Who’s who: The six-team league includes the Bishop Timon-St. Jude Tigers, Canisius Crusaders, Cardinal O’Hara Hawks, St. Francis Red Raiders, St. Joe’s Marauders and St. Mary’s Lancers.
Last year’s champion: St. Francis ended Canisius’ three-year championship reign by defeating the Crusaders, 42-7, at the former Ralph Wilson Stadium to win its first playoff title since 2011 and seventh since 2002. The Red Raiders lost in the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association final to unbeaten Archbishop Stepinac, 41-28. St. Francis ended the season ranked No. 2 in the Buffalo News Large School poll and 15th in the state.
Last year’s records: Canisius 8-3, 4-0; St. Francis 7-5, 3-1; Timon-St. Jude 7-4, 3-2; St. Joe’s 3-8, 1-3; St. Mary’s 4-6, 1-4; Cardinal O’Hara 5-5, 0-2.
2015 All-Western New York underclassmen: Canisius returns All-WNY first team kicker/punter Blake Haubeil. The Ohio State-commit has been selected to the preseason All-USA Team by USA Today. Headlining the returning second team All-WNY picks is Monsignor Martin Association all-time passing yards leader Jerry Hickson of St. Francis. Other second team All-WNYers include Timon’s Matt Myers (utility), Canisius’ Mason Hoose (linebacker) and St. Joe’s kicker/punter/linebacker/running back Louis Surace. Those who earned third team All-WNY include Canisius running back Cole Burniston and teammate Jeremy Cych (linebacker), Timon running back Joe Harrison. All-WNY honorable mentions returning include St. Francis’ Tyler Grisolia (offensive line) and Devin Delmont (linebacker) and St. Joe’s lineman Freddy Nixon.
2015 all-league first-team underclassmen: Blake Haubeil-11 (Canisius, Special Teams Player of the Year), QB Jerry Hickson-11 (St. Francis), RB Cole Burniston-11 (Canisius), RB Joe Harrison-11 (Timon-St. Jude), OL Tyler Grisolia-11 (St. Francis), U Matt Myers-10 (Timon-St. Jude), DL Freddy Nixon-11 (St. Joe’s), DL Mason Hoose-11 (Canisius), P Louis Surace-11 (St. Joe’s).
Week One (Sept. 2-3): Opening night features a late matinee contest for St. Mary’s which heads to All High Stadium to face Hutch-Tech to kick off a Catholic versus Public Schools double header. The nightcap has St. Joe’s facing defending state public schools Class A champion South Park. Defending league champion St. Francis hits the road to face Central Catholic in Toledo, Ohio. Timon-St. Jude travels to Georgia to take on national power Buford. On Saturday afternoon, Canisius hosts Lockport at 1 p.m. at Stransky Complex in another Catholic-Public showdown, while Cardinal O’Hara has a 2 p.m. road game at Section V’s University Prep.
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 is over: Countdown to Friday Night Lights for each classification (AA-D) is 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to email@example.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.