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Class C South: Veteran roster boosts Southwestern's hopes

Allegany-Limestone | Chautauqua Lake/Westfield | Franklinville/Ellicottville | Portville | Randolph/Frewsburg | Southwestern

Allegany-Limestone Gators (2-6)

Coach: Paul Furlong, ninth season

Home field: Fred Grace Field

Program founded: 1952

Outlook: The Gators' spread-style offense relies heavily on a strong quarterback, so it's good news that junior Thomas Callen, who took over starting duties midway through last year, is already playing like a veteran. Wide receiver/cornerback Ben Giardini led the team with six interceptions last season. On offense, he’ll be flanked by the team’s top target, Micah Osby, and Brandon Parsons. Defensive end Patrick Walsh enters his fifth varsity season. Running back Logan Klice will split time with junior Kyle Herbert, who has impressed the staff since joining varsity.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Portville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Sept. 28 at Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Cattaraugus/Little Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Curt Fisher is back -- now at Chautauqua Lake -- and is joined by son Zack (Harry Scull Jr./ Buffalo News)

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Chautauqua Lake/Westfield Thunderbirds (4-5)

Coach: Curt Fischer, first season

Home field: Thunderbird Stadium

Program founded: Merged in 2017

Outlook: Hall of Fame coach Curt Fischer joins the Thunderbirds this season after a split with Maple Grove. "It's nice to be wanted over there," Fischer said. "That's made a big difference." He inherits a young squad, featuring his son, wide receiver Zack Fischer, and running back Ryan Jafargian from Westfield. Kyler Majka is one of the better athletes on the team and is competing for the quarterback position. Fischer said the Thunderbirds will throw more than his teams have in the past, about 30 or 40 percent of the time.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, at Falconer, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, at Franklinville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 vs. Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Oct. 5 at Southwestern, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Silver Creek/Forestville, 7 p.m.

Falconer/Cassadaga Valley (4-4)

Coach: Joel Sopak, first season

Home field: Bill Race Field

Program founded: 2014

Outlook: Joel Sopak, who has been with the team since the merger, was named head coach at the end of last school year. He’ll debut against Randolph’s Brent Brown, who originally got him into coaching back in 1995. Quarterback Connor Crabtree is one of 11 returning starters and has been an all-league selection the past two years. Linemen Chase Johnson and Colin Mower and LB/SS Mack Mikula were all second-team all-league selections as sophomores. Senior Robbie Penhollow stars at both running back and linebacker. Center Dylan Hokanson and RB/WR Jordan Bustin are leaders.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 at Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, at Falconer, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 at Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 21 at Fredonia/Brocton, 7 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, at Cassadaga Valley, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 at Portville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 vs. Southwestern, at Falconer, 7 p.m.

•••

Franklinville/Ellicottville Titans (9-1)

Coach: Chad Bartoszek, sixth season

Home field: Varies

Program founded: Merged in 2014

Outlook: The Titans are dealing with the most turnover they've seen as a merged program, with only two offensive starters and three defensive starters returning. Running back/linebacker Jacob Peters is a physical, fast player who got more time on defense than offense last year. Expect that to change. He'll share the backfield with fullback Ben Mooney. The quarterback battle is between sophomores Logan Frank and Clayton Rowland. Tyler Clear had a strong sophomore season starting at corner. Steve Rowland starts on the offensive line and at linebacker.

Schedule

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

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Salamanca, at Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 14 vs. Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, at Franklinville, 7 p.m.

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

Sat., Sept. 29 at Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, at Cassadaga Valley, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Randolph/Frewsburg, at Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

Portville' Brad Beemer (7), Noah Pullins (19), coach Josh Brooks, Brandon Murray (23 and Roland Thompson (28) (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

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Portville Panthers (1-7)

Coach: Josh Brooks, first season

Home field: Portville Field

Program founded: 1921

Outlook: Brooks is focusing on moving on from the past, which includes only one win in the last two seasons, and into a new era of Portville football. He and his staff are installing multiple formations on both sides, making the trust he earned as many current players' modified coach valuable. Junior Mike Stillman takes over the starting quarterback duties after making strides the past two months. Jared Lassiter, Roland Thompson and Dalton Tabola will get time at running back. The latter two are also defensive leaders at linebacker.

Schedule

Sat., Sept. 1 at Clymer/Sherman/Panama, at Panama, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Sept. 21 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28 vs. Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

•••

Randolph/Frewsburg Cardinals (3-5)

Coach: Brent Brown, sixth season

Home field: Raymond Van Wie Field

Program founded: 2017

Outlook: The Cardinals struggled in their first season after merging just three days before their first scrimmage. They return only three starters on offense and four on defense as they jump from Class D to C. Luckily, they have 6-foot-4 senior lineman Andrew Bernard back to control the trenches. Junior Tyler Hind takes over at quarterback after a year at wideout. Mayson Pagett commands the lines. OLB/RB Deter Miinte is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior that runs a 4.7 40-yard dash and benches 225. He’ll share the backfield with Nick Marsh and Skyler Wright.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 at Southwestern, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Sept. 21 at Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 28 vs. Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 5 at Franklinville/Ellicottville, at Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

•••

Southwestern Trojans (7-3)

Coach: Jehuu Caulcrick, fourth season

Home field: Charles A. Lawson Field

Program founded: 1949

Outlook: Southwestern returns eight offensive and nine defensive starters from a team that reached a second consecutive Class C final. Will this be the year the Trojans get past Cleveland Hill, which has ended their season on both occasions? Quarterback Cole Snyder, a Rutgers commit, returns, as does top target Alex Card. Wideout Mason Matthews will be a jump-ball threat after a year on the soccer team. The strength of the defense is the D-line, featuring Chris Quinn, Cooper Pannes and Drew Wigern. Saizan Wunir is a force at corner.

Schedule

Fri., Aug. 31 vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 7 vs. Randolph/Frewsburg, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Sept. 21 at Allegany-Limestone, 7 p.m.

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

Fri., Oct. 5 vs. Chautauqua Lake/Westfield, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 12 at Falconer/Cassadaga Valley, at Falconer, 7 p.m.

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