Football teams face new challenges for 2014 season

Westhill has new coach; West Genny must replace Howard

Summer is in full gear – but just a month from now, thoughts will turn to autumn, and to the latest edition of high school football in Central New York.

It will do so with plenty of alterations from 2013, and each of the local sides, from Class AA to C, has faced some sort of change in the off-season.

For West Genesee, who got eliminated from the Section III Class AA sectional tournament in the opening round by Liverpool in 2013, life moves on without Nasean Howard, the star tailback who signed with Syracuse University and is listed as a strong safety for the Orange.

As it does every two years, the two Class AA divisions realign. WG is still part of the AA-1 division, as is defending sectional champion CBA, Central Square and Corcoran, but Liverpool and Rome Free Academy join the league, as does Nottingham, back up after some time spent in Class A.

This gives the Wildcats two marquee match-ups to close the 2014 regular season, as it faces CBA Oct. 10 at Alibrandi Stadium (a game televised by Time Warner Cable Sports) and gets a chance at payback against Liverpool on Oct. 17. The lone non-league game is also a big one, with WG taking on Baldwinsville Sept. 12 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.

Among the local sides in the Class B West division, Westhill underwent the biggest off-season upheaval, which began with some tragedy late in March with the passing of senior quarterback Reed Derrenbacker.

Also, with the departure of Gary Griffo, the Warriors needed a new head coach – and after an extended process, Jamie Casullo got the nod. Casullo, a Cicero-North Syracuse graduate, previously served seven years as an assistant coach at the University at Albany.

Casullo comes from a coaching family – his brother serves in the same capacity at St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his father, Bob, was an assistant at SU.

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