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2019 Class AA Preview

Dick Gallagher gives his 2019 high school football team preview for the Class AA Division.
Credit: WGRZ


1. Orchard Park
2. Bennett
3. Lancaster
4. Clarence
5. Jamestown
6. Lockport
7. Frontier
8. Hutch-Tech
9. Niagara Falls


The Quakers return 29 players from last year’s 6-3 team, They are also returning 6 starters on offense and 7 on defense. They have All-WNY candidates in Jack Sharp, Michael Pataky, Matt Wagner, Steven Kulikowsky, Jonathan Lander, Tristan Lancaster, Brad Fowler, and Matt Baska. They host Frontier in Week 1 and play the Lions in Week 2. They should be undefeated when hosting Bennett in Week 4. The JV team was 7-1 in 2018 and 14-2 in the past 2 years. Other key players include Jacob Shul, Brad Bauer, Tom Hollander, and Eric Dietz. They will compete for league and sectional titles. They could be in the title game in November. They play at Lancaster in Week 6. Tristan Lancaster transferred back to Quakers after a year in Philadelphia.

Head Coach: Craig Dana (6-3-0, 1 year)
Assistant Coaches: Mike Cieslik, Chuck Senn, Todd Ellmann, Scott Sullivan
2018 Varsity Record: 6-3-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 6, Defense is 7.
Key Players: Jack Sharp, Mike Pataky, Jacob Shul, Matt Wagner, Jacob Strycharz, Brad Bauer, Brad Fowler, Jon Lander, Tristan Lancaster, Tom Hollander, Jalin Askin, Chad Gloss, Brandon Hamm, Charlie Bartolotti, Eric Dietz, Peter Libertore
Key Losses: Archie Bartolotti, Jordan Prince, Alex Westcott
2018 JV Record: 7-1


The Tigers played in their 6th sectional championship in their loss to the Legends. 7 starters on both the offense and the defense are returning. They have All-WNY candidates in D’Jae Perry, Justin Campbell, Nashon Oliver,  Jeremiah Williams and Devoite Pompey. Other key players include: Allen McDuffie, Richard Heard and Ja’Vair Walker. They host Clarence in the opener and play at St. Joe’s in Week 2. 18 players are returning. They will compete for league and sectional championships. Key to season will be to eliminate penalties and play of the QB. 

Head Coach: Steve McDuffie (48-27-0) 8 years
Assistant Coaches: Bob O’Connor, Patrick Foster, Mack Landry, Brian Davis, Martin Truesdall
2018 Varsity Record: 7-3-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 7, Defense is 7.
Key Players: D’Jae Perry, Justin Campbell, Nashon Oliver, Devotie Pompey, Jeremiah Williams, Ja’Vair Walker, Allen McDuffie, Richard Heard
Key Losses: Jihad Loynes and Jakari Nettles

2018 JV Record: 6-2-0


Legends will compete for their 4th consecutive sectional title. They are 21-3 in varsity and 13-3 in JV for the past 2 seasons. 6 players are returning on both sides of the ball. Offense is led by All-WNY candidates Jason Mansell and Shawn Davis while defense will be their strength led by Conor Mahony, Matt Marschner, and Ethan Jurkowski. They host Hutch-Tech in Week 1 and play Niagara Falls in Week 2. The have tough match ups with Bennett, Orchard Park, and Jamestown. Eric Rupp has a 31-4 record in 3 years. 29 players are returning. Another key player is Gianluci Fulciniti.

Head Coach: Eric Rupp (31-4-0), 3 years
Assistant Coaches: Dave Mansell, Brian Wild, Sean Bruso, Pat Murphy, Scott Guenther
2018 Varsity Record: 9-2-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 6. Defense is 6.
Key Players: Jason Mansell, Shawn Davis, Conor Mahony, Matt Marschner, Ethan Jurkowski, Gianluci Fulciniti
Key Losses: Brandon Wingard, Brian Martin, Tim Gardner
2018 JV Record: 6-2-0


Red Devils return 14 starters from last season’s team. All-WNY candidates are JR Zach Norton who is a candidate for 1,000 yards rushing and runs a 4.5 forty, Ryan Culhane, and Mason Davis. Other key players include: Slade Murphy, Julius Perry, James Brooks, Zach Ianello, Alexander Sykas, and Jason Berchov. Perry, a sophomore, transferred from St. Mary’s and Antwan Walker from Canisius. 27 players are returning. They open at Bennett and play Falcons in Week 2. The key to the season will be the play of the QB. They will miss Jon Stevens and Jack Putney.

Head Coach: Paul Burgio, (10-9-0, 2 years)
Assistant Coaches: Tim Myslinski and Frank Payne
2018 Varsity Record: 5-4-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 6, Defense is 8.
Key Players: Zach Norton, Slade Murphy, Ryan Culhane, Mason Davis, Julius Perry, Jason Berchov, James Brooks, Zach Ianello, Alexander Sykas
Key Losses: Jack Putney, Quinten Burke, Jon Stevens, Casey Esch
2018 JV Record: 6-2-0


The Red Raiders look to compete for a league title. They have All-WNY candidates in Savon VanSickle, Elijah Rojas and Chase Jones. Other key players include Simeon Leeper, Ben Schrader, Demarr Jones, Trey Drake and Joshua and Jacob Tonk’a. VanSickle is an excellent 2 way player and a candidate for 1000 yards rushing. Talent from the undefeated JV team will help Tom Langworthy’s squad. Defense needs to be stronger this year as the Red Raiders gave up 244 points in 2018. They open with Baldwinsville in Syracuse at the Dome. They return 14 players this season.

