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Live from the MMA-ECIC Challenge: No. 1 teams on display

A GREAT night of matchups at the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge.

Both newly-crowned No. 1 teams are playing during a tripleheader that includes a small school battle between No. 1 Olean and No. 2 St. Mary's at 6:30 p.m. The final game of the night has No. 1 large school Canisius meeting No. 8 Kenmore West, which is playing its first game of the season. 

Check out the live blog:

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Purchase PrepTalkTV's DVD review of OP's championship season

This DVD can be YOURS for just $19.99!

For a 15-minute PrepTalkTV season-in-review DVD of Orchard Park's championship season, send a check for $19.99 payable to The Buffalo News to: PrepTalkTV OP DVD, c/o Buffalo News Sports, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240.

Here's the trailer: 

Also check out the state championship poster page tribute to Orchard Park for winning the Class AA title, which is available at (other fall state champions will be honored later this month).

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: Basketball polls tip off

Every week during the basketball season (except a two-week vacation over the holiday break) a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls. 

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

Here is a link to last year's final ballot.

Here's the season's first polls, and here's our first shot of this season:


1. Canisius (2-1) [last year's final ballot: 2] -- Ever since ESPNHS put them on the bubble in their preseason version of their overall state rankings (they are in the same spot in their first poll), I said that was pretty fair. Crusaders looked impressive to start the season, to get my vote over one other contender, a familiar one in ...

2. Niagara Falls (1-1) [3] -- ... the Wolverines. Looked very good against Timon, but just a notch below where I have Canisius' cohesive group. How can I say that after just seeing the tail end of Canisius in a blowout? Hey, it's Week One. I'm doing my best :-) 

3. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (1-1) [13 in the bonus] -- Liked what I saw in a win over East and a loss at Falls. The vote was registered before the win over South -- at the half it backed up this vote, playing very well despite Bryant Fulton sitting out as a precaution; in the second half it showed how these Tigers might be the most mercurial team in Western New York this season. The certainly look completely capable of beating anyone, including the top two here, while they nearly dissolved in the second half of a game that coach Palano said South probably deserved to win. 

4. Jamestown (0-0) [1] -- Red Raiders tip off tonight. This might be a benefit-of-the-doubt vote. The champs deserve a certainly level of respect, despite who's coming back ... or not coming back. Just for the record: Jaysean Paige, last year's News Player of the Year, was cleared to play for Perry High in Hazard, Ky., this week. He was originally ruled ineligible after transferring there in the fall.

5. Riverside (3-1) [10] -- Not the longest bench but they've played well early. With Feggans and other factors, I consider them the top city team, which is part of the reason why I put them ahead of ...

6. St. Joe's (3-1) [5] -- ... the Maurauders (although Agbeko might certainly help them elevate on this ballot), who just squeaked by ...

7. McKinley (2-1) [8] -- ... the Macks, who ran away from Orchard Park and Maryvale after the opening loss, not a bad pair of wins.

8. Kenmore West (0-0) [NR] -- In an uncertain bottom of a ballot, the Blue Devils return enough to post up a spot here. Very interested to see them tonight against Canisius at the ADPRO Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge, part of a super lineup.

9. Hutch-Tech (1-0) [9] -- I remember that scare they put into Will South at Buffalo State; giving them a nod despite graduation of Maurice Miles.

10. Williamsville North (2-0) [NR] -- Very good start with wins over Depew and Will East. Will South is your No. 11.  


1. St. Mary's (5-1) [5] -- Too good a start with too good a schedule for me to put them in the other spot in a clear two-horse race at the moment. Hey, gotta love it when the horses actually race: Game Two at the Challenge tonight is these Lancers against ... 

2. Olean (2-1) [12 in large] -- ... these Huskies. The loss to Batavia enabled me to vote for St. Mary's. I know Batavia is a good team, a very good program. If the loss is closer then I might have put the Huskies on top.

3. OTC Middle College (1-1) [4] -- These guys will be fun to watch. Big loss in opener was to the No. 1 large school. 

4. MST Seneca (2-0) [NR] -- This poll was maddening. I feel like I considered 30 teams for spots. On a ballot where strength of schedule is going to get some teams on here, I think these guys deserve this spot after wins over two large schools to win the Pioneer Tipoff. Time will tell.  

