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Class C North: Cleve Hill potent again behind new QB Wahler

Akron | Cleveland Hill | Gowanda/Pine Valley | JFK | Roy-Hart | Silver Creek/Forestville | Wilson

Akron Tigers (4-4)

Coach: Andrew Clouse, fourth season

Home field: Unnamed

Program founded: Unknown

Outlook: The Tigers, who improved by two wins last season and earned a spot in the playoffs, feature a pair of returning Class C South first-team selections on the defensive line in Timothy Longwell and Millard Young. They are backed by senior Jacob Siska and sophomore Adam Mietz in the secondary. Quarterback Brandon Orr was a second-team all-league selection after throwing for 1,021 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior. He'll be protected by junior lineman Logan Leeds. Aidan Smith will take over running back duties despite just starting high school.

Schedule

Sat., Sept. 1 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Wilson, 7 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 20 at East Aurora/Holland, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28 vs. Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 6 at Cleveland Hill, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7:30 p.m.

Cleveland Hill 's Aaron Wahler takes over at quarterback (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

•••

Cleveland Hill Golden Eagles (10-2)

Coach: Glen Graham, 15th season

Home field: Carl J. Kuras Field

Program founded: 1953

Outlook: The Golden Eagles have won consecutive Class C titles but have eyes on going further. Aaron Wahler, an All-Western New York first-team running back last season, will be under center as a run-first quarterback and will play linebacker. He'll share the backfield with Javon Thomas, who transferred from Bishop Timon-St. Jude last year. D'Mario Grant has been the team's top wideout the past two seasons. Dar Cunningham, a 330-pound senior, and Taylor Durkin anchor the lines. Curtis Krajewski and Chris Diem are the top linebackers.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Maryvale, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 8 vs. Wilson, 2 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 22 vs. Roy-Hart, 2 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 6 vs. Akron, 2 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 13 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

•••

Gowanda/Pine Valley Panthers (2-7)

Coach: Sean Gabel, 11th season

Home field: Hillis Field

Program founded: 1915

Outlook: The Panthers took a step back after a 6-3 season in 2016 but have more experience, returning six starters on each side. Gabel has a stable of running backs, led by Ryan Gernatt and Adam Sisti, who also plays linebacker. That group will work behind a pair of massive two-way linemen in 6-foot-4, 320-pound Brady Andrews and 6-foot, 250-pound Andrew Musacchio. Quarterback Justin Kohn returns for his second year as a starter. Zack Smith and Damen McLeod start in the secondary.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. JFK, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Cleveland Hill, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28 vs. Maple Grove, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Akron, 7:30 p.m.

Zach Manzella should have a big role for JFK (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

•••

JFK Bears (3-6)

Coach: Jeff Sabatino, fourth season

Home field: Unnamed

Program founded: 1931

Outlook: The Bears have been focusing on growing up fast in fall practice, as 13 of the 22 players on the team are juniors moving from the JV. That includes new starting quarterback Jax Lighten, whose running ability will have JFK focusing on a mobile attack. RB/DB back Zach Manzella is one of the more established names on both sides of the ball. He’s joined in the backfield by Jamall Huff, the team’s most dynamic player. D'Rell Dabney anchors both lines.

Schedule

Sat., Sept. 1 vs. Akron, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 at Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Wilson, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 at Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 13 vs. Cleveland Hill, 1:30 p.m.

•••

Roy-Hart Rams (2-6)

Coach: Marcus Wyche, first season

Home field: Bruno Pacini Field

Program founded: 2011

Outlook: Wyche, who served last year as the defensive coordinator, is focusing on creating a family atmosphere in his first year in charge. Charlie Brigham is back at QB after breaking his collarbone last year. Charlie Bruning is a big target and leader at tight end. A trio of wideouts make the jump from JV in Gavin Boyle, Mark Sanders and Mike Huntington. Wyche is excited to see his O-line grow, as they've impressed in camp. Walker Samanka is key for the hyperactive defense at middle linebacker.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 22 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28 at Akron, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. JFK, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

•••

Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights (6-3)

Coach: Sean Helmer, 13th season

Home field: No name

Program founded: About 1928

Outlook: The Black Knights, fresh off a trip to the Class C semifinals, have a new QB in junior Austin Rott, a 6-foot-2 dropback passer who is stepping up from JV. He'll have a target that's just as big as he is in senior Macadam Gadewoltz, who is also playing safety. RB/LB Angel Carraballo was a two-way starter as a sophomore. Brady Woloben, Luke Szumigala and Chandler Eggleston will start on both lines. Sam Braidich and Dom Jamison will start at corner, while Dalton Hastings is at the weak safety.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Wilson, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Akron, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 vs. JFK, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, 7 p.m.

Strong-armed Steve Frerichs (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

•••

Wilson Lakemen (5-4)

Coach: William Atlas, 12th season

Home field: Hutchinson Field

Program founded: 1946

Outlook: The Lakemen are set at the skill positions. Senior quarterback Steve Frerichs set the school single-season record for passing yards last year. Also back is the team's top wideout, Marcel Wilson, and the top two running backs, Drew Westmorland and Braden Dunlap. The O-line is revamped and faster. Westmorland and Frerichs also play linebacker, while Wilson is in the secondary. The Lakemen were one game away from playing at New Era Field last year but lost to Southwestern after opting to go for two instead of the tie late.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 8 at Cleveland Hill, 2 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Akron, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 vs. Gowanda/Pine Valley, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29 at JFK, 1:30 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 6 at Newfane, 2 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Roy-Hart, 7 p.m.

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