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Sideline to sideline by Miguel Rodriguez: Sweet Home field may not be ready for opener

Project management

Sweet Home Athletic Director Chris DeMarco said the school should know by Thursday whether or not its Bob Barczak Stadium field will be ready to use for the Panthers’ Week Two home opener against Starpoint.

Should Sweet Home brass, including the district superintendent and head groundskeeper, declare the new field safe for use, then the 2 p.m. Sept. 12 contest would go on as scheduled.

The old grand stand and press box are gone as construction on the new field turf surface continues in the area behind where the home team bleachers once stood. There is a small set of bleachers and some additional temporary ones would be brought in to accommodate fans should the Panthers play home games.

If the field, which also had new uprights installed, isn’t ready, DeMarco said the plan is to find an available field at another school to host the game.

This week, Sweet Home’s junior varsity team will play its home game against Williamsville North at Tonawanda’s Clint Small Stadium.

“We just have to make sure we can facilitate a football contest and make sure the spectators and students are safe,” DeMarco said.

Sweet Home isn’t the only team affected by construction. St. Francis’ home opener Friday against Williamsville South has been moved to Williamsville’s District Field because the finishing touches are still being put on Red Raiders’ renovated facility.

St. Francis’ home opener will now be at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 against defending Monsignor Martin and state Catholic champion Canisius.

Returning All-WNYers

First team: Nikkolas Holland, Jamestown, QB; Terrell Ford, Kenmore West, U; Isaiah McDuffie, Bennett, LB.

Second team: Matt Foster, top right, Williamsville South, WR; Jake Fuzak, Williamsville South, DL; Blake Haubeil, Canisius, K; Takal Molson, St. Mary’s, DB.

Third team: Lyle Grant, right, Alden, RB; Daryl Moore, South Park, WR; Tony Robinson, St. Mary’s, WR; Chris Aronica, Grand Island, OL; A.J. Perlino, East Aurora, DL; Ron Shul, Orchard Park, LB.

Honorable mention: Jerry Hickson, St. Francis, QB; Dillon Janca, Orchard Park, QB; Tyree Brown, bottom right, South Park, QB; Miguel Alicea, Dunkirk, RB; Tyler Ringwood, Bishop Timon-St. Jude, WR; Dan Carr, St. Joe’s, OL/DL; Matt Eldridge, Cleveland Hill, OL/DL; Foster Dell, Pioneer, OL/DL; Desmond Stephens, Timon-St. Jude, LB; Justin Jones, Canisius, LB; Mason Hoose, Canisius, K; Jason Shuttleworth, Hamburg, K; Louie Surace, St. Joe’s, P.

Streaks

Canisius begins the season on a 16-game winning streak, the longest in Western New York. The Crusaders have posted a 32-2 record during their run of three straight Monsignor Martin Association championships.

Randolph boasts a 12-game winning streak and has won 25 of its last 26 games.

Conversely, West Seneca West has the longest active losing streak at 15 straight.

Poll position Mondays

The News’ football polls will run on Mondays, along with the weekly honor roll, which includes Connolly Cup and Trench Trophy top performers of the week, the Jim Kelly Football Camp Underclassmen of the Week and the NFL/Buffalo Bills Coach of the Week honors.

You’ll still be able to see a breakdown of How the News voted at the Prep Talk Blog.

Merged teams

There are 71 teams playing football in Western New York this season, down from 74 last year.

East no longer fields a team as its students who want to play football now are part of Riverside’s program.

For this year only, Eden/North Collins isn’t fielding a varsity team due to lack of players. Six players from the program are suiting up with Lake Shore under an agreement made between the districts and Section VI. The players are Eden juniors Owen Krouse, Andy Bialy, Gustavo Bautista-Gomez, Dave Mamoser and Casey Bennet, and North Collins junior Harley Mehnert.

The Sherman/Clymer combined team gained another ally as Panama merged with that program, bringing the number of teams in the Class D down to seven.

Alignment shifts

The most notable move is Bennett, last year’s Class B runner-up, dropping down to Class C North to challenge longtime division power Cleveland Hill.

Class AA North loses Williamsville North and Niagara-Wheatfield to Class A North but gains Riverside from Class A North and Clarence from AA South.

Class AA South loses Clarence but gains Hutch-Tech from Class A South.

Class B shifts from a North- South-Central divisional format to East-West-South. South only has five teams because Eden/North Collins will not field a team due to lack of numbers.

In Class D, now down to seven teams, the top seed for the playoffs receives a bye into the semifinals but is slated for a matchup game against the last place-team from Class C South in Week Eight.

Coaching changes

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer: Jeff Smith replaces Mark Peterson.

Kenmore East: Pat Veltri replaces Matt Chimera.

North Tonawanda: Henry Fumerelle replaces Tony Truilizio

St. Mary’s of Lancaster: Nick Todaro, right, replaces Chris Glenn

Southwestern: Jehuu Caulcrick replaces Jay Sirianni

Springville: Eric Jantzi replaces Rob Valenti

Williamsville East: Chris Glenn replaces Chris McDuffie.

Final 2014 state polls

Class AA: 1. Canisius (12-0); 3. Jamestown (12-1); 13. Orchard Park (8-2); 29. Williamsville North (7-2).

Class A: 9. Sweet Home (9-2); 13. South Park (8-2).

Class B: 5. Cheektowaga (9-3); 9. Bennett (9-1); 15. Burgard (7-2); 16. Maryvale (7-2).

Class C: 3. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake (11-1); 19. Southwestern (7-3); 23. Cleveland Hill (6-3).

Class D: 1. Randolph (12-1); 10. Franklinville/Ellicottville (8-2).

Must-read Saturdays

Want to know what you missed Friday night? The News has you covered in Saturday’s print and online editions with previews of Saturday’s games, photos, game coverage, recaps and all the scores from across Western New York.