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How The News voted: Week One

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.

Here's our shot after one week of action.

For reference, here's our preseason poll we posted last Thursday.


1. Orchard Park (1-0) [preseason poll: 4] -- We were very tempted to stay with our preseason top six, because each one of them had very impressive debuts. But none was as impressive as OP's, which had an AA final four team from last year, one which returned major talent, crushed by halftime. They deserve to be rewarded for that. 

Other than No. 2, the rest of the top six all had impressive wins, but not enough to move them up.

2. St. Joe's (0-1) [1] -- Aquinas routs team from Western New York. Again. We're keeping Joe's here for now, because we certainly think Aquinas could beat the rest of the contenders for this spot, including what we think is a fairly clear top six (that's because Aquinas has beaten most of the contenders for this spot -- going backwards to last season, Little Irish have beaten Sweet Home, Canisius, St. Francis and Joe's again).

As defending champ, we're keeping Joe's slotted as a No. 1 in the MMA, but we know it is definitely close, and we are definitely looking forward to those MMA clashes that will sort it out.

3. St. Francis (1-0) [2] -- Nice job representing in the Dome, Part I.

4. Clarence (1-0) [3] -- Very nice win at Riverside. 

5. Sweet Home (1-0) [5] -- Very nice win at home against Williamsville East.

6. Canisius (1-0) [6] -- Very nice win at McQuaid.

7. Williamsville South (1-0) [8] -- Rout of South Park was over at the half.

8. Amherst (1-0) [9] -- Thought about moving the Tigers past South based on a tougher win on the road. Another close call.

9. McKinley (1-0) [10] -- If the Macks' big lead over NT turned into a big win over NT, maybe they'd get a bump. Nice grit by the Macks to answer Jacks' comeback with their own.

10. Lancaster (1-0) [7] -- AA South is a trademark tough division, and Lancaster posted a major win over Frontier. That gives the Redskins the nod here over Kenmore West (South > North). Bennett's great start with a big win over Grand Island gave them consideration. Iroquois and North Tonawanda are on the long list as well, with Bishop Timon-St. Jude perhaps ready to throw their helmet in the ring.  





1. Alden (1-0) [1] -- Nice job representing in the Dome, Part II.

2. Depew (1-0) [3] -- Wildcats looked very, very good in the second half with freshman Rodney Turner looking very fast. Jaden Cotten's interview for PrepTalkTV on Friday (also part of the Week One show) was great.

3. Lackawanna (1-0) [2] -- Looked very impressive early against Lake Shore, but it was a one-touchdown win -- Depew's big finish against Cheektowaga moves them up our chart.

4. Southwestern (1-0) [4] -- Same 'ol Southwestern.

5. Pioneer (1-0) [6] -- Panthers keep pounding away with a tough early win in the city against Burgard.

6. Cleveland Hill (1-0) [10] -- Big scoring sheet against larger-school Maryvale.

7. Silver Creek (1-0) [7] -- Big win over their neighbor Dunkirk, also a larger class.

8. Olean (1-0) [NR] -- Lightning struck Saturday night, and then it did for Olean on Sunday. Huskies beat rival Bradford (Pa.), which went 8-2 last year including a 47-0 win over Olean.

9. Fredonia (1-0) [5] -- Thought the win over JFK would be bigger.

10. Randolph (1-0) [8] -- Nice job by Frewsburg hanging in there with the Cardinals. Class D maybe even tougher than we thought, which was pretty tough already. Next up would be Burgard (close loss to ranked Pioneer), which is a step ahead of Cardinal O'Hara, St. Mary's (nice big margin over I-Prep), Maple Grove, Cheektowaga, Lake Shore and Eden (not necessarily in that order).

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.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Monday Homeroom Quarterback: Week One

We know there's no homeroom today on Labor Day, but there will be tomorrow.

Here's a look back at the first weekend of high school football, a hot one on the fields and an eventful one on the scoreboard.

* A visit to Prep Talk Live will bring you to the first episode of PrepTalkTV, which included highlights and interviews from St. Joe's, McKinley, Lancaster, Depew and Bishop Timon-St. Jude.

