What we learned from Week 1 of local high school football

A recap of observations from Week 1 of high school football and the important story lines to monitor this season

Sean Curran
The Evening Tribune
Ashton Davis leaps high into the air to bring the ball down as CG played host to Red Jacket on Saturday afternoon.

Nearly every single football program in New York State got its season started this past weekend, and there were plenty of great local games with strong performances and standout moments. Here, we will take a closer look at some of the big things that were learned from a strong week one slate of football games.

1. Dan-Way-Co Defensive Line

The thing that stood out more than all of the other things in week one was the intimidating presence of the Dansville-Wayland-Cohocton defensive line. In the past few years, Dansville and Wayland-Cohocton have independently have decent defensive lines with one or two solid players. But as a combined unit, that one or two players from each squad has resulted in a dominating front that was in the backfield on nearly every single snap. As the Dan-Way-Co schedule heats up, the performance from this defensive line will continue to be important and should be a hallmark for success if DWC is going to make a run to the top of Class B.

Hornell football: Red Raiders mount fourth quarter comeback for 23-21 win in Week 1

Dan-Way-Co football: Merged team gets first win in program history

2. Hornell’s Running Back Committee

Xzaiver Patrick got the starting nod in week one, but Rian Buzzard quickly proved that he was just as valuable of an option. Mason Drew also got called on a few times, and as he recovers from an injury that happened last season, he should be another great option for the Red Raiders. By the end of the 2021 season, it is very likely that the Red Raiders will have three running backs on the roster who could start on just about any team in Section V. Patrick and Buzzard have unique running styles, with Patrick using his athleticism and Buzzard using his power. Drew can do a little bit of both, meaning that Hornell will have options on every down and in every situation. One of the interesting things to see in the future is if Hornell can work these players into the backfield at the same time, which would keep opposing defenses guessing in several different ways.

Keegan Foote gets hauled out of bounds after a few yards gained in the season opener for the Redskins on Saturday afternoon.

3. 8-man football’s excitement

Watching an 8-man football game is a unique and interesting experience that is different from the regular 11-on-11 format. The game is faster, has more passing and ends with much higher scores than a regular game. This was apparent in both Wellsville and Canisteo-Greenwood, who participated in games that were extremely high-scoring affairs that featured big touchdown plays. Canisteo-Greenwood quarterback Braidon Woodward threw 18 passing attempts in week one, and that will most likely increase as the Redskins adjust to the new style of play. Catching an 8-on-8 football game is definitely on the to-do list for football fans this year, and as Canisteo-Greenwood and Wellsville adjust to the new game-planning, they should only get better and more entertaining.

Wellsville football: Wellsville's offense got rolling, but the Lions fell to Pembroke in their 8-man debut

4. Fall Football is Back

Alfred State quarterback Aaron Jenkins steps up into the pocket on Saturday afternoon in a contest against Utica.

Last fall was such a weird thing. Most football fans were accustomed to Friday night lights with high school games, a full Saturday of college games, and then a full NFL slate on Sunday. While the NFL managed to make it through the fall, both college and high school teams largely sacrificed a normal slate in favor of shorter seasons in college and a spring season for high school football. While it was nice to have football at all, it certainly felt strange to be watching high school football in the spring. I find myself looking forward to next weekend in a big way because of how much football will be available to watch. Hopefully this schedule is sustainable and nothing gets in the way of high school, college and NFL football weekends ever again.  

— Sportswriter Sean Curran can be reached at scurran@gannett.com