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PrepTalkTV interview: St. Francis RB Akeel Lynch on picking Penn State

Photographer/videographer Mark Mulville & I headed to Athol Springs this afternoon to talk to St. Francis standout senior running back Akeel Lynch about committing to Penn State:

More to come in Tuesday's paper and we'll certainly discuss Lynch's choice during Wednesday evening's live video chat.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

St. Francis RB Akeel Lynch commits to Penn State (with tons of links & video)

St. Francis standout running back Akeel Lynch has verbally committed to Penn State. 

He did so via his Twitter page late Sunday night: "Making my dreams become a reality. #weare #pennstate".

Lynch, a 6-foot, 204-pound native of Toronto, originally verbally committed to Boston College last July 15 (our story is here; watch our video interview with him that day about his decision on the blog).

At the time, he said he selected BC over Penn State.

That was long before the news broke -- in November -- of the child sex abuse charges against former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky. The tumultous months that followed included the school's firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, the hiring of current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien earlier this month to replace him, and Paterno's death on Sunday.

Lynch's committment to Boston College became more and more tenuous as the high school season came and went. Lynch did participate in a recruiting trip to BC on Dec. 3, which caused him to miss the Connolly Cup awards banquet (he was one of 10 finalists).

After his successful senior season -- during which St. Francis won the Monsignor Martin Association championship -- Lynch began to received more recruiting attention.

In early January, he told Boston College that he would be considering other schools. Iowa and Oklahoma had coaches visit Lynch. On Monday, Lynch said Penn State was a finalist along with Iowa, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.

Lynch visited Iowa in early January, had a visit to Oklahoma canceled when a snowstorm canceled his flight, and he visited Penn State this past weekend.

The first day football recruits can sign with schools is Feb. 1. Lynch will make his official announcement then during a ceremony at the Athol Springs school.

Lynch was a first-team All-Western New York running back, the runner-up for The News Player of the Year award (it went to St. Joe's QB and Clemson commit Chad Kelly) and was selected as New York State's Gatorade Player of the Year. Lynch ran for a Monsignor Martin single-season record 2,136 yards in his senior season.

A highlight game in his highlight season was running for five touchdowns and a school-record 376 yards on 31 carries (the totals were updated after the game) in St. Francis' 42-27 win at fellow top 10 large school Bishop Timon-St. Jude on Oct. 7. Check out the PrepTalkTV video from that game: 

Other PrepTalkTV videos featuring Lynch: Week Six wrapup (including his postgame comments on Timon game), Monsignor Martin semifinals and Monsignor Martin championship.  

More to come.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

PrepTalkTV (Jan. 20): 500th win for Pine Valley's Nobles; wins by Cheektowaga, Ken West and Tonawanda among our six stops

It was a busy night in the gyms and a busy night for PrepTalkTV: Highlights and interviews from six games, discussion of even more and a look ahead to next week:

Check out our 2012 basketball debut -- a big win for Williamsville East (Jan. 17).

Our weekly football episodes from the fall are available here, while you can watch additional videos 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)

Busy night: Prep Talk Live, #preptalkscores, PrepTalkTV

The PrepTalkTV team is heading out to several locations during a busy Friday night of basketball.

We're doing another experiment tonight as we run around to different games. We're setting up a Prep Talk Live blog below, like we had during football season.

Tweets to the hashtag #preptalkscores will automatically show up there. So if you are out at a game and on Twitter, be sure to include that hashtag. That's what I'll be doing (@KeithMcSheaBN on the tweeter) as I bop around to different games. At certain stops I'm hoping there will be enough time to open my laptop and provide better play-by-play in the live blog.

Check out tonight's full schedule on our scoreboard page, and check back throughout the night for updated box scores and highlights.

* * * 

Here's our game plan: Lauren Mariacher and I will begin with MST Seneca vs. Emerson at Waterfront School (6 p.m.), then up the I-190 to Wilson at CSAT (6:30), then futher north to Holland at Tonawanda (6:30), then hopefully time will allow us to catch the end of Lockport at Kenmore West (7).

