Coach: Joe Licata, second year
Home field: Tifft Farm
Program founded: 1948
Outlook: The roster of 35 has been bolstered by the addition of athletes who did not come out for the team last year. That includes hockey players Michael Sands and Trai Jenkins. Linebacker Ethyn Ellis, who played as a freshman, returns for his junior year. “Getting the best athletes in the school wherever you are, is how you build a program,” Licata said. He expects a lot from returning quarterback Mitchell Theal, a smart leader who might call his own plays. All-Catholic Connor Dean and Alex Reinhardt anchor the defensive line.
Sat., Sept. 1 vs. V-University Prep, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 21 vs. V-Greece-Olympia, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 5 vs. Cardinal O’Hara at New Era Field, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 12 at St. Joe’s, 6 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 19 vs. St. Mary’s/Lancaster at New Era Field, 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 27 at St. Francis, 7 p.m.
Coach: Shaquille Dudley, third season
Home field: Henry J. Lewis Memorial Field
Program founded: 1963
Outlook: With Monsignor Martin reverting to large and small school divisions, a Hawks team that returns 18 starters appears poised to add to its collection of small-schools playoff titles. (Remember the battles versus St. Mary’s at The Ralph for the championship?) Tough-to-handle lineman Stephen Boyd Jr. is a 6-3, 280-pound senior coming off an All-WNY honorable mention season. Other players expected to be key to O’Hara’s success include senior linebacker Remir Velazquez and sophomore safety Quantrail Moss. All-WNY basketball selection Justin Hemphill looks to be a disruptive force from the defensive end spot.
Sat. Sept. 1 vs. V-Monroe School Without Walls, 1 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 8 at V-Bishop Kearney, 12 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 15 vs. IV-Tioga, 2 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 22 at St. Francis, 1 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 29 at St. Mary’s/Lancaster, 1 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 5 vs. Bishop Timon-St. Jude at New Era Field, 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 13 vs. Gilman (Md.), 2 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 19 at Steubenville (Ohio), 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 27 at Canisius, 1 p.m.
Coach: Chris Dickson, third season
Home field: Father Columban Brady Field
Program founded: 1941
Outlook: The Lancers made the jump from one to four victories in Dickson’s first two seasons. Though they lost lineman C.J. Ozolins and workhorse running back D’Jae Perry to transfer, six returning starters and an infusion of youth provide reasons for hope. St. Mary’s plans to rely on fourth-year players Zach Ratcliff at tight end and Sean Melson at receiver. Junior guard Thomas Moss is in his third season as starter and looks to open holes for sophomore running back JaQuan Manuel, who started on defense last year.
Sat. Sept. 1 at V-Bishop Kearney, 1 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 8 vs. V-University Prep, 1 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 14 at V-Caledonia-Mumford/Byron-Bergen, 7:30
Fri. Sept. 21 at V-South Seneca, 7 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 29 vs. Cardinal O’Hara, 1 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 5 at V-Dansville, 7:30 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 13 at Canisius, 2 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 19 vs. Bishop Timon-St. Jude at New Era Field, 7 p.m.
Sat. Oct. 27 vs. St. Joe’s, 1 p.m.