WNY Athletics

Maritime runs over Iroquois to repeat as Class B champs

When Iroquois and Western New York Maritime/Health Sciences met in the Section VI Class B title game this past Spring, a thrilling overtime battle saw the Falcons pull out a 26-20 win, and on Saturday afternoon, the Falcons and Chiefs met once again vying the Class B championship.

The result was the same, but this time around, Maritime/Health Sciences left no doubt.

Four touchdowns and 272 rushing yards from Damien Littleton led the Falcons to a 62-12 win over Iroquois, as Maritime/Health Sciences claimed their third straight title at Highmark Stadium on Saturday.

On a wet, snow-covered surface, the powerful Maritime/Health Sciences rushing attack thrived, finishing with 497 total yards, all on the ground.

“To be a championship team, you have to effectively run the ball,” Maritime/Health Sciences coach Tyree Parker said. “We take pride in our running game … Damien and Braylen [Boyd] are probably the best running back duo in the city.”

The Falcons wasted no time getting on the board, as Littleton cut to the outside and scored from 40 yards out on their first drive of the game, just under three minutes in to make it 8-0. A 34-yard scamper from Braylen Boyd on their next drive made it 16-0 after the first quarter.

Littleton’s second score came through a 40-yard run halfway through the second stanza, and after Zyke Taylor intercepted Iroquois quarterback Trey Kleitz, the Falcons would capitalize on the first play of their ensuing drive, as Littleton ran it in from 25 yards out and made it 30-0 at halftime.

“It was very important [to get out to a quick start],” Littleton said. “Last year, we were up 26 last year and they came back and almost beat us … we just kept our foot on the gas.”

Littleton and Boyd, who ended the day with 115 yards, tallied their fourth and second touchdowns, respectively, in the third quarter that gave the Falcons a 46-0 lead late in the frame. Addision Copeland scampered 55 yards for a score in fourth quarter and Jahzier McGee Beavers capped off the Maritime/Health Sciences scoring with a six-yard run four minutes into the final quarter.

While the Maritime/Health Sciences run game continued to churn out yardage and touchdowns, their defense kept the explosive Iroquois offensive, that came into Saturday averaging a touch over 41 points per game, and Kleitz at bay, forcing three turnovers.

“We practice for the elements,” Parker said. “Trey [Kleitz] is a great a quarterback and we knew he was going to give it his best but we wanted to step up to the challenge … I got to credit our defense and our secondary.”

As for Iroquois, they just could not get their offense to click in the early going, and defensively were no match for the power running attack of the Falcons.

Despite the loss Kleitz tied the Section VI single season passing touchdown record, ending the season with 37 scores on a 26-yard strike to Tyler Muskopf late in the third quarter. He sits atop the list with former Southwestern quarterback Cole Snyder, who set the mark in 2018.

“I don’t know how I’m going to coach a football team without Trey Kleitz at the helm of it,” Iroquois head coach Rob Pitzonka said. “We tried to get our gang tackling in there, but their running backs are tough to bring down. They had a good game plan against us.”

Kleitz would run in another score from 33 yards out with 7:11 to play to cap off the game’s scoring.

The Falcons advance to next week’s NYSPHSAA Class B regional game at Williamsville South where they’ll face off with the winner of Section V’s title game between Honeoye Falls-Lima vs. Batavia. That matchup is slated for 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 20.

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