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Albion has rich history at sectional finals

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 6 November 2019 at 11:30 am

Contributed Photo – Mike Hughson picks up yardage for Albion during the Purple Eagles 15-8 win over Salamanca in the 1987 championship game at then Rich Stadium, now New Era Field.

When Albion takes to the New Era Field turf late Friday afternoon to face WNY Maritime it will mark the Purple Eagles 11th championship game appearance at the stadium in the 40 year history of the Section VI football playoffs.

The Purple Eagles long history at the stadium began with the inaugural sectionals in 1979 when Albion rallied to nip Springville 13-12. Dan Monacelli caught a 78 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff Klips in the third quarter and then kicked the extra point for the margin of victory. Monacelli then locked up the narrow win with a late game interception.

Albion went on to claim sectional championships three more times over the next eight years defeating Frewsburg 49-14 in 1981, Silver Creek 35-6 in 1983 and Salamanca 15-8 in 1987.

In the romp over Frewsburg sophomore quarterback Ken Burke threw four touchdown passes including three to David Austin and one to Ken McNeil. McNeil also ran for two touchdowns and Austin one.

Interestingly the Frewsburg lineup included future Penn St. and Buffalo Bills star linebacker Shane Conlan.

In the victory over Silver Creek now senior quarterback Ken Burke had another big day again throwing for four touchdown passes including two to Dan Bartlett and one each to Jason Zicari and Ron Klatt. He also ran for one TD.

Albion then had a narrow win over Salamanca. Quarterback Bill Mitchell completed a 38 yard touchdown pass to Ray Callicutt and Kurt Jaeger added the extra point kick in the first quarter. The Purple Eagles got what proved to be the game winning score in the fourth quarter on an 8 yard touchdown run by Bray Nauden and a two-point conversion pass from Mitchell to Mike Hughson.

Albion’s title game win streak was then ended in 1988 by rival Medina as the Mustangs claimed a narrow 14-7 win on a pair of touchdown runs by Jim Snyder. Chris Rogers scored the Purple Eagles touchdown.

The 1990’s saw Albion drop narrow decisions in three trips to the stadium losing 27-26 to Williamsville South in 1990, 21-12 to Lackawanna in 1993 and 28-21 to Springville in 1996.

Deadlocked at 14-14, Will South outscored Albion 13-12 in the decisive fourth quarter to claim the slender win. Albion quarterback Brad Pritchard ran for one touchdown and passed to Ray Callicutt for another. Callicutt also ran for a TD and caught a pass from Lee Froman for another.

Lackawanna built up a 21-6 first half lead to key the ’93 win over Albion. The Purple Eagles touchdowns came on a run by Ocie Bennett and a pass from quarterback Kevin Babcock to Brent Leddon.

Against Springville, Albion rallied for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter but the comeback bid fell just short. Quarterback Peter Smith ran for two touchdowns and passed to Shawn Callicutt for another for the Purple Eagles.

Interestingly, it took a wild 35-28 overtime semifinal win over Lackawanna to earn Albion a trip to the finals. Demetrius Bennett ran for the winning TD in overtime.  Bennett ran for a total of three scores and Smith passed to Callicutt for two more.

The dawn of the new century saw Albion drop a 41-19 decision to Lackawanna in 2000. Brandon Munson scored two touchdowns for the Purple Eagles, the first coming on an 83 yard kickoff return in the opening quarter. Quarterback Tony Mayes ran for the other TD.

Albion’s last stadium appearance in 2002 saw the Purple Eagles drop a narrow 14-6 decision to Olean.  Bubba Newsome scored Albion’s lone touchdown.

The Purple Eagles will now end that 17 year drought between stadium appearances and will also look to end that 32 year title game victory drought when they face Maritime at 5 p.m. Friday in the Class B championship game.

Lady Raiders repeat as Section VI Class C field hockey champions with win over Eden

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 November 2019 at 7:04 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Barker captains Ciara Gregoire, Katrina Clare and Rachel Hurtgam hold the championship trophy high moments after the Lady Raiders downed Eden 4-0 in the Section VI Class C field hockey championship game late this afternoon on the new blue turf field at Alden.

Making a successful title defense, top seeded Barker pulled away in the second half to blank No. 6 Eden 4-0 in the Section VI Class C field hockey championship game this afternoon on the new blue turf field at Alden.

Rachel Hurtgam and Katrina Clare both scored a pair of goals to spearhead the offense for Barker which also bested Eden 2-1 in last year’s title contest.

The sectional championship is the Lady Raiders 14th  in the last 18 years.

“We possessed the ball pretty well and I think the experience we got last year is helping us quite a bit,” said Barker Coach Jeff Costello.

The victory propels the Lady Raiders into the Class C Far West Regional against Section V representative East Rochester at 11 a.m. Saturday at Williamsville North.

The Regional will also be a rematch as Barker nipped East Rochester 4-3 in overtime last year.

