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High School Football / Countdown to Friday Night Lights -- Class DD

*Last year's champion: None. This is a new eight-team division consisting of Chautauqua Lake, Franklinville, Pine Valley, Forestville, Panama, Clymer and the combined teams of Ellicottville/West Valley and Sherman/Ripley.

*2010 rewind: Only Pine Valley (from the old D East) and Chautauqua Lake (from the old D West) were among last year's eight Class D playoff teams. Chautauqua Lake advanced to the D semifinals before losing to eventual D champion Silver Creek.

*This year's alignment shift: Class DD is a new league formed in cooperation with its schools and Section VI. Class DD teams are not eligible for the state tournament -- the league will conduct its own playoffs which will conclude with semifinals in Week Eight and a championship in Week Nine (DD will also hold consolation bowl games for its other four teams in those weeks).

*Pre-snap read: It should be a more competitive season and a better experience for the DD schools -- as well as those in the strong, competitive Class D (Randolph, Silver Creek, Frewsburg, Portville, I-Prep at Grover Cleveland and Maple Grove). In recent seasons there had been a divide of haves and have-nots which often resulted in blowouts.

*Last year's records: In D East: Pine Valley 4-4, Ellicottville/West Valley 2-6, Forestville 1-6, Franklinville 0-8. In D West: Chautauqua Lake 6-3, Sherman/Ripley 4-4, Panama 1-6, Clymer 1-6.

*2010 all-league underclassmen: All were juniors -- Nick Fischer and Brent Morrison (Chautauqua Lake), Zak Fisher (Ellicottville), Don Kopp (Franklinville), Tyler Marsh (Panama), Robert McKeever (Pine Valley).

*Week One must-see games: All eight teams are paired up in league games, with last year's winningest team in Chautauqua Lake kicking off at Ellicottville on Friday night.

*Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams can scrimmage is next Saturday, Aug. 27. Chautauqua Lake and Clymer will be at Cassadaga Valley. Coaches should email with updates to our complete list at the Prep Talk blog at

*At Watch the first PrepTalkTV episode of the 2011-12 season from the first day of practice, check out video interviews with 25 different coaches and review the complete week-by-week schedule.

*The countdown continues: Class D (Sunday), C South (Monday), C North (Tuesday), B South (Wednesday), B East (Thursday), B West (Friday), A South (Aug. 27), A North (Aug. 28), AA South (Aug. 29), AA North (Aug. 30), Monsignor Martin (Aug. 31). You'll be able to review them all at

*Season preview coming Sept. 1: Our annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 82 teams in Western New York along with feature stories, a must-see cover and everything else you need to know about the 2011 season.

-- Keith McShea