September 20, 2011 - 6:50 AM
Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.
Here's our shot after three weeks of action.
For reference: Week Two, Week One and the preseason poll.
1. Orchard Park (3-0) [last week: 1] -- Rolling right along, playing too strong to have this spot taken away. For now. See you in two weeks for Super Saturday (what's that? keep reading).
2. St. Francis (2-1)  -- OK. This was tough. If superback Akeel Lynch (200-plus yards rushing against Aquinas -- in a half?!?!?!!?) is OK, which coach Jerry Smith says he hopes he is, and he's in the lineup, then they deserve this spot. Red Raiders obviously played Aquinas tougher than Joe's did. If there weren't any ifs with Lynch, I'd have them at No. 1. I still might. See you in two weeks for Super Saturday -- which is Oct. 1.
3. St. Joe's (2-1)  -- How 'bout this ballot having Joe's ahead of Canisius when we kept hearing moans and groans about it? How 'bout this ballot moving Joe's down after a big win like that? Well, on this ballot they were supposed to beat Canisius, which wouldn't necessarily mean a move up. And St. Francis' with-Lynch performance at Aquinas was too much to ignore. How can Joe's address this? They can do it in two weeks on Super Saturday, when they go to St. Francis in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Sidenote: All year I've seen a tight group of a top six. Now I see a top three.
4. Canisius (2-1)  -- We're keeping the Crusaders here. High-level game we saw on Saturday -- these guys cut down on the penalties and woulda-coulda-shoulda plays and they might win a rematch, which there very well could be.
5. Clarence (3-0)  -- Routs of Riverside, Frontier and Niagara Falls really don't tell us a whole lot compared to the others. But this might: Friday night they welcome Lancaster under the lights. After that, it's Super Saturday at Orchard Park at noon. BIG day involving four of the five teams I've already written about here.
6. Sweet Home (3-0)  -- Panthers sometimes win ugly, or not-so-prettily, and a tightly played win at Frontier comes in contrast with routs of the Falcons put on by Lancaster and Clarence, thus they drop behind the Red Devils.
7. Williamsville South (3-0)  -- Billies just keep doing their thing. Schedule does get tougher, with Iroquois this week, followed by West Seneca East, Will East and a season finale that people are already talking about against ...
8. Amherst (3-0)  -- ... these Tigers, which dominated West Seneca East in what many thought would be a competitive game.
9. McKinley (2-1)  -- Joined Amherst and West Seneca East in the "we've won at Iroquois" club.
10. Lancaster (3-0)  -- Rout of Lockport very impressive, not just for the Redskins but, as is the case seemingly every year, for AA South over AA North. Jamestown might be better, but we don't know that right now. Redskins get the Red Devils on the road in what could be a great one Friday night.
1. Alden (3-0)  -- The Bulldogs roll along (against Medina) in what is right now a two-team race for this spot along with ...
2. Depew (3-0)  -- ... the Wildcats, who, like Alden, got a nice league win (at Albion) and whose stock was bolstered when a Cheektowaga team it opened the season with leveled Lackawanna.
3. Cheektowaga (2-1) [NR] -- Here's how strong I think the top two are. The Warriors, who had a big win at Lackawanna (third on this ballot last week), hop in here. Cheektowaga played Depew even in the first half and hung around in second in season-opening loss at Depew. I'll take that and the Lackawanna win.
4. Southwestern (3-0)  -- Just when you think maybe this is the year they stumble, they come up with a very solid win over Olean.
5. Randolph (3-0)  -- Very strong win at Silver Creek, certainly worthy of this spot the way the Ds are playing this season.
6. Lackawanna (2-1)  -- Chalk this one up to the depth in the Bs. I think the Steelers could beat the teams below them.
7. Cleveland Hill (3-0)  -- Very solid win at home against Akron.
8. Maple Grove (3-0)  -- Another big D battle this week as Red Dragons welcome the ...
9. Silver Creek (2-1)  -- ... Black Knights, who are still here, and who have bolstered the D portfolio with that season opening win over Dunkirk (which has beaten Eden and East Aurora since).
10. Pioneer (3-0)  -- Why the drop? The close win over Burgard doesn't have the impact it did in Week One since the Bulldogs are 0-3 after losing much bigger to Lackawanna and then to Tonawanda. Beat EA (so have East and Dunkirk) and had a close win over Springville, which did also play Olean tough.
Speaking of the Huskies, they're just on the outside of the huddle along with Fredonia.
Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below, let us know via Twitter or facebook (addresses below), or join the live chat Wednesday evening.
(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)
buffalonews.com/high-schools facebook.com/preptalkblog twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk