Tyler Howard 37. Pecoraro also has 9.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries, Beach 3.5 sacks, Joy 3 fumble recoveries and Trevor Bentley 2.
“We are going to have to try and match them physically,” said Valley. “And we’re going to have to eliminate mistakes and breakdowns.”
The other Class B quarterfinal match ups will have No. 7 Maryvale at No. 2 East Aurora, No. 6 Depew at No. 3 Cheektowaga and No. 5 Fredonia at No. 4 Burgard.
This will mark the 11th year that Medina has qualified for the sectionals since the playoffs began in 1979.
Medina’s playoff history:
1980 – Finals : Medina 20, Silver Creek 14
1982 – Finals: Medina 26, Cassadaga Valley 7
1987 – Semifinals: Salamanca 29, Medina 7
1988 – Semifinals: Medina 18, Cheektowaga
– Finals: Medina 14, Albion 7
1997 – Semifinals: Springville 33, Medina 0
1999 – Semifinals: Lackawanna 38, Medina 8
2005 – Semifinals: Southwestern 27, Medina 0
2007 – Semifinals: East Aurora 29, Medina 25
2010 – Quarterfinals: Pioneer 24, Medina 16
2013 – Quarterfinals: Alden 25, Medina 0