Playoff berth on the line as Medina, Albion renew gridiron rivalry
One of the longest in the state, it’s a football rivalry that dates back over 100 years but when but when Medina and Albion meet for the 116th time Friday night (7:30) at Albion’s Spierdowis Field more than just local bragging rights will be at stake as a berth in the up coming Section VI Class B playoffs will also be on the line.
Albion, which holds a 64-46-5 lead in the series which dates back to 1898, brings a 3-2 B North record into the regular season ending contest while Medina is at 2-3.
Albion’s road to earning that coveted sectional berth is simple – win.
Medina’s road is a little more complicated. The Mustangs must not only win, to pull even with Albion at 3-3 in the B North standings, but win by at least a touchdown in order to edge out the Purple Eagles by the tie breaking point differential against common opponents up to a maximum of 20 points per game.
Both teams earned the maximum 20 points in defeating Maryvale and both lost the maximum of 20 in losing to Burgard. The only other common opponent was Lew-Port which Albion defeated by eight and Medina lost to by one leaving the Mustangs needing at least a touchdown win Friday to gain a sectional spot.
“It’s a huge game for both teams,” Medina coach Eric Valley said “Besides bragging rights there’s the sectional berth.”
“Both teams have a real vested interest in this one,” agreed Albion coach Tony Osburn. “Our kids know if they win we’re in so we have to go out and execute.”
Albion comes into the game looking to keep the momentum from a three game winning streak while Medina comes in looking to snap a three game losing streak.
“Our focus is just on Albion. We’re putting the last couple of weeks behind us,” Valley said. “Albion has hit their stride of late winning three in a row so we have to match their intensity.”
Quarterback John Warne, who has thrown five touchdown passes (three to Trey Hart and two to Des Blackmon), leads the Albion offense whose ground attack is spearheaded by Ed Wolfe who has rushed for eight touchdowns.
Leading the Medina offense is quarterback Jason Hellwig who has thrown 11 touchdown passes, including four to Dylan Lewis, two to Kyle Barna and Ben McPherson and one each to Dan Brown, Gage Grabowski and Ty Hrovat. Barna and Brown, who have both scored a total of eight touchdowns, key the Mustangs ground attack.
“We’ve got to key on those two great athletes,” Osburn said of Barna and Brown. “We’ll have our hands full with them up front but our kids are excited and looking forward to playing defense against them.”
Medina won last year’s meeting 56-34 at Vets Park. The two teams in fact have traded home field victories the last six years. In fact the last road team to score a win in the series was Albion in 2006 when the Purple Eagles bested the Mustangs 33-20 at Vets Park.
The teams are also playing for the Doc’s Rock trophy which is given annually to the victor in memory of Larry “Doc” Decker who taught and coached and taught at both Medina and Albion.
The rest of the B North schedule has Cheektowaga, which locked up the title last week with a last minute 12-8 win over Burgard, facing rival Maryvale; Bennett visits Barker-Roy-Hart Saturday at Barker and Lew-Port visits Amherst Friday. Burgard takes on Buffalo foe East in an interdivisional contest.
In the Genesee Region League, Holley hosts Oakfield-Alabama at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Cheektowaga 5-0, 5-1; Burgard 5-1, 5-1; Albion 3-2, 4-2; Bennett 3-2, 3-3; Lew-Port 2-3, 3-3; Medina 2-3, 3-3; Amherst 2-3, 2-4; Maryvale 1-4, 1-5; Barker/Roy-Hart 0-5, 1-5.
Notre Dame 5-0, 6-0; Alexander 4-1, 5-1; Attica 4-1, 5-1; Oakfield-Alabama 2-3, 3-3; Elba/Byron-Bergen 2-4, 2-4; Pembroe 1-4, 2-4; Holley 0-5, 0-6.