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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class A

Who’s who: The eight-team North Division consists of the Grand Island Vikings, Kenmore East Bulldogs, North Tonawanda Lumberjacks, Starpoint Spartans, Sweet Home Panthers, Riverside Frontiers, Williamsville East Flames and Williamsville South Billies. The eight-team South Division consists of the East Panthers, Hamburg Bulldogs, Hutch-Tech Engineers, Iroquois Chiefs, Lake Shore Eagles, McKinley Macks, South Park Sparks and West Seneca East Trojans.

This year’s alignment shift: Class A goes from 18 teams to 16 and from three six-team divisions to two eight-team divisions. Williamsville North and Niagara-Wheatfield, two teams that dropped from Class AA to A in recent years, have moved back up.

Last year’s champion: Williamsville North went on one of the most memorable runs in Section VI playoff history. The seventh-seeded Spartans knocked off six-time defending champion Sweet Home and ended the Panthers’ 69-game win streak against Section VI competition. The Spartans then advanced to Syracuse’s Carrier Dome before falling to Queensbury in the state championship.

Last year’s records: A North – Sweet Home 9-1, 5-0; Grand Island 7-2, 4-1; Kenmore East 4-5, 3-2; North Tonawanda 6-3, 2-3; Starpoint 4-5, 1-4. A Central – McKinley 6-2, 5-0; Williamsville South 5-4, 4-1; Williamsville East 4-4, 2-3; East 1-7, 1-4; Riverside 0-8, 0-5. A South – South Park 6-3, 5-0; West Seneca East 7-2, 4-1; Hamburg 4-5, 2-3; Lake Shore 3-6, 2-3; Hutch-Tech 2-6, 1-4; Iroquois 2-6, 1-4.

2013 All-Western New York underclassmen: Sweet Home DB Brandon Smiley (first team), South Park WR Antonio Leonard-11 (second team), Sweet Home RB Jordan Evert-11 (third team), Sweet Home QB Kevin Torrillo-11 (HM), North Tonawanda QB Chris Woodard-11 (HM), Williamsville South QB Sam Castronova-11 (HM), Williamsville South LB Jake Fuzak-10 (HM), South Park DL William Burgess-11 (HM), South Park DL Wilquan Burgess-11 (HM), McKinley DB Mike Benton-11 (HM).

2013 all-league first-team underclassmen: Williamsville South QB Sam Castronova-11, Williamsville South LB Jake Fuzak-10, Williamsville South DB Kam Varner-11, Williamsville East K Pat Orsini-10, Williamsville East DL Chris Tidswell-11, Riverside LB Xavier May-11, Sweet Home QB Kevin Torrillo-11, Sweet Home RB Jordan Evert-11, Sweet Home WR Brandon Smiley-11, Sweet Home NT Steve Iverson-11, North Tonawanda QB Chris Woodard-11, Grand Island OL Nick Paolini-11, Kenmore East OL Matt Rymanczyk-11, Kenmore East LB Kurt McGowan-11, Lake Shore QB Collin Fiutko-10, Lake Shore DL Charles Guadalupe-10, Hamburg OL Joe DeGrood-11, Hutch-Tech OL Andrew Woods-11, South Park WR Antonio Leonard-11, South Park DL Wilquan Burgess-11, South Park LB William Burgess-11, Iroquois LB Zach Emer-11, Iroquois LB Coyote Sokolski-11, West Seneca East LB Tyler Skretny-11.

Week One must-see games: The top game of the entire opening weekend could be the nonleague matchup of defending Class AA champion Jamestown at Sweet Home at 2 p.m. Saturday. Iroquois opens league action at West Seneca East Friday at 7 while there is a brother-vs.-brother coaching matchup as Bennett and Steve McDuffie host Williamsville East and Chris McDuffie at Robert E. Rich All High Stadium.

Scrimmage Saturday: Saturday was the first day teams could scrimmage other schools. See photo galleries and video at

At Go to the high school home page to watch exclusive video of South Park coach Tim Delaney’s initial address to his team and look over the entire 2014 week-by-week schedule. The PrepTalkTV and live chat schedule will be released soon.

The countdown continues: Class AA (Tuesday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday). Class B was Sunday, C was Saturday and D was Friday. Review them all at the high school sports home page at

Season preview coming Thursday: The 12-page annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 74 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2014 season.

Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster – in spreadsheet form – to Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to

#PrepTalkLive at Every weekend, the place to monitor all of the Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is and the Prep Talk blog. 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.