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PrepTalkTV: Week Nine & we're on to The Ralph

In Week Nine, trips to Ralph Wilson Stadium were on the line. Here's our latest PrepTalkTV episode:

Here are our previous episodes: Week EightWeek SevenWeek SixWeek FiveWeek FourWeek ThreeWeek Two and Week One.

You can watch additional videos from Friday night at Prep Talk Live

More sports and seasons are documented in PrepTalkTV episodes are on our video page -- click "PrepTalkTV" there for the archive.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Section VI & Monsignor Martin football championship schedule

Section VI football championships at Ralph Wilson Stadium:

Thursday, Nov. 3

DD: Chautauqua Lake vs. Clymer, 3:30 p.m.

D: Frewsburg vs. Maple Grove, 6 p.m.

A: Williamsville South vs. Sweet Home, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 4

B: Alden vs. Depew, 4 p.m.

C: Southwestern vs. Cleveland Hill, 6:30 p.m.

AA: Orchard Park vs. Jamestown, 9 p.m.

Far West Regionals: Nov. 11-12 at Sahlens Stadium, Rochester.

* * *

Monsignor Martin Association playoffs:

Week 10 quarterfinals

6-St. Mary's (4-4) at 3-Bishop Timon-St. Jude (7-2, 2-2), 7 p.m. Friday

5-Cardinal O'Hara (1-8, 0-4) at 4-Canisius (3-6, 1-3), 2 p.m. Saturday

(St. Mary's was the predetermined No. 6 seed since it did not play a full league schedule)

Semifinals -- Nov. 10 at Ralph Wilson Stadium

2-St. Francis (6-3, 3-1) vs. high seed, 5 p.m.

1-St. Joe's (7-2, 4-0) vs. low seed, 7 p.m.

Final: Nov. 17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 6 p.m.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Review Prep Talk Live blog from Week Nine Friday

Go to Prep Talk Live for all of Saturday's updates, observations and scores.

Below is a review of Friday night's running blog.

The fewer the #preptalkscores, the bigger the games

We're almost there: Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Only 10 Section VI teams will survive this weekend, and they'll all head to The Ralph for next week's championship games. To get you ready, here's my overview, and my observations in our PrepTalkTV video preview

When the ball gets kicked off, help us keep track of it all at our Prep Talk Live page. As we get deeper into the playoffs, there are fewer games, but we still want your help in keeping tabs on the action.

On a tough night to choose where to go, I'm going to be at the only battle of undefeated teams with as No. 3 small school Pioneer visits No. 1 Alden. Freelancer Nate Beutel will be at Williamsville South for their Class A semifinal against North Tonawanda. We'll have PrepTalkTV team members at those two games as well as Depew at Cheektowaga.

On Saturday I'm headed to Sweet Home for their game against Bennett while Mary Jo Monnin will check out Jamestown at Kenmore West. The PrepTalkTV team will be at those games along with Bishop Timon-St. Jude at St. Joe's. 

The easiest way to provide information to help us monitor games -- Friday or Saturday -- is to join the live blog on the Prep Talk Live page through your smartphone. 

Another method that has been very successful has been Twitter, where we encourage you to tweet updates along with the hashtag #preptalkscores -- that's the quickest way for us to share the information through the live blog (tweets with that hashtag will automatically show up). You can also certainly still tweet those updates to @bufnewspreptalk and @KeithMcSheaBN

You can also email to or add updates to our Prep Talk blog Facebook page.

Our Prep Talk Live page includes a live chat, video, photos and scoreboards that will be updated throughout tonight and Saturday afternoon. Note: Typing in will also get you to Prep Talk Live. See you there.

* * * 

Tonight's NT at Will South game will be broadcast on WGR (550 AM). 

Saturday's Bennett at Sweet Home game will be broadcast on WJJL (1440 AM) and

Saturday's Bishop Timon-St. Jude at St. Joe's game will be broadcast on

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Notes, quotes and history from road map to The Ralph

Some additional notes gathered while writing my story for Football Friday:

I called Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy with the primary reason of asking what a return to The Ralph would mean for a proud program that hasn't been there since the state championship season of 2000:

"It would mean a lot to us. It's been our season goal since last year's postseason banquet. It was the goal we set after being one game away last year. A lot of kids came back with that in mind and it would mean a lot to compete for a sectional title.

"It would mean a great deal with the proud history here, and our players know about that. They respect that history and they want to get back to that level. None of our kids have ever been to the finals. That proud history is very highly regarded, but our kids want to make their own memories as well.

"Kenmore West is very talented and physical, and they play very hard. We're looking forward to a physical, competitive game. I think it's going to be a close game and we're looking forward to the opportunity.

