Tuesday’s installment of countdown to Friday Night Lights is Class AA.
Who’s who: The 11-team class consists of two divisions. Class AA South includes the Frontier Falcons, Hutch-Tech Engineers, Jamestown Red Raiders, Lancaster Legends and Orchard Park Quakers. Class AA North features the Clarence Red Devils, Kenmore West Blue Devils, Lockport Lions, Niagara Falls Wolverines, Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons and Williamsville North Spartans.
Alignment shift: Niagara-Wheatfield and Williamsville North move up from Class A North. Riverside drops from Class AA North to Class A South.
Last year’s champion: Orchard Park captured its 14th Section VI championship by defeating Kenmore West, 34-20. It’s the Quakers’ first title since 2012. OP’s season came to an end in Far West Regionals to eventual state champion Aquinas. The Section V power defeated OP, 42-7. Orchard Park ended the season ranked third in the Buffalo News Large School poll and 11th in the state.
Last year’s records: Class AA South – Orchard Park 9-2, 4-0; Lancaster 6-3, 3-1; Jamestown 5-4, 2-2; Hutch-Tech 2-6, 1-3; Frontier 1-9, 0-4.
Class AA North – Kenmore West 8-2, 4-0; Niagara Falls 5-4, 2-2; Lockport 3-5, 2-2; Clarence 4-5, 2-2; Riverside 1-7, 0-4.
Newcomers: Williamsville North (7-2, 6-0 in Class A North), Niagara-Wheatfield (5-4, 2-4).
2015 All-Western New York underclassmen: Two All-WNY first team linemen who could be finalists for the Trench Trophy call Class AA South home. Six-foot-7 Dan Kubik of Orchard Park comes off a season in which he was honored for his work on the offensive line. Jamestown’s Jeremy Bush, one of the strongest kids in the area, is a two-way starter honored for his work at defensive tackle. Returning second team picks include running back Zach Samborski and receiver Leugim Castillo of Lancaster, while offensive lineman Jeremy Crafts transfers from St. Francis to Frontier. Defensive lineman Tyler White returns for his senior year with Kenmore West. Third team selections include Orchard Park quarterback Dillon Janca and backfield mate Josh Dahl, a running back. Other third teamers include Williamsville North senior linebacker Connor Kelly and defensive back and classmate Anthony Maniscalco. Returning honorable mentions are Williamsville North running back Andrew Hwang, Ken West receiver Jamir Lynch, utility Niko Mullen of Clarence and defensive back Devan Jackson of Jamestown.
2015 all-league first-team underclassmen: Class AA North – OL Antonyho Lloyd-11 (Lockport), OL Russ Kobierecki-11 (Clarence), DL Tyler White-11 (Kenmore West), DB Niko Mullen-11 (Clarence), P Cory Ratka-11 (Kenmore West).
Class AA South – Dillon Janca-11 (Orchard Park), OL Michael Carr-Johnson-11 (Hutch-Tech), WR Leugim Castillo-11 (Lancaster), RB Zach Samborski-11 (Lancaster), RB Josh Dahl-11 (Orchard Park), DL Jeremy Bush-11 (Jamestown), P David Blackwell-11 (Frontier).
Class A North – QB Jason Hwang-11 (Wmsv. North), RB Andrew Hwang-11 (Wmsv. North), RB Kor’Darryll Welch-11 (Nia.-Wheatfield), OL Josh Shumate-11 (Nia.-Wheatfield), DB Anthony Maniscalo-11 (Wmsv. North), LB Connor Kelly-11 (Wmsv. North).
Week One (Sept. 2-3): Opening night features defending champion Orchard Park hosting Pittsford of Section V at 7 p.m. Also on Friday, Hutch-Tech kicks it off with a 4 p.m. nonleaguer against St. Mary’s at All High Stadium. In other Friday night games: Williamsville North travels to Jamestown in another nonleaguer. Two of North’s last four losses over the last two seasons have been inflicted by the Red Raiders. Other nonleaguers include Clarence visiting Frontier, Lancaster travels to Williamsville South and Kenmore West visits Riverside. On Saturday afternoon, Lockport travels to Stransky Complex in West Seneca to face Monsignor Martin power Canisius, while McKinley squares off with the Wolverines in Niagara Falls. Niagara-Wheatfield hosts Grand Island.
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: Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday). Classes A-D are available online at the Prep Talk blog.
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 email@example.com. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
#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.