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High school football season set to kick off this weekend

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina quarterback Jason Hellwig and his Mustang teammates will visit Newfane Saturday afternoon in the season opener. Albion will face Burgard at All-High Stadium and Holley will host Attica on Saturday while Barker/Roy-Hart will entertain Lew-Port on Friday evening at Middleport.

Four league games will highlight the action as area high school football teams open the season this weekend.

Barker/Roy-Hart will kick off the season by hosting Lew-Port at 7 p.m. Friday at Middleport in a B-North Division game. Lew-Port won the inaugural meeting between the two teams last fall 30-16.

“We’ve got to protect the football, match or beat their intensity and play within ourselves,” said Barker/Roy-Hart head Coach Bill Bruning.

A busy Saturday afternoon will then see Medina visiting Newfane at 1 p.m. and Albion taking on Burgard at Buffalo’s All-High Stadium at 3 p.m. in B-North Division games and Holley hosting Attica at 1:30 p.m. in a Genesee Region League contest.

“They are very physical,” said first year Holley Coach Will Prince of Attica which is the one G-R team the Hawks have not beaten since reinstating football in 2002.

“We’re going to have to control the line of scrimmage and that’s what we’re focusing on,” said Prince. “We’re young so it will be a tough test. We had some success in our scrimmage last Saturday and we’re fast and very athletic so we’re going to give it our best shot.”

Albion, which is also open in the season under a new coach, Gary Parisi, faces a tough challenge in a veteran laden Burgard squad which went 5-1 in B-North competition last fall.

“They are a very good football team with a lot of returnees back,” said Parisi. “Offensively they spread you out. They are very quick on the edge and are pretty good up front. And defensively they just fly to the football.”

Albion returns good experience at the skill positions including wide receivers Trey Hart, a junior, and Des Blackmon, a senior, along with senior running backs Dominic DiCureia and Manny Thompson. Senior Clayton Stanton is the only regular returning to the offensive line while junior Kyle Smith looks to start at quarterback.

“I feel very confident that we’ll give a good account of ourselves,” said Parisi.

Burgard bested Albion 48-0 last fall in the first ever meeting between the two teams. The Purple Eagles finished with a 3-3 division and 4-4 overall record last fall.

Medina will be facing a very familiar foe when the Mustangs take on Newfane for the 53rd time since the teams began meeting in 1954. Medina holds a 42-8-2 lead in the series including a 50-6 win in their last meeting in 2012.

“It’s been a while since we’ve faced them,” said Medina Coach Eric Valley. “After the scrimmage on Saturday we still have a lot of work to do as far as our execution goes. So we’re going into this game with the focus being that we need to play hard and execute.”

Senior quarterback Jason Hellwig, a three year starter, leads the Medina offense which also returns experience at the running back and receiver spots in seniors Brett Pecoraro, Trevor Bentley, Ty Hrovat, Devin Joy; juniors Tom Follman, Dylan Lewis and sophomore Eric Neace and on the line in seniors Adam Cotter, Andrew Nichols, Devonte Howard, Brandon Schoolcraft, Kyle Herman along with juniors Charles Beach, Kalvin Packer and Noah Banazwski.

The Mustangs went 3-3 in the division and 5-4 overall last year.

With the switch of Class B from a two back to a three division alignment the B-North Division has dropped in size from nine teams in 2013 to seven this season with the departure of Cheektowaga, Amherst and Maryvale to the B Central Division and the addition of Newfane. Cheektowaga captured the title last fall going 6-0.