Who’s who: The nine-team division consists of the Albion Purple Eagles, Amherst Tigers, Barker/Roy-Hart Raiders, Bennett Tigers, Burgard Bulldogs, Cheektowaga Warriors, Lew-Port Lancers, Maryvale Flyers and Medina/Lyndonville Mustangs.
This year’s alignment shift: One of the major overhauls in Section VI’s divisions this year is Class B going from three divisions to two. That’s led to beefier divisions in which teams won’t play all of their league mates during the seven-week regular season. The newly formed Class B North (last year there were East, West and South divisions in Class B) includes Amherst, Burgard, Cheektowaga, Lew-Port and Maryvale from B West as well as Albion, Barker/Roy-Hart and Medina from B East. Bennett moves down from A South.
Last year’s champion: While this is a new league, Cheektowaga was the Class B West champion. The Warriors lost to Springville in the sectional semifinals.
2012 rewind: Going into the season, Class B West appeared to be one of the toughest divisions in Western New York. Cheektowaga took first place ahead of Burgard and Lew-Port, while Amherst, Maryvale and Lackawanna missed the playoffs. Cheektowaga beat Lew-Port in the first round while Burgard fell to Depew in a memorable big-play clash at All High Stadium.
Last year’s records: In Class B West, Cheektowaga 8-1, 6-0; Burgard 6-3, 5-1; Lew-Port, 6-3, 4-2; Maryvale 3-5, 3-3; Amherst 1-8, 1-5. In B East, Medina/Lyndonville 4-3, 4-2; Barker/Roy-Hart 6-3, 3-3; Albion 2-6, 1-5. In A South, Bennett 1-8, 1-5.
2012 All-Western New York underclassmen: Medina/Lyndonville sophomore QB Jason Hellwig and Cheektowaga junior DB Preston Summers earned honorable mention.
2012 all-league first-team underclassmen: In B West, Cheektowaga juniors DL Matt Bartnik, LB Kobe Walenka, DB Preston Summers and DB Kenny Dillenburg; Burgard sophomore LB Roderick Morrow and Lew-Port junior LB Dan Hogan. In B East, Albion juniors OL John Trembley and OL Steve Stauss; Barker/Roy-Hart junior DB Jacob Haight.
Pre-snap read: In what equals Section VI’s largest division (with Class AA, which includes all of the teams in that classification), only three of the nine teams made the playoffs last year. That makes perennial powers Cheektowaga — especially with multiple returning first-teamers — and Burgard the teams to watch (again).
Week One (Sept. 6-7) must-see games: The division’s two city teams square off in the first kickoff of the season as Burgard takes on Bennett at All High Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Friday. In one of the last kickoffs, Cheektowaga meets Section III (Syracuse area) power Jamesville-Dewitt (No. 13 in final Class A state rankings last year) in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome (6:30 p.m. Saturday).
Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams can scrimmage other schools is Saturday. Cheektowaga gets started with Springville in the earliest scrimmage at Tonawanda at 8:15 a.m. Burgard again lines up against Cardinal O’Hara and Cleveland Hill at Cleve Hill starting at 9:30 a.m. The complete schedule of Western New York scrimmages is available at the Prep Talk blog.
Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com: Watch exclusive [BN]TheLockerRoom video of Canisius coach Rich Robbins’ initial address to his team, look over the entire 2013 week-by-week schedule and watch #preptalkpreseason video interviews with 31 head coaches (with more to come). A #preptalkpreseason visit to Iroquois was posted Thursday.
Live chats & PrepTalkTV: The first of the weekly Wednesday night live chats will be Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. at buffalonews.com. The PrepTalkTV schedule will be released soon.
The countdown continues: A South (Saturday), A Central (Sept. 1), A North (Sept. 2), Class AA (Sept. 3) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Sept. 4). Already published: B South (Thursday), C North (Wednesday), C South (Tuesday), Class D (Monday) and DD (Sunday). You will be able to review them all at the Prep Talk blog.
Season preview coming Thursday: The annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 78 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2013 season.
Attention coaches and ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster — in spreadsheet form — to firstname.lastname@example.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to email@example.com.
Friday Night Live at buffalonews.com: Every week, the place to monitor all of the Friday night action is BuffaloNews.com and the Prep Talk blog. We will have video reports, photos, live updates from several top games (including play-by-play from our premier matchup of the night) and you will again be a part of the team via Twitter: Tweet game updates with the #preptalkscores hashtag and those will appear in our live blog.
— Keith McShea