5. East (0-3) [4 in large school] -- Oh-and-three? Yes, oh-and-three.

We would like to pause at this moment to acknowledge the beauty, peacefulness and serenity of the level-headed basketball season, where teams can be ranked (I'm certainly not alone in ranking what has been a large-school power in recent seasons -- the Panthers are No. 6) even though their records are, as non-impressive as they can be. Try ranking an 0-3 team in football (or even an 0-1 team!) and people get apoplectic. Thank you, basketball. 

Back to the blog: East lost to Timon, at Olean and at Aquinas, about as impressive a three losses a small school could have. The Panthers are always in the race for the top of the Yale Cup, we think they will be again, and that puts them about here.

6. Depew (1-1) [NR] -- Impressive early, including in loss to top 10 large school Will North.

7. Lackawanna (1-2) [3] -- After two tournament losses to Hamburg and St. Francis, I was like, "Huh?" Then the Steelers knock off Section V power Charles Finney, and I'm again like, "Huh?" The Finney win deserves a vote.

8. Tonawanda (3-0) [9] -- Nice start, although I would have expected a higher margin of victory over Alden (five).

9. Maple Grove (0-2) [NR] -- Losses to Olean and Batavia. But deserve respect. Right now we'll consider them No. 1 from the Southern Tier. We shall see. 

10. International Prep at Grover Cleveland (0-2) [1] -- Graduated a lot but that dropoff might not be so bad from last year's wire-to-wire small school No. 1. Losses to Joe's and Lockport at Lockport's Tournament were close enough that they deserved a vote.

OK. And now, the ridiculous amount of teams I wanted to vote for. 

I wanted to vote for Panama, which beat Cassadaga Valley, which I also wanted to vote for, and at one point I had both of them at the bottom off the ballot. Then I scratched them out. It might have been when I thought of voting for Archbishop Walsh, which I definitely wanted to do, but it was tough to tell -- Walsh vs. Panama? Hmmm....

Then I was like, I should vote for Newfane -- they have enough back from a strong team in a strong small-school league in the Niagara-Orleans. ... But what about their buddy Wilson? What about look-out-here-we-come CSAT? Hmmmm....

Then there was City Honors (they don't tip for a few weeks), Holland, and a few more.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

Or join me for our weekly chat on Wednesday night. 

---Keith McShea

Panama's Marsh in Parade today as national finalist for Rudy Award

If you check out the Parade Magazine in your Sunday Buffalo News, you'll see that Panama senior Andrea Marsh has been selected as one of 12 national finalists for the Rudy Award. 

Check out more info here.

I did a profile of Marsh as part of our Football Friday coverage earlier this year.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live from Cataract Classic hoops: Niagara Falls edges Timon, 53-50 (with video)

Hello from the Cataract Classic at Niagara Falls, always a great place to be early in the basketball season.

Let's go to the embedded videos ... 

My story will be in Saturday's paper. Six more games at Falls on Saturday as well. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Timon lax standout DiMillo verbally commits to Maryland

With each year, the recruiting clock seems to be getting set earlier and earlier. 

Bishop Timon-St. Jude sophomore Adam DiMillo, a lacrosse standout who is a member of the Class of 2014, verbally committed to the University of Maryland this week, Timon coach Mike Burke told The News.

DiMillo picked Maryland over other perennial powers in college lacrosse: Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, North Carolina and Notre Dame. He was a second-team All-Western New York pick as a freshman last season as Timon won the Monsignor Martin title and followed it up with a successful summer at recruiting events (check out more on those from Inside Lacrosse).   

DiMillo also earned All-WNY honorable mention in football this past season; he was a key part in Timon's resurgence before a suffering a broken arm that ended his year in a Week Eight win against Canisius

DiMillo is No. 6 on Inside Lacrosse's Top 20 Sophomore Watch List, which was released in October.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live chat (Dec. 7): Video start with All-WNY football talk, then traditional chat gets hoopy

Our chat tonight will start with the video version with myself and fellow News Sports Reporter Lauren Mariacher answering questions on camera, then I'll continue with the traditional chat. 

There is plenty to discuss tonight with our All-Western New York football team having been published over the weekend and the basketball season getting tipped off over the last week.

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.

My bad (chest tap) on the football juniors question: I neglected to mention an obvious choice in Williamsville South's Trent Ferguson, second-team All-WNY QB who I must have read past during that portion of the chat. Long day.

* * *

Last week's chat: Nov. 30 (live from the Pastor-Cooper tipoff).

