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Class A-1 football preview capsules, schedules

Hamburg Bulldogs (3-5)

Coach: Jeff Tripp, fourth season.

Home field: Howe Field.

Program founded: 1915.

Outlook: Hamburg will find out if the growing pains of the past two years pay off. Five returning senior starters, including four on the offensive line, look to fuel the ground-and-pound attack with Logan Garza, Spencer Dix, John Haberman and Alan Beyer opening holes for running back Dominic Manzella. Junior Josh Hine is a big target at tight end. Geno Bruce is a 265-pound defensive tackle. Either Tyler Siwek or Nolan Heavern will get the call at quarterback.


Sept. 6 Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Niagara Wheatfield, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at McKinley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Kenmore West, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Frontier, 7 p.m.

Kenmore West Blue Devils (4-4)

Coach: John Haynes, fourth season.

Home field: Crosby Field.

Program founded: 1924.

Outlook: The Blue Devils are looking to replace graduated big-play threats Joe Stewart and Cam Crosier. But with eight returning starters and a sound line, West is aiming to reach the sectional final at New Era Field for the first time since 2015. First-team all-league quarterback Zac Boyes and linebacker/receiver Eddie Vona are back. Matt Chimera, Jared Dias, DaVontae Halter and Santo Falsone are veteran two-way linemen. “Leadership is becoming contagious. We’re trying to get better each and everyday,” Haynes said. Devils received boost with the additions of junior David Morgan, who rushed for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns last year at St. Joe's, along with his brother Antonio, a sophomore.


Sept. 7 West Seneca West, 2 p.m.

Sept. 13 at McKinley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 North Tonawanda, 2 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Williamsville East, 7 p.m

Oct. 5 Niagara Wheatfield, 2 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 Kenmore East, 2 p.m.

McKinley Macks (4-4)

Coach: Brian Davis, first season.

Home field: Dingboom Field (Riverside).

Program founded: Circa 1937.

Outlook: Davis was appointed to the post roughly a month ago but has quickly become familiar with his personnel in a short period of time. The Macks have big voids to fill as they graduated top rusher Kaiyer Fields, a past All-WNY selection, and receiver Taivon Martin. Looking to step in for them are versatile juniors Mizile Wright (RB//WR/S) and Henry Hunter (WR/RB/CB). Senior Javon Williams anchors the line. Junior Javon Whitfield is up from junior varsity to play quarterback.


Sept. 6 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Kenmore West, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Cardinal O’Hara, 1 p.m.

Sept. 27 at North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Niagara Wheatfield, 7 p.m.

Niagara Wheatfield Falcons (6-3)

Coach: Russ Nixon, fourth season.

Home field: Terry Harvey Field.

Program founded: 1958.

Outlook: Losing on a tiebreaker used to determine the final two playoff spots in Class A last year was the only negative from NW posting its first winning season since 2014. Though the Falcons graduated playmaker Jordan Parks, they return seven starters, including junior offensive linemen Joe Ambrosia, a 6-3, 280-pound tackle, and Anthony Lucinski, a 6-1, 270-pound center. Both can bench close to 300 pounds. Linebacker Griffin Cornwell and defensive end Bobby Zito lead the defense. Chris Gordon played the final two games at QB last year and returns.


Sept. 5 at North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 Williamsville North, 2 p.m.

Sept. 21 Orchard Park, 2 p.m.

Sept. 27 Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 at Kenmore West, 2 p.m.

Oct. 12 West Seneca West, 2 p.m.

Oct. 18 at McKinley, 7 p.m.

North Tonawanda Lumberjacks (2-6)

Coach: Rick Tomm, first season.

Home field: George Vetter Stadium.

Program founded: 1893.

Outlook: Tomm moves from assistant to head coach and begins his second stint as NT coach. He last was head coach in 2011. Those who hope to help the Lumberjacks be competitive include seniors Tim Osborn and Cam Holmes. Osborn is a 260-pounder who should anchor the line along with 270-pound junior Chris Kinney. Holmes will be NT’s “do-everything player,” Tomm said. He’s a returning starting linebacker.


Sept. 5 Niagara Wheatfield, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Kenmore West, 2 p.m.

Sept. 27 McKinley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Tonawanda, 6 p.m.

West Seneca West Indians (9-1)

Coach: Mike Vastola, fifth season.

Home field: No name.

Program founded: 1969.

Outlook: The Indians have lost just once the past two seasons as rival West Seneca East ended their 24-game winning streak in last year’s sectional final. West Seneca West still has several holdovers from its 2017 state championship team, including two-time first team All-Western New York linebacker Mike Glinski and second team All-WNY defensive end Liam Scheuer. Jeremy Cuthbert is a two-year starter on the line. Scheuer also plays quarterback as does linebacker Dillon Weir. David Beard, another holdover from two years ago, plays linebacker and slot receiver.


Sept. 7 at Kenmore West, 2 p.m.

Sept. 13 Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 at Niagara Wheatfield, 2 p.m.

Oct. 18 West Seneca East, 7 p.m.

Williamsville East Flames (4-5)

Coach: Mike Torrillo, third season.

Home field: Williamsville East Field.

Program founded: 1975.

Outlook: After qualifying for the playoffs in Torrillo’s first season in 2017, the Flames just missed last year via tiebreaker. With close to 15 returnees from that team, the Flames hope to play meaningful games in late October. The top returnee is 6-foot-4 senior Cal Shifflet, an athletic receiver/defensive back. Classmate and fellow team captain Nic Arno returns at receiver/safety. His twin, Noah, plays running/defensive back. Junior Austin D’Amico takes over at quarterback for the graduated Colson Skorka. Top linemen include Bryan Turton and Paul Colosimo.


Sept. 6 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Sept. 19 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Kenmore West, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Williamsville South, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 McKinley, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Williamsville North Spartans (6-3)

Coach: Mike Mammoliti, 19th season.

Home field: Williamsville North Field.

Program founded: 1968.

Outlook: The Spartans graduated 17 players who amassed a 15-4 record over the past two seasons. Still, North returns five starters on each side of the ball as it drops from Class AA. Senior linebacker/H-back Scott Hopkins is a big, athletic player who’s hard to stop in short yardage. Elijah Carney is a 6-foot-3, 305-pound center/defensive tackle who should anchor both lines. Sophomore Zaire Leonard again starts in the secondary but also will get carries at running back. Expect big things from two-way seniors Nick Tantillo and John Eggleston.


Sept. 6 McKinley, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 at Niagara Wheatfield, 2 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Hamburg, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 West Seneca West, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 Clarence, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at North Tonawanda, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

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