Cassadaga Valley Cougars (3-5)
Coach: Nick Spitzer, fourth season
Home field: Joe Annarella Field
Program founded: 1954
Outlook: Senior OL/DL Tyson Gugino and Eben Torres, returning starters, will be the key to the Cougars’ line play. Spitzer said senior QB Matt Hallowell throws a nice ball and he’s confident he can direct the offense. Senior WR Jordan Crabtree has plenty of speed. CV has seven players back on both sides of the ball and the talent from a 7-1 JV team to draw from. CV’s home opener won’t be until Week Three.
Sept. 6: at Ellicottville/West Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Pine Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 vs. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs. Portville, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Panama, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 vs. Randolph, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Westfield/Brocton, 7:30 p.m.
Ellicottville/West Valley Eagles (7-2)
Coach: Chad Bartoszek, first season
Home field: Ray Gray Field
Program founded: unknown
Outlook: Junior RB Phalla Musall is only 5-4, 150, but he’s quick and shifty and has nine games of varsity experience. He was an honorable mention All-NYS player a year ago. Senior QB Cam Wilson is a four-year starter who looks to use his athletic ability to run and throw. Poised to have a big year is a veteran line of Dylan Paprocki, Jesse Pollock, Fletcher Macomb, Alex Delity and Cory Tomblin. Calum Watt is solid at FB. Bartoszek replaces the retired Tim Bergan, who was 163-89-2 in 28 seasons as the varsity coach. Bergan remains with the program as the JV coach. In Bergan’s last game the Eagles won the Section VI Class DD title at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bartoszek was an All-WNY tight end for Salamanca in 1998, and continued his career at UB. He was an assistant the past two years under Gary Swetland at Portville.
Sept. 6 vs. Cassadaga Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Westfield/Brocton 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Franklinville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 vs. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Nichols, 1 p.m.
Maple Grove/ ChautaUQua Lake Red Dragons (9-1)
Coach: Curt Fischer, 23rd season
Home field: Not named
Program founded: circa 1930
Outlook: The Red Dragons didn’t lose a game last year until the Class D final at Ralph Wilson. This year they added nine players from Chautauqua Lake to give them much-needed numbers. RB/DB Gram Nelson is one of four seniors. Maple Grove’s strength is in its junior class. Junior AJ Holton is one of the team’s most versatile players and can line up anywhere from QB to TE. Other top juniors are G/LB Chandler Baker, WR/DB Jonah Tanner, RB Ryan Miller and OL/DL Dom Rammelt.
Sept. 6 vs. Portville (at MG), 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Nichols (at CL), 7 p.m.
Sept. 21 at Cassadaga Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Randolph (at MG), 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Westfield/Brocton (at CL), 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Ellicottville/West Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Clymer, 1:30 p.m.
Portville Panthers (5-4)
Coach: Gary Swetland, 22nd season
Home field: Portville Field
Program founded: 1921
Outlook: The Panthers join the mix in Class D, returning five starters on both sides of the ball. Portville has plenty of talent at the skill positions with RB/LB Ben Waugh, QB/DB Brett Marcellin and RB/LB Curtis Caya. The leader on both sides of the line will be OL/DL Justus Elliott. “Several players have varsity experience, but remain untested,” said Swetland. Tough opener at Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake.
Sept. 6 Maple Grove/CL (at MG), 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Westfield/Brocton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Nichols, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Cassadaga Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Ellicottville/West Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Falconer, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Randolph Cardinals (11-2)
Coach: Brent Brown, first season
Home field: Raymond Van Wie
Program founded: unknown
Outlook: The Cardinals may be coming off a state title, but that doesn’t mean there will be a big dropoff in talent. Randolph returns seven players on both sides of the ball for first-year coach Brent Brown, an assistant coach last year. Cody Aldro is a returning All-NYS first team selection at LB. QB Mitchell Maycock is ready to lead throughout his senior season. Chris Doubek is a key returner to the backfield. He was an honorable mention All-NYS player along with Michael Bowers and Jared Pitchford. “Defending a state championship is putting a lot of pressure on us, but pressure is going to help us win,” said Doubek. “Like I’ve been telling the team, it’s a lot easier to get on top of the hill than it is to stay on the top.” JVs have been 14-1-1 the past two years. Brown replaces Pat Slater, who won a state title in the last game he coached to cap his 33-year career with a 213-99-4 record. “We got a good core coming back, but when you replace 4-5 kids, it’s just not the same team,” said Brown. “We know other teams are going to come get us, we’ll see their best game and we have to be ready for that.”
Sept. 6 vs. Westfield/Brocton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Ellicottville/West Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Frewsburg, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (at MG), 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Cassadaga Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 vs. Portville, 7 p.m
Westfield/Brocton Wolverines (4-4)
Coach: Bob North, fourth season
Home field: Doud’s Field
Program founded: early 1900s
Outlook: The Wolverines have the unenviable task of opening at defending state champion Randolph. Junior Nolan Hunt played well in two unscheduled starts at QB last year. He had been the team’s big-play guy at slot receiver. Junior G/DE Garrett Francisco not only is the Wolverines’ best offensive lineman, he surprised his coaches with the fastest 40 time on the team at 4.8. Westfield has a pair of 300-pound tackles on the D-line: Nick Bausum and Robert Russo, but there’s a big dropoff after that size-wise. Junior TB Damen Janes moves up from the 6-2 JV squad. Brocton, in its third year combined with Westfield, contributes six starters on offense.
Sept. 6 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Elli./West Valley (at Bro), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Nichols, noon
Oct. 4 Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (at CL), 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 vs. Sherman, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 Cassadaga Valley, 7:30 p.m.