Who’s who: The 16-team class consists of two divisions. Class A North includes the Grand Island Vikings, Kenmore East Bulldogs, Kenmore West Blue Devils, North Tonawanda Lumberjacks, Starpoint Spartans, Sweet Home Panthers, Williamsville East Flames and Williamsville South Billies. Class A South features the Amherst Tigers, Hamburg Bulldogs, Iroquois Chiefs, Lake Shore Eagles, McKinley Macks, South Park Sparks, West Seneca East Trojans and West Seneca West Indians.
Alignment shift: Amherst moves from A North into A South. Riverside leaves Class A South and is now merged with Bennett, which moves from Class A South to Class AA. Kenmore West drops from Class AA North into A North.
Last year’s champion: Bennett defeated Starpoint, 28-13, to win its first Section VI championship in its third title-game appearance in a different classification. The Tigers, who lost in the Class B and C finals the previous two seasons, lost to eventual state runner-up Greece-Athena, 41-12, in the Far West Regionals. Bennett finished the season ranked No. 4 in the News' Large Schools poll.
Last year’s records: Class A North – Starpoint 9-1, 6-0; North Tonawanda 6-3, 4-2; Williamsville South 5-4, 4-2; Grand Island 6-3, 4-2; Williamsville East 4-5, 3-3; Sweet Home 2-6, 2-4; Amherst 2-7, 1-5; Kenmore East 1-8, 0-6.
Class A South – Bennett 8-3, 5-1; McKinley 6-3, 5-1; Iroquois 4-4, 4-2; West Seneca East 5-3, 4-2; South Park 6-3, 4-2; Hamburg 5-4, 3-3; Riverside 1-8, 1-5; West Seneca West 4-5, 1-5; Lake Shore 1-7, 0-6.
Kenmore West 5-4, 3-2 (Class AA North)
2016 All-Western New York underclassmen: South Park defensive back Devonte Fountain was a second-team pick, receiver Zane Johnson of Grand Island earned third-team honors, and receiver Joe Shifflet of Williamsville East, linebacker Anthony Robinson of Starpoint and defensive back Jared Maurino of West Seneca East received honorable mention.
2016 all-league first-team underclassmen: Class A North – RB Anthony Robinson-11 (Starpoint), OL Mike Parisse-11 (Starpoint), WR Zane Johnson-11 (Grand Island), WR Joe Shifflet-11 (Williamsville East), OL Charles Kilgo-11 (Amherst), LB Kevin Steele-11 (Williamsville East), DB Ja’Michael Henderson-11 (Kenmore East).
Class A South – QB Taelon Hollamon-11 (McKinley), RB Kaiyer Fields-10 (McKinley), DL Spencer Slachetka-11 (Iroquois), DB Devonte Fountain-11 (South Park), DB Jared Maurino-11 (West Seneca East).
Week One (Sept. 1-2): Opening night features an interesting slate as Kenmore East plays its first night home game at renovated Sparky Adams Field against Grand Island at 7:15 p.m. Friday. Class A South dives right into play with South Park visiting Hamburg at 7 p.m., with Iroquois and West Seneca East meeting in another huge division matchup Friday. All-Western New York first team pick and former Timon starting quarterback Matt Myers leads West Seneca West into action at home against Amherst, while Starpoint hosts Williamsville East at 7 p.m. Friday in a Class A North clash.
At BuffaloNews.com: Review the Classes D, C and B Countdowns, the entire week-by-week schedule and see photos and videos from our various training-camp stops.
The countdown continues: 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 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, and we'll retweet some of the best at @bufnewspreptalk.
Story topics: Amherst Tigers/ Grand Island Vikings/ Hamburg Bulldogs/ Iroquois Chiefs/ Kenmore East Bulldogs/ Kenmore West Blue Devils/ Lake Shore Eagles/ McKinley Macks/ North Tonawanda Lumberjacks/ South Park Sparks/ Starpoint Spartans/ Sweet Home Panthers/ West Seneca East Trojans/ West Seneca West Indians/ Williamsville East Flames and Williamsville South Billies