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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Class D

Who’s who: The eight-team class is one single division. The teams are the Cattaraugus/Little Valley Timberwolves, Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds, Clymer/Panama/Sherman Wolfpack, Franklinville/Ellicottville Titans, Maple Grove Red Dragons, Portville Panthers, Randolph Cardinals, Salamanca Warriors.

Alignment shift: Silver Creek/Forestville moves up to Class C South, while Chautauqua Lake and Salamanca drop down from that division. Also, the section approved an emergency merger between Frewsburg and Randolph on Tuesday because Frewsburg only had 18 players and wasn't confident it'd be able to get through the season with such a small roster.

Last year’s champion: Maple Grove captured the title by defeating defending champion Franklinville/Ellicottville, 33-6. The Red Dragons won their first 12 games of the season before dropping a 22-21 decision in double overtime to Cambridge in the state final at the Carrier Dome. Maple Grove finished the season ranked No. 1 in the News Small School poll.

Last year’s records: In Class D – Maple Grove 12-1, 7-0; Silver Creek/Forestville 7-2, 6-1; F/E 7-3; 5-2; C/P/S 5-4, 4-3; Randolph 4-5, 3-4; Frewsburg 2-7, 2-5; Catt./LV 1-7, 1-6; Portville 0-8, 0-7.

Newcomers: Chautauqua Lake 2-6, 2-3 (C South); Salamanca 1-8, 0-7 (C South).

2016 All-Western New York underclassmen: F/E quarterback Brock Blecha, Frewsburg quarterback Trent Gray and Maple Grove lineman Zak Trim earned honorable mention.

2016 all-league first-team underclassmen: Class D – QB Brock Blecha-11 (F/E), QB Trent Gray-11 (Frewsburg), TE Sam Erickson-11 (F/E), TE Nick Fabrizio-11 (Maple Grove), OT Andrew Bernard-10 (Randolph), DT Thomas Delahoy-11 (C/P/S), DT Zak Trim-11 (Maple Grove), LB Griffin Chudy-11 (F/E), LB Nick Becker-11 (Randolph), LB Devin Foster-11 (Randolph). Class C South – DB Aiden Carson-9 (Chautauqua Lake), OL Leland John-11 (Salamanca), DB Tyler Hedlund-10 (Salamanca).

Week One (Sept. 1-2): Opening night features defending champion Maple Grove hosting Gowanda/Pine Valley in a nonleague clash at 7 p.m., Franklinville/Ellicottville hosting Randolph, with Salamanca visiting Portville. Also Chautauqua Lake hosts Class C runner-up Southwestern. With Frewsburg merging with Randolph, that means as of now Catt./Little Valley has a bye during Week One.

At Review the entire week-by-week schedule and see photos from our various training-camp stops.

The countdown continues: Class C (Thursday), Class B (Friday), Class A (Saturday), Class AA (Sunday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Monday).

Season preview coming Wednesday: Our annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 70 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2017 season.

Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster -- in spreadsheet form -- to Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to

#PrepTalkLive at The place to monitor all of the Thursday and Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is 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 blog.

#PrepTalkSpirit: High school students, tweet your fan photos from the crowd and include the hashtag #PrepTalkSpirit, and we'll retweet some of the best at @bufnewspreptalk.

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