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High school football's Week One kicks off with Prep Talk Live & your #preptalkscores

Here we go. 

It's Week One of the high school football season, with games starting as early as noon Friday. We'll be covering different games with myself, Lauren Mariacher and our staff of video/photographers.

I'll be checking in on games this afternoon before settling in for tonight's big public-private matchup of Bishop Timon-St. Jude at Williamsville South at 7 p.m. I'll have live play-by-play updates from that one.

Here's today's full schedule, which will be updated with scores tonight as they are reported to us.

We encourage you to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores attached -- that's the quickest way for us to share the information through the live chat (tweets with that hashtag will automatically show up). You can also certainly still tweet those updates to @bufnewspreptalk and @KeithMcSheaBN.

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Be sure to check out our video page for highlights and interviews.

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We'll be back with another live blog to monitor Saturday's games, and on Sunday night we will debut PrepTalkTV's new, live 30-minute show at buffalonews.com.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

First live chat of 2012-13: Buckling our chin strap for Thursday's HS football preview; discussion of Monaco story

Our first live chat of the school year is tonight at 9 p.m.

We scheduled it for this time to talk football, as our season preview will come out Thursday and the season kicks off Friday. With Al Monaco's firing as Williamsville South boys basketball (and golf) coach occurring just last week, I'm sure we will talk that over as well.   

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 -- 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.

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For the super-chat fans, here is last year's archive:

Last spring's chats are here: May 16 (last chat of year), May 9 (debut of spring Power 10), May 2 (polls & rankings of all spring sports). We bridged the winter and spring seasons with: April 18 (a mix of spring, All-WNY hoops and the All-WNY banquet); our post-All-Western New York basketball Q&A session started with a video chat on April 11; that followed April 4 (pre-All-WNY hoops).

Our previous winter chats: March 29 (post-Fed hoops), March 22 (pre-Federation), March 14 (NYSPHSAA should be benched), March 7 (pre-Far West Regionals), Feb. 22 (Prequarterfinal Wednesday), Feb. 15 (starting with Ken West at Ken East), Feb. 8 (scorekeepers), Feb. 1 (twitter smh column & football signing day), Jan. 25 (pre-Canisius-Joe's), Jan. 18 (2012 video debut), 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. 9Nov. 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

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Video: Monaco's defenders attend board meeting; superintendent fields questions

Photographer Robert Kirkham did a great job putting together this video from last night's Williamsville Board of Education meeting.

Check out today's story written by Sandy Tan and myself here.

Bucky Gleason took on the topic in a column today.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Monaco supporters attend Williamsville BOE meeting; superintendent makes statement

An estimated 75 supporters of fired Williamsville South basketball coach Al Monaco attended tonight's Williamsville Board of Education meeting despite knowing they would likely not be able to speak.

Williamsville Central School District Superintendent Scott Martzloff made the following statement at the beginning of the session, which was a special meeting called to elect a new board member:

"I know we have a number of community members here who are interested in the recent personnel decision to not reappoint a coach. That decision was reached after a six-month-long investigation, talking to many different administrators, teachers, parents, community members, students -- also there was a separate investigation with the Amherst Police Department. I am not going to comment on this investigation or this action of not reappointing this coach any further this evening. But I did want to address it in that way."

Monaco's supporters sat quietly during the special meeting called to elect a new board member, through six candidates' speeches and during the question and answer period. Among the Monaco supporters in attendance were current and former coaches (most of them in boys basketball), current and former officials and current and former South basketball players. Also in attendance were Monaco's wife, Mary, as well as their youngest of four sons, 16-year-old Matt.

One former player of Monaco's traveled from Syracuse in an attempt to be heard. Tim Creahan, a 1998 South graduate wrote a letter supporting Monaco to the board in advance of his attendance, hopeful of having a chance to speak but knowing that might not happen. He did speak individually -- as did many other Monaco supporters -- with the superintendent following the meeting.

"For the amount of time that he put in to volunteer and coach me and make me a better player and person, I felt like the least I could do was make a four-hour trip to support him," said Creahan, who played three years of baseball and three years of basketball for Monaco.

Among former players in attendance was 2011 South graduate Joe Licata, a record-setting football and basketball player at South who is now the backup quarterback as a freshman at the University at Buffalo.

"As a player and person, it is always great to have someone that believes in you," said Licata, who introduced himself to the superintendent following the meeting. "My dad, my mom and my three sisters have always believed in me for 19 years. I met coach Monaco in fifth grade, he has believed in me since fifth grade. He's supported me since then. I'll always love Coach Monaco. He's done a lot of great things for me."

Among the many veteran officials present was Benji Bluman, a Williamsville resident.

"I'm here to show support and make sure the right thing gets done for this whole situation," he said. "That's why there are a lot of coaches here, and former players who have come out of the woodwork to support him. Some of these guys that I can see walking around here came off the bench, might not have ever started."

