Catt./Little Valley Timberwolves (4-5)
Coach: Tim Miller, 21st year
Home field: Timberwolf Stadium
Program founded: 2000
Outlook: Cattaraugus/Little Valley isn’t a bad team by any means, but the Timberwolves must show they can play with some of the traditional powers. C/LV had four players who were first-team all-leaguers, including standout quarterback Kyle O’Donnell, and they all graduated. They have only seven starters back, so Miller has a good-sized task in front of him. Drew Stevens was an honorable-mention pick for all-league honors. He did a little of everything last year, including some kick returns. Darren Stevens, T.J. Southwick and Tim Ulinger also are back. The Timberwolves open with Frewsburg, which handled C/LV rather easily last year. The game could serve as a measuring stick to see if the Timberwolves are ready to get to the meat of the schedule − with three straight tough games slated for the middle of September.
Sept. 2 vs. Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Portville, 7 p.m.
Coach: Ty Harper, third season
Home field: Brosius Field
Program founded: Merged in 2015
Outlook: The Wolfpack added Panama’s players last year, and will try to earn some more wins with the help of a JV team that went 4-2-1 last season. Defense is a worry with only three returning starters while the offense has five. Kolby Parks might be the team’s top player, as he was an honorable-mention pick on the all-Western New York team. He will play wide receiver and defensive back. Justin Svetz will be calling signals. He’s only 5-foot-9 but is a fine all-around athlete - making the state championships in the decathlon. The senior also plays safety for the Wolfpack. Svetz will be looking for Korey Ayers (tight end/linebacker) and Parks as targets. Robert Overton is a sophomore who could play a key role. C/S/P will have some trouble in this rugged division.
Sept. 2 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 vs. Portville, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Randolph, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 vs. Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Franklinville/ Ellicottville (8-2)
Coach: Chad Bartaszak, fourth season
Home field: Ray Gray Field
Program founded: Merged in 2014
Outlook: The Titans have been excellent in their two years since the two high schools came together to form one team (15-4), and there’s no reason to think they won’t be around the top of the division again. F/E is coming off a season in which it beat Frewsburg in the Section VI championship game. The Titans have seven returning starters on offense, and eight on defense. The junior varsity has gone 15-1 in its last two years, so the Titans will be stocked. Brock Blecha will be a key performer. The quarterback/linebacker is a junior who moves into a starting role on offense and has a chance to be a standout. Preston Hutchinson is a senior all-star who plays guard and linebacker. Caleb Rinko will follow Hutchinson’s block on opposing defenses as he takes aim at 1,000 yards rushing for the season.
Sept. 2 vs. Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Frewsburg Bears (5-5)
Coach: Terry Gray, 16th season
Home field: Frewsburg Field
Program founded: 1963
Outlook: The Bears have been stuck around the .500 mark the last couple of years, although they did reach the Section VI final last season with a nice postseason run. Veteran coach Gray hopes to take a step forward, particularly with seven returning starters on offense and five on defense. Trent Gray is back for his second year at quarterback. The junior has good size at 6-foot-3, and is an accurate thrower. He was an all-league selection in 2015. Cordell O’Brien is also 6-3 and an all-league selection, and figures to be a prime target for Gray’s passes. He was an all-league performer last year and a first-team all-star in basketball in the CCAA II as well. Cole Gregory and Jarod Sanfilippo both check in at more than 210 pounds. The seniors will add some size to the line.
Sept. 2 at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Portville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 7 p.m.
Maple Grove Red Dragons (9-2)
Coach: Curt Fischer, 24th season
Home field: No name
Program founded: about 1930
Outlook: The Red Dragons have ended the merger with Chautauqua Lake and have dropped down a level this season, to Class D. Maple Grove has taken part in five straight Section VI championships, winning three. Last year, the Red Dragons finished second among small schools in The Buffalo News weekly poll and was ranked sixth in the state. Any discussion this season starts with running back Brad Benson, who ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015 and scored 16 touchdowns. He was a one-man gang in the Section VI win over Bennett. Linebacker Trevor Micek had 121 tackles last year. Mitch Padilla was an all-league receiver in 2015, and Zac Trim (DE) and Dalton DuBois (RB) are both back. If a top-flight QB emerges to replace Michael Welsh (graduated), Maple Grove will be very tough once again.
Sept. 2 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Randolph, 7 p.m.
Portville Panthers (4-4)
Coach: Gary Swetland, 25th season
Home field: Portville Field
Program Founded: 1921
Outlook: The Panthers had three selections on the Class D first all-star team last season, and they’ve all graduated. So a little regrouping is necessary. Matt Waugh plays center and outside linebacker, and he’ll be one of the cornerstones as Portville reloads. DJ Hlasnick looks like the starting quarterback, and he’ll be handing the ball off to Steele Kajski. Swetland would like to see Ron Lott take some steps forward o
n the line. The Panthers picked up some help from transfers, as Carter Johnson came over from Bolivar-Richburg and Nick Lakatosh arrived from Wellsville. Swetland is one of the top veteran coaches remaining on the scene, as he enters the season with a career record of 138-71-1.
Sept. 2 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 vs. Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 at Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Randolph Cardinals (5-3)
Coach: Brent Brown, fourth season
Home field: Raymond Van Wile
Program founded: Unknown
Outlook: The Cardinals have been one of the most successful teams in the region, going 81-17 the last nine seasons. Last year, though, Randolph was an uncharacteristic 5-3 after losing five all-state players to graduation. Therefore, the team under coach Brent Brown is liable to have something to prove. Jake Beaver checks in at quarterback, and it’s always good to have a returning player at that position. League all-star Jon Ling, a lineman/linebacker, and Sam Jacobi, running back/cornerback, will provide some senior leadership. Among the underclassmen, Devin Foster is a 225-pound junior who could be a force at linebacker, while the 260-pound sophomore Andrew Bernard ought to be a handful on the line. The season finale with Maple Grove might be a big one.
Sept. 2 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 1:30 p.m.
ct. 7 vs. Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Silver Creek/Forest. Black Knights (4-4)
Coach: Sean Helmer, 12th season
Home field: No name
Program founded: About 1928
Outlook: Silver Creek/Forestville drops from Class C North, and the Black Knights have a great starting point for a good season. Noah Radack was a first-team all-league pick and honorable mention All-WNY choice at quarterback at the higher classification. Radack threw for 16 touchdowns last season, and that put him in the top 10 in the region. He lost favorite target Trevon Thompson to graduation. However, fellow all-league selections Billy Seiders (defensive back) and Noah Seneca (lineman) are back. Returner Chris Williams is always dangerous. Silver Creek will find out quickly if it is a contender in the new group this year, as it opens with Randolph. The Black Knights may need to be in postseason mode early; they close with Maple Grove and Franklinville/Ellicottville.
Sept. 2 vs. Randolph, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Portville, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. Frewsburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Cattaraugus/Little Vallet, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 at Maple Grove, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.