Head Coach: Tom Langworthy (65-41-0) 11 years
Assistant Coaches: Richie Joly, Dave Munella, Mike Baker, Paul Baker, Ryan Calkins, John O’Brien
2018 Varsity Record: 5-4-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 6, Defense is 6.
Key Players: Savon VanSickle, Takye Branch, Elijah Rojas, Chase Jones, Ben Schrader, Simeon Leeper, Demarr Jones, Avante Hicks, Kamerson Meleadez, Joshua Tonk’a, Jacob Tonk’a
Key Losses: Peyton Olson, Taige White
2018 JV Record: 8-8-0


Lions return 9 on offense and 4 on defense from last year’s 1 win season. Key players include QB Nick Cascia who passed for 2000 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior. Other key players include Josh Cooper and Santino Drake. They return 24 players this season. They host the Wolverines and Quakers in the first 2 weeks. Cascia and Cooper could be one of the top passing combinations in WNY. Key to the season will be the play of the line.

Head Coach: Trait Smith
Assistant Coaches: unknown
2018 Varsity Record: 1-6-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 9, Defense is 4.
Key Players: Nick Cascia, Josh Cooper, Santino Drake
Key Losses: Malik Brooks, Jaylyn Jones
2018 JV Record: 2-5-0


Falcons return 13 players from last year’s team. They have tough matchups in week 1 with Orchard Park and in week 2 with Clarence. They have an All-WNY candidate in RB Hayden Cardner. Other key players include Adam Hodge, Austin Georgi, Shaun Gallagher, Alex Lippert and Matt Ciszewski. Talent from 7-1 JV squad will help Chuck Tilley who has a record of 104-66-0 in 20 years. They will be competitive and improve.

Head Coach: Chuck Tilley (104-66-0) 20 years
Assistant Coaches: Lee Leavell, Joe Faciana
2018 Varsity Record: 0-8-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 4, Defense is 4.
Key Players: Hayden Cardner, Adam Hodge, Austin Georgi, Alex Lippert, Shaun Gallagher, Matt Ciszewski
Key Losses: Max Fleming, Tyler Bailey
2016 JV Record: 7-1-0


Engineers return All-WNY QB candidate Jayden Robinson and look to rebound from last year’s 3 win season. Key players include Zack Guard who will anchor the line and Mu-ath Kinsey who will anchor the defense. Robinson will provide the offensive spark. Other key players include Shakeen Cooper-Wright, Elijah Marshall, Solomon Tarver and Avion Thornton. They return only 1 starter this season. They open at Lancaster and travel to Jamestown in week 2. They should improve this season.

Head Coach: Tony Truilizio
Assistant Coaches: unknown
2018 Varsity Record: 3-6-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 1, Defense is 0.
Key Players: Jayden Robinson, Shakeen Cooper-Wright, Elijah Marshall, Zack Guard, Solomon Tarver, Avion Thornton, Mu-ath Kinsey
Key Losses: Max Anderson, Anthony Whitfield, Emmanuel Greegba


Wolverines look to improve from last year’s 1-win record. Key players include Zion Paige, Jo Jo Dixon and Colin Stone. They return 19 players this season. They open at Lockport and host the Legends in week 2. Key to the season will be the play of QB and line. Other key players include Willie McDouglad, Marcus Wilkins and Kalem Chappel.

Head Coach: Don Bass (38-56-0) 11 years
Assistant Coaches: unknown
2018 Varsity Record: 1-7-0
Starters Returning: Offense is 5, Defense is 5.
Key Players: Zion Paige, Jo Jo Dixon, Colin Stone, Willie McDouglad, Marcus Wilkins, Kalem Chappel, Kishaun Miller, Mike Jones
Key Losses: P.J. Young, Jamel Oliver, Moran Montgomery


QB – Jack Sharp, Orchard Park
QB – Nick Cascia, Lockport
QB – Jason Manell, Lancaster
RB – Hayden Cardner, Frontier
RB – Savon VanSickle, Jamestown
RB – Mike Pataky, Orchard Park
RB – D’Jae Perry, Bennett
RB – Zach Norton, Clarence
TE – Ryan Culhane, Clarence
WR – Tristan Lancaster, Orchard Park
WR- Shawn Davis, Lancaster
OL – Jeremiah Williams, Bennett
OL – Matt Wagner, Orchard Park
OL – Chase Jones, Jamestown
OL – Slade Murphy, Clarence
OL – Adam Hodge, Frontier
OL – Richard Heard, Bennett
K – Clark Whiteside, Lancaster
RS – Devonte Pompey, Bennett
RS – Simeon Leeper, Jamestown

DL – Ben Schrader, Jamestown
DL – Alex Hejna, Lancaster
DL – Brad Fowler, Orchard Park
DL – Nashawn Oliver, Bennett
LB – Conor Mahony, Lancaster
LB – Alex Lippert, Frontier
LB – Justin Campbell, Bennett
LB – Mason Davis, Clarence
LB – Matt Marschner, Lancaster
DB – Elijah Rojas, Jamestown
DB – Julius Perry, Clarence
DB – Steve Kulikowsky, Orchard Park
DB – Ethan Jurkowski, Lancaster
DB – Santino Drake, Lockport
DB – DeMario Jones, Jamestown
DB – Alexander Sykas, Clarence
RS – Willie McDouglad, Niagara Falls
RS – Julius Perry, Clarence
P – Tom Hollander, Orchard Park