"For our team, one of the defining moments of the season was the loss at Orchard Park. We really came together after that, we've really pushed team and what it means to have a team philosophy. There's a lot to play for and our players are very excited about the opportunity."

I gave a call to Ken West coach Rich Harris as well but I couldn't get a hold of him; that's why I didn't put the Jamestown quotes in the story. The approach I would have taken to the story was contingent on having both coaches talk about what a trip to The Ralph would mean. 

Jamestown's history speaks for itself, but there's been a drought. Ken West has only been to The Ralph once, losing in 1996.

While any trip to The Ralph is huge for a football program, seems to me that the Jamestown-Ken West matchup will result in one of the best Ralph stories this year -- plus, it appears to be an evenly-matched game.

* * *

Here is the team-by-team Ralph history for those trying to get there:

AA: Orchard Park -- all-time best 17 trips, all-time best 11 titles, last trip was last year in 31-28 loss to Clarence in the championship; last year was first trip back after a run of eight straight ended in 2009 (NT 54, Lancaster 7), so that's nine out of the last 10 years (they've also made 12 of the last 15). Niagara Falls -- no trips.

A: Sweet Home -- 12 trips (5-7), including six straight and four straight titles, including last year's 44-15 victory over Williamsville South. Bennett -- no trips. 

Williamsville South -- seven trips (4-3), the last was last year's 44-15 loss to Sweet Home. North Tonawanda -- eight trips (3-5), last time was the 2009 54-7 win over Lancaster.

B: Alden -- five trips (2-3), last trip was last year's 14-12 win over Lackawanna. Pioneer -- three trips (3-0), last trip was 2001 14-7 victory over Iroquois.

Depew -- four trips (1-3), last trip was 2007 21-14 win over East Aurora. Cheektowaga -- two trips (1-1), last trip was 2009 27-13 win over Alden.

C: Fredonia -- four trips (2-2), last trip was last year's 12-10 win over Southwestern. Southwestern -- eight trips (5-3), last trip was last year's 12-10 loss to Fredonia, Trojans have made it three straight years.  

Cleveland Hill -- six trips (4-2), last trip was in 2007 when it beat Falconer, 16-14. Akron -- no trips.

D: Maple Grove -- 12 trips (5-7), including 10 of the last 14 years, last trip was 2010 loss to Randolph (21-20). Portville -- five trips (1-4), last trip was 2007 loss to Randolph (30-0). 

Randolph -- 12 trips (7-5), including the last two (and 3 out of last 4; 5 out of last 8), last trip was last year's 21-14 loss to Silver Creek. Frewsburg -- four trips (1-3), last trip was a 1994 loss to Randolph (34-0). 

* * *

Some more on the Monsignor Martin Association. 

If St. Joe's beats Timon, the order of finish is clear no matter how Canisius-St. Francis ends up. St. Joe's would be seeded first as the regular season champion; St. Francis would be second (even if it loses because it won the head-to-head meeting with Timon); Timon third (even if Canisius wins because Timon wins head-to-head); Canisius fourth.

Cardinal O'Hara (0-4 league), which is traveling to Ohio power Steubenville this week (the Big Red beat St. Joe's in Week Seven), will be the fifth seed for the playoffs. St. Mary's is the No. 6 seed, which was determined at the beginning of the season because the Lancers were not playing a full league schedule (it only played, and beat, O'Hara).

* * *

See you tonight at Prep Talk Live.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Farewell to Mr. Tonawanda

Dare I say there has never been a nickname that fit someone better than"Mr. Tonawanda" did for Christopher Slauson.

Spend some time around Tonawanda athletic events, which I did plenty of during my time as the sports editor at the Tonawanda News, and you got to know Chris. You couldn't miss him. He was there, rain or shine, proudly wearing his maroon-and-white THS jacket. He was, without a doubt, the biggest fan of the Warriors' athletic program I've ever known.

It's with a heavy heart tonight that I've learned Chris has passed away. For those who never got a chance to meet him, I'm sorry. You would have loved him. Everyone did.

Chris graduated in 1998 from THS. He was developmentally disabled, and faced more health challenges than anyone 33 years old (his birthday just passed Oct. 22) should. Not that you'd ever know. Chris was one of the sweetest people you'd ever hope to meet, quick with a smile and a high five.

He was known to send birthday cards to his friends -- he had a lot of them -- and clip articles out of the local newspaper, which he would then give to the person the article was written about, for a keepsake.

He describes himself perfectly on the "About Christopher" section of his Facebook page: "I like to be out in the community. ... I love attending Tonawanda Warrior football games. ... I love the community City of Tonawanda."

