When one of the biggest games of the year is held this season, both of the coaches on the sidelines will be rookies. When the Class B West title is decided, there will likely be a Class A playoff team from last season right in the race. And when everything kicks off Friday, two Western New York schools will have dropped football but one will have come over from Section V.
Here's a look at who's new, who's up, who's down, who's in, who's out, who's back and what's next as the 2012 football season prepares to kick off this weekend:
> Coaching changes
The Lancaster-Depew rivalry is one of the best in Western New York, and when that Week Seven showdown takes place at Lancaster's Foyle-Kling Field, there will be two first-year coaches squaring off.
Former JV coach Chris Hickson takes over in Lancaster after Len Jankiewicz was the face of Redskins football for 26 years. Jankiewicz, who took over in 1986, and Joe Foyle are the only two coaches Lancaster has had since 1961.
For Depew, longtime assistant Brian Wilson takes over the program after the retirement of 14-year coach Dan McGrath.
* North Tonawanda has its third head coach in three years, with Tony Truilizio taking the job of one of Western New York's top programs after an accomplished decade-long career at Riverside. Jose Rodriguez takes over at Riverside, where he was a former assistant. Rick Tomm, who replaced the departed Eric Jantzi last year at NT, left and is now an assistant with Williamsville South.
* At Amherst, Pat Murphy moved up to athletic director after a five-year tenure as head coach, but he'll remain on staff as Jason Beckman takes over head coaching duties.
* Scott Zipp had a successful decade coaching Cheektowaga (59-29) but stepped aside to concentrate on his assistant principal duties. Mike Fatta, who served as defensive coordinator along side Zipp, takes over.
* Other changes: Former Silver Creek assistant Rob Genco takes over at Dunkirk after Tim Majka's three-year run. ... Dan Krenzer returns to lead Falconer, where he was coach before Mike Ginestre led the program for three years. ... Salamanca's Paul Furlong takes over after Jason Marsh's seven-year run. ... Clymer's Dave Bodamer succeeds Marc Heiser. The Pirates made the Class DD championship game in the last of Heiser's four years.
> Alignment shifts
The most significant divisional move is that of Amherst, which goes from a large school (Classes AA and A) to small as it moves from A North to B West.
The Tigers were a playoff team in Class A last year, spending some time in the large school top 10 and losing an overtime thriller at North Tonawanda in the quarterfinals. B West was already a competitive group led by defending champion Cheektowaga and perennial small-school powers Lackawanna and Burgard.
* Niagara-Wheatfield moved down from AA North to A North, which led to Williamsville East moving from A North to A South to fill Amherst's spot.
* St. Mary's will play a full schedule in the Monsignor Martin Association after playing a partial schedule last year.
* Niagara Catholic, which played a limited JV schedule last year, has dropped its football program.
* Lafayette, which had trouble fielding complete teams during the school's recent tumultous years, has also dropped its program. That leaves C North with six teams. Students who attend the home of the Mighty Violets and play football will do so for Riverside.
* Barker/Roy-Hart, which competed in Section V (Rochester area) last year in its first season as a combined team, gives B East seven teams. The Raiders went 7-0 in the Genesee Region regular season before losing in the first round of the Section V Class A playoffs. Barker/Roy-Hart remains classified as an A school and will not participate in the Class B playoffs.
"This is going to be a great challenge for us and a learning process," said coach Bill Brunning. "You hope last year's success carries over, but obviously our kids can't rely on what we did last year."
* Medina has merged with Section V's Lyndonville — whose students will play for Medina — but it remains in B East as its classification was not affected. Approximately 24 kids joined the program from Lyndonville (six varsity, 18 JV). Coach Eric Valley said he didn't think the impact would be felt for a couple years because most of the players will be on the JV.
* Class D added two teams. Cattaraugus/Little Valley dropped down from C South to Class D while Chautauqua Lake was promoted to Class D after winning last year's DD championship with an undefeated season of 9-0.
> College commits
Ryan Hunter of Canisius, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman and native of North Bay, Ontario, is headed to Bowling Green. It marks the third straight season that a Canadian-born player has gone from the Monsignor Martin to a Division I program.
