Who’s who: The 10-team class is divided into two divisions. Class C North includes the Akron Tigers, Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles, Eden/North Collins Raiders, John F. Kennedy Bears and Wilson Lakemen. Class C South features the Allegany/Limestone Gators, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Falcons, Gowanda/Pine Valley Panthers, Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights and Southwestern Trojans.
Alignment shift: Silver Creek/Forestville moves up to Class C South, while Chautauqua Lake and Salamanca drop down to Class D.
Last year’s champion: Cleveland Hill captured the title by defeating Southwestern, 52-21. The Golden Eagles lost in the Far West Regional game to Section V champion and private school Bishop Kearney, 40-38. Cleve Hill finished the season ranked No. 4 in the News Small Schools poll.
Last year’s records: In Class C North – Cleveland Hill 9-2, 4-0; Wilson 4-5, 3-1; JFK 5-4, 2-2; Akron 2-6, 1-3; Eden/NC 2-6, 0-4. Class C South – Southwestern 8-2, 5-0; Gowanda/PV 6-3, 4-1; A/L 3-6, 2-3; Ch. Lake 2-6, 2-3; Falconer/CV 3-6, 2-3; Salamanca 1-8, 0-5.
Newcomer: Silver Creek/Forestville 7-2, 6-1 (Class D).
2016 All-Western New York underclassmen: Southwestern quarterback Cole Snyder earned honorable mention as a sophomore. Running backs Jake Sarow of Akron and Aaron Wahler of Cleveland Hill and linebacker Ryan Majerowski of Cleveland Hill also garnered honorable mention.
2016 all-league first-team underclassmen: Class C North – RB Aaron Wahler-10 (Cleve Hill), RB Jake Sarow-11 (Akron), OL Zak DeCarolis-10 (Eden), OL Matthew Lange-11 (Wilson), TE Matt Kitchko-11 (Wilson), WR Robbie PeQueen-11 (Akron), WR Marcel Wilson-10 (Wilson), DL Manny Al-Hemyari-11 (Cleveland Hill), DL Josh Bremer-11 (JFK), LB Drew Westmoria-9 (Wilson), LB Ryan Majerowski-11 (Cleveland Hill), LB Jarrett Eck-11 (Eden/NC), DB Jon Mark Emel-11 (Eden/NC), DB Jordan Snyder-11 (JFK). Class C South – QB Cole Snyder-10 (Southwestern), WR Robbie Penhollow-10 (Falconer/Cass. Valley), OL Pat Walsh-10 (All.-Limestone), OL Jiyah Mentley-Peters-11 (Gowanda/PV), OL Jake Hnastyzyn-10 (Southwestern), AP Connor Crabtree-10 (Falconer/Cass. Valley), DL Jake Giardini-11 (All.-Limestone), DB Faizon Munir-10 (Southwestern), DB Alex Card-10 (Southwstern).
Class D – S Macadam Gadewoltz-10 (Silver Creek/Forestv’l), RB Austin Eggleston-11 (Silver Creek/Forestv’l).
Week One (Sept. 1-2): The teams in Class C all play nonleaguers during opening weekend. Cleveland Hill faces Cheektowaga t0wn rival Maryvale at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 at Carl Kuras Field at Cleve Hill in the teams' annual once-a-year meeting. Section runner-up Southwestern visits Chautauqua Lake at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1 to open its season. Wilson makes the long trek from Niagara County to Silver Creek/Forestville for a 7 p.m. Friday night clash.
At buffalonews.com: Review the Class D Countdown to Friday Night Lights, the entire week-by-week schedule and see photos from our various training-camp stops.
The countdown continues: Class B (Friday), Class A (Saturday), Class AA (Sunday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Monday).
Season preview coming Wednesday: Our annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 70 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2017 season.
Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster -- in spreadsheet form -- to firstname.lastname@example.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to email@example.com.
#PrepTalkLive at buffalonews.com: The place to monitor all of the Thursday and Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is 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 blog.
#PrepTalkSpirit: High school students, tweet your fan photos from the crowd and include the hashtag #PrepTalkSpirit, and we'll retweet some of the best at @bufnewspreptalk.
Story topics: Akron Tigers/ Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles/ Eden/North Collins Raiders/ Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Falcons/ Gowanda/Pine Valley Panthers/ John F. Kennedy Bears and Wilson Lakemen. Class C South features the Allegany/Limestone Gators/ Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights and Southwestern Trojans.