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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class D

Who’s who: The eight-team class is one single division. The teams are Cattaraugus/Little Valley Timberwolves, Clymer/Panama/Sherman Wolfpack, Franklinville/Ellicottville Titans, Frewsburg Bears, Maple Grove Red Dragons, Portville Panthers, Randolph Cardinals, Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights.

Alignment shift: Silver Creek drops down from Class C. Maple Grove returns as a single program after being part of Class C South the past two years as a merged program with Chautauqua Lake. Westfield/Brocton is now merged with Fredonia and is part of Class B South.

Last year’s champion: Franklinville/Ellicottville captured its first title as a merged outfit by defeating Frewsburg, 34-7, in the Section VI final. The Titans then lost to Section V champion and private school Bishop Kearney, 22-12, in the Far West Regional at the former Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester. F/E finished the season ranked seventh in the News Small School poll and fourth in the state Class D poll.

Last year’s records: In Class D – F/E 8-2; 5-1; Randolph 5-3, 5-1; Frewsburg 5-4, 3-3; Catt./LV 4-5, 3-3; Portville 4-4, 3-3; C/S/P 2-6, 1-5; Westfield/Brocton 2-7, 1-5.

Newcomers: Maple Grove 9-2, 5-0 (C South); Silver Creek/Forestville 4-4, 3-3 (C North).

2015 All-Western New York underclassmen: Maple Grove/CL’s Trevor Micek, a linebacker, and Brad Benson, a defensive back, earned spots on the third team. Silver Creek QB Noah Raddack earned honorable mention as did receiver Kolby Parks of Clymer/Panama/Sherman.

2015 all-league first-team underclassmen

Class D – WR Cordell O’Brien-11 (Frewsburg), OL Preston Huchinson-11 (Franklinville/Ellicottville), OL Jon Ling-11 (Randolph), OL David Gregory-11 (Frewsburg), DE Max Bates-11 (Westfield/Brocton), LB Brock Blecha-10 (F/E), DB Dooley Brennan-11 (F/E), DB Sam Jacobi-11 (Randolph).

Class C North – QB Noah Raddack-11 (Silver Creek),  DL Noah Seneca-11 (Silver Creek), DB Billy Seiders Silver Creek 11.

Class C South – RB Brad Benson-11 (Maple Grove/Ch. Lake), LB Trevor Micek-11 (Maple Grove/CL), WR Mitch Padilla-11 (Maple Grove/CL), DL Zak Trim-10 (Maple Grove/CL), DB Dalton DuBois-11 (Maple Grove/CL).

Week One (Sept. 2-3): Opening night features every team in this division in action, including defending champion Franklinville/Ellicottville hosting Clymer/Panama/Sherman under the lights at 7 p.m. Sept. 2. Maple Grove’s return as an unmerged team into this division kicks off with a road game at Portville. Silver Creek hosts Randolph and Frewsburg visits Catt./Little Valley.

Prep Talk.BuffaloNews.com: Review the entire 2016 week-by-week schedule and see photos and videos from our various training-camp stops.

The countdown continues: Class C (Saturday), Class B (Sunday), Class A (Monday), Class AA (Tuesday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday).

Season preview coming Thursday: Our annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 72 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2016 season.

Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster -- in spreadsheet form -- to rcurrin@aldenschools.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to mrodriguez@buffnews.com.

#PrepTalkLive at buffalonews.com: Every weekend, the place to monitor all of the Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is PrepTalk.BuffaloNews.com. 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 post.

#PrepTalkSpirit: High school students, tweet your fan photos from the crowd and include the hashtag #PrepTalkSpirit. We’ll retweet some of the best at @bufnewspreptalk and we'll pick a #PrepTalkSpirit winning photo every weekend of high school football.

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