Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls. And the final poll determines the poll champions for the season.
And here is our contribution to the 2010 final poll:
1. Clarence (10-1) [last poll ballot: 2] -- Put up a great fight with a great comeback against the eventual state champions. Sidenote: Broyld of Rush was quite unbelievable -- on defense as well -- in the state final; I highly recommend watching the second half of the game, available I believe on cable.
2. Sweet Home (10-1)  -- Did not put up as good a fight against another state champion in Aquinas. I'd take Aquinas over Rush-Henrietta due to the completeness of their team, but we still give an edge to Clarence over the Panthers for the top spot.
3. Orchard Park (8-2)  -- A top five pick all season, all the way to the end, and a made field goal away from overtime with Clarence at The Ralph.
4. St. Joe's (6-5)  -- 5-1 vs. WNY. Could not have finished season with more of a flourish with the Chad Kelly-led rout of St. Francis at The Ralph. Offensive machine over the last six weeks. We just like the depth and complete-ness of the top three a little bit more, not unlike liking Aquinas over Rush.
5. Williamsville South (9-1)  -- I still love the idea of fantasy football between Nos. 4 and 5. Talk about a shootout.
6. Canisius (7-3)  -- 3-2 vs. WNY. Crusaders not playing at The Ralph certainly a surprise this season. Don't ask me how they finish behind a team (St. Francis) they beat in the last week of their regular season.
7. St. Francis (4-7)  -- 4-2 vs. WNY. Just a reminder: The three Monsignor Martin teams have been on this ballot most of the season, and plenty of people squawked about it. Another reminder: If Akeel Lynch isn't hurt, we might be talking about a different order of the Catholic trio.
The last three (and the explanations) remain the same from Week 10:
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). A dangerous team with a good future.
9. Jamestown (5-4)  -- 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)  -- 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 (10-1)  -- Bulldogs hung in there with the eventual state champions, a performance that looked better and better each week as extremely impressive Hornell marched to another title (Top three classes all go to Section V -- still not a bad football year for the Western end of the state).
2. Fredonia (10-2)  -- Tremendous year for the Hillbillies, but all year, and in the postseason, Alden looked just a tad deeper (which certainly falls in line with a Class B champ vs. a Class C champ).
3. Southwestern (9-1)  -- Same spot as last poll.
4. Lackawanna (8-2)  -- Same spot as last poll.
5. Silver Creek (10-1)  -- Also put up a great fight against Cal-Mum, and nearly had a play swing the momentum their way. But in line with our voting all year, we have the No. 2s in B and C just a notch ahead.
6. Depew (8-1)  -- Same spot as last poll. Their supporters would probably like to think they could beat Silver Creek as well, but the first-round playoff exit pays a price.
7. Burgard (6-3)  -- Same spot as last poll.
8. Cardinal O'Hara (6-4)  -- Losses remain to Canisius, St. Joe's, St. Francis and Ohio's Steubenville. I moved them a spot ahead of Randolph based on both of the teams' last games. For those voting for Grover, the Nichols games really need to be looked at.
9. Randolph (9-1)  -- Drop down a spot behind O'Hara.
10. Grover Cleveland (8-1) [NR] -- I wrote last time, "If Fredonia keeps winning, maybe that pulls up the Presidents." Consider them pulled up, just edging out Pioneer.
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