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Wide Open Battle for Boys Soccer in the NFL

There’s always odds on favorites, but the Niagara Frontier League is proof that when a team gets hot anything is possible.

Once again the NFL will be split into two division with the large schools in the Niagara Division and small schools in the Frontier Division.

The two division winners will play a crossover game at the end of the season to crown an overall NFL champ. Last season Grand Island (Frontier) got the better of North Tonawanda (Niagara).

The Vikings went on to defeat No.7 seed Kenmore West in the Section VI Class A-1 finals, but would eventually lose to East Aurora in the Class A title game.

Grand Island:

The 2016 Class A state runners-up, will be looking for its fourth consecutive A-1. Returning junior Mike Marino who will anchor the defense. All-WNYer David Bilek, a Czech international student who scored 13 goals for GI, has departed. So the onus of scoring will now fall on the shoulders of Austin Hogan and Cole Kramer. Seniors Will Soos (D) and goalkeeper Nathan Hunt also return.

Kenmore West:

The Blue Devils graduated several core players including one of the programs best leaders and most prolific scorers, All-WNYer Alex Fusani.

They do return a strong support cast in co-captains Sang Chin (D) and Jeremy Walter (center-mid), as well as striker Jack Reilly, Trey Wojnar (D), Val Mawi (F) and goalkeeper Anthony Stanz.

The burning question is can these strong support players answer the challenge and step up as leaders?

North Tonawanda:

After a tumultuous season two years ago the Lumberjacks rebounded under the coaching combo of former Jacks Rob Brocklehurst and Steven Sabo, who also spent 18 seasons coaching the Ladyjacks.

The Jacks rebounded in fine fashion as they won the Niagara Division, but a late season funk resulted in back-to-back regular season losses to Ken-West and GI in the NFL title game. Brocklehurst and Sabo hope those losses served as a reminder that no one in the league is going to roll over and die.

The Jacks will lean on the senior trio of Casey Trombley (sweeper), goalkeeper Carson Essenburg and Colin Archibald (striker).

Kenmore East:

The senior heavy ‘Dogs will look to their two-prong attack of senior forwards Papouch Schmoyer and Kyle Hofschneider.

NFL Player of the Year, Hofschneider and fellow senior Mike O’Connor (M) are the team’s returning captains. Goalkeeper Jacob Cunningham and Franc Schmoyer (M) also return.

Niagara-Wheatfield:

Goalie Max Schoemaker, Austin Osetkowski (D), forward Alex Leon, and dynamic junior midfielders Jacob Vallas and Raphael Wence will help keep the Falcons in the thick of the race for first place.

Lockport:

The Lions can never be taken lightly as they will look to a foursome of all-league players to lead the way. Senior defensemen Quinn Boyer and Conor Kwoka will be in front of returning senior goalie Anthony Haak. Sophomore midfielder Reilly Boyer and senior Jameson Stoness (F) will also be key.

Lewiston-Porter:

You can never count out any Lancers squad.

Senior Jake Westadt and junior Joey Zachary will be at midfield, while seniors Tanner Reisman and Zach Clayborne (M) will patrol the backend.

CSAT:

Now in their third season in the NFL, the Eagles will be looking to make strong statement to show they are improving.

Seniors Christ Kahuka (center-mid), Connor Spinda (F), Mahmoud Qneis (F) and defenseman Melvhon Thomas lead the way.

Niagara Falls:

Goalkeeper Zach Suess leads what should be skilled senior heavy team that is poised to climb in the standings.

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