2020 Week S5 (New York)

2020 Week S5 (New York)

Before this spring season hadn’t yet started, I had planned for as many weekends as possible in New York. Section 6, to be specific. But, Virginia, Maryland, and Philadelphia area games started first.

And though I was going to be in New York for the opening weekend, the weird Philadelphia schedule made the decision so easy. Philadelphia had moved almost all of their games to Thursday. With one game on Wednesday and another on Monday, of all days.

Though some sections of the NYSPHSAA had started already, Section 6 had waited until the first weekend of April. A little refresher for those new to New York football.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association does not cover the entire state, and does also include some, but not all, private schools in the state. The NYSPHSAA is split into 11 Sections. Sections 6, 5, 3, and 4 are the western half of ‘upstate’ New York. Sections 8 and 11 make up the two counties of non-NYC Long Island. Nassau County is 8, and Suffolk County is 11. Sections 8 and 11 are members, but do not participate in the state tournament in football. Instead, playing for Long Island Championships.

The east half of Upstate New York, is Section 1, 9, 2, 7 and 10. 7 and 10 are rather small, and ‘combine’ to form one fourth of the eastern playoffs. Each section operates independently of each other. Their playoff format is to produce champions to start in the state quarterfinals. The Public School Athletic League, which is the NYC schools, aren’t members. And neither are the private schools of Buffalo (the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association) or NYC area (New York Catholic High School Football League). Who then play a cross-state championship game.

Section 6 goes to just east of Buffalo, and follows a rough line north/south from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania.

Most of the games were scheduled for either Thursday or Saturday in Week 1. Only 3 were originally set for Friday. Two games in Buffalo, and one game in Jamestown.

Thursday was easy, an invite to cover a game in Salamanca, who were reopening their recently renovated Veterans Memorial Park, were hosting Maple Grove. A team that had just returned from playing 8-man back to 11-man.

So, it was an easy 3 hour drive from home on Thursday afternoon to Salamanca. Where the snow started as soon as I reached Edinboro. It didn’t really get bad until somewhere near Chautauqua Lake, where my washer fluid was being used constantly due to the road grime mixed with whatever brine or salt mixture was on the roads.

I did get to Salamanca a bit later than I had wanted. But, got a parking spot at the school and walked the block over the stadium.

Veterans Memorial Park is a great venue. Recently renovated, it’s a football/baseball amalgamation. The football field sits east/west across the top of the outfield of the baseball field. Though there is no overlap unlike some stadiums may have. The field was entirely turfed, with all the surroundings upgraded. The scoreboard sits to the southeast corner of the endzone, with a video board.

Maple Grove had been one of the top teams in New York’s Class D at one point. Especially during their time where they co-oped with Chautauqua Lake, forming the Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake Thunder Dragons. However, after that co-op dissolved, Maple Grove experienced particiation issues as a small Class D school and saw their success struggle as well. And now, their first game back playing 11-man.

#105 Salamanca v. Maple Grove

The snow was the biggest factor in this game. Though the two teams were mismatched. Salamanca’s run-heavy offense in the snow dicing up the Red Dragons defense, the snow was the game changer. After only leading 8-0 after 1, the Warriors of Salamanca exploded in the blizzard for three more touchdowns. At least two inches of snow accumulated on the field during the game.

In the second half, though the snow settled, the strong wind and biting cold 26F temperatures kept things uncomfortable to both sides. Salamanca added three more touchdowns, while Maple Grove got their first 11-man touchdown late in the game. Salamanca 52, Maple Grove 6.

After the game it was a short drive to Falconer, where I stopped at the Quality Inn by the high school. This was not the first time here, but one not a bad hotel. It’s not that great, though, considering the price of over $70 a night.

I finished up photos and went to lunch in town. Settling on “Belle-View East”.

I got the Beef on Weck, which was a great sandwich with au Ju and horseradish sauce. Also got some buffalo wings. Which were decent, but a little overcooked. Also, didn’t eat them fast enough when they first came out so that did affect them some. Overall, a definite stop and their dinner menu after 3 looked phenomenal.

Met up with Dave to head over to the Jamestown game at 7pm. Jamestown’s Strider Field is considered one of the best in Section 6. Especially the southern tier. And it definitely lives up to the billing. The facade facing the parking lot dominates the view. Proudly proclaiming state and sectional titles. As well as sections for a long time, successful coach as well as note for the marching band participating in large, nationally known parades.

The stadium isn’t located at the high school. Instead, located at what is the middle school, south of town. After getting in, it was a beautiful stadium and view of the surroundings. Wooded, with a turf field and 8-lane track. The stadium was all metal. And luckily the wind was a lot less, though not by much, compared to the night before in Salamanca. And, with the temperature hovering in the low 40s, the snow, if any, in Jamestown was no more. For the weekend, this was the first and only new team to my list. Hamburg was the 1,280th different team I’ve seen in person.

#106 Jamestown v. Hamburg

Unfortunately, this game looked like a mismatch from the first drive. Hamburg’s offensive line struggled mightily and their quarterback paid the price for it. Constantly on the run, and it started to snowball for the Bulldogs.

Jamestown got on the board three times in the first. With the female kicker making all three kicks. Including the lucky bounces off the upright and once caroming off the top of the crossbar and over. After that first quarter, it was just a matter how how badly the score would be in favor of the Red Raiders.

The clock did run sometimes in the second half when it shouldn’t, so I’m not quite sure what rules they were using. Jamestown 47, Hamburg 6.

