WNY Athletics

2019 Class A1 Football Preview


Hamburg Bulldogs

Head Coach: Jeff Tripp

2018 record and finish: 3-5, missed Class A playoffs

Number of returning starters: 7 Offense/6 Defense

Key Returnees: Spencer Dix, Dominic Manzela, Logan Garza, Geno Bruce, John Haberman

Key Losses: Nick Hafner, Josh Skelley, Zach Nyhart

Hamburg finished off on a much need high note with a pair of wins, after starting the season 1-5. The Bulldogs hope they can build on that as they bring back roughly half their starting lineup. They’ll need to replace QB Josh Skelley. Seniors Logan Garza, Geno Bruce and John Haberman are returning starters on the line. QB play will ultimately decide whether or not Hamburg can take a step forward in 2019.


Kenmore West Blue Devils

Head Coach: John Haynes

2018 record and finish: 4-4, fell in Class A quarterfinals

Number of returning starters: 6 Offense/4 Defense

Key Returnees: Zac Boyes, Kenny Britt, Pat Gerbec, Colton Locicero, Jared Sias, Dom Brown, Eddie Vona, Matt Chimera, Gereo Diaz, Santo Falzone

Key Losses: Cam Crosier, Joe Stewart

Kenmore West bounced back after a pair of blowout losses to open the season winning four games and reaching the postseason. The Blue Devils return about half of their starters, including QB Zac Boyes. Ken West will surely miss RB Joe Stewart and WR Cam Crosier. They’ll be looking for Eddie Vona to take on more carries. Matt Chimera has stepped up as a leader this offseason and will help anchor the line. The Blue Devils will be a bubble team in Class A1 this year.


McKinley Macks

Head Coach: Brian Davis

2018 record and finish: 4-4, fell in Class A quarterfinals

Number of returning starters: 6

Key Returnees: Jayden Mcilwain, Davon Williams, Manvel Wright

Key Losses: Kaiyer Fields, Taivonn Martin

The McKinley Macks responded well after losing their coach just before the season. After losing their first two games they went on to win their next four to reach the playoffs. New coach Brian Davis takes over the program after spending the last two seasons as an assistant at Bennett. McKinley suffers a huge loss at running back with Kaiyer Fields having graduated. Jayden Mcilwain, Davon Williams, Manvel Wright are expected to lead the way for the Macks this season.


Niagara Wheatfield Falcons

Head Coach: Russ Nixon

2018 record and finish: 6-3, won Class A Funke Bowl Championship

Number of returning starters: 5

Key Returnees: Chris Gordon, Griffon Cornwell, Joe Kiszka Jr., Joe Ambrosia, Anthony Lucinski

Key Losses: Jordan Parks, Jake DeWolf, Nick Stott, Josh Thibeault, Noah Mixon, Kevin Halford, Jake Leising, Kevin Cannon, Noah Bennett

Niagara Wheatfield had one its most successful seasons in a long time in 2018, coming up just short of the playoffs. With key players like Jordan Parks and Jake DeWolf graduated, it will be hard for the Falcons to get back in playoff contention. However, don’t expect them to fall back to the bottom. N-W bring back a pretty-seasoned quarterback in Chris Gordan. Gordan threw for 631 yards and four TDs while Griffon Cornwell made 51 tackles last year. The Falcons had been crescendoing over the past few seasons with the core of players that have just graduated. The key this year for Russ Nixon’s staff is to find a way to carry that momentum to a new group.


North Tonawanda Lumberjacks

Head Coach: Rick Tomm

2018 record and finish: 2-6, missed Class A playoffs

Number of returning starters: 6 Offense/6 Defense

Key Returnees: Tim Osborn, Cam Holmes, Joe Caporicci, Chris Kinney

Key Losses: Jake Myers, Javi Baldon, Collin Beach

2018 was a tough year for the Lumberjacks only winning two games, narrowly escaping with a victory over rival Tonawanda. Eric Jantzi stepped down as head coach back in late July – he will be difficult to replace. Andrew Kosikowski and Nash Rieselman will compete for the job under center. NT will be looking for big things from lineman Tim Osborn and WR/LB Cam Holmes. Reaching the postseason will be difficult, but not impossible for the Lumberjacks this season.


West Seneca West Indians

Head Coach: Mike Vastola

2018 record and finish: 9-1, fell in Section VI Class A Championship game

Number of returning starters: 6

Key Returnees: Liam Scheuer, Dillion Weir, Mike Glinski, Jeremy Cuthbert, David Beard, Trevor Stoddard

Key Losses: Kyle Haettich, Juston Johnson, John Speyer, Bryan Ball, George Newcomb, Josh Wilson, Maurice Robertson

West Seneca West rode the momentum of a 2017 state title to the sectional championship game last season before they fell to rival West Seneca East at New Era Field. If they want to keep that success going, the Indians will need to rely on a mostly new cast. West Seneca West loses leading rusher John Speyer and will have to replace WR/DB Juston Johnson. Seniors Mike Glinski and Liam Scheuer, both members of the 2017 team, are expected to be leaders. Glinski was one of the top tacklers in the area last season with 112. Scheuer will finally take over under center. He’ll also return as a defensive end.

Coach Vastola:

“We have a lot of kids coming up this year that have played a lot of football for us. It’s going to be about playing together as a team and staying as healthy as we can and letting the chips fall where they may. We want Scheuer and Glinski to model and show what we expect. We have a lot of new faces to the varsity team and we want to demonstrate what we need on a day-to-day basis, both when they are with us and not with us.”

Liam Scheuer:

“Overall, last year was a good year, but we could’ve done a lot better than that. It feels good, just taking control of my team and hopefully lead them as far as they can go. We have a young team but we’re hungry and we want to win. It’s always in the back of your mind getting back there but you have to take it one day at a time.”


Williamsville East Flames

Head Coach: Mike Torrillo

2018 record and finish: 4-5, reached Class A Chuck Funke Bowl

Number of returning starters: 8

Key Returnees: Cal Shifflet, Nic and Noah Arno, Jacob Shopp, Brian Turton, Paul Colosimo

Key Losses: Clayton Osborne, Andrew Orsini, Ben Morakis, Parker Evans, Jon Moran

Williamsville East has been on an upward climb since Mike Torrillo took over the program in 2017. The Flames could take another step forward this year returning eight starters. However, they’ll have to replace the team’s leading rusher in Clayton Osborn. Nic Arno takes over as quarterback. Cal Shifflet returns after leading the team in receiving last season. After coming close in 2018, the playoffs are on the horizon this year for Will East.


Williamsville North Spartans

Head Coach: Mike Mammoliti

2018 record and finish: 8-3, fell in Class AA semifinals

Number of returning starters: 5 Offense/6 Defense

Key Returnees: Scott Hopkins, Prabhot Singh, Zaire Leonard, David Bass, Jake Bruno, Evan Brophy, Max Obie

Key Losses: Dylan Kelly, Joe Nusall, Jake Orlando, Dylan Mann, Josh Walter

The Williamsville North Spartans not only graduated a wealth of production but a ton of experience as well. They lose their quarterback, leading rusher, receiver and tackler. The Spartans are looking for big things from sophomore RB Zaire Leonard after he a strong JV season. TE/LB Scott Hopkins will also be counted on this season. Young players will need to grow up quickly if Will North wants to get into the playoffs in 2019.

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