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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class B

Who’s who: The 18-team class consists of three divisions. Class B East includes the Albion Purple Eagles, Alden Bulldogs, Depew Wildcats, Lackawanna Steelers, Medina Mustangs, Roy-Hart/Barker Raiders. Class B West features Burgard Bulldogs, Cheektowaga Warriors, Lewiston-Porter Lancers, Maryvale Flyers, Newfane Panthers and Tonawanda Warriors. Class B South includes the Dunkirk Marauders, East Aurora/Holland Blue Devils, Fredonia/Westfield-Brocton (no nickname), Olean Huskies, Pioneer Panthers, Springville Griffins.

Alignment shift: East Aurora moves from Class B East to Class B South. Lackawanna moves up from Class C North to B East. Fredonia remains in Class B South but is now merged with former Class D program Westfield/Brocton.

Last year’s champion: Cheektowaga won its second straight Section VI Class B championship by taking down Burgard, 25-22. The Warriors rallied to defeat Batavia, 43-36, in the Far West Regionals at the former Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester. Cheektowaga suffered its only loss of the season in the state semifinals to eventual state champion Cazenovia of Section III, 55-18. The Warriors finished ranked first in the Buffalo News Small School Poll and fourth in the state.

Last year’s records: Class B East – Alden 8-1, 5-0; Depew 3-5, 3-2; East Aurora 4-5, 3-2; Albion 3-5, 2-3; Medina 6-3, 2-3; Roy-Hart/Barker 2-7, 0-5.

Class B West – Cheektowaga 11-1, 5-0; Burgard 6-4, 4-1; Lew-Port 3-5, 3-2; Maryvale 5-4, 2-3; Tonawanda 3-6, 1-4; Newfane 0-9, 0-5.

Class B South – Springville 7-1, 4-0; Dunkirk 5-2, 3-1; Fredonia 2-5, 2-2; Pioneer 3-5, 1-3; Olean 2-5, 0-4.

Newcomers: Fredonia/Westfield-Brocton.

2015 All-Western New York underclassmen: First Team wide receiver Stephan Parker returns after a standout junior season. Burgard running back Dominic Prince earned All-WNY Second Team honors as a junior as did teammate Dejean McCullough at defensive back. Lackawanna junior Khalil Horton also earned second-team honors. Returning honorable mentions include senior Cheektowaga quarterback Eric Bartnik, Medina senior running back Jake Cotter, senior Lackawanna linebacker Marquez Lofton and Tonawanda senior defensive back Ethan Shattuck.

2015 all-league first-team underclassmen: Class B East – QB Matt Boss-11 (East Aurora), TE Kory Reynolds-11 (Albion), PK Riley Pastuszynski-10 (Alden), LB Tommy Mattison-11 (Albion), DB Christian Snell-10 (Alden).

Class B West – QB Eric Bartnik-11 (Cheektowaga), RB Dominic Prince-11 (Burgard), RB Ethan Shattuck-11 (Tonawanda),WR Stephan Parker-11 (Cheektowaga), WR Dawson Bailey-11 (Lew-Port), OL Connor Hill-10 (Newfane), LB Trevor Darlak-11 (Cheektowaga), LB Collin Smith-11 (Tonawanda), DB Dejean McCollough-11 (Burgard).

Class B South – RB Ian Baker-11 (Springville), RB Miguel Alicea-12 (Dunkirk), RB Alton Ingram-11 (Dunkirk), WR Juan Dames-10 (Dunkirk), OL John Domes-11 (Springville), OL Andrew Vetter-11 (Dunkirk), OL Jacob Lesswing-11 (Fredonia), U Garrett Boldt-11 (Olean), LB Elwin Gomez-11 (Dunkirk), LB Jason Gauthier-11 (Pioneer), DB Sean Barry-9 (Springville).

Week One (Sept. 2-3): Opening night features defending champion Cheektowaga hosting 2015 playoff-participant Dunkirk at 7 p.m. At Brocton, Fredonia/Westfield-Brocton hosts Springville, while longtime rivals clash when Depew visits Alden in Class B East play. Other games include Lackawanna visiting East Aurora, while Section VI runner-up Burgard waits until Saturday to open its season as it hosts Pioneer at 1 p.m. at All High Stadium.

Prep Talk.BuffaloNews.com: Review the entire 2016 week-by-week schedule and see photos and videos from our various training-camp stops.

The countdown continues: Class A (Monday), Class AA (Tuesday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday). Class D is available online at the Prep Talk blog.

Season preview coming Thursday: Our annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 72 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2016 season.

Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster -- in spreadsheet form -- to rcurrin@aldenschools.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to mrodriguez@buffnews.com.

#PrepTalkLive at buffalonews.com: Every weekend, the place to monitor all of the Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is PrepTalk.BuffaloNews.com. We will have video reports, photos, live updates from several top games and you will again be a part of the team via Twitter. Tweet game updates with the #PrepTalkLive hashtag and those will appear in our live post.

#PrepTalkSpirit: High school students, tweet your fan photos from the crowd and include the hashtag #PrepTalkSpirit. We’ll retweet some of the best at @bufnewspreptalk and we'll pick a #PrepTalkSpirit winning photo every weekend of high school football.

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