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Class AA football preview capsules, schedules

Bennett Tigers (7-3)

Coach: Stevenson McDuffie, eighth season.

Home field: All High Stadium.

Program founded: Unknown.

Outlook: The Class AA runner-up returns seven starters on each side of the ball, including first team All-Western New York running back D’Jae Perry. He’s part of a talented backfield that includes classmate Justin Campbell, who averaged 8.9 yards per carry and rushed for seven touchdowns. Devotie Pompey is another fast playmaking option. Beefy line features 340-pounder Richard Heard along with seniors Jeremiah Williams and Nashawn Oliver. Bennett has made a sectional final four times in four different classes since 2014.


Sept. 6 Clarence, 7 p.m., at All High

Sept. 14 at St. Joseph's, 1 p.m.

Sept. 20 Jamestown, 7 p.m., at All High

Sept. 28 at Orchard Park, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Lancaster, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Frontier, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18, Niagara Falls, 7 p.m., at All High


Clarence Red Devils (5-4)

Coach: Paul Burgio, third season.

Home field: No name.

Program founded: Circa 1919.

Outlook: The Red Devils lost quarterback Jack Putney and all-purpose threat Jon Stevens to graduation but return plenty of experienced players, including running back Zach Norton – a junior with 4.5 speed in the 40. Other key players are senior tight end/defensive end Ryan Culhane and classmate and linebacker/fullback Mason Davis. Senior Jacob Joerger is 6-5, 301-pound left tackle. Clarence adds two transfers in Antwan Walker (Canisius) and Julius Perry (St. Mary’s). Former Iroquois coach Frank Payne joins the Red Devils as defensive coordinator.


Sept. 6 at Bennett, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 at Frontier, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Lancaster, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Jamestown, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 at Williamsville North, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Lockport, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Hutch-Tech, 1 p.m., at All High


Frontier Falcons (0-8)

Coach: Chuck Tilley, second season.

Home field: Joe Dietz Field.

Program founded: 1952.

Outlook: After three consecutive one-win seasons, the Falcons failed to take flight during Tilley’s first season. They hope to change that with a running back corps led by senior Hayden Carder. Joining him in the backfield as part of Tilley’s running attack are junior Austin Georgi, senior Alex Lippert and junior quarterback Matt Ciszewski. Adam Hodge, another junior, will start both ways on the line. The Falcons plan to start two sophomores up front.


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

Sept. 13 Clarence, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Lockport, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 at Hutch-Tech, 7 p.m., at Johnnie B. Wiley

Oct. 5 at Niagara Falls, 12 p.m.

Oct. 11 Bennett, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18, Hamburg, 7 p.m.


Hutch-Tech Engineers (2-6)

Coach: Tony Trulizio, second season.

Home field: Dingboom Field (Riverside).

Program founded: 1954.

Outlook: The Engineers graduated 18 but have good numbers in training camp (80 players for JV and varsity). They have a key returnee in quarterback Jayden Robinson, a senior drop-back passer who threw 15 TD passes and for more than 1,500 yards. One of his targets will be senior tight end Elijah Marshall. Senior Solomon Tarver is in the mix to get carries at running back. Senior end Zach Guard and junior linebacker Ivory Parker lead the defense. “It’s just a matter of getting a core group of guys together,” Trulizio said. “I’m excited for where we’re going. I just think in general we’re progressing well.”


Sept. 6 at Lancaster, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 Jamestown, 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Niagara Falls, 1 p.m.

Sept. 28 Frontier, 7 p.m., at Johnnie B. Wiley

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

Oct. 12 at South Park, 1 p.m., at All High

Oct. 19 Clarence, 1 p.m., at All High


Jamestown Red Raiders (5-4)

Coach: Tom Langworthy, 11th season.

Home field: Strider Field.

Program founded: 1893.

Outlook: The Red Raiders return to Class AA after a year in Class A. That means Orchard Park vs. Jamestown returns to the rivalry-week schedule that closes the regular season. Jamestown has five returning starters on offense and five on defense from last year’s playoff team. That includes playmaking running back/linebacker Savon VanSickle, a junior who missed most of last year with a knee injury. Jamestown has some size on the outside with 6-2 junior Elijah Rojas at receiver. Senior Chase Jones anchors both lines. Senior Ben Schraeder also plays on both lines. Freshman Trey Drake will start at quarterback. He's young but has size at 6-2, 160.