And it loved you back, Chris, as the posts on your Facebook page tonight have shown.

All are beautiful tributes to a man with a beautiful spirit. Rest in peace.

---Jay Skurski

PrepTalkTV previews Week Nine

Here's a look ahead to the second week of the Section VI playoffs:

More sports and seasons are documented in PrepTalkTV episodes are on our video page -- click "PrepTalkTV" there for the archive.

--Lauren Mariacher

Live chat (Oct. 26): Video start with Holland girls soccer & football, regular chat with ... more Holland girls soccer & football

We're chatting tonight at 8 p.m., and we'll again start with a video chat.

I'll be joined by fellow News Sports Reporter Lauren Mariacher as we answer your questions on camera, then I'll go back to the traditional chat and get to your questions and comments there. The video portion of the chat can be found below and will also be available on the home page.

You can also download the audio here.

There is much to discuss, including my Prep Talk column from today's paper on the Holland girls soccer team, the football postseason, the football polls and our our "How The News voted" ballot.

As always, anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it -- is up for discussion. 

I promise I'll get to your question or comment in the chat -- but please be patient. It can get busy fielding all of the questions and I can only answer one at a time. And PLEASE don't enter your question/comment multiple times -- that only makes things more hectic.

* * *

* * *

Here are our past chats of the season: last week (Oct. 19)Oct. 12Oct. 5Sept. 28Sept. 21 (our video chat debut), Sept. 14Sept. 7 and our preseason chat (Aug. 31), which also includes links to all of of the chats from 2010-11.

As always, if you have a question but you won't be able to make the chat, post one in the comments section here, email me, Tweet it or post it on Facebook and I'll do my best to address it.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Holland girls soccer loses appeal to state

The Holland girls soccer team's season is officially over.

The school lost its appeal to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association this afternoon, said Holland principal James Biryla.

The team played one too many games this year, resulting in it being disqualified from the sectional championships.

School administration and the soccer staff were meeting with players and their families at this writing.

I will have more in my Prep Talk column in Wednesday's paper.

* * * 

Here is today's Prep Talk column.

Tonight at 8 we'll host our weekly live chat, with a video start.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: Week Eight (& who's-going-to-win? polls)

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

Here's our shot as we head to the semifinals after some interesting results, both in Section VI and the Monsignor Martin Association.

For reference: Week SevenWeek SixWeek FiveWeek FourWeek ThreeWeek TwoWeek One and the preseason poll.


1. Orchard Park (8-0) [last week: 1] -- No pressure: If it was possible for them to be a bigger AA favorite, the quarterfinal results may have done that, notably with believed-to-be-top-challenger Jamestown with a quizzically tough time with Lockport. 

2. St. Joe's (6-2) [2] -- Marauders and Kelly put up some more eye-popping numbers Saturday, welcome Timon this week in a game which has the regular season title on the line. St. Joe's is 3-0, Timon 2-1 and ...

3. St. Francis (5-3) [3] -- ... the Red Raiders are 2-1 as they host Canisius. Raiders and Lynch also put up some more eye-popping numbers Saturday.

4. Sweet Home (8-0) [6] -- Down goes Clarence, down goes Jamestown (in the poll), up come the Panthers after a drama-free quarterfinal win.

5. Williamsville South (8-0) [7] -- Down goes Clarence, down goes Jamestown (in the poll), up come the Billies, who continue to put forth impressive performances.

I'll try and say it before you do: A week after I said there's nothing that says A is better than AA by and large, I move these two A powers past those aforementioned AAs, but I certainly think for good reason.  

6. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (7-1) [8] -- If standout sophomore running back Adam DiMillo's arm wasn't broken, these guys might be at No. 4. As I said after the St. Francis game, Ryan Dougherty can really throw it and Jordan Williams can definitely catch it. The line might have been smaller than Canisius' but played great football in the second half. This Charlie Comerford thing is working out just fine, huh? These Tigers are prototypical Timon. A South Buffalo crew that might be undersized, might not have as much talent as their opponent, but they're going to play smart, good football and they're going to play their butts off. That's what happened Saturday at Canisius.

Another I'll say it before you do: While my name is McShea, I'm not from South Buffalo. I"m from South New York (downstate). I was just obviously impressed, for very good reason, with the Canisius win.  

7. Jamestown (7-1) [4] -- Head-scratcher of the week had a team that had been dominating AA South teams having to eek one out against the third-place Lockport team (which lost to Lancaster, in addition to Kenmore West and Niagara Falls). Nice job Lockport, nice job Jamestown getting the win, but a game like that in Week Eight will drop you three spots. The Red Raiders' prior performances are enough to just keep them ahead of ...

