Burgard Bulldogs (7-2)
Coach: Jason Kolb, 14th season
Home field: All High Stadium
Program founded: 1930
Outlook: Kolb has a fast, hard-hitting group that’s a little green in the trenches with the graduation losses of four starters. Still, Kolb knows how to coach them up. Three returning starters on offense and seven on defense will aid with the on-the-job training. Senior two-way lineman Jia Hunter and junior running back/linebacker Dominic Prince are back. Senior linebacker Dwayne Nelson and junior end Paul Minor also return for a defense that yielded just 11 points per game. Junior Dejean McCullough, the fastest player on the team, takes over at quarterback. Lining up behind him will be another player with some quickness in senior tail back Andre Gamblin. Sophomore Terrance Bass is up from junior varsity and will receive playing time at linebacker and on the offensive line.
Sept. 5 vs. Springville, 3 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Lew-Port, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 vs. Newfane, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Grand Island, 7 p.m.
Cheektowaga Warriors (9-3)
Coach: Mike Fatta, fourth season
Home field: No name
Program founded: 1934
Outlook: The reigning Class B champions have four returning starters on each side of the ball as they look to overcome the graduation losses of big-play threats Zak Ciezki and Marshawn Gibson. Senior Tyree Billingslea returns and takes over starting running back chores. He also will play a little outside linebacker. Classmate Tyron Lawson also will get his chances to tote the rock through opposing defenses. Junior receiver Stephan Parker looks to continue making plays downfield. He caught the game-winning 40-yard TD with 5 seconds left in the Warriors’ comeback 40-34 triumph over Bennett in the sectional final. Throwing the ball his way will be junior Eric Bartnik, who’s up from junior varsity. Senior safety Justin Williams is one of Cheektowaga’s top defenders.
Sept. 4 at Fredonia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Lew-Port, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Newfane, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Tonawanda, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Burgard, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. U-Prep Rochester, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Lewiston-Porter Lancers (2-6)
Coach: Jon Hoover, fourth season
Home field: Blakeslee Stadium
Program founded: Unknown
Outlook: With eight returning starters, Lew-Port looks to improve on last season’s results. The Lancers should find out where they stand in a hurry as they face 2014 playoff teams in each of their first four games. Third-year starting quarterback senior Donald Allender is 6-4 and has a big arm. One of his targets will be senior and second-year starter Dawson Bailey. Speedy senior Michael Fritz moves from receiver to tailback. The Lancers have two big linemen who play both ways in 6-3, 280-pound senior Taylor Gibson and 6-3, 275-pounder Matt Spira. There are 31 players on the roster but only 20 on junior varsity. The JV Lancers won’t be allowed to play their opener because they don’t have enough players with the minimum required practice days to meet state eligibility criteria.
Sept. 4 at Medina, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Maryvale, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Burgard, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 vs. Tonawanda, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Niagara-Wheatfield, 2 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Newfane, 2 p.m.
Maryvale Flyers (7-2)
Coach: Jeff Buccieri, fifth season
Home field: Maryvale Stadium
Program founded: 1953
Outlook: The key for the Flyers to make the playoffs a second straight year will be just how long it takes an inexperienced line to jell. They have the skilled position players to give opponents headaches in junior running back Austin Reamsnyder and senior fullback Kwaine Davis. Both have been timed in the 40 at 4.4 seconds. Senior Marcus Ford also starts in coach Buccieri’s Wing-T offense. Ford and Davis are receiving Division I interest. Senior Floyd Remley will start at quarterback. Senior center Cory Gruenthaner anchors the offensive line along with guard and classmate Zack Burns. Senior Andrew Crombie is another speedster who will line up at receiver and at free safety.
Sept. 5 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Burgard, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Lew-Port, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Fredonia, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Newfane, 2 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Tonawanda, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Newfane Panthers (2-7)
Coach: Chuck Nagel, fourth season
Home field: No name
Program founded: Unknown
Outlook: “We’re young and coachable, which is nice,” Nagel said. Still, Newfane isn’t without some senior leadership. Jake Kubala, Tyler Gilbert, Cyrus Simmons and Albert Kramp are captains. Kubala and Kramp will be staples in the backfield with Kubala. Kubala, a strong fullback who can bench 315, averaged 12 yards per carry last season in limited opportunities. Nagel plans to give Kubala more carries to take advantage of his speed. Gilbert is a receiver/defensive back, while Simmons is linebacker/running back. Senior Paul Dunbar will get some carries and play cornerback. Sophomore Chad Dunbar, a stand out wrestler, will play defensive end and tight end. Classmate Drew Boudeman will start at receiver. He’ll catch passes from sophomore QB Brandon Gross. Junior Jake Licht starts at middle linebacker, while Trevor Tomtishen at left guard.
Sept. 4 at Albion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Tonawanda, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Wilson, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Maryvale, 2 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Burgard, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17 vs. Lew-Port, 2 p.m.
Tonawanda Warriors (1-8)
Coach: Rob Gross, sixth year
Home field: Clint Small Stadium
Program founded: 1896
Outlook: The Warriors lost three games by a combined nine points last season. They return six starters on both sides of the ball with top runner Ethan Shattuck back in the fold. He’ll receive handoffs from either junior Zak Sajeak or sophomore Chris Tartick. Both look to replace the departed Tristan Boling, who’s currently playing for Division II Mercyhurst. Warriors have a couple of experienced offensive linemen in 6-2, 235-pound senior Blake Kollmar and 5-11, 220-pound junior Jaime Perez. They also play on the defensive line. Linebacker Colin Smith returns after leading Tonawanda in tackles as a sophomore. Gross expects good things from senior receiver/linebacker Brian Bui. Tonawanda, which last made the playoffs in 2013, has a simple goal. “Our goal is to get better … compete every night and make the playoffs,” Gross said.
Sept. 4 vs. Barker/Roy-Hart, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Newfane, 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 vs. Burgard, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Lew-Port, 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 vs. Maryrvale, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16 at North Tonawanda, 6 p.m.
– Miguel Rodriguez