Our past chats of the 2011 fall season: Nov. 16Nov. 9, Nov. 2Oct. 26Oct. 19Oct. 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)

Chad Kelly of St. Joe's wins the Connolly Cup

Hello from Ilio DiPaolo's in Blasdell for the 40th annual presentation of the Connolly Cup, awarded by the Riverside Athletic Club to the most outstanding high school football player in Western New York.

I'll update the winner here as soon as possible. 

The 10 finalists are: Orchard Park senior Okoya Anderson, Kenmore West senior Martin Bailey, Jamestown senior Spencer DeCinque, Williamsville South junior Trent Ferguson, Bennett senior Javon Fogan, Maple Grove senior Alex Grace, Orchard Park senior Ben Johnson, Sweet Home senior Jordan Johnson, St. Joe's senior Chad Kelly and St. Francis senior Akeel Lynch. 

The winner will be announced shortly. It was scheduled for 2:15 p.m. but it will be a little later (it's now 2:11).

It's a special banquet this year as past winners of the award have been invited for the 40th annual presentation. The DiPaolo's banquet room is much larger than it has had to be this year to account for all the great football players.

It will be quite a scene to see the past winners introduced before this year's award is presented.

2:28 p.m. The presentation has begun. Introductions of the finalists will be made, then the winner will be announced Academy Awards-style. 

2:38 p.m. As a member of the News sports department, I would like to thank the Connolly Cup committee and chairman John Lewis for honoring the late Allen Wilson with a moment of silence. It was just moments ago that we learned that Allen had passed away from leukemia. To say we are heartbroken is an extreme understatement.

2:41 p.m. The past winners are now being introduced.

Past winners have come into town from as far away as Ohio and Massachusetts.

Here today are: Jim Rath (1976, Frontier; he played at Edinboro and Canisius and lives in Lake View); Frank Rossi Jr. (1977, Baker Victory; who played at Colgate and went from banking to an impressive acting career); Brian Ross (1978, Niagara-Wheatfield; he played at Cornell and lives in Boston, Mass.); Tony Baker (1980, Springville; he played at Cornell and came in from his home in New Hampshire); Trevor Sajdak (1987, Cleveland Hill, who played at Columbia, is a professional body builder and lives in Ohio); Ray Braxton (1986, Lackawanna; he won a national championship at Bakersfield Junior Collegeand still lives in Lackawanna); Randy Smith (1990, Lockport; he played at Youngstown State and in the Canadian Football League and lives in Ohio); Frank Pavicich (1997, Niagara-Wheatfield); Joe West (1999, Lackawanna; he played at American International); Zak Kedron (2004, St. Francis); Capone Smith (2008, Lackawanna; who played for the Cisco Wranglers in Texas and is back in Western New York); Joe Licata (2010, Williamsville South; he plays at the University at Buffalo). 

3:09 p.m. Lengthy introduction of the alumni has concluded -- great names, great stories. 

This year's finalists being introduced now.

Akeel Lynch was not able to attend due to a recruiting trip for Boston College.

3:16 p.m. The winner of this year's Connolly Cup is ... 

Chad Kelly of St. Joe's.

Speech and interviews now. 

* * * 

I'll discuss the Connolly Cup choice and our All-Western New York issue in our weekly live video chat at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

The 2011 All-Western New York football team: How'd we do?

Here it is. The 2011 All-Western New York first team for football.

Check out the complete team (including capsules plus the second and third teams and honorable mentions) and read more about how the squad might be unstoppable. Also part of our annual All-WNY issue, published in today's editions, is a story on the final poll winners and the coach of the year and the complete list of league all-stars.

Also be sure to check out an outstanding video by The News' Mark Mulville on the first team and its favorite moments of the season

QB Chad Kelly, St. Joe's, 6-3 215, 12
RB Mercer Timmis, Canisius, 6-1 210, 12
RB Okoya Anderson, Orchard Park, 6-0 200, 12
RB Akeel Lynch, St. Francis, 6-0 200, 12
WR Ben Johnson, Orchard Park, 6-3 200, 12
WR Jordan Williams, Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 6-2 175, 12
OL Brandon Lathrop, Kenmore West, 6-6 260, 12
OL Miles Bartholomew, St. Francis, 6-5 275, 12
OL Devon Leach, Orchard Park, 6-3 290, 12
OL Michael Senn, Orchard Park, 6-3 277, 11
OL T.J. Scamurra, Williamsville South, 6-0 280, 12
U Jordan Johnson, Sweet Home, 6-1 205, 12
K Austin Reese, Orchard Park, 6-0 200 12