8. Kenmore West (7-1) [10] -- ... the Blue Devils. Super-gutsy call to go for two pays off. But an OT win over Lancaster harkens us back to those Jamestown prior performances (Raiders routed Lancaster).

9. North Tonawanda (7-1) [NR} -- Hadn't voted for them until now and we had our reasons. Some losses opened the door on our ballot. Lumberjacks earn the spot with seven straight wins, including their best two of the year in two of the last three weeks over Starpoint and Amherst. The scores of the games still lead us to thinking they are a step behind other squads here -- Starpoint was a 7-0 win, Amherst was an OT win.

10. Niagara Falls (5-3) [NR] -- Basketball season is just around the corner, but this is still the football poll. With a win over Clarence, despite whatever troubles the Red Devils were having, is impressive. Three losses for NF? An avenged loss at Clarence, Kenmore West and at Jamestown. Not bad.

Wolverines just beat out Bennett and the offensive line nicely dubbed "Fogan's Heroes" by Intense Milks Game of the Week play-by-play guy Rich Kozak. We'll stick with our stance that we'll take AA over A in most cases this year, in addition to the Tigers' having a loss to West Seneca East (in which standout RB Javon Fogan did not play). Bennett also lost at South; their record is 5-3 because a season-opening rout of Grand Island was reversed by a forfeit that was caused by a paperwork issue causing a player to be ineligible.

OK, Clarence had a good season. They are a very good team. The record (5-3 with losses at OP and Jamestown entering last week) shows it and they deserved their ranking. But going out the way they did, it's hard to say, oh, they woulda-coulda-shoulda beat Falls, which mean they woulda-coulda-shoulda beat someone else. Can't trust them enough to vote for them, frankly.  

OK, the one some of you have been waiting for: Canisius. They are still a talented team, which is why I've had them in the poll most of the season. I have seen the play twice at home and both times they have shown flashes but then they have been beaten -- by better teams (top six teams Joe's and TImon) -- but they've helped beat themselves with questionable decisions and mistakes. The loss to Timon has to sting, and it should. Can't trust them enough to vote for them over teams like Falls or NT that have stepped up in big games against quality opponents. The thing is: Canisius still have a three-week season (or maybe even a four-week season) to work it out, starting with a trip to St. Francis on Saturday night, followed by a Monsignor Martin quarterfinal, and, one would think, a trip to the Ralph for the semifinals. 




1. Alden (8-0) [1] -- Bulldogs keep rolling (with Justin Patterson out) and welcome in a Pioneer team that is rollllllling Friday night. Should be a fun one. 

2. Depew (7-1) [2] -- Wildcats' win over Lackawanna is bigger than most first-rounders for top-ranked teams. Last year's hangover was still there. Now it's not, and with that behind them the Wildcats are a confident bunch. They head to the shadow of the Galleria to try and beat, as they did in Week One, the ...

3. Cheektowaga (7-1) [3] -- ... Warriors, who are rolling along themselves -- 7-0 since the Week One loss at Depew that was even at the half. Should be another fun one Friday night. Argh. Where am I gonna go?

4. Maple Grove (7-0) [4] -- Rested up after bye week.

5. Fredonia (8-0) [5] -- Hillbillies keep rolling and check this out -- they host Southwestern in a rematch of last year's sectional title game. Another great matchup. 

6. Pioneer (8-0) [7] -- Was quite tempted to bump them past Fredonia. While Eden is a tough out, it was also a win over a team the Panthers have already beaten, so there's just a sliver of not-knowing-how-good-these-guys-are keeping us from giving them that bump. Of course, as is the case throughout these polls, they can give themselves a great bump to The Ralph if they're able to pull off a win at Alden. 

7. Lackawanna (6-2) [6] -- First playoff-eliminated team to get a vote from me this season. As not-great as they looked against Depew, let's remind everyone: Depew is GOOD. A 14-0 loss in the field surrounded by the blue track is no great shame, and it's a result we think would come against anyone below on this ballot.

8. Randolph (5-2) [8] -- Another D power coming off relaxing bye week to face ...

9. Frewsburg (5-2) [9] -- ... a hungry Bears team eager to prove that the two-point loss at Randolph was a longgggg time ago, which it was (Week One).

10. Cleveland Hill (7-1) [10] -- The win over Westfield, along with Akron's win at Salamanca, keeps the Golden Eagles here. Cleve Hill hosts Akron (at Depew) after beating them in the regular season, and they get the final spot here ahead of Southwestern. 

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 (which starts live-video style at 8).

---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 |