We are also sending photographer/videographers into the field: Mark Mulville is heading to East Aurora at Maryvale and then Cheektowaga at Depew (both 7:30) while John Hickey is going south to South Dayton for girls action as Forestville is at Pine Valley (6:30), where Panthers coach Tim Nobles has the astounding opportunity to win his 500th career game.

See you out in the gyms, in the chat and on the tweeter. :-)

* * *

Here's the PrepTalkTV video, produced by Lauren Maraicher and including contributions from photographers Mark Mulville and 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live chat (Jan. 18): Video start, Prep Talk 101, big wins for Honors boys & O'Hara girls, apples & oranges and a great close by Andrew Webster

The video chat is back. Tonight at 9, we'll get our weekly live chat started with a video segment with myself and PrepTalkTV partner Lauren Mariacher.

As always, anything in the world of high school sports -- or our coverage of it -- is up for discussion. That includes this week's basketball polls and Prep Talk's Power 10 rankings.

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's the video from tonight's live chat: 

(Note: Video may take a few minutes to load since it is around 30 minutes in length).


* * *

Our previous winter chats: Jan. 11 (2012 debut/Aquinas-Kearney viewing), Dec. 14 (from the MMA-ECIC Challenge), All-WNY football talk (Dec. 7 w/video); our first was Nov. 30 (live from the Pastor-Cooper Showcase tipoff).

Our 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)

PrepTalkTV tips off 2012 with great win for Williamsville East

Here's PrepTalkTV's return to the airwaves -- our first shot at basketball was a great one. 

Our weekly football episodes are available here, while you can watch additional videos 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)

Tuesday Night Live: Williamsville East wins at Williamsville South

Hello from what should be a great environment for a big ECIC II game as Williamsville East visits Williamsville South.

If you're at a game be sure to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores. 

Stay tuned after the game for a PrepTalkTV wrapup and be sure to check the scoreboard page for all of tonight's action.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: MLK edition

Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.

Today's ballot comes one day after there was no school in honor of a great American as well as three days after Saturday's MLK Classic at City Honors.

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

Here is a link to previous ballots: Jan. 10 (back from the break), Dec. 20, Dec. 13 (the tipoff).

Here are this week's polls, and here's our ballot:


1. Canisius (8-4) [last ballot: 1] -- During Canisius' game with McKinley, I had just about teetered into switching my Nos. 1 & 2. 

McKinley was giving Canisius fits in a close game in the third quarter, and was doing so without a big man like Falls' Jermaine Crumpton, who had had an impressive performance against nationally-ranked Milton (Ga.) Friday night during the Burger King Classic in Erie, Pa. I was also thinking that Falls was going to beat Cathedral Prep in Saturday night's consolation game.

But ... then the Crusaders finished off a very good Macks team the way a top team should, and they even did so with junior standout Adam Weir spending a lot of time on the bench in foul trouble. Later, Falls fell to Erie's Cathedral Prep, which is certainly a very good team but not one that is highly regarded in Pennsylvania polls, if at all (they're not in the Harrisburg Patriot-News state rankings or the rankings). Also, info-packed called Prep's win over Falls "an upset."

So it brought me back to my season-long view that Canisius should have a slight edge over Falls. What surprised me was that we have another 8-2 first-place-vote switcheroo in the polls this week (kablam!). Canisius had 8-2 advantage before the holiday break; Falls got eight votes last week; Canisius is back to eight first-place votes this week. Wild.    

2. Niagara Falls (7-3) [2] -- Wolverine fans who want Falls in the top spot should root for Cathedral Prep on Saturday afternoon when Ramblers visit Canisius at 3.

3. Jamestown (8-1) [3] -- Frontier was getting top 10 votes at one point. Final from the Southern Tier Tuesday night: Jamestown 87, Frontier 41.

4. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (10-3) [4] -- In midst of nine-day layoff that ends Friday vs. Nichols.

5. McKinley (6-2) [6] -- I was impressed with the Macks against Canisius enough to bump them up. Usual maniacal defense, usual depth, very impressive scorer in junior Marcus Morris. 

