Class C North: Cleveland Hill enters title-defense season filled with winning experience - The Buffalo News

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Class C North: Cleveland Hill enters title-defense season filled with winning experience

Akron Tigers (6-3)

Coach: Mike Dean, fourth season

Home field: No name

Program founded: Unknown

Outlook: Dean describes RB/WR/K/P Austen Lauricella as “a game-breaker.” His exceptional speed yielded 16 TDs last year. He’s the third Lauricella to play RB for the Tigers. Last year he was an All-NYS honorable mention pick. C/DL Tommy James returns for his third year starting both ways on the line. David Case and Joe Sarow join James as returners to the line. Senior Cjay Longwell gets the starting nod at QB after being last year’s backup. Chauncey Hill will start the season at WR/DB after getting called up in the middle of last season.


Sept. 6 vs. Wilson, 7 p.m.

Sept 14 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.

Sept. 20 vs. Medina/Lyndonville* 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 vs. Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 vs. Lackawanna* 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

*at Veterans Park

Cleveland Hill Eagles (8-3)

Coach: Glen Graham, 10th season

Home field: Carl J. Kuras Field

Program founded: 1953

Outlook: The defending Class C champion Eagles have a combined 11 starters back and the talent from a JV team that has gone 16-0 the past two years. RB Senior Brandon Thomas is coming off a 1,212 season rushing with 20 TDs. He was named second team All-NYS at RB. Defensively he’ll be at LB/S. Senior DB Jared Watkins had a school record eight interceptions, mostly out of man-to-man coverage and at WR averaged 15 yards per catch. FB/LB Josh White was last year’s leading tackler with 119 while garnering third team all-NYS honors. Graham said White’s just 5-3 but he’s impossible to get leverage on and he loves to be physical.


Sept. 7 Maryvale, 2 p.m.

Sept. 14 Akron, 2 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Lackawanna, 7 p.m.*

Oct. 5 Newfane, 2 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 JFK, 2 p.m.

*at Veterans Stadium

JFK Bears (7-2)

Co-Coaches: Mark Ostempowski, Jeff Sabatino, ninth seasons

Home field: No name

Program founded: 1931

Outlook: Last year’s Class C North champions return three players who are expected to play big roles this year. Brian Rudnick and Pat Dorsey will led both sides of the line while Jeff Retzer can play a variety of positions and excels on special teams. Rudnick and Dorsey could see some time at LB. RB Shawn McPhail earned a callup last year and got some carries. The Bears were 5-1 at home last year.


Sept. 7 vs. Tonawanda, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Gowanda, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 vs. Lackawanna, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 vs. Wilson, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Akron, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Barker/Roy-Hart, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.

Lackawanna Steelers (3-6)

Coach: Adam Tardif, third season

Home field: Veterans Stadium

Program founded: 1925

Outlook: The Steelers return a host of skill position players. Senior RB Cameron Smith finished with 1,300 yards last year with nearly 20 TDs. He was named to the all-NYS second team at DB. He’s also a threat on special teams, returning several punts and kickoffs for TDs last year. He could also lineup at QB or WR. Returning QB Dylan Gregoire will have WR/DB Angelo Miranda among his targets. The Steelers will have to replace FB/LB Joey Linares, who tore his ACL in an offseason camp.


Sept. 6 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 vs. Cleveland Hill, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 at Williamsville North, 2 p.m.

Oct. 11 vs. Akron, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Newfane Panthers (1-8)

Coach: Chuck Nagel, second season

Home field: No name

Program founded: unknown

Outlook: Senior QB Josh Kneeland earned a midseason callup as a sophomore and has been a starter ever since. Senior Bryan Gertz returns to his TE/DE positions. Nagel said senior WR/DB Stone Geise and OG/DT Jimmy Haas did not miss a list this offseason and attended all the spring camps. Senior lineman Kasey Kubiniec also dedicated himself to offseason workouts. Four starters return on both sides of the ball.


Sept. 7 vs. Albion, 2 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Lew-Port, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Amherst, 6 p.m.

Sept. 28 vs. Maryvale, 2 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 vs. Bennett, 2 p.m.

Tonawanda Warriors (2-7)

Coach: Rob Gross, fourth season

Home field: Clint Small Stadium

Program founded: 1896

Outlook: The Warriors welcome their first season at the new Clint Small Stadium. TE/DE Connor Pumm is a third-year player and is 6-4, 265. Tim Barnard led the Warriors in tackles last year at LB. Junior DB Tristan Boling tied the school record last year for receptions in a season with 34. This year he moves to QB. William Galley is a two-way tackle who checks in at 6-5, 285. Junior Brandon Frye is a returning starter at WR/DB.


Sept. 7 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 13 vs. Lackawanna, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Barker/Roy-Hart (at RH), 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Akron, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 vs. Wilson, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 vs. Cleveland Hill, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 18 at North Tonawanda, 6 p.m.

Wilson Lakemen (6-3)

Coach: Bill Atlas, seventh season

Home field: Hutchinson Field

Program founded: 1946

Outlook: The Lakemen’s undeniable leader is senior QB Tim Walsh, who averaged approximately 100 yards per game last year. “We’re going to rely heavily on him to take us forward,” said Atlas. Wilson has plenty of holes to fill after graduating 15 players. A team strength is Wilson’s line which returns four – Sam Oswald, Tyler Murray, Jarred Held and Tyler Hedley. Justin Westmoreland is coming off a solid season at LB. RB is wide open. The JV program has been dropped and a modified team has been added.


Sept. 6 at Akron, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Cleveland Hill, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 vs. Newfane, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 vs. Lackawanna, 7 p.m.

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