Cheektowaga Head Coach Mike Fatta said from day one that his goal was to win the Class B West Division. Tonight, his Warriors did just that.
In a game that saw two lead changes, the long time cross town rivals of Cheektowaga and Maryvale battled for every yard on every play until the final whistle went in OT, as the Cheektowaga Warriors clinched their 6th consecutive divisional title with a 34-26 victory. Coming into tonight’s game, both teams were 6-0.
Once again, Cheektowaga’s Eric Bartnik’s shoulders must be hurting. He carried the Cheektowaga Warriors offense to another undefeated regular season with a victory over Maryvale tonight. He went 26/36 for 345 yards passing, on top of running for 178 yards on 21 carries while being in on all 5 Warrior touchdowns (3 rushing, 2 passing). “It was a great team win. My O-Line did a great job for me today. We didn’t give up any sacks, and then receivers going after balls, having faith in [Stephan Parker] and knowing he can bring it down helps a lot,” said Bartnik, on having 523 total yards of offense.
Flyers Head Coach Jeff Buccieri has nothing to be ashamed of, though, as he just led Maryvale to the best record they’ve had in over 10 years, going 6-1 overall, 4-1 in league. Throughout the entirety of the game, especially in the middle two quarters, Maryvale’s “four-headed-monster” of Rashad Law, Dylan Casey, Austin Reamsnyder and Brian Sullivan as well as Freshman QB Connor Desiderio dominated the ground game, having 126 yards rushing combined throughout the entire game, with Desiderio, Sullivan and Law each with respective rushing TD’s.
Cheektowaga Coach Mike Fatta says that as the game got closer, he remained focused and told his team to do the same. With 1:00 left in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 26, Cheektowaga had the ball inside Maryvale territory yet couldn’t get the ball in the end zone in that 60 seconds. Maryvale double and triple covered Warriors go-to WR Stephan Parker, who eventually had 233 yards receiving on 14 receptions and a touchdown.
The game tied 26-26 heading into overtime, as tensions flared through the air and everyone in the stands was on their feet, biting their nails, patiently waiting to start the 5th quarter of play. The Warriors got the ball to start OT and capitalized immediately as Bartnik scored his 3rd rushing TD on the day, then threw a 2-point conversion to take an 8 point lead. Maryvale’s Desiderio tried to muster some offense, but the Warriors defense, even without star John Sweat who was out due to injury, managed to hold off Sullivan and Desiderio for 2 plays, as Alek Bryant picked off a Desiderio pass to conclude the contest.
“They should be proud over there, they played a hell of a football game,” said Coach Fatta. “They do a great job over there, coaching those kids up, playing through adversity.” Coach Fatta is right, and Maryvale will build off this tough week 7 loss as they head into the playoffs to play at Dunkirk in round one.
Cheektowaga will host Burgard/MST in round one next weekend, having already beaten the Bulldogs by a score of 35-14 on the Warriors home field. This Section VI Class B Final rematch will be interesting, especially without key player Dom Prince, whom the Warriors won’t have to think about at all this year.
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