Unable to capitalize on eight penalty corner opportunities in the first half Barker held a slender 1-0 lead at the break as Hurtgam scored on a shot from close range off an assist from Clare with just 2:11 remaining.

Rachel Hurtgam scores the first of her two goals, a tally which gave Barker a 1-0 half-time lead. The Eden goalie is Cecelia Karpinski.

Eden did mount a good scoring threat just before the half off two corner opportunities but couldn’t capitalize as Barker goalie Courtney Hillman came up with a big save.

Eden then put together it’s only other big scoring threat early in the second half but again could not take advantage off three more corner chances as Hillman came up with another key save.

Barker finally opened up a little breathing room at 2-0 as Hurtgam scored her 11th goal of the season with 18:53 remaining off an assist from Madison Gancasz.

The Lady Raiders then closed out the win with a flurry as Clare scored with 11:14 remaining and again with only 4 seconds to go which was her team leading 18th goal of the season.

The shutout was the third in as many sectional games for the Lady Raiders which  blanked No. 8 Newfane 6-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Roy-Hart 2-0 in the semifinals.

Eden advanced by downing No. 3 Akron 1-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 7 Holland 2-1 in the semis.

Barker will take a 16-3 overall record into the regionals.

(Click here to see Katrina Clare score Barker’s 4th goal with 4 seconds left in the game.)

(Click here to see the Barker fans cheer on the team.)

(Click here to see Barker celebrate at the end of the game.)

(Click here to see Barker receive their Sectional patches.)

Barker’s Katria Clare, at left, who scored a pair of goals, here works to gain control of the ball against Eden’s Casey Wach.

Barker’s Serena Harris, at right,  brings the ball up field as Emma Tambacas defends for Eden.

Purple Eagles take part in Media Day at New Era Field in preparation for sectional final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 November 2019 at 1:11 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s quintet of, from left, Thomas Furmanski, Michael DiCureia, Brillance Johnson, Tyray White and Cody Wilson get together just before the start of this morning’s Media Day program at New Era Field where the Purple Eagles will face WNY Maritime for the Section VI Class B championship at 5 p.m. Friday.

Come Friday Albion will be in the Western New York football spotlight as the Purple Eagles take on WNY Maritime for the Section VI Class B championship at New Era Field, the home of the Buffalo Bills.

This morning five senior members of the Albion squad joined with representatives of the other nine competing teams for the annual Media Day program at New Era Field in preparation for the weekend’s sectional championships.

Albion, which will face Maritime at 5 p.m. Friday, was represented by quarterback Thomas Furmanski, running backs Brillance Johnson and Tyray While and linemen Michael DiCureia and Cody Wilson.

“It will be fun to go out there as a team and compete,” said Furmanski. “I’m just trying to treat this like a regular season game. You don’t want to get too excited or hyped up.”

Interestingly Furmanski, along with some of the other members of the Albion squad, have played on the stadium’s turf once before during their Albion youth football days at the half-time of a Bills game.

“It’s an exciting moment for me,” said White of Albion’s first trip to the stadium in nearly two full decades.

DiCureia agreed saying, “I’m just excited and hope to go out and compete well.”

“I’m definitely excited for our team and for my family and friends. It’s big for them,” added Johnson.

“It’s been a while since Albion has won here so we’ll try to do it this year,” said Wilson. “I’m just excited for it.”

In fact, it was been 32 years since Albion last captured a section title at the stadium when the Purple Eagles downed Salamanca 15-8 in 1987. And it’s been 17 years since the Purple Eagles last appearance at the stadium in 2002.

Orleans Hub has four videos from Media Day. Click here to see Albion players walk up the tunnel from the field.

(Click here to see Ken Stoldt, head of Section 6 football, give a speech to the teams representatives.)

(Click here to see the what the visitor’s locker room looks like at New Era Field.)

(Click here to see some of the Albion players in a suite, looking out on the football field.)

The Purple Eagles quintet took a few minutes to test out the stadium’s turf. In front are Wilson and DiCureia. In back are Johnson, Furmanski and White.

Legion tops Hearts to extend Euchre lead

Contributed Story Posted 5 November 2019 at 7:14 am

Legion downed Sacred Heart 39-31 Monday to extend its Medina Euchre League to 11 points.

JR Wilson bested Vets Club 41-29 in the other match.

Legion is now 192-158, Sacred Heart 181-169, JR Wilson 176-174 and Vets Club 151-199.

Legion will next visit Sacred Heart in a rematch on November 11 while JR Wilson hosts Vets Club.

Akron spikers win sectional semifinal

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 November 2019 at 9:08 pm

Top seeded Akron defeated No. 5 Fredonia 25-16, 25-20, 25-15 in the semifinal round of the Section VI Class C1 volleyball playoffs this evening.

Madison Kaczmerak had 9 kills and 7 blocks, Elsie Logan 3 kills and 6 aces and Jesse Jonathan 3 kills and 17 assists for the Lady Tigers.

