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How The News voted: Week Five

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

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

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Sweet Home (5-0) [last week's ballot: 1] -- As clear a choice as ever. Is trip to Grand Island more dangerous for Panthers because the Vikings have slipped up a few times?

2. Clarence (5-0) [4] -- Clarence routed visiting Iroquois, 37-12, in Week One, which is just enough reason enough to slide them ahead of ...

3. Williamsville South (5-0) [3] -- ... the Billies, who had Iroquois hanging around until the end of a 33-31 victory.

One could certainly argue that South had the tougher task as it was on the road, and Iroquois is surely playing better now than it was in Week One; but I just think for South to keep the No. 2 spot, it needed a more dominant victory that didn't go down to recovering an on-sides kick at the end. There is also the factor of AA vs. A. For teams that aren't two-time defending state champions like Sweet Home, the edge usually goes to AA's larger schools (and generally larger teams with larger players -- one running back comes to mind). Clarence is also coming off an impressive rolling of Frontier. Clarence vs. Will South is certainly an interesting fantasy football matchup.

4. Orchard Park (4-1) [5] -- OP vs. Will South? Another great fantasy football matchup. For several weeks we had a clear top five; this week we have a clear top four.

5. St. Francis (1-4) [6] -- I think this top five is clear, but I'm not about to think it's a clear top five in for all of WNY.

(Sidenote: the Red Raiders got stomped at Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) on Friday night and didn't call in their game until Saturday. That's extremely disappointing. Their coaching staff knows better than that.)

Of course, anyone outside the top four (and maybe some of the top four) would get rolled at Mooney as well, but the naysayers and haters and vast-wrong wing conspiracy theorists will point at the record and Friday night's loss and be apoplectic about even having a discussion that St. Francis is a quality football team.

Anyways, the Red Raiders are still 1-0 against WNY, and right now the pecking order in the MMA has to go St. Francis, then St. Joe's, then Canisius. Anyone who has seen Canisius knows they are a very good team, which means the two other league rivals are very good teams.

6. St. Joe's (2-3) [NR] -- Stunning win. Marauders are 1-1 vs. WNY.

7. Canisius (4-1) [2] -- Stunning loss. Crusaders are 2-1 vs. WNY. Hard to believe a team that I thought had somewhat of a claim to No. 1 on this ballot (and maybe even the No. 2 overall spot in the state) could get so thoroughly thumped in a rivalry game by a St. Joe's squad that had only one win and no votes in last week's poll. Right back at it Saturday as Aquinas visits at 3.

8. Frontier (3-2) [7] -- Yes, the Falcons are still here. Yes, they've gotten thumped the last two weeks (but the thumpers have been two iron-clad top four teams). The win over Jamestown is best thing on the resume, and it was a long time ago. I had a really tough time with the bottom of this poll. 

9. Kenmore West (4-1) [10] -- Their rolling of Will North two weeks ago looks more impressive after North thumped NT. The loss to Falls is sticking in my craw a bit, especially with Falls going AWOL the last two weeks.

10. McKinley (3-2) [NR] -- Had to find a spot for the Macks after they were going toe-to-toe with Sweet Home at the start (and at the finish) Saturday. Some awful turnovers helped put them in a big halftime hole. Their opening loss to Will East -- which was a close one -- is a little easier to stomach with the Flames coming off a win over Grand Island.

Jamestown was No. 8 and now isn't in the poll, despite their fourth straight shutout. Told you I had trouble with the bottom of the poll. However, Jamestown lost to Frontier and has shutouts at home against Bennett, at Lancaster, at enigmatic Niagara Falls and home against West Seneca West -- not the strongest group of teams. Falls followed its shutout loss at home to Jamestown with a shutout loss at home to Lockport. That put Lockport and Jamestown on similar footing in my view; with Kenmore West ahead of both due to its win over Lockport. ... Iroquois is right outside the huddle as well; losses to Clarence and Will South are no great shame -- it's just their other wins are missing a wow factor.

 

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. Southwestern (5-0) [1] -- Trojans take win streak to Fredonia Friday night. Will they still have it when they head back to Jamestown?

2. Depew (5-0) [2] -- Home for both Burgard and Cheektowaga, Wildcats made the big plays down the end to win both of them. Quite impressive.

3. Randolph (5-0) [3] -- Will next two weeks provide tests?

4. Lackawanna (5-0) [5] -- Nice tough-it-out win at Pioneer gives them a bump. That strength of schedule keeps flexing its muscle as Burgard visits Friday.

5. Alden (5-0) [4] -- I wonder if coach Diminuco still owns a lot of purple stuff.

6. Burgard (4-1) [7] -- Set themselves apart from East rather nicely. Friday night's game should be a blast -- but since it's a nonleaguer a certain reporter might head elsewhere.

7. Cardinal O'Hara (4-1) [8] -- Followed win over Timon by beating a St. Mary's team which I thought a solid top 15 small school. After what should be a coast past Niagara Catholic Thursday, Hawks have a strong finish to their schedule by hosting St. Joe's and St. Francis before heading to Steubenville, Ohio. 

8. East (3-2) [9] -- Loss to Burgard is not enough reason to move them down; they stay here based on that crucial win over Cheektowaga ... and ...

9. Cheektowaga (3-2) [NR] -- ... the Warriors nearly won at Depew.

10. Grover Cleveland (5-0) [10] -- I've rated them behind O'Hara based on the Nichols common opponent games (Grover's win was close, O'Hara's was an absolute rout) and joined-at-the-hip East/Cheektowaga are a step ahead mostly because Class B is much deeper (better) than C for the most part.

Pioneer probably deserves a spot but there's no room, although their best win (Eden) hasn't looked as good as it did that week. ... Fredonia might have had a chance to sqeeze in there but going OT vs. A-L is very curious. ... Silver Creek continues to be hovering just outside the huddle.

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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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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