6. St. Joe's (12-2) [5] -- Marauders played close one at home against a good Walsh team (69-60 win was one-basket game until fourth), which helped open the door for the Macks' bump up my ballot. Host Aquinas Saturday at 4. 

7. Riverside (6-2) [8] -- Solid home win over Hutch-Tech.

8. Hutch-Tech (4-3) [7] -- Host rematch with Riverside Feb. 8. 

9. Williamsville East (9-2) [10] -- Rewarding Flames for the win at Hamburg and not losing since Dec. 10 (to St. Joe's; they also lost opener to Will North). Tonight East heads to South in a huge game in the league (and the village). How huge is it? PrepTalkTV is making its 2012 hoops debut there.   

10. Kenmore West (7-2) [9] -- Very tough to figure NFL's No. 2 against the rest of the NFL (as in how far ahead they are from the pack) vs. ECIC II's top team (Will East), not to mention vs. the rest of ECIC I (Will North seems to have found its stride again after a December swoon, including a non-blowout loss at Jamestown and home win over Clarence), not to mention ECIC III's East Aurora, coming off a nice OT win against OTC Middle College and showing some very good signs.

I think the top six is very solid. Riverside is a solid seventh. I could see a case for the last three in any of those spots. Right now I'd give Will North No. 11 over EA, but I'm not sure there's a whole lot separating my 7-12. 


1. Olean (10-1) [1] -- Looks like this will be the easiest spot to fill out in the poll for a long time.

2. St. Mary's (8-4) [3] -- Lancers with impressive showing against Canisius after decent showing against St. Joe's after loss to Depew. That makes them 0-3 since late December! No biggie. Three-point loss to Canisius was enough for me to return them to the No. 2 spot just ahead of ... 

3. OTC Middle College (5-3) [2] -- ... the Kats, who lost at tough one in OT to East Aurora Saturday.

4. MST Seneca (7-0) [6] -- There were rave reviews from Indians' buzzer-beating win over I-Prep, enough for me to give them a bump. Jan. 27 is first showing of OTC-MST (at ECC :-) ). 

5. Tonawanda (11-0) [8] -- Was impressed by Lalka in win at Lackawanna, was also impressed with the team, three-point shooting, defense, hustle.

6. Archbishop Walsh (10-3) [7] -- Showing they deserve a spot at the top 10 table again with a competitive trip to St. Joe's Sunday.

7. Depew (7-3) [4] -- Lost at EA Thursday night. Probably not worthy of a three-spot drop, but Tonawanda owns a win over EA, OTC played them tougher. One of the many-more-than-10 reasons this ballot is giving me a headache.

8. Wilson (6-2) [NR] -- Like last week, the Niagara-Orleans League deserves a nod. Lakemen made themselves the team with a home rout of rival Newfane (our No. 10 last week).  

9. East (3-5) [5] -- Love the win over Hutch-Tech, love the tough schedule, not sure waddup with one-point win over Burgard.

10. Silver Creek (7-1) [9] -- We're keeping them here as Southern Tier's top Section VI team despite home loss to Randolph; hey, it was in triple overtime. 

11th among a ton of contenders: I-Prep/Grover ... or Dunkirk ... or Panama ... or ... :-)

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

---Keith McShea

Cross country state championship poster page in today's paper

The News' tribute to the state champions of the fall season condcluded today with a poster page devoted to this season's title-winners in cross country: the East Aurora boys, Barker boys and Maple Grove girls.

We have also run poster pages on Orchard Park football (with the All-Western New York team on Dec. 3), girls volleyball champions Eden (Dec. 26) and St. Mary's (Dec. 31), girls swimming champion Clarence (Jan. 9).

High-quality versions of the championship pages can be purchased at

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live from the MLK Classic: Canisius, EA, I-Prep score impressive wins (with video from all three)

Greetings from City Honors' still-shiny gym for the Martin Luther King Classic, a day full of hoops. Click on the live blog below for updates for all the games. 

The box scores will be posted on our scoreboard page as soon as possible.

* * * 

Check out highlights from I-Prep's victory over Cheektowaga in our video player.

* * *

And highlights from press row via the iPhone:

A fun Saturday. We're back in the gyms on Tuesday. 

---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 |