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Class AA: Fresh faces look to extend Lancaster's run

Bennett | Clarence | Hutch-Tech | Lancaster | Lockport | Niagara Falls | Orchard Park | Williamsville North

Bennett Tigers (4-4)

Coach: Stevenson McDuffie, seventh season

Home field: All High Stadium

Program founded: Unknown

Outlook: The goal is to return to a Section VI final (in the fourth different class) for the fourth time in five seasons. Though it won't be easy, McDuffie believes with 16 returnees, he has the horses for the Tigers to ground and pound their way into being a contender. In addition to the return of 1,000-yard back Semaj Clemens, All-WNY honorable mention RB D'Jae Perry transfers in from St. Mary's. Justin Campbell is another option. "All these guys are explosive and good," McDuffie said. Opening holes for them will be returnees Jihad Loynes and Dremeir Herrod.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. St. Joe’s, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 6 vs. Lockport, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 at Clarence, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 21 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 27 vs. Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Orchard Park, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 13 at Hutch-Tech, at Riverside, 1 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 20 at Niagara Falls, 1 p.m.

•••

Clarence Red Devils (5-4)

Coach: Paul Burgio, second season

Home field: No name

Program founded: Circa 1919

Outlook: The Red Devils’ motto is “next level.” The reason: “We’ve been competitive but if you want to be competitive at the level of Lancaster and Orchard Park, you have to get to the next level,” Burgio said. Returnees include senior QB Jack Putney and WR/DB and classmate Jon Stevens – a third-team All-Western New York selection. RB Zach Norton should be one of the better sophomores in the area. Senior twins Jacob and Anthony Sweeney will be among the linemen looking to plow the path for Norton.

Schedule

Sat., Sept. 1 at Kenmore West, 2 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Williamsville North, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Bennett, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 21 at Lancaster, 7:30
Sat., Sept. 29 at Niagara Falls, 1 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Hutch Tech, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Orchard Park, 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 20 at Lockport, 2 p.m.

•••

Hutch-Tech Engineers (3-6)

Coach: Tony Trulizio, first season

Home field: Riverside Field

Program founded: 1954

Outlook: Though he’s a late arrival due to a late appointment, Trulizio said the transition to him being head coach is “going very well. The kids are working hard toward the common goal of making the playoffs. The leadership is strong.” It should be with 18 seniors. Max Anderson, Mickel Woodruff and Emmanuel Geegha give the Engineers size in the trenches. Xavion Baines and David Bradshaw return to play running back and linebacker, respectively. Jayden Robinson is a junior who will serve as quarterback. Keep an eye on receiver/cornerback Davion Jones.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Williamsville South, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Lancaster, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 at Orchard Park, 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22 at Niagara Falls, 2 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 27 vs. Lockport, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 at Clarence, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 13 vs. Bennett, at Riverside, 1 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 20 vs. Williamsville North, 1 p.m.

•••

Lancaster Legends (12-1)

Coach: Eric Rupp, third season

Home field: Foyle/Kling Field

Program founded: 1919

Outlook: The state runner-up Legends are coming off their best season ever. While they graduated 16 starters – including four first-team All-Western New York picks -- Rupp said the goal is to continue contending for Section VI championships. Senior tight end Brian Martin, a returning starter, along with third-year starting lineman David Gaca look to lead the way. Conor Mahony, who saw extensive time last year, moves from defensive line to linebacker and will be a full-time starter on offense at tackle. Gianluca Fulcinitti and Jason Mansell are competing for the quarterback job.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Lockport, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 at Hutch Tech, at Riverside, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 21 vs. Clarence, 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 27 at Bennett, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Niagara Falls, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Depew, 7:30 p.m.

•••

Lockport Lions (0-8)

Coach: Trait Smith, first season

Home field: Max D. Lederer Field

Program founded: Circa 1920s

Outlook: The Lions have had a rough go of it – winning just once the past two seasons. It falls on Smith to turn things around. Lockport’s most talented players figure to be speedy receivers Malik Brooks and Josh Cooper. Cooper is the younger brother of current Toledo freshman and former Medina star Jalin. The backfield consists of running backs Jayln Jones and Cullen Snyder and quarterback Nick Cascia. The Lions play their first five games on the road as workers complete instillation of new artificial turf at their home field.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 6 at Bennett, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 15 at Niagara Falls, noon
Sat., Sept. 22 at Orchard Park, 7 p.m
Thurs., Sept. 27 at Hutch Tech, at Riverside, 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 6 vs. Williamsville North, 2 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 at Starpoint, 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 20 vs. Clarence, 2 p.m.

•••

Niagara Falls Wolverines (4-5)

Coach: Don Bass, 12th season

Home field: Niagara Falls Athletic Complex

Program founded: 2000

Outlook: The Wolverines replaced every starter on the offensive and defensive lines. With just two returning starters on offense and another two on defense, this is the youngest team Bass has had. But, it’s “also one of the hardest working,” Bass said. “We should progress as the season goes along.” Willie McDougald is a tough, fast running back. Kalem Chappell should also get a chance to run the ball. Senior Moran Montgomery lines up at receiver and safety. He looks to get open for senior signal-caller Deonte Mathews. Jamel Oliver lines up at defensive end.

Schedule 

Sat., Sept. 1 vs. South Park, 1 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 at Orchard Park, 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 15 vs. Lockport, noon
Sat., Sept. 22 vs. Hutch-Tech, 2 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Clarence, 1 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 at Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

•••

Orchard Park Quakers (4-5)

Coach: Craig Dana, first season

Home field: Quaker Stadium

Program founded: Circa 1947

Outlook: The Quakers look to rebound from a rare non-winning season, their first in 24 years. It’s something the returnees have taken personally. “The players themselves from the moment we started lifting, they were working a little harder,” Dana said. “They didn’t like how that felt.” Junior quarterback Jack Sharp returns with a year of starting experience. He’ll be protected by a line that’s no longer green. The unit includes Alex Westcott, Teague Houlihan, Brendan Kearns and Matt Wagner. The defense is led by linebacker Mike Pataky.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at McKinley, at Riverside, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Niagara Falls, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Hutch-Tech, 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22 vs. Lockport, 7 p.m
Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Williamsville North, 1 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 5 at Bennett, 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 at Clarence, 7 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 19 vs. Lancaster, 7 p.m.

•••

Williamsville North Spartans (9-1)

Coach: Mike Mammoliti, 18th season

Home field: Williamsville North Field

Program founded: 1968

Outlook: The Spartans’ lone defeat came in the sectional final to a loaded Lancaster team. North returns lots of key pieces, hoping to return to New Era Field. That includes returning third-team All-WNY pick Dylan Kelly. The DB/WR is 194 pounds but benches 290. He once again looks to catch passes thrown by senior Joe Nusall. Other key returnees include senior linebacker Scott Becht and lineman Josh Walter. Junior Scott Hopkins lines up at H-back and linebacker.

Schedule 

Fri., Aug. 31 at Williamsville East, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 7 at Clarence, 7 p.m.
Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Lancaster, 7 p.m.
Lancaster at Williamsville North
Fri., Sept. 21 vs. Bennett, 7 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29 at Orchard Park, 1 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 6 at Lockport, 2 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Niagara Falls, 7 p.m.

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