The number of football programs in Western New York this season is 72 – an increase of one from last season.
The highlight is the return of Eden/North Collins after the team canceled its varsity season in 2015 due to low numbers.
Fredonia merged with Westfield/Brocton due to concerns regarding numbers and will be part of Class B South.
Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake opted to go their separate ways for 2016 after merging in 2013 due to concerns about low numbers. Those concerns seemed to be legitimate as each team had roughly 20 players on its roster the first day of practice.
After MG/C won back-to-back Class C titles, a Section VI committee on merged programs decided to bump them up to Class B. The same thing happened with Class C finalist Bennett, which got bumped up to Class A even though its enrollment numbers equate to Class B status.
Unlike the two Southern Tier programs, Bennett, which is merged with three other Buffalo schools that don’t field teams, opted to remain intact and accept the move to Class A South.
Maple Grove will play in Class D and Chautauqua Lake will play in Class C South.
Other notable alignment shifts:
• Williamsville North returns to Class AA North after a one-year stint in Class A North. So, too, does Niagara-Wheatfield.
• Riverside drops from Class AA North to Class A South.
• Amherst moves from the South Division to the North in Class A.
• East Aurora returns to Class B South after a one-year stint in Class B East. Lackawanna moves up from Class C North into Class B East to take EA’s place.
• Eden/NC will be part of Class C North.
• Class D is once again an eight-team division as Silver Creek/Forestville drops down a class and Maple Grove returns.