Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school polls. Check them out here.
1. Sweet Home (4-0) [last week's ballot: 1] -- See column. See 30-game win streak. See two state titles. And yes, line 'em up and I'm taking the Panthers.
2. Canisius (4-0)  -- Also see column. In what scenario would I possibly see this vote going for Canisius? Maybe if they routed Cathedral Prep, maybe if I didn't hear the Cathedral Prep radio guys (yup, every game broadcast in Erie) talk about having two linemen out, maybe if they had a senior quarterback instead of a sophomore who is immensely talented but is still learning. Those are a lot of maybes, but I'm not sure they'd trump the unprecedented status Sweet Home has right now.
3. Williamsville South (4-0)  -- Billies keep rolling. Bold prediction: The all-time TD pass record falls on second series of third quarter to a fade in back left corner to Stasiak.
4. Clarence (4-0)  -- Another business-taken-care-of rout of Bennett. OP's win over Frontier makes resume strong as well. The Clarence vs. Will South battle certainly would be tasty. We'll have a common opponent comparison after this week (Clarence routed visiting Iroquois, 37-12, in Week One).
5. Orchard Park (3-1)  -- Looking like they're ready to resume their finals appearances at The Ralph.
6. St. Francis (1-3)  -- For the umpteenth time, polls are about who you think the best football teams are. That's why I had St. Francis in the top 10 all season, the win at St. Joe's maybe shows some others. Maybe not. They still didn't crack the top 10. What is it about 49-21 that people don't understand? What is it about 238 yards and five touchdowns by Akeel Lynch that people don't get?
Let's review: Loss to Aquinas (which is a top-half team if they're in this poll), very close losses vs. Holy Trinity (middle of the pack if they're in this poll) and at U-E (bottom half if they're in this poll). Red Raiders didn't seem to make the mistakes that were hindering them in three losses against Joe's so they're playing better ball. And based on what happened this past week, the bottom of this poll is pretty crazy. They're 1-0 against WNY with as impressive a win over a quality team as we've seen probably all season.
For those that want to stick their heads in the sand and say stuff like, "who says St. Joe's is a quality team?" Give me a break. It's pretty clear that those teams are decent, and recent (although limited) history between MMA teams and Section VI teams support that those teams are pretty decent.
Ultimately, line 'em up and I think St. Francis beats the next teams on this chart.
7. Frontier (3-1)  -- The bottom half of this poll is crazy, but most other votes regarding the Falcons are even crazier. The top five of the poll is rock solid -- actually, I saw it that way last week with OP as a solid No. 5. So Frontier loses to a year-in, year-out power and they get treated like they were a fraud? if anyone outside the top five plays OP, they lose to OP, many probably as bad as Frontier did.
And, Frontier beat Jamestown in a close game in Week One, which brings us to ...
8. Jamestown (3-1) [NR] -- ... the Red Raiders. In the zany AA North, I regarded Niagara Falls as the top team last week. Jamestown just didn't beat them, but shut them out at home. Extremely impressive. Seems like a return to the AA-South-is-much-better-than-AA-North days of a few years ago.
This is basic transitive property poll stuff here. Frontier 3-1 with a loss to top five team. Jamestown 3-1 with a loss to Frontier and a huge win at Niagara Falls puts both of those AA Southerners ahead of everyone in the wild-and-woolly AA North. This stuff is also consistent with my polls all year.
9. Niagara Falls (2-2)  -- Still have to put them ahead of Kenmore West due to the Week Two victory. We'll see what Lockport's visit Friday night brings.
10. Kenmore West (3-1)  -- Win over NT in Week One keeps the dangerous-looking Lumberjacks outside this huddle along with Lockport, who would have to be ahead of NT based on the OT win in Week Two (and which got squeezed out due to Jamestown's ascension). West is poised for a move up if anyone falters -- they likely will follow blowout win over North with two more (Hutch-Tech this week, rival Ken East next week).
Noone else has enough impressive wins or consistency to be in the conversation at this point.
1. Southwestern (4-0)  -- Trip to Fredonia is two Fridays away.
2. Depew (4-0)  -- Friday night was supposed to be Game of the Year in the division, except nobody told East. Who knows, Cheektowaga may come in with a different kind of edge because of it.
3. Randolph (4-0)  -- Reigning state champs' spot here (and at top of state poll) is probably safe for another week.
4. Alden (4-0)  -- Diminuco Bowl at Albion is two Fridays away.
5. Lackawanna (4-0)  -- Big trip Friday night to visit the ...
6. Pioneer (4-0)  -- ... Panthers, biggest game in Yorkshire since ... ???
7. Burgard (2-1)  -- All of a sudden Saturday's game against East at Wiley is one to watch.
8. Cardinal O'Hara (3-1)  -- Hawks solidly beat Timon, expected of them recently, but still should warrant them some more credit on here. They need to be ranked ahead of Grover based on both teams' games with Nichols.
9. East (3-1) [NR] -- That opening loss at Depew (25-8) maybe should have been a sign that we'd hear more from them?
10. Grover Cleveland (4-0) [NR] -- Standout win over Cleveland Hill with a fast, aggressive defense and a quarterback who is a serious playmaker. Tucking them in behind East partly because of the B-C thing and the Cheektowaga win trumps the Cleve Hill win.
This part of the ballot has no room for error, which is why Cheektowaga has to drop all the way out along with Cleve Hill. Golden Eagles have to hope Daryl Spencer (hurt in final minutes after being sacked by Grover) isn't out for a long time. Next team deserving of props is probably Fredonia followed by Silver Creek -- although St. Mary's (3-0 after bye in Week One) has to be in there somewhere; Lancers have chance to turn some helmets when it hosts Cardinal O'Hara Saturday.
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