The following are Dick Gallagher's picks for top teams and league MVPs as we head into the 2017 high school football season:

Preseason Top Teams

Large Schools:

1. Canisius

2. Lancaster

3. South Park

4. Orchard Park

5. Starpoint

6. McKinley

7. Bennett

8. Clarence

9. West Seneca East

10. St. Joe’s
West Seneca West

Canisius: The Crusaders with Johnson and Huston leading the way will continue as one of the top programs in the state.

Lancaster: Mansell, Damiani, Giordano, and Andreesson will have the Legends competing for a 2nd consecutive sectional championship.

South Park: South Park is 18-4 in the past 2 seasons and had undefeated JV team in 2016. The Sparks will be explosive and talented. Sanders returns to Sparks and will anchor both lines.

Starpoint: Spartans have talent to compete again for the sectional title. They will be led by Robinson, Chase, Mazzara and Parisse.

Orchard Park: The Quakers look to rebound from last season’s 4 losses. They are led by Bruce, Strybel, Noah and Dylan Bieler

McKinley: The Macks have speed, talent, and athleticism which will have them competing for the sectional championship. They will be led by Haynes, Fields, Martin, and Hollamon.

Clarence: The Red Devils led by Putney, Jacob, and Stephens will compete for the league title.

Bennett: Barksdale, Pettway, and Wright will have Tigers in the playoff hunt.

West Seneca East: The Maurino Dynamic Duo twins will have the Trojans in the playoffs.

Small Schools:

1. Cheektowaga

2. Southwestern

3. Medina

4. Burgard/MST

5. Cleveland Hill

6. Maple Grove

7. Maryvale

8. Alden

9. Franklinville/Ellicottville

10. Olean

Cheektowaga: Cheektowaga will compete for another poll title and with beal, Gray III, and Whitaker will challenge for league and sectional titles.

Southwestern: Trojans will be explosive again on offense led by Snyder and Card and could be in the sectional title game for the second consecutive year.

Medina: The Mustangs will be explosive with Cooper, Salone, Lewis, and Rhim. Cooper is an outstanding athlete.

Lackawanna: The Steelers will compete for league title behind the Smith twins, Horton, Rice, and Ingram

Cleveland HilL: The Golden Eagles will be flying again behind Wahler and Majerowski.

Burgard: Burgard will play smash mouth football on every play. They will be led by Maple, Archie, Feganns, Moss, and Carson

Maple Grove: The Red Dragons will attempt to play in their seventh consecutive sectional championship game. Fabrizio, Trim, Nelson, and Tanner will be physical and explosive.

Maryvale: The Flyers will be flying with Costanzo, Casey, Desiderio and Law.

Alden: Alden with Snell, Cybulski, and Pastuszynski will have the Bulldogs barking again this season.

Franklinville/Ellicottville; The Titans with All-WNY candidate Brock Blecha on both sides of the ball, Chudy and Erickson could have the team in the sectional title game.

Preseason Team MVPs

Akron: Jacob Sarow

Albion: Meach Gardner

Alden: Christian Snell

Allegany-Limestone: Jake Lippert

Amherst: Ja’kye Womack

Barker/Roy-Hart: Salvatore Gioeli

Bennett: Brandon Barksdale

Burgard: Tony Maple

Cassadaga Valley/Falconer: Robbie Penhollow

Cattaraugus/LV: Austin Baker

Chautauqua Lake: Devin Pope

Cheektowaga: Ka’Sean Anthony

Clarence: Jack Putney

Cleveland Hill: Aaron Wahler

Clymer/Sherman/Panama: Tom Delahoy

Depew: Chad Biersbach

Dunkirk: Jaziah Rivera

East Aurora/Holland: Jon Anstett

Eden/North Collins: Zak DeCarolls

Ellicottville/Franklinville: Brock Blecha

Fredonia/Brocton/Westfield: Jamison Horch

Frewsburg: Trent Gray

Frontier: Kylan Kmitch

Gowanda: Robbie Chadwick

Grand Island: Cam Sionko

Hamburg: Jason Shuttleworth

Hutch-Tech: Rodney Bailey

Iroquois: Parker Valvo

Jamestown: Francisco Rodriguez

JFK: James Bailey

Kenmore East: Ja’Michael Henderson

Kenmore West: Andrew Fron

Lackawanna: Jaekwon Ingram

Lake Shore: Shane Failey

Lancaster: Ryan Mansell

Lewiston-Porter: Dylan Morrissettee

Lockport: Javon Ford

Maple Grove: Nick Fabrizio

Maryvale: Rashad Law

McKinley: Kaiyer Fields

Medina/Lyndonville: Jalin Cooper

Newfane: Connor Hill

Niagara Falls: Syquan Ralands

Niagara Wheatfield: Brian Lucinski

North Tonawanda: Sean Ferry

Olean: Dylan Vincent

Orchard Park; Nic Bruce

Pioneer: Mike Rigerman

Portville: DJ Hlasnick

Randolph: Andrew Bernard

Salamanca: Leland John

Silver Creek/Forestville: Austin Eggleston

South Park: Devonte Fountain

Southwestern: Cole Snyder

Springville: Mike Hannon

Starpoint: Anthony Robinson

Sweet Home: Tom Rivera

Tonawanda: Henry Palermo

West Seneca East: Jacob and Jared Maurino

West Seneca West: Jesse Broad

Williamsville East: Kevin Steele

Williamsville North: Marqual Wells

Williamsville South: Josh Foster

Wilson: Matt Lang

Cardinal O’Hara: Michon Dudley

St. Francis: Retsen Daley

St. Joseph’s: Casey Kelly

Canisius: Paul Woods

Timon/St. Jude: Unknown

St. Mary’s: James Miller

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