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.
1. Orchard Park (6-0) [last week: 1] -- An very respected e-mailer brought to my attention that the one spot that I wrote about that OP hasn't been dominant in -- its defense -- is the perfect (or imperfect) counterpoint for those who argue for the Maurauders being in this spot. I hear that. I think the Maurauders and Chad Kelly, in any kind of shootout-type game, could outscore just about anybody. I still like OP's overall well-rounded-ness, and the Quakers' offense is loaded, too. The "Big Cat" formation got a passing TD this week.
2. St. Joe's (5-1)  -- Marauders can make a serious statement Friday night in the land of serious high school football. That's Steubenville, Ohio, where St. Joe's is 0-10.
3. St. Francis (4-2)  -- Akeel Lynch's night in South Buffalo the performance of the year so far.
We definitely see a top three and then another tier in this poll, which brings us to ...
4. Jamestown (5-1)  -- ... the Red Raiders. They've shown a ton of dominance, and with the rest of the poll tough to figure, that kind of dominance deserves a jump like this.
5. Clarence (5-1)  -- Didn't look like Gelz played last week. Enough of a concern there to have the Red Raiders run by. Will Jamestown's speedsters do that Friday night at Strider Field?
6. Sweet Home (6-0)  -- Two out of the last three weeks, I've hustled to Sweet Home to see a team down at the half get bailed out by Jordan Johnson touchdown runs. In the third quarter Johnson was running and Tim Oaks was making plays on defense, giving a glimpse of a team that -- if it were more consistent -- would be higher than this. But I can't put them any higher, and I certainly thought about moving them behind the ...
7. Williamsville South (6-0)  -- ... Billies, who I've had behind Sweet Home all season because that's the way the season started (Sweet Home is the defending champion four times over, by the way). A move might be in order after South hosts Amherst this weekend. We shall see. Last week I got my first look at South, and after watching the first quarter at at Will East, I'm like, "huh?" Then the Billies shook off Thursday afternoon cobwebs and Trent Ferguson was impressive. The only thing they didn't execute well after the first quarter were the last-minute water-jug dumps on assistant coaches (0 for 2).
8. Canisius (2-4)  -- Timmis didn't play this week. As with Gelz, there's enough of a concern there to result in a drop. If Timmis comes back, and they play like the team that played St. Joe's tough, they could back move up. Reminder to those who want to mindlessly howl about a 2-4 record: losses to St. Joe's, Aquinas, Cathedral Prep (Pa.) and Walsh Jesuit (Ohio) -- four teams who I think would beat everyone on this post other than the top three large schools.
9. Kenmore West (5-1)  -- Thought that win over Lockport was solid, then Falls routs visiting Lockport this week. Ahh, life in the AA North. Blowout last week, could be another blowout during Rivarly Week.
10. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (5-1)  -- They showed me enough to keep them here ahead of NT. They pushed St. Francis and were only overwhelmed by an overwhelming player. Ryan Dougherty can really throw the ball while fellow hoopers Jordan Williams and Bryant Fulton sure can go up and get it. DiMillo was able to be mostly neutralized by the St. Francis defense, which I don't think would happen against most teams.
Who's No. 11? NT has the inside track on McKinley (beat NT) and Starpoint (beat McKinley, 7-0 loss at NT), which are both a step ahead of Amherst (seemed to find its early-season form against Will North following loss to South Park and OT win over Hamburg).
1. Alden (6-0)  -- Can't wait for what should be an intriguing Class B playoff bracket for Bulldogs ...
2. Depew (5-1)  -- ... and Wildcats ...
3. Cheektowaga (5-1)  -- ... and Warriors.
4. Maple Grove (6-0)  -- Handled Frewsburg nicely. Red Dragons have some serious athletes at key positions. We see a strong top four in this poll, then it gets very tricky.
5. Fredonia (6-0)  -- We still like that gut-check win at Cleve Hill.
6. Lackawanna (5-1)  -- People might forget about the Steelers after a home loss during the regular season. Same people might forget what Lackawanna did last year after doing the same thing.
7. Pioneer (6-0)  -- Strong finish for the Panthers. The way this division has done I foresaw a close one with Olean, which would match up with where I've had Pioneer on my ballot most of the season. The Panthers delivered a 28-0 win, enough for me to give them a boost. The Silver Creek Week One win over Dunkirk (the great benchmark that had many, including me, considering the top D schools stronger than a lot of B schools) lost a bit of its luster with Springville continuing a solid season with a win over Dunkirk. Springville's solid season began with a win over Salamanca, which keeps the Class C South first-place team off the ballot.
8. Randolph (5-1)  -- Big win over I-Prep, as expected. Things get a little muddled here since they've beaten Frewsburg, which played Maple Grove a little better than the Cardinals did. One could argue the Bears should move past Randolph based on how they're playing right now, but I'll keep them as close as Randolph's two-point win. Should these Ds be higher? Right now, I don't think so. Maple Grove created enough separation in the scores with the Cardinals and Frewsburg that I think some separation is appropriate on this ballot as well.
9. Frewsburg (4-2)  -- The good news for the Bears is that they might get a shot to avenge both of their losses in just a few weeks.
10. Cleveland Hill (5-1)  -- Had a big win over Lafayette, as expected. In the same way that I liked Fredonia's gut-check win, I gotta admit that watching the Golden Eagles fall at home is still sticking in my head a bit, too. But we'll keep them ahead of Silver Creek, Salamanca, Southwestern and St. Mary's.
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taggedFootball | High school football | Poll