West Seneca West Indians (4-5)
Coach: Mike Vastola, third season
Home field: WSW Field
Program founded: 1969
Outlook: The Indians haven’t reached the playoffs in 12 years, but they have the roster to do so in 2017. Vastola added Bishop Timon-St. Jude transfers Matt Myers and Juston Johnson, Timon’s best and third-best players. Myers, a senior, is committed to UB and Johnson is a junior who brings speed at the receiver position. Myers might be the best quarterback in Western New York, and don’t be surprised to see a bevy of scores from him and his favorite target from last year at their new school (Myers spent his freshman season at WSW). Vastola said that even without the two additions, he felt he had the roster to end the team’s playoff drought. Now with them, who knows how far the Indians can go.
Sept. 1 vs. Amherst, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 at McKinley (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Iroquois, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Lackawanna, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Lake Shore, 6 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. West Seneca East, 7 p.m.
Hamburg Bulldogs (5-4)
Coach: Jeff Tripp, second season
Home field: Howe Field
Program founded: 1915
Outlook: Tripp’s debut season was a decent one for the Bulldogs after nine years as an assistant to Pat Cauley, but his sophomore act will be a challenge. Hamburg returns only three offensive starters and four on defense from last year’s senior laden squad that squeaked out a winning record. First-team all-leaguers Shane Dix (offensive line), Jason Jaskolka (running back) and Riley Hummel (defensive line) all graduated, along with a slew of other all-league second-teamers and honorable mentions. This year’s group will rely on quarterback Brett Hall, a 6-foot senior, 6-foot-3 senior tight end/safety Jason Shuttleworth and 6-foot-2 senior wide receiver/safety Hunter Barnes to return the depleted Bulldogs to prominence.
Sept. 1 vs. South Park, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 at Iroquois, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. Lake Shore, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. McKinley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Amherst, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Frontier, 7 p.m.
McKinley Macks (6-3)
Coach: Brian Hillery, second season
Home field: Riverside’s Dingboom Field
Program founded: Circa 1937
Outlook: Things are looking dandy for the Macks in 2017, as they return Class A South defensive player of the year Miles Haynes, first-team all-league quarterback Taelon Hollamon and first-team all-league running back Kaiyer Fields. McKinley fell to Starpoint by a touchdown in the sectional semifinals, but don’t be surprised if the Macks make it back there or further with the firepower they bring back. Wide receiver/safety Taivonn Martin will also play a big role on both sides of the ball, along with two-way lineman and tight end Kavon Rogers. Hillery returns more than half of his starters on both sides of the ball in his second season, which looks to be a promising one after a stellar debut campaign.
Sept. 1 at Orchard Park, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. West Seneca West (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. West Seneca East (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at South Park (All High), 1 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. Iroquois (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Amherst, 7 p.m.
West Seneca East Trojans (5-3)
Coach: Jim Maurino, 14th season
Home field: Trojan Field
Program founded: 1969
Outlook: Twin brothers Jared and Jacob Maurino lead the Trojans on their quest to return to the section title game - which they lost to South Park in 2015 - after taking a slight dip in 2016. Jared is a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior safety and Jacob is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back/wide receiver. East graduated last year’s Class A South Lineman of the Year and All-WNY first-teamer Joe Ramunno and first-team all-league tight end Justin Kimble. The Trojans return less than half of their starters on both sides of the ball. Jim Maurino expects a big season from Andrew Woltz, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior linebacker who will anchor the defense. Questions remain at quarterback for East after the graduation of two-year starter Austin Breidenstein.
Sept. 1 vs. Iroquois, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Lake Shore, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at McKinley (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Amherst, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Hutch-Tech (All High), 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. South Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.
South Park Sparks (6-3)
Coach: Tim Delaney, 10th season
Home field: All High Stadium
Program founded: 1915
Outlook: The big news at South Park this season is the return of All-WNY offensive lineman Jeremiah Sanders. He played for Delaney as a sophomore but transferred to Bishop Timon-St. Jude less than a week before last season. After coaching shakeups there, Sanders is back at his old school and said he feels like he never left. The Sparks surround their best player with some dynamic offensive talent, including senior wideout Devonte Fountain, sophomore running back Clarence Thomas and junior quarterback Dabeyon Humphrey. Delaney returns only three offensive starters, but he’s confident the ones coming up from last year’s 8-0 junior varsity team can get the job done. The Sparks return seven starters on defense, so that should be the strong suit of the team on paper.
Sept. 1 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 vs. Amherst (All High), 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Perry Traditional (Pa.), 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. McKinley (All High), 1 p.m.
Sept. 29 at Iroquois, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at West Seneca East, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. Lake Shore (All High), 7 p.m.
Amherst Tigers (2-7)
Coach: Jason Beckman, sixth season
Home field: Dimp Wagner Alumni
Program founded: 1932
Outlook: The Tigers made brief strides last season, going 2-7 after a winless 2015. Beckman returns six starters on each side of the ball. Look for contributions from junior quarterback/defensive back Ja’kye Womack, junior running back/linebacker D’Shaun Barefield, senior two-way lineman Calik Kennedy and junior running back/linebacker Joe Byrne. The first three were all second-team all-league selections last year. Amherst is back in Class A South after a one-year stint in Class A North, and Beckman hopes yet another division switch brings better fortunes to his team’s attempt to inch closer to .500. Also keep an eye senior offensive lineman/linebacker Charles Kilgo and senior wideout/defensive back Brandon Fowler. The Tigers will likely need a name to emerge from the woodwork as a standout without any proven ones currently on the roster.
Sept. 1 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 at South Park (All High), 6 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. Kenmore East, 7:00
Sept. 22 vs. West Seneca East, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 at Lake Shore, 6 p.m.
Oct. 6 vs. Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 vs. McKinley, 7 p.m.
Lake Shore Eagles (1-7)
Coach: Drew Takacs, fifth season
Home field: No name
Program founded: 1950
Outlook: After going 3-5 in 2016, Lake Shore took a step back with two more losses last season. The Eagles finished in last place in Class A South with a league-low 96 points allowed and 297 points against. Lake Shore graduated both its quarterback, Lawrence Jenkins, and defensive tackle/guard Shearod Rodgers. Takacs expects big contributions from a trio of seniors, Seth Penn, Dakota Luke and Jake Mascio. The Eagles will be more experienced than last year but their underclassmen-heavy team still is not experience-heavy. Whether that translates into results, though, will be determined by how well they stack up against the rugged Class A South.
Sept. 1 vs. Eden/North Collins, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 at West Seneca East, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 vs. Iroquois, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs. Amherst, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 vs. West Seneca West, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at South Park (All High), 7 p.m.
Iroquois Chiefs (4-4)
Coach: Robert Pitzonka, first season
Home field: Milt Latimer Field
Program founded: 1955
Outlook: Pitzonka inherits a team returning only two starters on offense and five on defense in his debut season. The Chiefs’ biggest loss was first-team All-WNY defensive lineman Nate Emer, who is now playing at Boston College. Emer also made first-team all-league as an offensive lineman. Five others 2017 graduates are playing collegiately this fall, including Class A South offensive player of the year Brandon Yax, first-team all-league offensive lineman Zach Sley (UB) and three others playing at Erie Community College. Iroquois returns a first-team all-league selection in Spencer Slachetka, however, and he’ll play defensive end and H-back at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. Also keep an eye on Parker Valvo at receiver/linebacker as another potential difference-maker.
Sept. 1 at West Seneca East, 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Hamburg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. West Seneca West, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Lake Shore, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. South Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at McKinley (Riverside Field), 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 vs. Alden, 7 p.m.