Even though the Alden-Depew football rivalry has been one-sided in recent years, Bulldogs coach Rob Currin still considers their fellow Class B Central Division contender rivals for a simple reason.
“What’s constituted it has been the level of competition and what they’ve brought out in our kids,” in games, the second-year Alden pilot said. “They’re well-coached. … I think it’s just the level of competitiveness more so than if it’s been one-sided.”
That may be true, but the Wildcats’ breakthrough against the Bulldogs last November in the Section VI final definitely added some spice to this rivalry. Depew now is on the board and in a big way as it ended Alden’s three-year reign as Section VI champions with that 28-26 win at The Ralph. The Wildcats also ended a seven-game losing streak to the Bulldogs that dated back to 2008.
Depew will try to make it two in a row tonight when last year’s state Class B semifinalist begins defense of its sectional crown at Alden at 7.
This contest is one of two on the Week One, opening-night docket that’s a sectional final rematch. Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake hosts two-time defending state Class D champion Randolph at 7 p.m. This is a nonleague game between the longtime rivals as Maple Grove is playing in Class C South this season.
Depew relied on contributions from everyone last season to make its deep playoff run, what with starting quarterback Anthony Buono missing most of the season with a shoulder injury and running back Rodney Turner also limited by injuries. Junior quarterback Dylan Sekuterski and running back Nick Perrine were among the players to step up and fill the void, and both are back to lead this year’s edition of the Wildcats. Jacob Grant is also back, as the midseason call-up was among the key contributors on the Wildcats’ line.
“They are always well-coached. … I think there’s an element of danger when you face a team,” with several key contributors, “because you can’t key in on one player,” Currin said. Coach Brian Wilson’s “staff always gets them to understand football. They’re always a dangerous adversary.”
While Alden doesn’t have a Stoldt under center for the first time in years, Currin said junior quarterback Jordan Stockweather’s calm demeanor brings balance to the Bulldogs. Currin also said Alden is looking forward to facing Depew so early in the season.
“It’s an outstanding test right off the bat. There’s no real way to ease into the season,” he said. “No. 2, we didn’t have a real long wait … as to whether we’d get a shot at redemption. Getting a chance to see them up here for Week One is more exciting than anything.”
Orchard Park also gets to face a foe that ended its season when it visits Frontier at 7:30 p.m. tonight. It’s the same venue where OP lost in the sectional Class AA semifinals last year, a rare year in which the Quakers failed to at least reach their home away from home at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The game marks the debut of Terius Wheatley, the younger brother of Canisius star and highly recruited tight end/defensive end T.J. Wheatley. The game also mark’s the head-coaching debut of Frontier’s Mark Privateer but last year’s pilot, Tim Myslinski won’t be too far away. He’s the Falcons’ offensive line coach.
Bishop Timon-St. Jude has perhaps the toughest assignment of the day as it visits defending state Class AA champion Aquinas in Rochester. Meanwhile, St. Joe’s opens at St. Anthony’s (L.I). The Marauders handed the downstate football power its only loss in 2013.
Chris McDuffie leads his Williamsville East Flames into All High Stadium to face sibling Steve McDuffie and the Bennett Tigers at 7 tonight.
Westfield/Brocton opens at home at 7:30 p.m. against Cattaraugus/Little Valley in its first game since Week Two last season. Westfield/Brocton cancelled its season after two games following the death of Damon Janes, a junior running back. He will be memorialized in a pregame ceremony.
Saturday’s top games include defending Section VI Class AA champion Jamestown opening at perennial Class A power Sweet Home, Monsignor Martin Association champ Canisius hosting McQuaid of Rochester and state Class A runner-up Williamsville North, now a member of Class AA North, hosting Grand Island.
On the Web
• Follow all the action from this weekend’s games at the Prep Talk blog. Be part of the coverage team by using the hashtag #PrepTalkLive and the scores of the game you’re attending will appear in our running blog.
• Check out video interviews from various programs at buffalonews.com to get further prepared for the season. In the event you missed the News’ high school preview section, check out the stories and capsules you missed at buffalonews.com.