DL Josh Chase, Alden 6-0 250, 12
DL Michael Morganstern, Cheektowaga, 6-2 240, 12
DL Cortland Haines, Jamestown, 6-2 260, 11
LB Marquis Artis, Amherst, 5-9 180, 12
LB Javon Fogan, Bennett, 6-0 205, 12
LB James Fitzgerald, Orchard Park, 6-2 225, 12
LB Joe Smith, St. Francis, 6-0 210, 12
DB Daryl Spencer, Cleveland Hill, 6-2 196, 12
DB Alex Grace, Maple Grove, 5-9 165, 12
DB Stephen Johnson, McKinley, 5-11 175, 11
DB Jake Swan, Southwestern, 5-11 160, 12
P Ryan Sosnowski, Alden, 6-0 210, 12

How do you think we did? Use the comment section to provide feedback here, or email, Tweet or comment via Facebook at the addresses linked below.

I'll discuss our selections, along with the Connolly Cup choice (the award is announced this afternoon) in our weekly live video chat at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: Final poll

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls, and here's how we filled out our final ballot.

For reference: Week 10Week NineWeek EightWeek SevenWeek SixWeek FiveWeek FourWeek ThreeWeek TwoWeek One and the preseason poll.


1. Orchard Park (13-0) [last poll: 1] -- Clear choice.  

2. St. Francis (8-3) [3] -- Just as clear.

3. St. Joe's (8-3) [2] -- Make it three. I have no idea why they only have 79 points. They should have 80. The top three should be unanimous. Almost. 

4Jamestown (8-2) [5] -- Two losses to OP, not too bad. We had put Sweet Home up after its win at The Ralph, but with OP showing how good it was we flipped them back.

5. Sweet Home (10-1) [4] -- And yes, the end to Aquinas had something to do with moving Jamestown up. Looking at the season, Jamestown deserved the spot and is a more complete team.   

6. Williamsville South (9-1) [6] -- Only loss to No. 4. And if QB Trent Ferguson doesn't go out in the second half, who knows.

7. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (7-3) [7] -- Big loss to St. Francis doesn't affect what was an excellent year.

8. Canisius (4-7) [NR] -- Don't even start with the 4-7 nonsense. Two losses to Joe's, one loss to St. Francis, one to Timon, Aquinas, one to Cathedral Prep (Pa.), one to Walsh Jesuit. If Timmis doesn't get hurt in the semifinal, maybe they beat Joe's? They finished strong, to say the least. They would beat the teams below them. 

9. North Tonawanda (7-2) [8] -- Slid down with Canisius' move up, as were ... 

10. Kenmore West (7-2) [9] -- ... the Blue Devils, which left Bennett as our No. 11.  


1. Alden (10-1) [1] -- Final state ranking of No. 2 behind Hornell is very, very deserved. 

2. Southwestern (11-2) [7] -- The way they played in the postseason, I'd have -- big Southwestern word here -- "faith" that they'd find a way to beat the teams below them here. The loss in the final was big, but that was a terrific Dobbs Ferry team.

3. Depew (8-2) [2] -- Slide down one as Trojans move up, which is the same for ...

4. Cheektowaga (7-2) [3] -- ... the Warriors (one-TD semifinal loss to Depew -- without Marquel Jackson) and ...

5. Maple Grove (9-1) [4] -- ... the Red Dragons, whose loss to state champion Letchworth doesn't look too bad at all.

6. Fredonia (8-1) [8] -- Hillbillies get a bump. They lost in OT in the sectional semis to a team that made the state final.

7. Pioneer (8-1) [5] -- Two spots down due to two C teams moving up (Southwestern and Fredonia).

8. Frewsburg (7-3) [6] -- Same here.

9. Cleveland Hill (8-2) [9] -- Golden Eagles stay put ...

10. Lackawanna (6-3) [10] -- ... as do the Steelers. 

The mythical No. 11 remains Randolph. I maintain that Chautauqua Lake can NOT be voted for simply for winning the DD title. You have to think they would beat the teams you are giving them a spot over. I like the Thunderbirds, think the are a quality team, think they've had a great season. But I can't put them past Randolph. 

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 |