The page also has additional highlights, interviews and footage from Lackawanna, Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster and Bishop Timon-St. Jude as well as photos from our stops throughout the weekend.

There is also a link to interviews from Amherst's win at Iroquois, which are posted here on the blog.  

Check out the high school home page for:

* The standings page has the football standings following Week One, and scroll down for all the scores as well as a full season schedule.

* Stories on Aquinas' rout at St. Joe's, Orchard Park's blowout at Kenmore West and our roundup from Saturday

* Stories on Amherst's win at Iroquois and our roundup from Friday

* Don't forget to vote in the polls for which team you think should be No. 1.

* There are also "Don't Miss" links to our extensive season preview.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

PrepTalkTV: Week One

Here's the first episode of PrepTalkTV for the 2011 high school football season: 

You can watch more videos from Friday night and past PrepTalkTV episodes at Prep Talk Live and our video page -- click "PrepTalkTV" there for the archive.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Prep Talk Live's running blog from Week One Saturday

Here's the Week One Saturday edition of Prep Talk Live's running blog.

Every weekend the Prep Talk Live page will have scores and action updated as they happen along with video and photos.

Prep Talk Live's running blog from Week One Friday

Here's the Week One Friday edition of Prep Talk Live's running blog.

Every weekend the Prep Talk Live page will have scores and action updated as they happen along with video and photos.

Video interviews with Amherst's Murphy, Belton; Iroquois' Marshall

A couple post-game interviews from Amherst's 13-0 Class A South season-opening win over Iroquois.


---Jay Skurski

Give updates, get updates on Prep Talk Live tonight

Prep Talk Live goes into full regular-season mode tonight as high school football kicks off, and we have a favor to ask:

Help us help you.

We're looking for Western New York high school football fans to help us keep track of the action even as we're doing the same. 

Our Prep Talk Live page -- a combination of a live chat, video, photos and scoreboards which we used in the postseason last year -- will be up and running tonight. Several staff members, including myself, will be out and about checking out the action. But we can't be everywhere. That's where you come in. 

Provide updates from the game you're at via several ways:

* Join the live chat on the Prep Talk Live page.

* Tweet us at the Twitter via @bufnewspreptalk and @KeithMcSheaBN

* Comment on our Facebook page, The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog.

* Email us at the shiny new address of

Note: Typing in will also get you to Prep Talk Live.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News (woulda) voted for its preseason top 10

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.

The poll doesn't start until next week, but that doesn't mean we can't give it a preseason shot.

With so few games played in football, and such turnover from year to year, I'm not sure there's a more shot-in-the-dark kind of thing than a preseason poll in this sport (which is probably why we don't do one). 

My view of one season is always viewed in context of the last one. With that in mind, here's last year's final poll and here's our How The News voted blog post, and here goes nothing on the eve of the 2011 season:


1. St. Joe's (6-5 last year) [last year's final poll ballot: 4] -- We know they may not be the deepest team. But for a preseason in which we see six teams who could be put in this spot, and with significant questions about what most of those six have lost, we'll go with the squad which returns a major difference maker at quarterback.

2. St. Francis (4-7) [7] -- The top six is full of close calls, but we'll tuck the Red Raiders and another big-time recruit in Akeel Lynch right behind St. Joe's. Red Raider fans will always wonder how that championship game would have gone if Lynch hadn't sat out with an injury.

3. Clarence (10-1) [1] -- They graduated a lot, including terrific leaders on both sides of the ball, and there's the coaching change, but big Michael Gelz is back to run over people. And I can't see (at least right now) all the good things about a team that rampaged through last season suddenly disintegrating. And when it's close in these polls -- especially this attempt at a preseason lineup -- we always fall back on what has happened on the field: In this instance, last year's sectional final. That's enough in our book to keep them a half-step ahead of ...

4. Orchard Park (8-2) [3] -- ... the perennial power Quakers, who have their own bruising, breakaway RB back in Okoya Anderson. If there's balance in the passing game, and some Leavell-like defenders step up, look out.

