WNY Athletics

2019 Class B1 Football Preview

Cheektowaga Warriors 

Head Coach: Mike Fatta

2018 record and finish: 9-2, fell in Class B Far West Regionals

Number of returning starters: 5

Key Returnees: Tamario Bass, Isaiah Sharpe

Key Losses: KeShone Beal

After falling to Pioneer in the regular season, Cheektowaga solved the riddle of Mike Rigerman and won their fourth sectional title in five years. The Warriors lose two-time Connolly Cup finalist QB KeShone Beal and LB Taivaughn Roach. From Zak Ciezki to Eric Bartnik to Beal, Mike Fatta and his staff have proven time and time again they can find the right guy under center. They also welcome in RB Quantrail Moss from Cardinal O’Hara. Cheektowaga is still the team to beat in Class B until someone else proves otherwise. 


East Aurora/Holland Blue Devils

Head Coach: John Swiniuch

2018 record and finish: 3-6, missed Class B playoffs

Number of returning starters: 9

Key Returnees: Shane MacSwan, Jack Rogers, Connor Boss

Key Losses: Luke Grad, Finn O’Brien, Sebastian Stencil-DeGweck

The Blue Devils are hoping to carry the success they found late last season into 2019, as they return nine starters. Lucas Juliano returns for his senior year at quarterback. East Aurora/Holland will rely on LB/RB Shane MacSwan, S/RB Jack Rogers and TE/DE Connor Boss for leadership this season. They will miss RB Finn O’Brien. This could be another tough year for the Blue Devils.


Lake Shore Eagles

Head Coach: Dan Russell

2018 record and finish: 2-6, missed playoffs

Number of returning starters: 6 Offense/7 Defense

Key Returnees: Jordan Kosnik, Gavin Mendell, Mike Neary, TJ Aikin, Jaruk Miller, Thomas Michael

Key Losses: Jack Perry, Adam Smith

The second year for a coach is always important because it’s the first full offseason they get with the program. That’s the case for coach Dan Russell. The Eagles are looking to build off a season-ending win over Eden/North Collins, who had beaten them earlier in the season. Lake Shore will be looking for a big year from QB Mike Neary after working hard this offseason. Wide out Nate Styles could have a break out season. Expect Lake Shore to take a big step and compete for a playoff spot in 2019.


Lewiston-Porter Lancers

Head Coach: Matt Bradshaw

2018 record and finish: 4-5, missed playoffs

Number of returning starters: 11

Key Returnees: JP Stewart, John Wendt, Gino Fontanarosa, Frank Previte, Cory Stack, Jared Rebon, Cooper Krawczyk, Conor Grace

Key Losses: Joe Powers, Marc Maio, Noah Coppins, Aidan Salik

Lew-Port just missed postseason play after competing in one of the most competitive divisions in WNY last season. The Lancers certainly have the tools to build on last year with 11 starters coming back, including Frank Previte. They’ll miss two-way lineman Joe Powers. 


Pioneer Panthers

Head Coach: Jim Duprey

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

Number of returning starters: 5 Offense/6 Defense

Key Returnees: Tyler Ely, Tra’e Hill, Denton Tilly, Josh Oun, Aaron Doyle, Andrew Payne, Karson Hurlburt

Key Losses: Mike Rigerman, Trevor Smith, Nick Rinker, Lane Patton 

Pioneer had one of its most successful in a long time, winning the Class B1 Divisional title and reaching New Era Field. RB/LB Mike Rigerman led the way winning the school’s first-ever Connolly Cup, after switching from tight end last summer. Rigerman, along with three-year starting QB Nick Rinker, and linemen Trevor Smith and Lane Patton all graduated. That will be hard for the Panthers to replace but they do return speed-backs Tyler Ely and Tra’e Hill. With a newfound target on their backs, 2019 could be a tough year for Pioneer.

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