By Keith McShea
Who’s who: The seven-team division consists of the Allegany-Limestone Gators, Falconer Falcons, Fredonia Hillbillies, Gowanda Panthers, Salamanca Warriors, Southwestern Trojans and Silver Creek/Forestville Black Knights.
This year’s alignment shift: The division grows from six to seven teams after several shifts: Fredonia and Gowanda come over from C North; Silver Creek elevates to Class C South from Class D after its merger with Forestville; Cassadaga Valley and Westfield/Brocton dropped down to D.
Last year’s champion: Salamanca won the regular season title for the second straight season, but it also fell at home in the quarterfinals to the fourth seed from Class C North (Cleve Hill last year, Akron in 2011).
2012 rewind: It was not the greatest year for the division. Salamanca's first-round loss was part of a sweep by C North as the divisions went head-to-head in the quarterfinals. Also most noteworthy was Southwestern missing the playoffs after going 2-3 in division play. The Trojans won two state championships (2008, 2009) and made the 2011 state final during a tremendous run that included a 42-game regular-season win streak that spanned from 2007 to 2011.
Last year’s records: Allegany-Limestone 5-4, 4-1; Salamanca 7-2, 4-1; Westfield/Brocton 4-4, 3-2; Cassadaga Valley 3-5, 2-3; Southwestern 3-6, 2-3; Falconer, 1-7, 0-5. In Class C North, Fredonia 7-3, 3-2; Gowanda 0-8, 0-5. In D, Silver Creek 5-4, 4-3.
2012 All-Western New York underclassmen: None.
2012 all-league first-team underclassmen: Salamanca juniors OL Sean Connell, WR Joe Hinman, LB Tadd Beattie, DB Sean Greene. Allegany-Limestone junior WR Todd Mason. In C North, Gowanda junior RB Brennan Geiger. In Class D, Silver Creek sophomore LB Sherman Williams.
Pre-snap read: Salamanca has plenty back from a co-division championship, but there is plenty of intrigue at the top as Fredonia (a recent perennial power out of C North with new coach Mike Marshall) arrives and Southwestern sees if it can bounce back.
Week One (Sept. 6-7) must-see game: The division's two newcomers go at it as Fredonia plays Silver Creek/Forestville at Silver Creek.
Scrimmage Saturday: The first day teams can scrimmage other schools is Saturday. Southwestern hosts Randolph in an annual meeting of top programs while Fredonia joins Hamburg, East Aurora and Jamestown at Jamestown's Strider Field; both start at 10 a.m. The schedule of Western New York scrimmages is available at the Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com.
Prep Talk blog at buffalonews.com: Watch exclusive [BN]TheLockerRoom video of Canisius coach Rich Robbins' initial address to his team, look over the entire 2013 week-by-week schedule and watch #preptalkpreseason video interviews with 26 head coaches (with more to come).
Live chats & PrepTalkTV: The first of the weekly Wednesday night live chats will be Sept. 4 at 9 p.m. at buffalonews.com. The PrepTalkTV schedule will be released soon.
The countdown continues: C North (Wednesday), B South (Thursday), B North (Friday), A South (Saturday), A Central (Sept. 1), A North (Sept. 2), Class AA (Sept. 3) and the Monsignor Martin Association (Sept. 4). Already published: Class DD (Sunday) and D (Monday). You will be able to review them all at the Prep Talk blog.
Season preview coming Sept. 5: The annual preview issue will have capsules and schedules for all 78 teams in Western New York, along with feature stories, a must-see cover and everything else one needs to know about the 2013 season.
Attention coaches & ADs: As soon as they are determined, Section VI coaches need to send a roster — in spreadsheet form — to email@example.com. Monsignor Martin coaches should email rosters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday Night Live at buffalonews.com: Every week, the place to monitor all of the Friday night action is BuffaloNews.com and the Prep Talk blog. We will have video reports, photos, live updates from several top games (including play-by-play from our premier matchup of the night) and you will again be a part of the team via Twitter: Tweet game updates with the #preptalkscores hashtag and those will appear in our live blog.