The Batavia football team (10-1) will head to familiar ground this weekend when they face the three-time Section VI champion WNY Maritime / Health Sciences Falcons (9-2) in the NYSPHSAA Class B Far West Regional at Williamsville South High School.
Following a victory over rivals HF-L Cougars in the Section V Class B title match, the Blue Devils will make their fifth appearance in the FWR match, holding a 1-3 record in their previous four clashes. Batavia’s only victory came over Cheektowaga in the 2018 season, when the Blue Devils advanced to the state title game before falling to champion Glens Falls.
This weekend will be the Falcons’ second appearance in the FWR, previously beating Livonia in 2019 at SUNY Brockport.
This year’s FWR game will feature two teams featuring similar styles, as the Falcons and Blue Devils rely on powerful racing games to fuel their offensive engines. Saturday’s playoff battle is sure to be a classic slobbering knocker featuring two physical football teams.
“We’re going to have to show it all,” said Batavia junior Aidan Anderson. “We’re going to have to be physical and do (whatever it takes). This is our best bet to win.
The Falcons proved just how explosive they can be in their massive 62-12 Sectional Championship victory over the Iroquois Chiefs (10-1). In the win, WNY Maritime / Health Sciences ran nearly 500 yards and smashed the Chiefs’ defense into oblivion.
Briggs and company hope they can avoid a repeat performance in the Falcons’ racing game this weekend.
“We know we’re going to be in a physical game,” said Batavia head coach Brennan Briggs said. “Maritime, they bring it. We’re just going to have to match that physicality and do what we’re doing. “
The Falcons’ rushing offense this season was propelled by running back DJ Littleton, who carried the ball 128 times for nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. Measuring 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 215 pounds, Littleton is a load that will not be easy for Batavia to slow down.
“They have a few DI commitments and other top athletes,” said Batavia senior quarterback Jesse Reinhart. “So yeah, it’s going to be a good one.”
Senior wide receiver Addison Copeland III is one of the Falcons’ Division I football players. Copeland III made a verbal commitment to the University of Pittsburgh this summer, according to the Buffalo News. The future Pitt Panthers WR recorded just seven catches for 240 yards and three scores in the heavy offense from WNY Maritime / Health Sciences. Copeland III carried the ball 22 times for 319 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
“It’s a very physical team,” Reinhart reiterated. “They have a lot of athletes who can play.”
Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 3:15 p.m. in Williamsville.
“These guys, they deserved an opportunity to play in this game,” said Briggs. “I’m just trying to tell these guys to take this experience and come here and have fun in training. But also understand that there is a duty that comes with being a Section V champion, and that is to represent (the Rochester area).
Batavia enters the FWR game as a No.2-ranked team on the New York State Sportswriters Association’s Class B standings, while the Falcons enter as a No.8-ranked team. weekend will advance to face the Homer Trojans (Sec. III) or the Maine-Endwell Spartans (Sec. IV) in next week’s NYSPHSAA semi-final. The Trojans are currently the # 1 ranked team in Class B according to the NYSSWA, while the Spartans are the # 3 team in the most recent rankings.
“We are not in uncharted territory in a game of the Wild West,” said Briggs. “We will be ready to take up the challenge. I think our game plan is pretty solid and I think these guys are going to execute it.