Akron will now face No. 2 seed Eden in the C1 finals on Wednesday. Eden downed No. 6 Southwestern 25-10, 25-18, 25-12 in the other semi.

Barker will face Eden Tuesday in rematch for Section VI Class C field hockey title

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 November 2019 at 10:10 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Barker’s Lena Fazzolari and her Lady Raider teammates will face Eden for the Section VI Class C field hockey title on Tuesday at Alden.

It will be a rematch of last year’s title contest when top seeded Barker faces No. 6 Eden for the Section VI Class C field hockey championship at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Alden.

Barker edged Eden 2-1 in last year’s final as the Lady Raiders claimed the sectional crown for the 13th time in the last 17 years.

Barker has advanced be blanking No. 8 Newfane 6-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Roy-Hart 2-0 in the semifinals.

Eden earned a spot in the title contest by downing No. 3 Akron 1-0 in the quarters and No. 7 Holland 2-1 in the semis.

Eden has been sparked offensively by sophomore Lydia Kobie who has 18 goals and 6 assists, junior Emma Cooper with 10 assists and seniors Rachel Wach and Sabrina Battleson both with 6 goals.

Barker’s attack has been led by senior Katrina Clare with 16 goals and 16 assists and Ciara Gregoire with 15 goals. Senior Rachel Hurtgam and sophomore Ginger Alexander both have 9 goals, senior Emily Wagner 6, juniors Natalie Bruning, Madison Gancasz and Ella Gooding 4 each and senior Serena Harris 3. Harris also has 9 assists and Hurtgam 7.

The victor will advance to the Far West Regional on Saturday at Williamsville North against Section V representative East Rochester.

Thunderwolves win to cap 3-0 road trip

Contributed Story Posted 4 November 2019 at 9:50 am

The Niagara County Community College women’s basketball team completed a season opening 3-0 road trip by defeating Springfield Tech 96-58 on Sunday.

Newfane graduate Paige Emborsky led the Thunderwolves with 20 points.

Albion grads Caitlynn Snook and Sierra Newton each scored 4 points.

Medina grad scores winning TD for Brockport

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 November 2019 at 8:03 pm

Contributed Photo – Jason Hellwig

Medina High graduate and SUNY Brockport senior quarterback Jason Hellwig scored the game winning touchdown in the Golden Eagles come-from-behind 32-26 overtime win over Cortland Saturday.

Hellwig scored the game winning touchdown on an 11 yard run in the first overtime period for the Golden Eagles which rallied from as much as a 23-0 deficit.

With the victory defending champion Brockport improves to 4-0 in the Empire 8 Conference and 7-1 overall.

On the season Hellwig has rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown and passed for 496 yards and a touchdown.

Hellwig is majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Coaching.

Hawks quartet earns All-Star football honors

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 3 November 2019 at 3:16 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Holley’s Jacob Affronti, left, and Jacob Norman have earned All-Star honors.

Four Holley players have been named to the Section V 8 Man Football Division All-Star team.

The Hawks are represented by senior quarterback/linebacker Jacob Norman, junior running back Jacob Affronti, senior wide receiver/defensive back Jamel Hildreth and junior offensive/defensive lineman Triston McFadden.

Norman ran for 5 touchdowns and passed for another on offense. On defense, he made 67 tackles and had 4 sacks, 8 tackles for losses, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

Affronti rushed for 840 yards and 10 touchdowns. He closed out the season with a big 242 yards rushing, 4 TD effort in the Hawks win over Maple Grove Saturday.

Hildreth made 29 tackles and had 1 punt return for a touchdown and 1 interception return for a TD. He also had 2 rushing touchdowns.

McFadden was in on 66 tackles including 8 for losses and registered 5 sacks. He made 3 sacks in the Hawks win over the Red Dragons Saturday.

Holley finished the season at 3-3 tying Maple Grove and Frewsburg for third place. However, the Hawks missed out on a spot in the playoffs losing a coin flip to Frewsburg. The semifinals of the playoffs next weekend will have Frewburg at Oakfield-Alabama/Elba (6-0) and Maple Grove at Pembroke (5-1).

Triston McFadden, left, and Jamel Hildreth also represent the Hawks on the All-Star team

Local players help NCCC to two opening wins

Contributed Story Posted 2 November 2019 at 9:59 pm

Getting good offensive contributions from a trio of local players, the Niagara Community College women’s basketball team is off to a 2-0 start to the season after defeating SUNY Adirondack 106-28 Friday and Davis-Word of Life 119-19 today.

Newfane graduate Paige Emborsky scored 18 to lead NCCC in the opener.

Albion grads Caitlynn Snook had 12 points and 5 rebounds and Sierra Newton 10 points and 5 rebounds in today’s win.

NCCC was led offensively today by Alaina Forbes with 25 points and Molly Mahony 14.