The only reaction from coaches during the meeting, and it was only slightly above a murmur, was during one candidate's speech.

The candidate lauded the Williamsville school district by wondering aloud why anyone would discuss sending their child to a private school like Canisius or St. Joe's. 

Some coaches couldn't resist a smile and a glance as they looked over at one of their colleagues -- the coach of a private school.

Most supporters of Monaco stayed for the duration of the meeting. When the first round of voting occurred, there were four votes for the winner, one short of a majority. That led to an extended question-and-answer period, and then to another vote. 

As the votes were counted, you could sense many in the room rooting for there to be a candidate with five (so was I). When the votes it the magic number, there were more than a few smiles. 

After the meeting, some more supporters -- former players of Monaco -- showed up straight from a local softball game in their shorts and spikes. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Depew coach Larry Jones on co-Section VI chairman Monaco's firing: 'Al has been wronged.'

Today I interviewed Depew 20-year coach Larry Jones, who was named co-chairman of Section VI boys basketball with Monaco this year.

His comments will be part of a story published in Tuesday's News.

Jones will be one of many coaches who are expected to gather, along with officials and former and current players of Monaco, at Tuesday night's Williamsville Board of Education as a show of support for the coach.

The 7 p.m. meeting at the district office boardroom, 105 Casey Road, is a special one to appoint a new board member. According to the agenda on its website, there is no "public expression" scheduled as there is for regular meetings. The next regular meeting of the board is Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.

"As a group of basketball coaches, we understand that we may not be allowed to comment, but we want to be there.

 “The basketball community has been deeply affected by this, and we're honoring a colleague who has done nothing wrong. If we're allowed to speak, we'll certainly take that opportunity.

 “We realize this could be any one of us. To think that a parent thinks they have the right to go to the superintendent over a kid basically not getting playing time, then we as coaches are going to be in trouble, and districts will have trouble finding qualified coaches because they'll be having to deal with disgruntled parents.

"We're supporting Al, not only because of the great job that we all know he has done, but we realize we could be the next one to go if other superintendents fall in line with a decision like this.

"I think [the superintendent] wanted to escape negative publicity to appease parents that thought they were being wronged in some way. Now he has to deal with a different group of people who believe Al has been wronged.

"To have his reputation tarnished in this way is very difficult to recover from -- but the positive side is that there is a group of people rallying in support of Al, knowing that he deserves that and has earned that. As a colleague, he is as good as it gets."

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

BCANY director's letter to Williamsville Board of Ed, regarding Al Monaco: 'This is a completely unjust action!'

Dave Archer, the executive director of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, has come out in strong support of now-former Williamsville South basketball coach Al Monaco, who was removed from his coaching duties Friday.

Here is a copy of his letter to the school board, written on BCANY letterhead:

August 27, 2012

District Clerk, Mrs. Mitzie Serafin
Board of Education
Williamsville Central School District;
105 Casey Road
East Amherst, NY 14051-5000

Please distribute to members of the Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools.

Dear Member of the Board of Education:

I am completely shocked by the recent decision of Dr. Scott Martzloff, Superintendent of Schools for the Williamsville Central School District to remove Al Monaco as boy’s basketball coach at Williamsville South High School. A huge mistake has been made! This is completely unjust action!

Unfortunately, there are many examples of disgruntled parents trying to get a high school coach fired throughout our state and nation. In state and national leadership roles that I have, I am quite aware of how most school districts handle these situations. I honestly cannot think of another school district that handled accusations against a coach as unfairly and poorly as Williamsville did. Most districts employ a completely fair process, seeking input from other parents, other players, area coaches, experts, etc. The results of a fair process would have overwhelming kept Al Monaco as coach at Williamsville South.

I serve as the Executive Director of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, Inc. I have been involved with high school basketball for 45 years at the scholastic and collegiate level. I cannot recall another instance in our state, where parents have tried to oust a coach, where that coach has been treated as unjustly as Al Monaco has been.

I also serve as the President of National High School Basketball Coaches Association, which unites state basketball coaches associations all over the country. We discuss common problems at our national meetings. One major problem regularly brought up is parents seeking to get coaches fired. In discussions with the leaders in other states, I have heard a multitude of scenarios. Again, I cannot recall hearing another situation where a coach was not afforded a fair and comprehensive process in reaching a decision. In fact, in an overwhelming number of the cases, the “accused coach” was given the benefit of the doubt and the administration often went way out of their way to make sure all sides were heard.

It is obvious that Superintendent Martzloff does not know Al Monaco, nor did he try to get to know him as a person or as an educator. Further, I do not think that any attempt was made to learn about Al as a coach: his planning, instructing, practices, motivation, conditioning, game preparation, interaction with other coaches, professional development, charitable work, donation of time for all players in the Buffalo area, organizing coaching meetings and clinics, public relations, travel to team camps, etc., etc. etc.

