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High School

High school football preview: Monsignor Martin | High school

Teams: Six in two divisions of three.

A Division: Canisius, St. Francis. St. Joseph’s.

B Division: Bishop Timon, Cardinal O’Hara, St. Mary’s.

Defending champions: St. Francis beat Canisius, 21-10, to win their first Monsignor Martin A Division playoff title since 2018. St. Mary’s bested Bishop Timon, 52-0, to win the B Division championship.

Returning All-WNY first-teamers: None.

What to expect: Five of St. Francis’ seven games will take place outside of Buffalo, which will see them make stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Rochester. The only two local games come against fellow division rivals Canisius and St. Joseph’s. The Red Raiders also graduated four first-team All-WNY selectees, which included defensive lineman Jimmy Scott, now at Pittsburgh, and All-Catholic Co-Player of the Year Kimal Clark, a defensive back who signed with Central Connecticut.

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It’s a new era at Canisius with Kraig Kurzanski, a 1984 graduate, returning to his alma mater after spending the last 15 seasons at Williamsville South. He’s excited to get the season going saying, “We will do all we can to honor those men that have played at CHS before us. We will uphold the tradition. Welcome the opportunity to play for Canisius HS and are unburdened that ‘the hopes of the many rests on the shoulders of the few.’” The Crusaders welcome back All-WNY second-teamer senior Mike Doctor, who had 736 yards receiving, 41 receptions. and seven touchdowns. Canisius will need to replace quarterback Tyler Baker, who was named to the All-Western New York second team.

The Marauders of St. Joseph’s struggled, going 1-7 overall with their lone win coming against Bishop Timon. It was another tough season for them when it comes to wins and losses, but they’ll look to improve for this season. St. Joe’s returns All-Catholic A Division first-team selection Dion Anderson.

St. Mary’s has won consecutive B Division playoff championships, and will aim for a three-peat. The Lancers’ core will include Marcus Johnson, Jamari Coleman, Sheldon Cunningham, a transfer from Cleveland Hill. Matt Ard enters his fourth season as coach and wants his team “to continue that success” the team has accomplished the past few years.

Cardinal O’Hara (0-6) and Bishop Timon (2-8) will look to improve off their 2021 seasons and bring back second-year coaches in Shawn Mangold at O’Hara and Matt Weiser at Timon.

  • Canisius at Walsh Jesuit, Friday: Kurzanki’s debut comes on the road in Ohio.
  • Canisius at Lancaster, Sept. 30: One of the most anticipated games of the season will see the rare public vs. private matchup, as two of the best teams in Western New York face off.
  • St. Francis at Canisius, Oct. 22: The Red Raiders will be on the road in a rematch of the 2021 A Division championship game.

Title time: The A and B Division playoff finals will be Nov. 10 and 11 at the higher seed. The A Division champion advances to the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association championship game against the New York City Catholic champion.

Outlook: It’ll be a little bit of the same for this season. Canisius and St. Francis will likely face each other again for the championship. In the B Division, St. Mary’s is heavily favored to win its third title in a row.

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