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Class A-2 football preview capsules, schedules

Amherst Tigers (4-4)

Coach: Jason Beckman, eighth season.

Home field: Dimp Wagner Alumni.

Program founded: 1932.

Outlook: Making the playoffs is the goal for the Tigers, Beckman said. While it will be difficult to replace graduated quarterback Ja’Kaye Womack and running back D’Shawn Barefield, the team’s depth was bolstered by the addition of St. Joe's transfers WR/DB Anthony McCarley and RB/LB Dalen Dixon. McCarley’s cousin, Rashawn Allen, also lines up at receiver. Nick Toberi and Isaiah Okoro are battling to start at quarterback.

Schedule

Sept. 6 West Seneca East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at South Park, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Williamsville South, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Kenmore East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Sweet Home, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 Albion, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Grand Island Vikings (7-2)

Coach: Dean Santorio, 19th season.

Home field: Gene Masters Field.

Program founded: 1962.

Outlook: The Vikings are slightly younger than their previous two editions with just four returning starters on each side of the ball, but Santorio said the team has grown and matured during the offseason. Ben Moskala caught 45 passes last year, but moves from receiver to quarterback. Jack Dlugokinski is a returning two-way starter at running back/defensive back. Another two-way starter is Blake Bielec,  a fullback and defensive tackle whom Santorio said “is one of the toughest kids we’ve ever had.”

Schedule

Sept. 6 at South Park, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Kenmore East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Sweet Home, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Williamsville South, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Cheektowaga, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Starpoint, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 Amherst, 7 p.m.

Kenmore East Bulldogs (2-6)

Coach:  Pat Veltri, fifth season.

Home field: Sparky Adams Field.

Program founded: 1959.

Outlook: Ken East could improve on last year’s results, but it might not show early in the win column. The Bulldogs drew last year’s A-3 Division co-champions and sectional semifinalists Starpoint and Grand Island in the first two games. Emery Lange should get the call at quarterback. Other key players include Dominic Ferguson, Joe Crimi, Luke Mack, Millard Ellis and Nestor Hernandez.

Schedule

Sept. 6 Starpoint, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 South Park, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Amherst, 7 p.m.

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

Oct. 10 at Sweet Home, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Kenmore West, 2 p.m

South Park Sparks (5-3)

Coach: Tim Delaney, 12th season.

Home field: All High Stadium.

Program founded: 1915.

Outlook: There’s a reason the Sparks have gone 41-9 and reached the sectional finals three times since 2014: They know how to develop players. Senior running back Clarence Thomas is a three-year starter who scored five times in three games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury last fall. He’ll be joined in the backfield by Keith Jackson, who also plays linebacker. Mykell Hepburn takes over at quarterback after a two-year apprenticeship on junior varsity. Brandan Brown can make plays in the passing game at receiver and on defense at corner. Dylan Farner and Sam Adgate return to anchor the line.

Schedule

Sept. 6 Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Amherst, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Kenmore East, 7 p.m.

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

Oct. 4 Starpoint, 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 Hutch-Tech, 1 p.m. at All-High

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

Starpoint Spartans (7-2)

Coach: Al Cavagnaro, 20th season.

Home field: Tudor Stadium.

Program founded: 1958.

Outlook: Record-setting quarterback Aaron Chase has graduated, but the Spartans still plan to go vertical with sophomore Carson Marcus taking the reins from the All-Western New York first-team selection. Senior receiver Joe Carlson is among five returning starters on offense. He’s coming off a 12-touchdown season. RB/LB Aidan Davis and linebacker Jake Dean are returning starters. Third-year starter Dave Meyer is a two-way lineman. Starpoint has won or shared a division title in four of the past five seasons.

Schedule

Sept. 6 at Kenmore East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Williamsville South, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 West Seneca East, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Sweet Home, 7 p.m.

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

Oct. 11 Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Lockport, 2 p.m.

Sweet Home Panthers (0-8)

Coach: Jeremy Zimmer, second season.

Home field: Bob Barczak Stadium.

Program founded: 1958.

Outlook: The Panthers lost their quarterback via transfer after a few days of practice and it went downhill from there during a winless 2018 season in which the team finished with just 19 players. Morale is much higher this year as the Panthers’ 31-man roster features three-year starters in linebacker Darrius Carter and two-way linemen Jimmy Griffo and Brady Lock. Tyrell Laws will play quarterback. The team plans to honor late coach John Faller by wearing JCF patches on its home jerseys and stickers on the back of its helmets.

Schedule

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

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

Sept. 20 Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 Starpoint, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Amherst, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 Kenmore East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Lake Shore, 7 p.m.

West Seneca East Trojans (11-2)

Coach: Jim Maurino, 16th season.

Home field: Trojan Field.

Program founded: 1969.

Outlook: The reigning state runner-up graduated News Player of the Year Shaun Dolac and other key seniors, but it still has the talent to be a tough out. Junior Devare Mathis will get more handoffs to make up for Dolac’s absence. Mathis has breakaway speed and a nose for the football on defense. TyShawn Thomas will serve as the battering ram running back. Three linemen return: Cam Cacciotti, Chase Pirro and Colin Wiley. “Win the division, get that good seed and then just try to survive and advance,” Maurino said of the team’s goals.

Schedule

Sept. 6 at Amherst, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 Sweet Home, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Starpoint, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 South Park, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Kenmore East, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 Williamsville South, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 at West Seneca West, 7 p.m.

Williamsville South Billies (3-6)

Coach: Kraig Kurzanski, 12th season.

Home field: District Field.

Program founded: 1897.

Outlook: The Billies have some talent but are not deep. Staying healthy will be key to their playoff push. Tackle AJ Urbaniak went to Holy Cross football camp, performed well and is now on the radar of some FCS schools, Kurzanski said. Returning all-league pick X’Zavion Galarza plays multiple positions. Quarterback Will Girzon is back after missing all but one game due to an undisclosed injury. Ethan Tong is a returning starter on the offensive line.

Schedule

Sept. 6 Sweet Home, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Starpoint, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Amherst, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Grand Island, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Williamsville East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at West Seneca East, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 South Park, 7 p.m.

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