Lockport Lions (0-0) vs. Canisius Crusaders (0-0), 1 p.m., Stransky Complex in West Seneca.
Matt Vermette makes his debut as a head coach for the Lockport Lions. They boldly accept a challenging opener against Canisius, which has won four straight regular season Monsignor Martin Association championships and had its run of postseason titles snapped last November by St. Francis.
Lockport, coming off a 3-5 season, is the underdog in this one, but playing this contest could pay dividends come playoff time. Expect the Lions to take a run-first approach, especially with starting quarterback Javon Ford lost for the season with a knee injury.
There’s added intrigue in this game with a familiar Lion now residing in a different den. Former Lockport running back Kenyatta Huston makes his Crusaders debut as the junior transferred after starting for the Lions last season. Other transfers making their Canisius debuts include junior receiver Paul Woods, a former Sweet Home Panther who’s received an offer from Boston College, and 6-3, 300-pound lineman Brad Currell, who attended a Canadian school last year.
The key returnee on offense for the Crusaders is big, bruising running back and Connolly Cup finalist Cole Burniston, who could very well run for more than 1,000 yards this season. Others to keep an eye on include Mason Hoose and Jeremy Cych.
Three transfers Vermette expects to provide a boost for Lockport include ex-Maryvale linebacker Jason Burruss, defensive end/fullback Nate Pinkham from Northbridge, Mass., and former resident of Japan running back/linebacker Shota Sprunger.
Other games to see on a light Saturday include:
• Starpoint vs. Amherst at Dimp Wagner Field, 1 p.m.: A veteran Spartans team begins its quest to win the division title outright after sharing it with Williamsville North last season. Starpoint started 7-0 but lost last two games of the season. Amherst looks to bounce back from a winless season with a bunch of enthusiastic young players. Tigers’ junior varsity went 4-3-2.
• Pioneer at Burgard, 1 p.m. at All High Stadium: Section VI Class B runner-up Burgard looks to get a leg up on the competition, while Pioneer returns several experienced players from 3-5 campaign looking to make a run at securing a playoff berth.
• McKinley at Niagara Falls, 2 p.m. at Niagara Falls Athletic Complex: Falls is coming off a 5-4 season that ended in sectional semifinals. Key returnees for Falls include linemen Mario Taylor and Santino Cafarella. Brian Hillery takes the reins as varsity coach for a young and athletic McKinley team.
• Grand Island at Niagara-Wheatfield, 2 p.m. at Terry Harvey Field: N-W comes into the season on a four-game winning streak, while Grand Island looks to return to the postseason.
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Review our #PrepTalkLive coverage from Friday night’s action, including photo galleries and a live blog of how the night transpired. Our scoreboard page also has additional details from several games.
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