Opening weekend

Dunkirk, Fredonia begin on road Saturday

OBSERVER Photo by Tim Frank Salamanca and Maple Grove opened the local Section VI football schedule with a Class D game on the new turf at Veterans Memorial Park in Salamanca on Thursday evening. The Warriors won 52-6. Salamanca’s Jesse Stahlman and Austin Maybee team up to take down Triston Loomis.

A pair of games got the local high school football schedule going on a snowy Thursday night.

The rest of the teams will have far more favorable conditions for their openers tonight and Saturday.

Jamestown will open its Class A1 slate tonight against Hamburg at Strider Field. The Red Raiders return sophomore quarterback Trey Drake and junior Jaylen Butera as well as seniors Elijah Rojas and Demarri Jones from their 2019 team that finished 7-2 overall before losing to Lancaster 28-7 in the Section VI Class AA semifinals.

Randolph and Cattaraugus-Little Valley saw their Thursday night opener pushed to tonight on the turf in Little Valley.

Two-time defending New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D champion Clymer/Sherman/Panama will open its season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Clymer against Springville. Things will be different this year for the Wolfpack, who lost New York State Sportswriters Assocation co-Players of the Year Gerrit Hinsdale and Cameron Barmore to graduation.

OBSERVER Photo by Tim Frank Salamanca’s Trevor Ellis carries the ball.

Zavon Overton and Lucas Rater were also all-state selections lost to graduation, but the cupboard is far from bare for C/S/P. Back are seniors John Swabik, Jordan Svetz, Brendon Ramsey, Alex Dunnewold, Connor Cooper and Zach Chase as the Wolfpack moves up to Class C competition this spring.

Dunkirk will also open its season Saturday afternoon at Maryvale with quarterback Phil Messina and running back Christian Ortiz among the Marauders’ key returning players.

At late as Thursday, Franklinville/Ellicottville was searching for a Week 1 game on social media, and the Titans’ prayers were answered in the afternoon when Akron lost its matchup with Cleveland Hill. The Tigers then invited Franklinville/Ellicottville, led by senior quarterback Logan Frank, to the home of Perry’s Ice Cream for a 2 p.m. Saturday kickoff.

Four other local teams will finally make their debuts Saturday evening.

Chautauqua Lake/Westfield/Brocton, under first-year head coach Ryan Gibbs, will travel to Falconer for a matchup with Cassadaga Valley/Falconer, led by local coaching veterans Dan Greco and Curt Fischer.

Fredonia, which is still waiting to see if star junior quarterback Nick Whitfield will be returning from a wrist injury suffered early in basketball season, will travel to Charles Lawson Field for a 7 p.m. matchup with Southwestern. The Trojans lost in the NYSPHSAA Class C semifinals in the fall of 2019, and return junior quarterback Aidan Kennedy among others.


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