Here are the 2018 division alignments for the Section VI Football Federation.
Class AA: Hutch-Tech, Bennett, Niagara Falls, Lancaster, Orchard Park, Clarence, Lockport, Williamsville North.
Class A1: Frontier, Jamestown, Niagara Wheatfield, West Seneca West, Kenmore West, Hamburg.
Class A2: McKinley, North Tonawanda, Williamsville East, Sweet Home, Grand Island, Kenmore East.
Class A3: Williamsville South, South Park, West Seneca East, Amherst, Maritime/Health Sciences, Starpoint.
Class B1: Lake Shore, East Aurora/Holland, Pioneer, Iroquois, Cheektowaga, Maryvale, Lewiston-Porter.
Class B2: Medina/Lyndonville/Barker, Olean, Albion, Depew, Lackawanna, Springville.
Class B3: Dunkirk, Fredonia/Brocton, Tonawanda, Newfane, Alden, Burgard, Eden/North Collins.
Class C South: Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, Southwestern, Randolph/Frewsburg, Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, Allegany-Limestone, Portville, Franklinville/Ellicottville.*
Class C North: Akron, Roy-Hart, Gowanda/Pine Valley, Cleveland-Hill, Wilson, JFK, Silver Creek/Forestville.
Class D: Catt/Little Valley, Salamanca, Clymer/Sherman/Panama, Maple Grove.
*-Pending approval from Section VI committee.
Although football season is still roughly six months away, when the 2018 campaign does begin folks will have to get used to some changes, which include new division alignments that will impact the start of the playoffs in different classifications.
The divisions were impacted by the tweaking of enrollment BED numbers with Class AA's minimum growing from 930 to 1,025.
Here are the new numbers used to determine classification in New York State:
The biggest impact of those numbers is in Class AA as it goes from an 11-team division last year to an eight-team one. Also, all of Section VI's Class AA teams will now play an eight-week regular-season schedule (seven league games and one nonleaguer). The postseason will now start in week nine with the top four teams in the division meeting in the semifinals.
Class A, B and C playoffs will begin in Week Eight as has been the custom in recent years with quarterfinal contests.
Class D, which started at nine teams last year but dropped to eight due to an emergency in-season merger, continues to be a concern for the section.
There will only be four programs in Class D – state runner-up Maple Grove, Salamanca, Cattaraugus/Little Valley and Clymer/Sherman/Panama. The teams will play a home-and-home schedule and begin the postseason in Week Nine.
Why the drop in Class D teams?
Franklinville/Ellicottville, which won the regular-season Class D division title, and has experienced a bunch of success during its time as a merged program in the D division will pay the price for winning and winning big as the section's policy on dominance is the reason it will bump the Titans up to Class C.
Portville has a big freshman class, according to Section VI Chairman Ken Stoldt, that in conjunction with a lower max enrollment number for Class D resulted in the Panthers moving up to Class C. However, he said Portville would have still been a D school under last year's limit of 239.
Randolph/Frewsburg, which merged via emergency last year, is now in Class C, along with Chautauqua Lake, which is now merged with Westfield.
"We have to have a real serious talk (at the state level) about what's going on with Class D football," Stoldt said.
The new Maritime/Health Sciences football program will be a Class A program and play in a division that includes Section VI Class A runner-up South Park, West Seneca East and Starpoint. South Park and Starpoint earned shares of their respective division championships last season.
South Park, McKinley and Burgard are solo, unmerged outfits among the Buffalo Public Schools. In past years, Burgard and MST/Seneca had been merged programs.
The rest of the Buffalo Public Schools who do not offer football but have students who want to play will do so either with Hutch-Tech or Bennett depending on which schools have been assigned as merged partners by the district.
Story topics: Section VI football Federation