Southern Tier Runners Have Left Their Mark This Fall
The latest weekly high school football rankings, courtesy of the New York State Sportswriters Association, have been released.
Not coincidentally, most of the teams in their respective polls have someone who is having a special season carrying the ball. That’s not necessarily a new phenomenon. Great teams have relied on stout running attacks since the game was invented.
So as the Section VI schedule enters the final week of the regular season — Jamestown kicks it off tonight at Amherst –here’s a look at the numbers of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties top pigskin-toting teens as compiled on the Section VI football website.
¯ Xander Hind, Randolph: Hind’s gaudy numbers are reminiscent of Cardinals past. In six games — Randolph’s seventh win was via forfeit — Hind is second in Western New York in rushing with 1,308 yards and has scored 17 touchdowns. Averaging 8.1 yards per carry, the junior is coming off a five-TD performance against East Aurora/Holland, two of which came via a kickoff and a punt return. The Cardinals (7-0) are No. 2 in the Class D rankings.
¯ Jaylen Butera, Jamestown: The 6-foot-2, 196-pound senior is third in WNY in rushing, totaling 1,281 yards on 137 carries and 22 touchdowns for the Red Raiders (7-0), who are No. 2 in the Class A poll. Butera, who is coming off a six-TD performance two weeks ago at Hamburg, has only played in six games — Jamestown earned a forfeit win last week against Williamsville East — heading into tonight’s game at Amherst. Also a threat as a receiver, Butera has caught 16 passes for 337 yards and found the end zone five more times.
¯ Jesse Stahlman, Salamanca: The 16th-ranked Class C team is driven by Stahlman, a load to bring down every time he touches the ball. WNY’s eighth-best rusher, the junior has amassed 932 yards on 146 carries and scored 10 touchdowns for the Warriors (6-1).
¯ Zach Winters, Frewsburg: The Bears are ranked ninth in the eight-man state poll and Winters has played a huge role. A senior, he has rushed for 758 yards on 99 carries and scored 12 touchdowns. As a team, Frewsburg has amassed nearly 2,000 yards on the ground and is averaging 46.5 points in four games, all wins.
¯ Matt Lotter, Fredonia: The Hillbillies, ranked No. 7 in Class C, are having their best season in years. Lotter (78-652-6) is one of the reasons why. Ranked No. 24 on WNY’s rushing list, Lotter’s numbers have come in six games (a seventh was a forfeit win over Chautauqua Lake). In his last three outings, Lotter has rushed for 140 yards or more against Salamanca, Southwestern and Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove.
¯ Trent Burchanowski, Clymer/Sherman/Panama: In his first season of organized football at any level, Burchanowski (84-494-9), who comes in at No. 42 on the rushing list, has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Coach Ty Harper and the seventh-ranked Wolfpack (5-2).
¯ Aidan Kennedy, Southwestern: Although he’s surpassed the 3,000-yard and 50-touchdown career passing marks, Kennedy has shown he can also run the ball. Entering Friday’s game against Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove, the senior quarterback has rushed for 450 yards (No. 48 in WNY) on 73 carries and scored nine touchdowns.
¯ Nick Whitfield, Fredonia: One of WNY’s top athletes, the senior quarterback sits right behind Kennedy in rushing yardage (54-437) and has scored 10 touchdowns. When combined with teammate Lotter, they have accumulated nearly 1,100 yards on the ground between them.
OTHERS IN WNY’S TOP 50 RUSHING LIST: Quanteer Neallard (No. 26, 93-630-1), Dunkirk; and Aiden Piccolo (No. 43, 87-484-4), Silver Creek/Forestville.
OTHER AREA TEAMS IN RANKINGS: Class C, Southwestern (4-3), honorable mention; Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove (3-3), honorable mention; Eden/North Collins, honorable mention; and Class D, Franklinville/Ellicottville (5-2), No. 12.