Albion Purple Eagles (3-6)
Coach: Gary Parisi, third season
Home field: Spierdowis Field
Program founded: 1898
Outlook: The goal is simple for Albion: Reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Purple Eagles’ 33-man roster includes nine seniors looking to do that, three who have been three-year starters. Tommy Mattison is a captain and will play running back and linebacker. Fellow captain Jared Hollinger is a two-way lineman, while Kory Reynolds is a 6-3, 200-pound tight end who has the grades to go to an Ivy League school. Another captain is senior second-year starting linebacker/running back Branden McGuire. Junior receiver/ defensive back Lamar Chambers enters his third season, while classmate Meach Gardner is a bruising 230-pound running back/ linebacker.
Sept. 2 at Lewiston-Porter, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Alden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Roy-Hart/Barker, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Depew, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Lackawanna, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Akron, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Medina, 7:30 p.m.
Alden Bulldogs (8-1)
Coach: Rob Currin, fourth season
Home field: Alden Complex
Program founded: 1952
Outlook: The 29-man roster features 15 seniors but just three returning starters on each side of the ball. Still, expectations remain high for the Bulldogs, who do have three juniors who started last season. Christian Snell moves from starting wide receiver to running back and will take over as workhorse for graduated first-team All-WNY pick Lyle Grant. Junior quarterback Bryan Cybulski has started 11 games and will inherit more responsibilities now that Grant’s gone. Kicker Riley Pastuszynski adds receiver and corner to his list of duties. Senior J.J. Foster will anchor both sides of the line, which welcomes 6-3, 232-pound junior Glenn Drew to the mix. Quest to be ready for postseason includes Week Five nonleaguer against Canisius.
Sept. 2 vs. Depew, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Albion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Medina, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Roy-Hart/Barker, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Canisius, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Lackawanna, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at V-University Prep, 7 p.m.
Depew Wildcats (3-5)
Coach: Brian Wilson, sixth season
Home field: Constantino Complex
Program founded: 1912
Outlook: The goals have steps for the Wildcats. In order to give themselves the best chance to move through the playoffs, they must win the division. In order to do that, they must first beat Alden – which will serve as their opener for the third straight season. Though they lost a glue guy on the line in Jakob Grant to graduation, they do have two more returning in seniors and two-way starters Tyler Biersbach and John Mietus. Both are 6-3, 225 pounds. Biersbach’s younger brother, Chad, returns to start at receiver and will try to be a favorite downfield target of senior quarterback Jon Wolf. He completed 60 percent of his passes and averaged around 200 yards per game while filling in for injured starter Ryan Guay late last season. Another returning starter for Coach Wilson to lean on is senior running back/linebacker Austin Tilley.
Sept. 2 at Alden, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Maryvale, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Lackawanna, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Albion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Roy-Hart/Barker, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.
Medina Mustangs (6-3)
Coach: Eric Valley, ninth season
Home field: Veterans Park
Program founded: circa 1898
Outlook: The Mustangs’ 24-man roster includes two exceptional athletes. Senior running back Jake Cotter can bench 245 pounds, run the 40 in 4.8 seconds and has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Canisius. Six-foot-4 junior receiver Jalin Cooper returns as a starter and is the reigning Section VI Division II 100-meter champion, having unseated a reigning state champion to earn that title. Senior linebackers Eric Neace and Dawson Joy lead the defense, while sophomore quarterback Izaiah Rhim gets the call at quarterback. The 6-1, 210-pounder has a cannon for an arm, Valley said. Seniors Frank Carrasquillo and Tyler Howard are top returning two-way linemen for the Mustangs.
Sept. 2 Roy-Hart/Barker, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Lackawanna, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Alden, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. V-University Prep, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Depew, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Albion, 7:30 p.m.
Roy-Hart/Barker Raiders (2-7)
Coach: Bill Bruning, sixth season
Home field: Bruno Pacini Field
Program founded: 2011
Outlook: The Raiders have 14 returnees looking to improve on last season’s results. One of them has a pretty good arm as receiver Eddie Wasnock moves to the quarterback position. The senior is an all-state baseball selection at pitcher as he helped Barker reach the sectional final. He’ll either hand or pass the ball to classmate Eric Fitch, a running back and linebacker coming off an honorable-mention all-league season. He was the team’s second-leading tackler. Junior 6-foot-6, 290-pound lineman Sam Gioeli participated in the one-day camp at Ohio State. Other returning starters include senior defensive end Trevor Meahl and classmate Nick Faczolari, a lineman/linebacker/fullback. The coach believes his team can be competitive every week, but … “I think the key for us is to stay healthy,” Bruning said.
Sept. 2 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at V-Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Albion, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Alden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Newfane, 2 p.m.
Oct. 8 vs. Depew, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Lackawanna, 7 p.m.
Lackawanna Steelers (6-3)
Coach: Adam Tardif, sixth season
Home field: Veterans Stadium
Program founded: 1925
Outlook: The Steelers returned to the postseason last year and move up a class looking to build on that momentum. They have eight offensive and seven defensive starters back with the key one being fourth-year starter Marquez Lofton. The senior plays tight end and linebacker and received All-WNY honorable mention in 2015. He’ll look to help the line open holes for quick junior tailback Khalil Horton. Senior co-captain and defensive tackle/fullback Paul Brooks is having the best camp out of all the Steelers, according to Tardif. Senior Shakur Snow returns and will play receiver/defensive back. Juniors Domonic Wright and Noble Smith are competing for the quarterback job. Smith’s twin brother London is a 6-2, 168-pound fast receiver.
Sept. 2 at East Aurora/Holland, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Medina, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Depew, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. JFK, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Albion, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Alden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Roy-Hart/Barker, 7 p.m.