Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls. Check out this week's polls here.
Here's this week's ballot, which is the last poll before the last poll, so we might as well look at how far teams might go:
1. Sweet Home (10-0) [last week's ballot: 1] -- And here we are: Sweet Home-Aquinas IV. It's been the de facto state championship for three years and it's No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the polls. The winner can get its orbitz.com on and search for rooms for a post-Thanksgiving trip (if it hasn't already).
2. Clarence (10-0)  -- Orchard Park, North Tonawanda, Clarence? The AA road seems tougher this year than the last two, starting with Rush-Henrietta and stud QB Ashton Broyld.
3. Orchard Park (8-2)  -- Quakers went out with a bang, even in the loss. Great second half made for super high drama.
4. Williamsville South (9-1)  -- I think the past weekend justifies my having the Billies fourth for quite a while. They're just not as big/deep as the top three. Told You So Part I: The rest of the poll has come around to that thinking.
5. St. Joe's (5-5)  -- 4-1 vs. WNY. Last week's ranking justified by big win over Canisius. Could the Marauders move up with a championship? It's possible. Waiting to see what happens at The Ralph. Fantasy football: Can you imagine a Licata vs. Kelly offensive showdown?
6. Canisius (7-3)  -- 3-2 vs. WNY. Crusaders not playing at The Ralph certainly a surprise this season.
7. St. Francis (4-6)  -- 4-1 vs. WNY. Keeping in line with my ballot for much of the season and certainly the last three weeks, the Msgr. Martin trio certainly deserves to be ahead of the second tier of Section VI large schools below. Told You So Part II: Seems like the rest of the poll has come around as well (all three are ranked).
8. McKinley (6-3)  -- Losses at Will East (playoff team), two at Sweet Home (enough said). Big wins: Grand Island, Starpoint by 20, at St. Mary's by 36, at Amherst by 14 in quarters. Look at it this way, after Week One, they're 6-2 with two losses to Sweet Home. I still don't like the mistakes they made against the Panthers in the two times I saw them, but I think we can give the Panthers credit for making a lot of those happen (South sure didn't look like the South we knew at The Ralph with five turnovers).
9. Jamestown (5-4)  -- Knocked down one spot with McKinley moving up. Loss Week One at Frontier, loss at Clarence, loss to OP, loss at OP. Big win: at Riverside in quarters.
10. Kenmore West (6-3)  -- Knocked down one spot with McKinley moving up. Loss Week Two at the very good version of schitzo Niagara Falls, loss at home to Riverside, loss at Clarence. Big wins: Lockport and Will North in tough AA North, vs. Frontier in quarters.
1. Alden (10-0)  -- Maybe the live chat will be different this week? :-). Bulldogs have a huge challenge in defending state champion Hornell ... but if they are able to win Saturday, who knows?
2. Fredonia (9-1)  -- They've beaten Southwestern, so who knows? Hillbillies may have to guard against post-huge-win-letdown syndrome. (One of the great mysteries of this season -- Hillbillies go OT against A-L).
3. Southwestern (9-1)  -- A championship drive did in a championship program. Trojans aren't going anywhere, of course, but they should be lauded for their part in an unbelievable run of Western New York football.
4. Lackawanna (8-2)  -- Oh, those point afters. Steelers could have been tied with Alden. That's true. It's also true that Alden could have been up three touchdowns instead of one.
5. Silver Creek (10-0)  -- Maple Grove, Randolph, Silver Creek? Strongest case for a state title right now, although Cal-Mum is a bonafide brand name for good football. I admit that I was wrong about Silver Creek (not ranked until last week) and also wrong about Randolph (ranked too high most of the season). After seeing everyone at The Ralph, this is where I've got to put the Black Knights.
6. Depew (8-1)  -- Not that it matters, but I definitely think Alden would have beat them.
7. Burgard (6-3)  -- I don't think it would have mattered, but it still stinks that Sanders was out in the semis.
8. Randolph (9-1)  -- See No. 5.
9. Cardinal O'Hara (5-4)  -- Losses remain to Canisius, St. Joe's, St. Francis and Ohio's Stuebenville. The Hawks deserve to be ranked and almost were this week. For those voting for Grover, the Nichols games really need to be looked at. I thought about them at No. 8. We'll see what we see on Thursday.
10. Pioneer (7-2)  -- Hang on by a chain link over Grover. If Fredonia keeps winning, maybe that pulls up the Presidents.
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Also, visit here Wednesday for another live chat at 8:30 p.m. -- again on the eve of three straight days of fun football.
taggedHigh school football