Purple Eagles, Mustangs set to resume storied gridiron rivalry

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Plenty on the line in Friday contest at Vets Park

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Quarterbacks Jason Hellwig of Medina and Kyle Smith of Albion will lead their teams into Friday’s rivalry contest at Vets Park with a sectional playoff berth on the line.

It’s becoming a familiar scenario as for the fourth time in the last five years not only will local bragging rights and the “Doc’s Rock” trophy be at stake but also a possible sectional playoff berth when Albion and Medina renew their century plus long football rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday at Vets Park.

The Purple Eagles and Mustangs which enter the contest with identical 3-2 B North Division (4-2 overall) records, are both seeking a win to clam third place in the B North Div. and possibly one of the final two Section VI Class B playoff spots.

With Class B divided into three divisions this season the top two finishers in each division will qualify for the sectionals. The remaining two spots in the eight team playoff field will go to the two third place teams with the best record, or if teams have the same record, the best point differential.

“That’s what’s great about a rivalry like this,” said Medina Coach Eric Valley. “Not only is it for the Doc’s Rock trophy and bragging rights but it often has that added incentive of battling for a sectional berth.”

“It’s a very cool game to coach in” said Albion Coach Gary Parisi of the rivalry’s rich tradition.

Last year Medina emerged with a wild 38-31 victory to gain a sectional berth.

The Mustangs have won four of the last five meetings but the Purple Eagles, who took 17 of 19 encounters prior to that from 1989-2007, hold a commanding 64-47-5 advantage in the now 117 year old series which began in 1898. The rivalry is the seventh longest in the state tied with that between Buffalo St. Joe’s and Buffalo Nichols.

“Albion had a good run for quite a while but its definitely become a sea-saw battle the last 10 years,” said Valley.

“I have the utmost respect for Coach Valley and what he has done at Medina. He does a great job,” said Parisi. “The Medina kids play very hard and they are very talented. You can tell they are well coached.”

In B North action this year the Purple Eagles and Mustangs have both defeated the same teams (Barker/Roy-Hart, Lew-Port and Newfane) and have both lost to the same teams, undefeated (5-0) champion Bennett and runner-up (4-1) Burgard.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – The Purple Eagles and Mustangs will also be battling for the “Doc’s Rock” trophy which honors the memory of Larry Decker who coached and taught at both Medina and Albion.

Junior quarterback Kyle Smith, who has passed for 7 touchdowns and run for 4 more, leads the Albion attack.

Trey Hart, who has caught 4 of those touchdown passes, also has two rushing touchdowns and another on a punt return. Manny Thompson also has four rushing TD’s and another on an interception while Des Blackmon has two receiving touchdowns as well as one rushing and one on an interception.

Senior quarterback Jason Hellwig, who has passed for 8 touchdowns and rushed for two more, leads an equally diverse Mustangs attack.

Dylan Lewis, who had 23 receptions for 337 yards, has caught 3 TD passes as has Brandon Schoolcraft. Brett Pecoraro, who leads the Mustngs in rushing with 805 yards, has rushed for 8 touchdowns and Devin Joy 6.

“It’s been very similar the way our seasons have both gone and I think we match up real well with them,” said Valley. “We know we’ve got to push and grind and win the physical battle.”

The Mustangs and Purple Eagles will also be keeping an eye on two other Class B rivalry contests Friday that could have an impact on the final playoff spots including Maryvale vs. Cheektowaga in the B Central Division and Dunkirk vs. Fredonia in the B South Division.

Also on Friday in the B North Division, Barker/Roy-Hart will face Burgard at All High Stadium.

On Saturday, Holley will close out the Genesee Region League season as the Hawks host Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m.

Football Standings

B North Division: Bennett 5-0, 6-0; Burgard 4-1, 5-1; Albion 3-2, 4-2; Medina 3-2, 4-2; Lew-Port 2-4, 2-4; Barker/Roy-Hart 1-4, 2-4; Newfane 0-5, 1-5

B Central Division: Cheektowaga 4-0, 5-1; Maryvale 3-1, 5-1; Depew 4-1, 5-1; Alden 1-3, 2-4; Amherst 1-3, 1-5; Tonawanda 0-5, 1-5

B South Division: East Aurora 4-1, 4-2; Fredonia 4-1, 4-2; Dunkirk 3-2, 4-2; Olean 3-2, 4-2; Springville 3-3, 3-3; Pioneer 1-4, 2-4; Eden 0-5, 0-6

Genesee Region League: Attica 5-0, 6-0; Alexander 4-1, 4-2; Elba/Byron-Bergen 3-2, 4-2; Oakfield-Alabama 3-2, 3-3; Notre Dame 2-3, 3-3; Holley 1-4, 1-5; Pembroke 0-6, 0-6