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Time to “Release the Freaks” for the Blue Devils

The Kenmore West Blue Devils begin their second season playing in Class A football. Johnny Haynes enters his third year as head coach and his 24th with the program. A Blue Devil alum, Haynes and his staff are looking to improve on a 4-5 season, which ended on a three-game winning streak.

Last season Ken-West’s biggest challenge was finishing games. The Blue Devils took several leads into the fourth quarter only to see victories slip through their fingers. Despite ending the season on a winning note, the lost opportunities loomed during the offseason.

This year Haynes said the team’s motto will be to “finish” and hopes that all of his returners have learned from last year and are ready to move forward.

Joe Stewart returns for his senior season and is known as one of the most versatile players in Class A. In 2017 Stewart rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, leading the Blue Devils in both categories. The Blue Devils will continue to lean on Stewart on both sides of the football as they groom a talented young quarterback in junior Zach Boyes.

“Coach Haynes has shown a lot of confidence in me,” Boyes said. “I had a chance to get in for at least a series late last year.”

Boyes is a four sport Varsity athlete, something very rare in high-school sports. In addition to being the quarterback of the football team, Boyes is also an accomplished golfer who qualified for states last spring, a point guard on the basketball court and a middle-infielder on the baseball team.

“I grew up wanting to be the quarterback here so I’m very excited about having an opportunity,” Boyes said. “There are a lot of good receivers here already. I think if everyone accepts their role and buys in then we can do something special.”

In addition to Stewart and Boyes, Cam Crozier caught three touchdowns last year and became a viable option in the Blue Devils passing attack. Together with Chris Schiavone, Noah Dibello, Mark Morrelli, Dom Brown and Ramon Harris the Blue Devils believe they can be a player in Class A1.

“Finishing out games,” will be a priority Stewart said. “The whole coaching staff has been on us real hard about finishing everything, from reps in drills to weight lifting.”

Stewart believes that having one QB will help the offense as well. Last season the Blue Devils were quarterback by committee.

The Blue Devils open the season against a much improved Clarence Red Devils team in a non-league game. That will be a very good test for a young Ken-West team. Clarence is in the mix that includes Lancaster and Williamsville North in battling for the Class AA Section VI title.

In week two, the real fun begins as the Blue Devils travel to West Seneca West to play the defending Class A state champions. The Jamestown Red Raiders join Kenmore West in Class A this season and will travel north to play the Blue Devils in week three.

“We know we have West Seneca West on the schedule and we’re all looking forward to playing them. They’re a great team and have good coaches,” Boyes said. “We’re just focusing on Clarence. We want to make a statement.”

Jacob Poumit and Erik Rainey, who both appeared in the recent Kensington Lions Club All-Star Classic along with Andrew Fron, Owen Green, Jimmy Gregoretti and John Milks were lost to graduation.

This season the Blue Devils will be underdogs since they’ve lost size, skill and leadership but Haynes and his staff will wouldn’t want it any other way. The theme for this season will be “Release the Freaks” and in a few weeks that’s what Kenmore West is looking to do.

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