Who’s who: The eight-team division consists of the Cattaraugus/Little Valley Timberwolves, Franklinville/Ellicottville/West Valley Panthers, Frewsburg Bears, Panama Panthers, Portville Panthers, Randolph Cardinals, Sherman/Clymer Wildcats and Westfield/Brocton Wolverines.
This year’s alignment shift: The separate Class D and DD divisions of the last three years has ended largely because four programs folded into other programs (Cassadaga Valley merged with Falconer, Franklinville merged with Ellicottville and West Valley; Clymer merged with Sherman; also, just last week Pine Valley canceled its season because it did not have enough players). Also, Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake has moved up to Class C. The Class DD championship is still scheduled for Ralph Wilson Stadium; for the playoffs, the top four teams will compete for the Class D title; the next four will go into the DD bracket.
Last year’s champion: Randolph was not only the Section VI champion, but it went on to win its second straight state championship, the program’s fourth title and third in the last five seasons. The Cardinals were a unanimous choice (all 10 votes) as the No. 1 small school in the final News poll while first-year head coach Brent Brown was the Buffalo Bills Coach of the Year.
Last year’s records: In Class D – Randolph 13-0, 4-0; Cattaraugus/Little Valley 7-2, 5-1; Portville 4-4, 2-2; Ellicottville/West Valley 5-4, 1-2. In Class DD – Sherman 6-2, 5-1; Panama 5-3; 4-2; Frewsburg 6-3, 4-2; Franklinville 3-6, 2-4; Clymer 3-6, 1-5; Pine Valley 0-8, 0-6; Westfield/Brocton 0-2, 0-0 (canceled season following death of Damon Janes).
2013 All-Western New York underclassmen: Randolph junior OL Mike Bowers was a third-team selection.
2013 all-league first-team underclassmen: In Class D, Randolph juniors WR Bryce Morrison, RB/LB Lucas Brown and Bowers; Ellicottville/West Valley junior Calum Watt. In DD, Cattaraugus/Little Valley juniors OL Caleb Snow and DL DJ Stevens; Frewsburg junior OL Zach Haller; Panama junior DL Dylan Mescall.
Week One (Sept. 5-6) must-see game: There are three league games to open things up Friday night (Sherman/Clymer vs. Franklinville/Ellicottville/WV at Ellicottville; Panama at Frewsburg; Cattaraugus/Little Valley vs. Westfield/Brocton at Westfield), but one of the highlights of the entire weekend is also that night as defending state champion Randolph opens against old friend (and now Class C school) Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake at Maple Grove.
Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams can scrimmage other schools is Saturday. The schedule of Western New York scrimmages is at the Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com.
Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com: Watch exclusive video of South Park coach Tim Delaney’s initial address to his team and look over the entire 2014 week-by-week schedule. The PrepTalkTV and live chat schedule will be released soon.
The countdown continues: Class C (Saturday), Class B (Sunday), Class A (Monday), Class AA (Tuesday) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Wednesday). You will be able to review them all at the high school sports home page at buffalonews.com.
Season preview coming Thursday: Our 12-page annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 74 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, photos, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2014 season.
Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster – in spreadsheet form – to firstname.lastname@example.org. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to email@example.com.
#PrepTalkLive at buffalonews.com: Every weekend, the place to monitor all of the Friday night and Saturday afternoon action is buffalonews.com and the Prep Talk blog. We will have video reports, photos, live updates from several top games and you will again be a part of the team via Twitter: Tweet game updates with the #PrepTalkLive hashtag and those will appear in our live blog. – Keith McShea