Back to the hotel after breezing through Jamestown. The next morning, we stopped at Phil-N-Cindy’s Lunch, a small strip mall enclave just inside the city limits of Jamestown.

It was busy, though with alternating booths empty. The food was great. Though, the eggs were a little less done for my liking. Cooked longer at a lower heat. But, the home fries, bacon, and rye toast were on point.

Then, it was a quick drive to Clymer for an afternoon contest. CSP is a co-op of three schools. Clymer, Sherman, and Panama. Also probably my favorite team in New York. They’re from three small towns in southwestern New York. With Clymer being just ten miles north of Corry, Pennsylvania.

I’ve seen CSP play 5 times previously. Once at home in Panama, once at Silver Creek/Forestville, twice at what is now Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park in the Section 6 Finals, and once in the state finals in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.

The school splits their hosting duties equally between the three schools. Only Panama has what could be described as a ‘stadium’. While Clymer and Sherman, which are, combined, about half the size of Panama, have fields with small bleachers set up though, as I see across the upper Midwest, many fans just simply stand around the field to watch the game.

Springville is, also, an interesting naming convention. Technically, it’s a co-op with West Valley. Though, hit or miss, not every co-op is advertised as such when it comes to names. CSP, obviously is a 1/3-1/3-1/3 co-op where the joint schools are equals in the arrangement. Others, such as Silver Creek/Forestville, the one does all the hosting and includes the name. Springville, though, doesn’t. And it’s more a situation with Springville’s actual name.

It’s the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District. The high school is Springville-Griffith Institute. The ‘Packers/Bulldogs G’ on the helmet may seem out of place when, for sporting purposes, the team just goes by Springville. Blazoned across the chest of their uniforms. They’re also LSu colors. Bright yellow and purple.

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

Now, Clymer’s field doesn’t have an actual name. Though, for me, in the absense of something official, it becomes “(name of town) Field” for a single school town. Because, technically, it is a field, in that town, so that is an apt descriptor of where the game is being played.

#107 Clymer/Sherman/Panama v. Springville Griffith

Now, CSP was originally scheduled to host Allegany-Limestone. However, due to player safety, they had decided to cancel. Though, they had the bare minimum of players to play the game, many of their starters/seniors were forced to sit due to not having enough mandatory practice time. Springville, though a mismatch for the two-time defending state champions, stepped up to have a game rather than a bye week.

And they started with a bang. Two turnovers by CSP, both forced fumbles, kept the game scoreless. Until a screen pass read perfectly was stepped in front of and returned for a TD by Owen Gratto.

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

After that, the momentum continued and the second quarter was all CSP. 33-0 at the half. Including one errant punt snap that resulted in a safety. The second half was a bit slower paced, as the result wasn’t in doubt. And both teams were going through the motions. Wanting to get some work in, without really risking much either. First game of the season with a little rust, and a game no longer in doubt. No need to run up the score, or to be heated that you were done. Both teams finished the game in good spirits mostly, just happy to be back on the field. Even in April in an abbreviated season. CSP 46, Springville 0.

After the game, we were heading to Jamestown again. This time the western side near Chautauqua Mall for the Southwestern game. But, had plenty of time to kill. So, instead of backtracking the way we had driven to Clymer, we headed up to Sherman to show my friend the field/school in Sherman.

And got the idea for this tweet:

We stopped at Davidson’s by the mall. A very busy restaurant for the restrictions. Had the fish fry. The coleslaw was a bit too vinegary for my liking. The fish though, was phenomenal. Also, apparently the Reuben was good as well.

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

Then, it was up behind the Wegman’s to the high school. Southwestern is located on a hilltop behind the store, though barely the roof is visible, with a sliver of Chautauqua Lake in the distance. Though, obscured by fencing from the field.

#108 Southwestern v. Fredonia

This was, finally, going to be the best game of the weekend. I knew going in that several of the games were going to be one-sided and/or over quickly. But, Fredonia had the talent to make a game of it against Southwestern. A defending state runner-up. Fredonia had a quarterback that looked capable stepping up against the defense.

And at the start, Fredonia was taking it to them. A TD run by said quarterback, forcing Southwestern to take a field goal. But, after going up 10-6 on a TD, it happened. A turnover, an interception, got it to 17-6. Then 24-6 after Fredonia was stopped on 4th down, a pass deep that could’ve been intercepted near the goal line, instead brought back to the 22. And a one-play 78 yard drive, all on one pass blew it open. 24-6 with 26 seconds left.

And the second half was just grinding out the time for the Trojans win. Southwestern, 31-12.

Photos of the Week

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

2020 HSF Wk S5 New York

Next Week

I had originally planned for games in New York. But, with many schools on spring break, getting ahold of schools was a bit of a pain and there were a lot of options to cover in Philadelphia. Plus, no hotel costs heading that way. So, Philadelphia it is.

Friday, April 9
3pm Roxborough v. Kensington
7pm Simon Gratz v. John Bartram

Saturday, April 10
1pm Chester v. Academy Park
7pm Imhotep Charter v. West Catholic

Already, there was one change. Interboro’s home game against Chichester was cancelled. So, I got bumped down further south to Chester for their afternoon game against Academy Park.

I’ll have four new stadiums to my list. And three new teams: Gratz, Bartram, and Chester. I’ve seen Roxborough and Kensington this spring. I saw Imhotep Charter and West Catholic in state championships first. I also saw Academy Park in a state semifinal a few years ago.

2020 Statistics

108 Games
207 Teams
74 Stadiums
15 States

116 New Teams
64 New Stadiums

1,280 different teams
398 different stadiums

1,146 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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