While a certain reporter overlooked Canandaigua before this high school football season, coach Jeff Welch certainly took a good look at the team’s roster.
At quarterback was senior Mitch Schaefer, back for another season as a starter. Senior running back Coron Broomfield’s wait to become the featured running back was over. And maybe most importantly, Welch counted Monroe County league all-stars Ryan McIntosh and Austin Walden among the offensive linemen that includes four seniors.
So here is Canandaigua (6-2), the No. 2 seed, a semifinalist in the Section V Class A Tournament. Get past No. 2 Greece Athena (6-2) at6 4 p.m on Halloween at Sahlen’s Stadium, and a chance to win a sectional title for the first time in eight years belongs to Canandaigua.
“This is the first group that has come through all the way through the program together,” Welch said. “They’ve been playing sports together for years; they have a lot of competitive experience together.”
Welch said there are at least 10 lacrosse and five baseball players on the roster. There are wrestlers, too.
“It’s something I believe in,” Welch said. “I like having kids competing year-round.”
Schedule & results: Section V football playoffs
This is the first season with Welch as coach that Canandaigua has had a 1,000-yard passer and rusher in the same season, according to him.
Schaefer has thrown for 1,239 yards with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions, while completing 56.5 percent of his passes. Broomfield, who is listed at 5 feet 7 inches and 170 pounds, has 1,267 yards with 16 touchdowns on 143 carries. Canandaigua has scored 40 points a game, with no touchdowns provided by special teams or the team’s defense.
It was Canandaigua that handed Athena its first loss, 41-14, in Week 3.
Hilton’s handling of huge hurdle: Aquinas (8-0), Hilton’s Class AA semifinal opponent at 1 p.m. Sunday at Sahlen’s, scores. The lowest point total for Aquinas is 27, with senior and 2013 Class AA state player of the year Jake Zembiec at quarterback all season.
Zembiec missed most of the 2014 regular season with an injury to his left wrist, on his non-throwing arm.
“He knows exactly where the weakness is in a defense, pre-snap, where the opening may be,” Hilton coach Rich Lipani said. “He’s a little bit ahead of most high school quarterbacks.”
Hilton’s offense won’t be on the field at the same time as the Aquinas offense, but likely has to keep pace in order for the Cadets to win. Hilton junior quarterback Johnathan Letta would have a big part in that.
“He’s had a great year running and throwing the ball,” Lipani said. “He’s very ‘football smart’ and he’s made a lot of great plays.”
Letta has rushed for 200 or more yards in two games and has 13 touchdown passes this season, according to Lipani. Hilton’s offense has “elevated,” Lipani said, since Letta became the team’s starting quarterback in Week 5 of the 2014 season.
Jake Zembiec’s 2015 statistics
East Rochester/Gananda Bombers are grounded: ER/Gananda, the No. 1 seed in Class C, advanced to its 1 p.m. semifinal on Halloween at Honeoye Falls-Lima against No. 4 Lyons/Sodus (6-2), by forfeit. There is some concern about coming off an idle week.
“It’s unique in high school football to have a week off,” Greco said. “It’s been a long week. We’ve had good practices.”
Look for the Bombers to crank up a running game that has produced 2,892 yards with 42 rushing touchdowns.
“If those aren’t (team) records I’d be surprised,” Greco said.
Coaches Who Care: For Dennis Greco, coaching is all in the family
Faceoff with steamroller: Bishop Kearney middle linebacker Josh Jackson should have help, but he probably is the key figure in his team’s defense against Red Jacket’s running game.
No. 1 seed Red Jacket (8-0) and No. 5 Bishop Kearney (6-2) meet in one Class D semifinal, 1 p.m. on Halloween at Webster Thomas.
Jackson is a four-year starter, and as you may guess, a big hitter. He has the size to play in college at 6-1, 215 pounds. It’s no secret that Red Jacket senor Sean Sheets is the ballcarrier Jackson needs to key on.
“They do what they do very well,” Bishop Kearney coach Eddie Long said.
Kearney had little, if any, success standing up to Red Jacket’s power game in last year’s Class D final. The final score was 50-14.
Check on the champs: Victor (AA), Batavia (B), LeRoy (C), Red Jacket (D) and Avon (DD), Section V champions in 2014, are still in play for titles.
There is one “D” classification this season, that puts Avon and Red Jacket in the same tournament. Red Jacket is in position to win a third sectional title in three years, Avon a third championship in four seasons.
The last time four sectional champions won titles the following season was 2011. Will the 2015 season be a match?