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#BeyondTheKeystone New York (10/24/18)

New York has a rather intriguing post-season structure. After a seven-game regular season, a three round playoff starts. For most classes. Class AA and D only play a two-round playoff, because of how few teams are in each. So, they get an extra regular season game. Then, those that don’t qualify can play in the “Funke Bowl”, which is a two-round playoff in each class. Again, except for Class D, since there’s only four teams.

However, teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs, or lose in the Funke Bowl, can play consolation games. Some only play one additional game. However, they can play up to three. One of those, is Springville Griffith. Who plays Tonawanda in the first post season week. And then plays East Aurora/Holland in the second week. Both games on a Wednesday. And one more week, next week, on a Tuesday at Alden. Finishing at 0-7, they’re desperate to get their first victory. Last week, losing, 14-7 to the Tonawanda Warriors.

The Funke Bowl games tend to be scheduled for Thursday. Unless there’s an unlit field and they’ll play on Saturday afternoon. The match game tend to be played on Wednesday or Thursday. Though, again, sometimes on Saturday.

Two games were scheduled for this past week. The early game, a 4pm game on Wednesday, was between JFK and Iroquois. JFK lost in the first round of the Class C Funke Bowl. While Iroquois lost in the first round of the Class B Funke Bowl. JFK’s field doesn’t have lights. But, rather than try to schedule it on Saturday, it was attempted to be played Wednesday afternoon. Before sunset.

The game was set for 4pm, however once the teams arrived and were set, kickoff took place at 3:45pm. Before 30 fans. Though more showed up closer to the original kickoff and throughout the game. Maybe 200-300 there at most. However, late in the first quarter, a long injury timeout delayed the game nearly a half hour. Without an ambulance on site, we had to wait for one to arrive, and then safely remove him on a stretcher. The injury didn’t appear life-threatening. The coaches, trainers, and other officials all seemed rather relaxed while they handled it. But, it was an injury that didn’t want to move a big lineman and try to limp him anywhere.

Iroquois’ big early lead, and apparent domination, withered, until it was 20-20 at the half. With the long delay and trying to beat nightfall, the halftime was shortened to 7 minutes, and the second half was played with a running clock. After a single TD by JFK in the third frame, the fourth quarter exploded with points.

Iroquois with a 5 yard TD run, which JFK matched with a 20 yard TD run. Maintaining their lead. Iroquois scored again, two minutes later to tie it. Looking like overtime was inevitable. JFK was forced to punt. And in less than a minute, with a running clock and no time outs, the Iroquois Braves stormed down the field to score on a 1-yard TD run with 17 seconds left. JFK only managed one play before time expired. Iroquois won, 42-36 to close out their respective seasons.

A 4pm start, kicked off at 3:45, including the long injury delay, finished off at 6:07 in the twilight. The only other game taking place Wednesday was less than a half hour away. East Aurora/Holland was hosting Springville Griffith. Springville’s second ‘match game’ of the season. Sitting at 0-8. The East Aurora Blue Devils had just renovated their EA Stadium, and installed new field turf. An outbuilding isn’t finished, so the restrooms were portapotties.

The game kicked off on time, and was a slug fest between two rather evenly matched teams. East Aurora struck first, on a 28-yard pass in the second quarter. However, Springville had a tremendous drive to finish out the second quarter, converting on two fourth down plays. Including the 23-yard TD pass on 4th down to tie it, 7-7.

The third quarter was scoreless, but it was clear East Aurora was the better team. Moving the ball while Springville seemed content to hold on for the uncertainty of overtime. The Blue Devils finally scored three minutes into the final frame, on a 1-yard run. After that, Springville wasn’t able to get anything going and the magic of the last few minutes of the first half didn’t rekindle.

For the second straight week, Springville, winless, lost 14-7 in a game they had a legitimate chance to win.

Iroquois 42, Cheektowaga JFK 36 — FINAL

East Aurora/Holland 14, Springville Griffith 7 — FINAL

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

For more photos from previous weeks or seasons, visit

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