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Looking Ahead to WNY Class D Football

The Salamanca football team will take a step down in classification next fall, but don’t expect much of an easier schedule for the Warriors in 2017.

Salamanca and Chautauqua Lake each saw a decrease in BEDS Enrollment Numbers, enough to drop from Class C to Class D in football. The guidelines are set at the state level by the NYSPHSAA and thus out of the hands of the sectional federation.

As Warriors coach Paul Haley said to the Salamanca Press, Salamanca will still have to contend with recent powers like Maple Grove, Randolph and Franklinville/Ellicottville.

“There’s nothing much we can do about it,” Haley said. “It kind of is what it is. As far as going down a class, I don’t think the competition level’s going to be any different. There’s still great teams in the D league. You’ve got Maple Grove, Randolph, (Franklinville/)Ellicottville, and these teams are teams that have been making the run to the finals every year in their division so it’s definitely not a break in competition, I know that. So really, we’re just going to prepare for it like we were still a C. Last year, we played B schools (non-league), so I don’t think it really matters anymore what class you’re in, there’s a lot of talent and great coaching at every single level.”

Section 6 Class D is set to include Salamanca, Chautauqua Lake, Portville, Randolph, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Franklinville/Ellicottville, Maple Grove, Clymer/Sherman/Panama and Frewsburg.

Silver Creek, which went 6-1 to finish second in the division in the regular season before falling to F/E in the semifinals, moves back up to Class C South.

The schedule is expected to be officially released following a Section 6 athletic council meeting March 22. In a seven-game season, the nine Class D teams would not all face each other like in years past with fewer teams.

After a winless 2015 and a 1-8 season in 2016, Haley is hopeful about the numbers Salamanca brings back for next year.

“I think we’re only losing six seniors,” he said, “so if we get all our kids back from last year and hopefully get a couple more, our camp numbers are going to be alright, a little better than last year. We’re hoping to play all JV games next year and not scrimmages. Hopefully we’ll get enough JV kids to play the actual games on Saturday this year.

“We had our winter weight training program and ran that for all our kids that weren’t playing winter sports and we had pretty good turnout with that. We had a couple kids make some pretty serious strides. We’re taking a couple kids up to a powerlifting competition at Chautauqua Lake on the 25th (of March).”