Countdown to Friday Night Lights / Class A South - The Buffalo News

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Countdown to Friday Night Lights / Class A South

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the Hamburg Bulldogs, Hutch-Tech Engineers, Iroquois Chiefs, Lake Shore Eagles, South Park Sparks and West Seneca East Trojans.

This year’s alignment shift: One of the major overhauls in Section VI’s divisions this year is Class A going from two divisions to three. That has led to some nice geographical groupings like this one, where five members of last year’s A South are joined by Hutch-Tech, which moves down from Class AA.

Last year’s champion: West Seneca East had one of the finest seasons in school history, going undefeated until it fell to Sweet Home in the Class A championship at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

2012 rewind: A senior-laden West Seneca East met challenge after challenge throughout the season, including a tone-setting victory over Williamsville South in Week Four. Andy Smigiera and Ryan Johnson were first-team All-Western New York selections while Scott Ackerman was a second-teamer. Iroquois bounced back from a 3-6 season in 2011 to an 8-2 campaign which included a second-place finish in the league; the Chiefs lost to Grand Island in the quarterfinals.

Last year’s records: West Seneca East 9-1, 6-0; Iroquois 8-2, 5-1; South Park 4-5, 3-3; Hamburg 2-7, 2-4; Lake Shore 1-8, 0-6. In AA North, Hutch-Tech 1-8, 1-3.

2012 All-Western New York underclassmen: South Park QB Tyler Mascio (as a junior at Canisius last year) and West Seneca East junior OL/DL Brandon Reilly earned honorable mention.

2012 all-league first-team underclassmen: In A South, Williamsville East junior RB/LB Jaleel Battle (Defensive Player of the Year); West Seneca East junior DE Devin Lindner. In Monsignor Martin Association, Canisius junior QB Tyler Mascio (transfer now at South Park).

Pre-snap read: A lot of questions here: Can West Seneca East continue its success after such a vintage class graduated? Will Iroquois keep rising to the top of the division? After a tumultuos offseason (second-team All-WNY QB Maurice Howie was arrested on a murder charge in April), can South Park continue to improve with Mascio at quarterback? How will Hamburg do under new coach (and former basketball coach) Pat Cauley? Can Hutch-Tech or Lake Shore turn things around after recent struggles?

Week One (Sept. 6-7) must-see games: Perhaps the top game in Western New York on opening night has Sweet Home — and its 60-game win streak against Western New York opponents — visiting one of the best home venues in Section VI, Iroquois’ Milt Latimer Field. West Seneca East takes on Section III (Syracuse area) school Central Square in the Kickoff Classic at the Carrier Dome on Saturday.

Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams can scrimmage other schools is today. The schedule of Western New York scrimmages is available at the Prep Talk blog. There will be live updates and video from a few scrimmage locations.

Prep Talk blog at 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 30 head coaches (with more to come).

Live chats & PrepTalkTV: The first of the weekly Wednesday night live chats will be Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. at The PrepTalkTV schedule will be released soon.

The countdown continues: A Central (Sunday), A North (Sept. 2), Class AA (Sept. 3) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Sept. 4). Already published: B North (Friday), B South (Thursday), C North (Wednesday), C South (Tuesday), Class D (Monday) and DD (Aug. 25). You will be able to review them all at the Prep Talk blog.

Season preview coming Sept. 5: 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 rosters are determined, Section VI coaches need to send theirs — in spreadsheet form — to Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to

Friday Night Live at Every week, the place to monitor all of the Friday night action is 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

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