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How The News voted: Week Three

Time flies when you're having high school football fun.

At some point in the middle of this week is the midpoint of the Section VI regular season.

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school polls. Check them out here.

We have one vote in each poll. Here's how we voted in the preseason, Week One and Week Two. Here's this week's:

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Sweet Home (3-0) [last week's ballot: 1] -- That halftime score against Starpoint was a shocker, but the Panthers have had similar regular season head-scratching closer-than-we-thought wins the last two years.

2. Williamsville South (3-0) [2] -- Running game looks good. Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (Amherst), Chapter One.  

3. Canisius (3-0) [3] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (Bishop Timon-St. Jude), Chapter Two. After three overmatched opponents, the Crusaders host Cathedral Prep of Erie, Pa., on Saturday in a tremendous matchup. Last year, Cathedral Prep beat St. Joe's, Canisius and St. Francis by an average of 59-16.

4. Clarence (3-0) [4] -- Big win at Lancaster after a so-so first half. I think the first half might have been one of those deals of a team realizing how good it is and realizing that it should win those kind of games (against teams it hasn't beat in a while). 

5. Orchard Park (2-1) [5] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (winless West Seneca West), Chapter Three.

6. Frontier (3-0) [9] -- Adding Hamburg to wins over Jamestown and at West Seneca West isn't the most impressive 3-0 resume, but I suppose it's enough to get the Falcons past the crew from AA North. Next two weeks are huge: home for OP Friday, then at Clarence.

7. Niagara Falls (2-1) [7] -- Go. See. Dale. Stewart. (Wolverines host Jamestown Saturday at 2 in a cool AA North-South nonleague matchup). I'm not sure I can remember a player that was such a one-man threat with the ball. He cannot be kicked to on returns, he can throw the ball deep with accuracy and he can extend plays with his feet -- all the way to the end zone. Who's the last player you could say that about? Naaman? In the AA North's crazy carousel, I'm making them the top pick despite the loss on the road to a desperate Lumberjack team. 

8. Kenmore West (2-1) [NR] -- Dropped them out last week for loss to Falls, and if I've got Falls at the top of the AA North list, these guys have to be next after a clutch, inspired win over Lockport.

9. St. Francis (0-3) [8] -- For the umpteenth time, polls are not about records. If they were about records, we'd just list them from 3-0 on down. The Red Raiders hung with Aquinas better than St. Joe's did, but I'm going to bet that St. Joe's gets more votes than St. Francis in the poll because St. Joe's won this week, even though St. Joe's played a weak, 0-3 Bishop Kearney team. Enough of this blabbity-blah: We'll find out on Saturday: St. Francis at St. Joe's.

Back to the polls being not about records: Based on seeing NT edge Niagara Falls Friday and Kenmore West edge Lockport on Saturday afternoon, followed by St. Francis lose to Aquinas on Saturday night, St. Francis certainly belongs among that group, not below it.

10. Lockport (2-1) [10] -- The AA North is ridiculous right now.

North Tonawanda's losses to Ken West and Lockport (in OT) keep them on the outside looking in, although Friday night's win is one that could make for quite the springboard. 7 p.m. Friday night at All High: NT vs. Riverside in a biggie with implications on the playoff race (and bottom-half-of-the-poll race).

Grand Island has to drop out, and McKinley can't quite come in, based largely on the Macks' loss at Williamsville East to open the season. ... As far as this ballot goes, the win by St. Joe's win was pretty much a nonfactor -- we're are consistent in weighing the schedule foremost when filling out this ballot, which is the only way to vote in a poll. ... Iroquois (2-1) holds on to beat Lafayette at All High after holding on to beat Lake Shore at home, which is not vote-worthy. ... I suppose if you voted for Amherst last week, you could vote for them again after a loss to consensus top three team Williamsville South, but that would just be being consistently wrong -- Amherst's wins just aren't strong enough. ... Jamestown's opening loss (13-0 at Frontier) looks better and better each week, as do the Red Raiders.

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. Southwestern (3-0) [1] -- One of the best pound-for-pound programs in the state.

2. Cheektowaga (3-0) [2] -- Impressive dispatching of Albion (2-0 coming in).

3. Depew (3-0) [3] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (winless Akron), Chapter Four.

4. Randolph (3-0) [4] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (winless Forestville), Chapter Five.

5. Alden (3-0) [5] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (winless Lew-Port), Chapter Six.

6. Lackawanna (3-0) [6] -- Impressive rout of Olean.

7. Pioneer (3-0) [NR] -- Only given up one touchdown all season. The 20-0 win over Eden is a serious statement.

8. Burgard (2-1) [8] -- Took care of business against South Park.

9. Cleveland Hill (3-0) [9] -- Golden Eagles make it three huge wins, almost huge enough to slide them up past Burgard. Cleveland Bowl on Saturday morning at 10 vs. Grover at Riverside.

10. Cardinal O'Hara (2-1) [10] -- Overwhelmed an overmatched opponent (Nichols), Chapter Seven.

Eden drops out with the loss at Pioneer but I'd expect them to be a tough out the rest of the way.  Fredonia, Silver Creek and Grover Cleveland might deserve spots but there's no room at the inn. Enough small schools for a top 15 (St. Mary's might be that 15th).

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

Also, visit here Wednesday for a live chat with yours truly at 8:30 p.m.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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High school football | Poll
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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