Sept. 7 III-Baldwinsville, 2 p.m.

Sept. 13 Hutch-Tech, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Bennett, 7 p.m., at All High

Sept. 27 at Clarence, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Lockport, 7 p.m.

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

Oct. 18 Orchard Park, 7 p.m.


Lancaster Legends (9-2)

Coach: Eric Rupp, fourth season.

Home field: Foyle/Kling Field.

Program founded: 1919.

Outlook: A reloading year in 2018 turned into Lancaster’s third consecutive sectional championship season. The perfect encore for its 100th season would be extending the run. First team All-Western New York linebacker Conor Mahony returns to lead the defense. The senior is joined as a two-way starter by second team All-WNYer Matt Marschner, a senior, and speedy senior Ethan Jurkowski, who picked off three passes in the sectional final. Junior Jason Mansell and senior Gianluca Fulciniti return at quarterback. Mansell passed for 16 TDs, while Fulciniti rushed for nine TDs. Senior Shawn Davis returns at receiver.


Sept. 6 Hutch-Tech, 7 p.m.

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

Sept. 20 at Clarence, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Lockport, 2 p.m.

Oct. 4 Bennett, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Orchard Park, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Depew, 7:30


Lockport Lions (1-7)

Coach: Trait Smith, second season.

Home field: Max D. Lederer Field.

Program founded: Circa 1920s.

Outlook: The Lions struggled to win even with record-setting receiver Malik Brooks torching defenses. Now, they must try to win without the All-WNY selection. Senior quarterback Nicholas Cascia is among nine returning starters on offense. He threw for more than 2,000 yards and 26 TDs. Perhaps his favorite target this year will be senior Joshua Cooper, whose older brother Jalin shined at Medina before moving on to Toledo on scholarship. Another player to watch is senior defensive back Santino Drake.


Sept. 7 Niagara Falls, 2 p.m.

Sept. 14 Orchard Park, 2 p.m.

Sept. 20 at Frontier, 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 Lancaster, 2 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Jamestown, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Clarence, 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 Starpoint, 2 p.m.


Niagara Falls Wolverines (1-7)

Coach: Don Bass, 13th season.

Home field: Niagara Falls Athletic Complex.

Program founded: 2000.

Outlook: The Wolverines are young and have a 46-player roster, but Bass said, “I think we have the talent to be competitive." Justin Grossman takes over at QB after two years starting on junior varsity. Kiki Chappell and junior Fabion Prather play linebacker and running back. Junior Zion Paige returns to start at receiver and safety, while Mark Wilson and junior Colin Stine are two-way linemen.


Sept. 7 at Lockport, 2 p.m.

Sept. 14 Lancaster, 2 p.m.

Sept. 21 Hutch-Tech, 1 p.m., at RF

Sept. 27 at V-Pennfield, 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 Frontier, 12 p.m.

Oct. 12 Jamestown, 2 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Bennett, 7 p.m., at All High


Orchard Park Quakers (6-3)

Coach: Craig Dana, second season.

Home field: Quaker Stadium.

Program founded: Circa 1947.

Outlook: Lost amid the competitiveness of Class AA last year was the fact the Quakers had a really good season to begin the Dana era. They return six offensive starters and seven on defense from a team that reached the sectional semifinals. Leading the charge is returning second team All-WNY linebacker/receiver Michael Pataky, along with senior classmate Jack Sharp, who begins his third season as the starting quarterback. Senior Matt Wagner and junior Matt Baksa return to start on the line, and senior Steve Kulikowski returns at running back. WR/DB Tristan Lancaster returns to Orchard Park after having moved to Philadelphia following his sophomore year.


Sept. 6 Frontier, 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 at Lockport, 2 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Niagara-Wheatfield, 2 p.m.

Sept. 28 Bennett, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 Hutch-Tech, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 at Lancaster, 7 p.m.

Oct. 18 at Jamestown, 7 p.m.

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