5. Sweet Home (10-1) [2] -- "You're putting us here?!" says the Panther mascot (if it could talk). "We won 36 straight games, including two state titles, we end up losing to the eventual state champion in Aquinas, which also beat those two Monsignor Martin schools above us, and you put us here?!"

I hear you, Panther. What can I say: I had Sweet Home behind Clarence at the end of last year. Even with two-way quarterback Jordan Johnson back, and even though Sweet Home fills its graduation holes about as good as anyone, I just didn't feel great about putting them ahead of any of the top four.

6. Canisius (7-3) [6] -- The last of the top six which I think all have a defensible stance at being a No. 1. Mercer Timmis is back for the Crusaders, who could certainly win the Monsignor Martin this year. And if you're a contender for that title, this season especially, that makes you a candidate for No. 1.

7. Kenmore West (6-3) [10] -- Three major players back make them the best of the rest.

8. Williamsville South (9-1) [5] -- They graduated three all-time greats. But I think those expecting the Billies to drop off the table are getting carried away. Call it an endorsement of the coach and his staff.

9. Amherst (6-3) [NR] -- I know I was down on the Tigers' schedule last year (which is why I didn't rank them), but they have key people back, a key transfer in Justin Burke from St. Mary's, a coach who has had time to get familiar with WNY (Pat Murphy's fourth year) and some serious team speed. I keep them behind South for now; one of those I-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it-and-only-then-will-I-move-you-up-the-poll deals.

10. McKinley (6-3) [8] -- The Macks might be miffed they're behind an Amherst team which they beat in the playoffs on the road, but Amherst's key returners/transfers nudged them slightly ahead. Loved how McKinley competed with Sweet Home last year. We went with the Macks over city brethren Riverside.




1. Alden (10-1) [1] -- They were number one, they have a 200-win coach, and they still have a Stoldt at quarterback (sophomore Brian takes over for savvy Tyler).

2. Lackawanna (8-2) [4] -- Edged by Alden at the Ralph, great tradition despite the coaching change, and they still have a Smith at quarterback (Cameron takes over for Christian, who followed Capone). Full disclosure: I may be guilty being influenced by the Steelers' scrimmage. If thinking that Keith Taggard, Cam Smith, a big target at WR and some big boys in the middle will make Lackawanna super tough is wrong, I don't want to be right.

3. Depew (8-1) [6] -- You have to love what they've got back, including their QB and a huge man in the middle in Jaden Cotton. The Wildcats will be a popular preseason top pick. But this is where you've got to show me on the field. Depew has been highly rated but lost early in the playoffs (including at home to Lackawanna last year) the last two years.

4. Southwestern (9-1) [3] -- Like Sweet Home, they might be like, are you kidding me? The longest win streak in Western New York history, and a last-minute loss to Fredonia that was within our grasp leaves us down here? I hear you Trojans.

5. Fredonia (10-2) [2] -- Would love to keep the only Section VI state semifinalists higher on the list, but I can't after the graduation of first-team All-WNYer and two-way stud Shane Smith.

6. Pioneer (7-2) [NR] -- Great resurgence last year for the Panthers. Great offseason gift for the Panthers: No Lackawanna in the division anymore.

7. Silver Creek (10-1) [5] -- We'll keep the defending D champs (still boasting a Z-Williams in Zeddie after Zach's graduation) just ahead of the ...

8. Randolph (9-1) [9] -- ... Cardinals, who are an annual fixture in this top 10.

9. Burgard (6-3) [7] -- Bulldogs showed they belong as a small-school power last year.

10. Cleveland Hill (6-4) [8] -- Like the leadership of Daryl Spencer, who was injured for a key stretch last year. That keeps Cardinal O'Hara in the mythical No. 11 spot.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below, or let us know via Twitter or facebook (addresses below).

* * * 

Here's a rundown of last year's how-we-voted history: preseasonWeek OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek FiveWeek SixWeek SevenWeek EightWeek Nine and Week 10.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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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 |