Travis Eman, a 2011 graduate of Canisius, signed with Furman of the FCS, redshirted his freshman year and recently transferred to Wilfred Laurier in Waterloo, Ontario, to be closer to home due to a family illness. St. Francis' Akeel Lynch, a native of Toronto, is currently in the mix for the No. 3 running back on the depth chart at Penn State.
> Returning All-WNYers
First team: Orchard Park senior OL Michael Senn, Jamestown senior DL Cortland Haines, McKinley senior DB Stephon Johnson.
Second team: Williamsville South senior QB Trent Ferguson, Orchard Park senior WR Ben Holmes (at QB this year), Clarence senior LB Alec Dietsch, St. Joe's junior DB Nigel Davis, Southwestern junior K Tanner Hoose.
Third team: Southwestern senior OL Peter Trathen, Jamestown senior DL John Czech, Fredonia senior LB Zach Buckley, Alden senior DB Corey Barczykowski.
Honorable mention: Alden junior QB Brian Stoldt, Bishop Timon/St. Jude senior QB Ryan Dougherty, South Park junior QB Maurice Howie, Bishop Timon/St. Jude junior RB Adam DiMillo, Cheektowaga senior RB Marquel Jackson, Maple Grove senior RB Oliver Simpson, Starpoint junior RB Evan Majewski, Canisius senior WR Denzel Benton, Williamsville South senior WR Chaquille Nettles (South Park last year). Pioneer senior OL Connor Johnson, Clymer senior DL Dan Lictus, Williamsville South senior DL Greg Crane, Chautauqua Lake sophomore LB Chandler Baker, Lancaster senior LB Hayden Schonert, Starpoint senior LB RJ Hernandez (out for the season, concussion), Williamsville East senior DB Mitch Wagner, Frewsburg senior P Robbie Stearns, Bishop Timon/St. Jude senior K Tom Gioia, Lackawanna junior U (utility) Cameren Smith.
> On the air
* Time Warner Cable will air 20 games this season, on channels 13 and 713. All but two of the games will be televised on tape delay. The two live broadcasts are Saturday's McQuaid at Canisius game (1 p.m.) and the Sept. 28 matchup of St. Joe's at Aquinas (7 p.m.). The complete schedule is available at the Sports, Ink blog at buffalonews.com.
* WGR (550 AM) will not be doing Friday night broadcasts as it has done the last two years. The station is exploring possibly doing some Saturday games.
* For the first time in more than a decade, games will not be heard on WJJL (1440 AM), which for years broadcast the Harvard Cup Game of the Week. Limited funding from sponsors ultimately doomed the broadcasts organized by play-by-play man Rich Kozak.
> Final 2011 polls
Final 2011 Buffalo News football polls:
Large schools: 1. Orchard Park [10 first place votes] (13-0) 100; 2. St. Francis (8-3) 90; 3. St. Joe's (8-3) 79; 4. Sweet Home (10-1) 68; 5. Wmsv. South (9-1) 56; 6. Jamestown (8-2) 55; 7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (8-3) 33; 8. North Tonawanda (7-2) 27; 9. Kenmore West (7-2) 22; 10t. Canisius (4-7) 10; 10t. Bennett (5-4) 10. Also receiving votes: None.
Small schools: 1. Alden  (10-1) 88; 2. Southwestern  (11-2) 82; 3. Depew (8-2) 72; 4. Maple Grove (9-1) 59; 5t. Cheektowaga (7-2) 41; 5t. Pioneer (8-1) 41; 7. Fredonia (8-1) 40; 8. Cleveland Hill (8-2) 36; 9. Frewsburg (7-3) 19; 10. Chautauqua Lake (9-0) 9. Also receiving votes: Akron 3, Salamanca 2, Lackawanna 2, Randolph 1.
> Preseason polls
The News polls will begin Tuesday. Here's a preseason list from The News, which has one vote on each poll:
Large schools: 1. Orchard Park; 2. St. Francis; 3. Jamestown; 4. Williamsville South; 5. Sweet Home; 6. St. Joe's; 7. Canisius; 8. Clarence; 9. Bishop Timon-St. Jude; 10. Clarence. HM: Bennett, North Tonawanda, McKinley, Starpoint, Kenmore West.
