Who’s who: The five-team division consists of the Hutch-Tech Engineers, Kenmore West Blue Devils, Lockport Lions, Niagara Falls Wolverines and Riverside Frontiers. Riverside also includes students from non-football playing schools City Honors, Buffalo Arts, MST Seneca, OTC Middle College and Lafayette (which had a team last year). Hutch-Tech also includes students from Emerson and daVinci.
This year’s alignment shift: This division has one fewer team after Niagara-Wheatfield’s enrollment numbers fell to the Class A level; the Falcons now play in A North.
Last year’s champion: Kenmore West was the preseason favorite and backed it up with an undefeated league record; its only losses were both at home, to Orchard Park, 45-19, in Week One and to Jamestown, 33-7, in the Section VI semifinals.
2011 rewind: Kenmore West did not have much trouble inside the division, winning all of its games by at least 18 points. Niagara Falls pulled off a solid playoff win with a home quarterfinal victory over Clarence (which played without some suspended starters). Riverside’s plummet to a winless season (after claiming the title in 2010) was one of the season’s biggest surprises.
Last year’s records: Kenmore West, 7-2, 5-0; Niagara Falls, 5-4, 4-1; Lockport, 4-4, 3-2; Hutch-Tech, 2-7, 1-4; Riverside, 0-9, 0-5.
2011 All-Western New York underclassmen: None.
2011 all-league first-team underclassmen: Lockport juniors OL Tom Furlong, K Kyle Few and James Chambers (special teams), Niagara Falls junior QB Ricky Bailey and sophomore DB K’Shawn Sistrunk, Kenmore West juniors RB Joe Fumerelle and DL Mike Harris, and Hutch-Tech junior DL Jamal Collins. In C North, Lafayette juniors DL Anthony Rodgers and RB Anthony Finch (playing now with Riverside).
Pre-snap read: Signs point towards things being wide open and competitive, which was certainly the case two seasons ago when there was a three-way tie at the top (Riverside won the tiebreaker). Kenmore West lost its main playmakers from last year, so the door seems open for a Niagara Falls or Lockport title. Hutch-Tech is optimistic it is ready to take the next step, while Riverside and new coach Jose Rodriguez are intent on erasing a very non-Riverside-like year last season.
Week One must-see games: Kenmore West must love these openers: After starting with OP last year, it hits the road to face AA South contender Jamestown on Friday night at 7. Speaking of tough starts, Lockport hosts OP at 2 p.m. Saturday. Niagara Falls looks to make a statement at Lancaster on Friday at 7:30. Hutch-Tech is part of an early start Friday as it meets Iroquois at All High Stadium at 4 p.m. Friday. Riverside gets started against Auburn of Section III (Syracuse area) at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams could scrimmage was Saturday. Check out notes, quotes, video and reader observations from the action at the Prep Talk blog at
Live chats kick off Wednesday: The first of this season’s weekly live chats will be Wednesday at 9 p.m. at
At Review the complete week-by-week schedule at the high school home page; at the Prep Talk blog, read training-camp reports from nine schools and watch video from players and coaches from Orchard Park, St. Francis, St. Joe’s and Williamsville South.
The countdown concludes: The Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday) is the final installment. You can review each division within Class AA, A, B, C and D at
Season preview coming Thursday: The annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 81 teams in Western New York along with feature stories, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2012 season.
Attention coaches and ADs — send rosters to Section VI: If coaches have not done so already, they need to email a roster — in spreadsheet form — to Section VI via
— Keith McShea