Albion Purple Eagles (4-4)
Coach: Gary Parisi, second season
Home field: Spierdowis Field
Program founded: 1898
Outlook: The Purple Eagles have some experience returning on offense, led by fourth-year starting receiver Trey Hart, who is only a junior. He’ll look to receive passes from senior and third-year starting quarterback Kyle Smith, who passed for 14 touchdowns and rushed for six more. Guard/defensive tackle Nate Trembley anchors both sides of the line. Manwell Taylor should get some time on offense, but the defensive back is what Parisi calls the “field general” of that unit. Albion just got squeezed out of the playoffs by rival Medina in Week Seven. Parisi’s crew has been doing football -related activities since March to prepare for this season. Does that mean the postseason will be in the Purple Eagles’ future? “I’m not looking past Newfane this week,” Parisi said.
Sept. 4 vs. Newfane, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Alden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Depew, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. East Aurora, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Barker/Roy-Hart, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Alden Bulldogs (4-5)
Coach: Rob Currin, third season
Home field: Alden Complex
Program founded: 1952
Outlook: Just how unacceptable was last season’s losing record to the Bulldogs? They began work toward this season last January, with an area sports performance facility developing workout programs designed to increase endurance and make players stronger. “I feel like our weight-room numbers sky-rocketed,” Currin said. Alden has eight returning starters on each side of the ball with the biggie being senior running back Lyle Grant. Classmate A.J. Patterson will be his lead blocker at fullback. Bryan Cybulski started two games last season at quarterback as a freshman. Seniors Dylan Riddoch and Leyton Miner are returning two-way linemen. Classmate Joe King lines up at receiver and defensive back. Sophomore Christian Snell also will lineup in the backfield and play defensive back. Lineman Paul Feitshans starts both ways.
Sept. 4 vs. Pioneer, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Albion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Barker/Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Depew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. East Aurora, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Rochester U-Prep, TBA
Barker/Roy-Hart Raiders (3-6)
Coach: Bill Bruning, fifth season
Home field: Bruno Pacini Field
Program founded: 2011
Outlook: The Raiders return seven starters with the most important one, perhaps, being senior quarterback Andy Xapsos. The third-year varsity player passed for 500 yards and five TDs last season and made 25 tackles from his defensive back spot. Senior two-way lineman Chris Steves is another third-year starter. Barker may very well have the tallest left tackle in the section in 6-10, 270-pounder Chris Sanderson. The senior bends well, according to Bruning. Senior Joey DiMayo starts at center, again. Classmate Ryan Alrich, a linebacker last season shifts to running back. “I think we’re going to be much improved this year,” Bruning said. “If we’re able to protect the football we’ll be very competitive this year.”
Sept. 4 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Depew, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Alden, 7 p.m. (at R-H)
Sept. 25 at Medina, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Erie East (Pa.), 2 p.m. (at R-H)
Oct. 10 vs. Albion, 1:30 p.m. (at Barker)
Oct. 16 at East Aurora, 7 p.m.
Depew Wildcats (6-3)
Coach: Brian Wilson, fourth season
Home field: Constantino Complex
Program founded: 1912
Outlook: The Wildcats have 23 returnees determined to make their second run to The Ralph in three seasons. They had hoped to go back-to-back seasons but the quest got derailed by the injuries, with six starters going down in a Week Six win. “It was surreal,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we avoid the injury bug this year.” Depew’s top returnee is third-year senior starting tackle/defensive end Jake Grant. The former track sprinter turned thrower added 30 pounds of muscle and is now 265. Linebacker/running back Adam Bauer, like Grant, is back and fully recovered from the injury that brought an early end to 2014. Matt Poblocki rushed for 600 yards, almost all during the final three weeks. Junior John Mietus moves from starting tackle to guard. Senior Ryan Guay takes over at quarterback for the graduated Dylan Sekuterski.
Sept. 4 at Dunkirk, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Albion, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Alden, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 at East Aurora, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Medina, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.
East Aurora Blue Devils (6-2)
Coach: Tim Wade, 12th season
Home field: Blue Devils Stadium
Program founded: circa 1922
Outlook: Last season’s Class B South champion is in a new division. The Blue Devils will have some time to get used to their new surroundings, however, as they face old division rivals twice in the opening three weeks before rushing headlong into their league schedule. Key returnees hoping to lead the Blue Devils back to the postseason include seniors A.J. Perlino (tight end/defensive end), E.J. Staniszewski (running back/linebacker) and Cole Jenkins (center/defensive end). Staniszewski and classmate Brady Tehan will start in the backfield on offense. Junior Matt Boss takes over as signal-caller after helping the junior varsity team to an 8-0 campaign. Seniors Jake LoVullo, Will Walters and Cole Jenkins comprise an experienced front line.
Sept. 4 at Olean, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Dunkirk, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Albion, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Depew, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Alden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Barker/R-H, 7 p.m.
Medina Mustangs (5-4)
Coach: Eric Valley
Home field: Veterans Park
Program founded: circa 1898
Outlook: While the Mustangs bid farewell to quarterback Jason Hellwig, who set six Medina records during his time, Valley believes he has a solid team. He returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. Senior Noah Banazwski stands 6-5, weighs 285 and should anchor both defensive and offensive lines. He’ll be joined by classmates Charles Beach and Kalvin Packer. Eric Neace and Jakob Cotter will handle running back duties. Freshman Isiah Rhim and senior Tyler Valley are splitting quarterback duties. “We return a lot of guys. We just have to minimize mistakes and play hard,” said Valley, regarding his team’s playoff chances.
Sept. 4 vs. Lew-Port, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at East Aurora, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Riverside, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Alden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Depew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Albion, 7 p.m.
– Miguel Rodriguez