Allegany-Limestone Gators (0-8)
Coach: Paul Furlong, sixth season
Home field: Fred Grace Field
Program founded: 1952
Outlook: Scoring was a problem last season for the Gators, Furlong said, but he’s happy to return his senior quarterback Holden Farr (who also plays free safety) and running back Zach Bierfeldt. Bierfeldt had about 790 yards last season, Furlong said. Furlong praised the team’s defensive play last season and it returns last season’s leading tackler junior Marcus Grove (LB) alongside senior Jordan Kayes (RB/LB). The offensive line was largely determined by preseason practice – Furlong said he could see four of the five offensive linemen being freshman and sophomores.
Sept. 4 vs. Westfield/Brocton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Southwestern, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Salamanca, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Portville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Maple Grove, 7:30 p.m.
Cass. Valley/Falconer Falcons (4-4)
Coach: Jeff Smith, first season
Home field: Bill Race Field
Program founded: 2014
Outlook: Smith took over the coaching duties from Mark Peterson, who retired after 19 years to watch his son play college football at Washington & Jefferson College. Last year was the first season since the recent merger of the two football teams. The .500 finish can be deemed as a success, especially with all the changing parts and the fact that both schools were under .500 in 2013. The team returns 11 starters, six offensive and five defensive. Senior Anthony Miller is expected to be a focal point on offense at running back and also one of the standout defenders at defensive backs. Defense is anchored by senior Tyler Simpson (LB).
Sept. 5 vs. Salamanca, 1:30
Sept. 12 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama (Sherman), 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. JFK, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Southwestern, 7 p.m.
Salamanca Warriors (3-5)
Coach: Paul Haley, first season
Home field: Vets’ Park
Program founded: 1915
Outlook: Haley is taking the step from JV to varsity coach this seasonand he’s excited about the returning talent, led by three-year starter, senior Jordan Johnson (OG/DT). Senior dual-threat quarterback Cole Quigley will lead the offense and junior Derek McClure “with a nose for the ball,” Haley said, will move from linebacker to strong safety. Junior Xander Edstrom (WR/S) is expected to make an impact after suffering a broken collarbone last season. Haley said Salamanca fought off a merger and has a lot of athletic kids who lack experience in football. He’s excited to see how that athleticism will play out on the field.
Sept. 5 at CV/Falconer (CV), 1:30 p.m.
Sept.11 vs. Lackawanna (@Vets), 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Maple Grove (CL), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Southwestern (@Vets), 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Franklinville/Ellicottville/West Valley, 7 p.m.
Southwestern Trojans (7-3)
Coach: Jehuu Caulcrick, first season
Home field: Charles A. Lawson Field
Program founded: 1949
Outlook: It’s a rare opportunity in Western New York to play for a man who won a Connolly Cup and went on to play in the NFL. Southwestern players have this fortune with Jehuu Caulcrick at the helm. Southwestern lost a lot of talent from last year’s team that reached the Class C title game, returning only two offensive and four defensive starters. Players to watch for include seniors Brendan Kennedy (RB/LB), Joe Hayes (WR/DB), Jacob Chamberlain (defensive end), Ben Burke (quarterback) and junior Niko Pannes (WR/DB).
Sept. 4 at Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Springville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Salamanca, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Maple Grove (CL), 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, 7 p.m.
Gowanda/Pine Valley Panthers (4-4)
Coach: Sean Gabel, seventh season
Home field: Hillis Field
Program founded: 2015
Outlook: Gowanda returns five offensive and defensive players from last season’s squad. Led by 6-foot-2 senior wide receiver Lucas Brawdy, the offense looks to do its part to break through the .500 mark. Senior Devon Clark, at 6 feet, 265 pounds with the ability to bench press 250 pounds, will be the anchor of the offensive line. First-team all-league senior Chris Hammond, 6-foot-3, 160-pound defensive end, looks to create havoc in the backfield. Senior Killian Abers is another receiver to look out for.
Sept. 4 vs. Southwestern, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Maple Grove, (MG) 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Cattarangus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.
Oct 3 at Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Salamanca, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Akron, 7 p.m.
– Owen O’Brien
Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake Thunder Dragons (11-1)
Coach: Curt Fischer, 23rd season
Home field: Not named
Program founded: circa 1930
Outlook: Moving up to Class C and merging with Chautauqua Lake didn’t prove to be much of a challenge for this squad last season. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake dominated Southwestern, 37-7, en route to the Class C South championship. Maple Grove previously won five titles in Class D. Although the team lost a lot of last year’s talent (only two offensive players and four defensive players return), there is plenty of talent among the returners — led by senior linebacker Mitch Sandberg. Returning aside him is junior linebacker Trevor Micek. Both LBs were first-team all-league last season. Junior Brad Benson (another first-team all-leaguer), at 165 pounds, is more of the slashing running back in the backfield while the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Nick Fabrizio is a bruiser who will make your remember running into him. The offensive and defensive lines are controlled by junior Jake Nordin (6-3, 305) and senior Tyler Fortune (6-2, 245). Junior 6-4 WR/CB Mitch Padilla, who played on JV last season, performed well at Hamilton College and ECC Camps.
Sept. 5 vs. USO Pittsburgh (MG), 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, (MG) 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Salamanca, (CL) 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Southwestern, (CL) 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Allegany-Limestone, (MG) 7:30 p.m.