Random things I'm kicking myself about:
** I should have based my Monsignor Martin League AA championship pick on my gut and what I had seen when Canisius and St. Joe's played the first time they me, not to mention my poll pick of Canisius over Joe's (which I wrote a little bit about here).
I suppose part of it was that I had to see Canisius winning a title to believe it. The 0-for-The Ralph had an impact. That, combined with St. Joe's tenaciousness in the first game and its winning streak since then (and maybe a reporter wanting to see a close game?), helped create enough doubt in my mind. Caught between picking Canisius comfortably and Joe's in a close one, I went with Joe's in a close one.
The game ended up playing out quite similarly to the first meeting: St. Joe's, despite a valiant effort by Matt Rosenhahn, couldn't stop Canisius and quarterback Travis Eman.
** On the live blog I lost my head and picked Cheektowaga to be part of a Saturday sweep by Section VI of Section V. I had doubts all week since Cheektowaga was a first-time Section VI champion, because Bath handled Lackawanna fairly well last year, and because Hornell had been to the regional party many times before. You had to see all the Hornell sweatshirts and gear walking in and out of the stadium. I think that their program (and coaching staff) having been there many times before had to have been a big help.
** I'm only half-kicking myself about this one. Sweet Home and Aquinas. They played a year ago, and Sweet Home was just better. On Friday night, Sweet Home was just better. All season we wondered how Sweet Home was going to overcome all of its losses from last year's team, and they kept winning, but so did Aquinas, including another romp through the Monsignor Martin Association. I suppose there were reasons to think that this year it could have been Aqiunas' turn. I picked Sweet Home, particularly after its performance at The Ralph against Grand Island.
One point that should come out of Sweet Home's win is that that program needs to be recognized as one of the very best in the state. Coach John Faller rebuilt a championship team by creating a whole new championship team. When national polls pick New York teams to spotlight -- and often it's only one or two -- Aquinas has often been the choice.
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Sachem North is the only team from the state in the USA Today poll, placing ninth in the East regional rankings.
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Here's our pitch on the Connolly Cup Top 10 ...
A little misdirection there: Our pitch is we have no pitch.
The News will announce our Player of the Year in December, and we won't speculate about who's on our short list (or our long list).
Off the top of my head, I don't see any major absences in the Connolly Cup's top 10 -- champions North Tonawanda, Canisius, Cheektowaga and Randolph all have deep, complementary casts. While I haven't seen too much Harvard Cup action this year, I'd probably throw Riverside and Burgard into the group I just mentioned as they've had balanced attacks.
It's a funny, somewhat counterintuitive fact: sometimes the most balanced, true teams (in many sports) often don't lend themselves to earning individual honors.
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Programming note: A certain goofball sportswriter will be on Time Warner SportsNet's Western New York High School Football Weekly at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Sweet Home-Aquinas regional game.