Auburn Football 26.JPG

Auburn players take the field against Central Square at Holland Stadium in Auburn Sept. 7. The Maroons won the game 30-14. 

For Cayuga County-area football teams, this weekend is the one they've been waiting for. 

After seven weeks of touchdowns, sacks, fumbles and tackles, Auburn, Skaneateles, Jordan-Elbridge and Cato-Meridian are still alive to battle for their respective sectional titles. 

The Maroons and Lakers both earned home games in the first round, while the Eagles and Blue Devils will each travel. 

Here are match-ups to watch Friday:

No. 4 Auburn (4-3) vs. No. 5 Central Square (2-5)

Section III, Class A quarterfinals

6:30 p.m. at Holland Stadium

A rematch of a Sept. 7 contest, which Auburn won 30-14 on home field, sees the Maroons hosting their first sectional game since 2009. Auburn has not won a sectional game since 2014, a 35-30 win on the road at Corcoran in the Class AA quarterfinals.

Auburn's offense has been hit or miss this season, being held to under 20 points twice in losses to state-ranked Whitesboro and Indian River. In their four wins, the Maroons are averaging 30 points a game.

In the last meeting, Auburn rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to score 30 unanswered points on the RedHawks' defense. Leading the way was running back Quesharr Bowman, who rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 24 attempts, and lineman Luke Lukowski who racked up 14 tackles and three sacks. 

Through seven weeks, Bowman is third in the section with 146 total attempts.

No. 1 Skaneateles (7-0) vs. No. 8 Chittenango (4-3)

Section III, Class B quarterfinals

7 p.m. at Skaneateles High School

The defending state champion in Class C, the Lakers begin their journey to a potential Class B title at home against the Bears.

Statistically, no team in the section has been better than Skaneateles. The Lakers are outscoring opponents 336-75 this year, and only one team, Homer, has even scored 20. Quarterback Patrick Hackler, who set the New York state record for touchdown passes last season, currently ranks first in both passing yards (1,870) and passing touchdowns (24).

Hackler's had plenty of help. Receiver Nick Wamp leads the section in receptions (37) and receiving yards (701) while Areh Boni has been a force on both sides of the ball as one of Section III's leading scorers and tacklers.

Currently ranked No. 2 in the state rankings, the Lakers can win their 14th straight game with a victory over Chittenango Friday.

No. 6 Jordan-Elbridge (5-2) at No. 3 Utica Notre Dame (6-1)

Section III, Class C quarterfinals

7:30 p.m. at Utica College

Under first-year head coach Joe Fiacchi, the Eagles haven't missed a beat this year.

Fiacchi, who took over for longtime coach Tim Hawkins in 2018, guided Jordan-Elbridge to its fourth five-win regular season in the last five years. Under Fiacchi, the Eagles' offense has scored over 50 points in three out of seven games, reaching 62 points in a win over Hannibal on Oct. 6. Jordan-Elbridge has not scored less than 20 points in a game all season.

Fiacchi has been a head or assistant coach in high school football for 32 years, recently winning his 100th game. 

Jeremiah Sparks has been the offensive leader for the Eagles, rushing for 867 yards and 15 touchdowns, receiving 113 yards for four more touchdowns, and throwing for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Through seven weeks, Sparks leads Section III in total points.

Like the Eagles, the Jugglers possess an offense very capable of finding the end zone. Utica Notre Dame has averaged over 35 points a game this year, including a 61-point effort last week against Adirondack.

No. 8 Cato-Meridian (4-3) at No. 1 Frankfort Schuyler (5-2)

Section III, Class D quarterfinals

7 p.m. at Frankfort-Schuyler High School

Another rematch, the Blue Devils hope they'll fare better than their 35-14 loss against the Maroon Knights at home on Sept. 14.

Cato-Meridian, despite being an eighth-seed, enters the postseason as Class D's hottest team with four wins in a row. After starting the season 0-3, the Blue Devils reeled off wins against Westmoreland (48-0), Phoenix (34-6), Beaver River (27-6) and Herkimer (21-16). In a bracket clearly there for the taking, no other team in Class D has won more than two in a row.

The Blue Devils have leaned on quarterback Isiah Swann (534 passing yards, 260 rushing yards), and running back Joshua Lovejoy (724 rushing yards, seven touchdowns), as well as a suddenly stifling defense during their recent streak.

Making their first sectional appearance since 2015, the Blue Devils can capture their first sectional victory in five years.

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Sports writer Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.