Small schools: 1. Alden; 2. Cheektowaga; 3. Southwestern; 4. Depew; 5. Pioneer; 6. Lackawanna; 7. Amherst; 8. Maple Grove; 9. Fredonia; 10. Cleveland Hill.
> Long weekend
Week One has an early start and a late finish this season. The Buffalo Public Schools are playing its games during the day on Friday to take advantage of classes having not started yet. The season kicks off at noon with Newfane taking on East at Johnnie B. Wiley Pavilion, the first of a doubleheader that also includes Chautauqua Lake meeting I-Prep/Grover at 3. There are also a pair of games at 4 p.m.: Hamburg vs. South Park at Riverside and Iroquois vs. Hutch-Tech at All High Stadium.
Heading into Friday evening, there are top matchups like Lackawanna at Amherst (6 p.m.), Bishop Timon-St. Jude at Williamsville South (7) and Sweet Home at North Tonawanda (7) and Kenmore West at Jamestown (7).
Saturday includes Orchard Park's opener at Lockport (2 p.m.) and home openers against Section V teams for Monsignor Martin squads Canisius (McQuaid, 1 p.m.), St. Joe's (Wilson Magnet, 2 p.m.) and St. Francis (Aquinas, 7).
On Sunday, two Section VI teams are in action against Section III (Syracuse area) programs at the Carrier Classic. Riverside opens with Auburn (1-7 last year) at 12:30 and Clarence takes on defending Section III AA champion West Genesee (10-1 last year) at 3 p.m.
> Looking ahead
* Week Two (Sept. 7-8): St. Joe's at Bennett, Orchard Park at Clarence on Saturday night.
* Week Three (Sept. 14-15): Lackawanna at Cheektowaga, Canisius vs. McKinley at All High, St. Francis at St. Joe's, Sweet Home at Kenmore West.
* Week Four (Sept. 21-22): Sweet Home vs. McKinley at Riverside, Amherst at Cheektowaga.
* Week Five (Sept. 28-29): Depew at Alden, Cleveland Hill at Fredonia, St. Francis at Canisius.
* Week Six (Oct. 5-6): Orchard Park at Jamestown, Amherst at Cleveland Hill.
* Week Seven (Oct. 12-13): St. Joe's at Bishop Timon-St. Jude, North Tonawanda at Tonawanda, Depew at Lancaster, Kenmore West at Kenmore East, Jamestown at Clarence.
* Week Eight (Oct. 19-20): Section VI quarterfinals, Canisius at Bishop Timon-St. Jude.
* Week Nine (Oct. 26-27): Section VI semifinals, Bishop Timon-St. Jude at St. Francis, Canisius at St. Joe's.
* Week 10 (Nov. 2-3): Section VI championships return to Friday-Saturday format at The Ralph after having been shifted to Thursday-Friday the last two years (because the Bills were home); Monsignor Martin quarterfinals.
* Week 11 (Nov. 8-9-10): Monsignor Martin semifinals Thursday at The Ralph, Far West Regionals Friday and Saturday at All High Stadium.
* Week 12 (Nov. 16-17): State semifinals Friday and Saturday at Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester; Monsignor Martin championship Saturday at The Ralph (Bills play at home Thursday).
* Week 13 (Nov. 23-24): State championships at Carrier Dome.
* Rochester private school power Aquinas will again be a frequent opponent for WNY schools. The Little Irish take a 23-game win streak against Monsignor Martin teams (which dates back to 2005) into its Friday night opener at St. Francis. They also host Bishop Timon-St. Jude (Sept. 15) and St. Joe's (Sept. 28) and visit Canisius (Oct. 6). Aquinas has been moved up to Class AA from A this year, so if they make a sixth straight regional, they won't be facing Sweet Home (as they have the last five years).
* This is expected to be the last season at Clint Small Stadium, the current home of Tonawanda. A new stadium, part of the district's $11.9 million capital project, will move Clint Small Stadium to the high school. Tonawanda coach Rob Gross, a graduate who played football, said the Clint Small name will follow the team to the new stadium. "For sure. That was the absolute No. 1 priority was to make sure we continue to honor Mr. Small," he said.