My professional life is about basketball coaches. I study them, teach them, observe them and work for them. Without a doubt, Al Monaco is highly respected as a high school basketball coach throughout the State of New York. He regularly donates his time, energy, expertise and leadership for the betterment of players, coaches and the game of basketball in New York. If you were to list all of the skills and characteristics that you would want in an “ideal coach,” you could put a check mark next to 99% of them for Coach Al Monaco. Al Monaco is a high school coach who serves as a model for others.

I sincerely hope that real leadership will be exhibited and that this very wrong situation will be corrected by immediately reinstating Al Monaco as the boy’s basketball coach and golf coach at Williamsville South High School.

Sincerely,

David J. Archer
Executive Director

XC: Buffalo News

As noted in our original story, Monaco is the assistant executive editor of BCANY.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

St. Joe's grad Agbeko will attend South Kent prep

Recent St. Joe's grad Reggie Agbeko, a first-team All-Western New York boys basketball selection this year, will attend South Kent School, a Connecticut prep school, according to an e-mail from his cousin, Booker Gompah.

Gompah stated that there was a delay in the NCAA determining Agbeko's eligibility, which partly led to choosing the extra year of seasoning. Gompah listed 25 Division I colleges interested in Agbeko, including St. Bonaventure, Niagara, Canisius, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Longtime Will South hoops coach Al Monaco fired by Williamsville superintendent

Al Monaco, an accomplished basketball coach at Williamsville South for 24 years, has been removed from that position by Williamsville superintendent Scott G. Martzloff, The Buffalo News has learned.

According to sources, Martzloff told Monaco he was being removed from his basketball coaching position in a meeting Friday afternoon.

When reached by The News, Monaco declined comment.

Monaco is a health teacher at South; sources said his teaching status was not affected.

Monaco has a record of 364-211 in 24 seasons at South, including several league championships and coach of the year awards. South won two straight sectional championships in 2010 and 2011 and it split the ECIC II league title last year with Williamsville East.

Monaco and Depew coach Larry Jones have been named co-chairmen of Section VI basketball for the 2012-13 season.

Monaco is also the assistant executive director of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, which runs the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame and many other events state-wide. He has also been a past president.

Locally, Monaco has spearheaded the BCANY's Western New York High School Basketball Showcase. The event, held each fall for the last seven years, helps local players gain exposure to an invited group of college coaches.

Monaco was also removed as golf coach, sources said. While golf is a fall sport, the coaching positions for basketball and other winter sports are generally approved by school boards in October.

The Williamsville Board of Education has a special meeting to appoint a new board member Tuesday at 7 p.m. According to the agenda on its website, that meeting does not have any "public expression" scheduled as it does for regular meetings. The next regular meeting of the board is Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at the district office boardroom, 105 Casey Rd.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from Scrimmage Saturday -- tweet your updates to #scrimmagesat

The pads will be a poppin' today as high school football teams across the state get their first taste of action against another team.

That's because today is Scrimmage Saturday. After working against their teammates since training camps began on Aug. 13, teams participate in controlled scrimmages across Western New York this morning and afternoon.

As I have the past few years, I plan to make at least a couple of stops today. I'll either be in the live blog below, or I'll be tweeting with the hashtag #scrimmagesat, so those tweets will show up in the live blog. I'm hoping to post some pics and videos as well.

Here is the lineup of today's scrimmages.

If you are taking in any of today's scrimmages, let us know what you think of the action with tweets with the hashtag #scrimmagesat and they'll appear below as well.

The Countdown to Friday Night Lights will continue in Sunday's paper with Class A North and it will continue Monday (Class AA South), Tuesday (Class AA North) and Wednesday (Monsignor Martin). The season preview will be published Thursday.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Lineup for Scrimmage Saturday 2012

Here's our working lineup of for Scrimmage Saturday (Aug. 25) that we've compiled via emails from coaches and officials as well as some school sites:

Grand Island, Niagara-Wheatfield, St. Francis, Sweet Home, Williamsville South and Lockport at Lockport's Emmet Belknap Intermediate School, 9 a.m.
Kenmore West, Starpoint and Williamsville North at Clarence, 9 a.m.
West Seneca East, Eden, Tonawanda and Springville at Cheektowaga, 9 a.m.
Lackawanna and Iroquois at Fronter, 9 a.m.
Barker/Roy-Hart and V-Elba at Albion, 9 a.m.
Pine Valley at Westfield, 9 a.m.
V-Attica at Alden, 9:30 a.m.
Burgard and Cardinal O'Hara at Cleveland Hill, 9:30 a.m.
Portville and Allegany-Limestone at V-Bolivar-Richburg, 9:30 a.m.
St. Mary's, Lake Shore and JFK at Maryvale, 10 a.m.
I-Prep/Grover, Riverside, East and McKinley at Johnnie B. Wiley, 10 a.m.
Bennett, Hutch-Tech and Bishop Timon-St. Jude at North Tonawanda, 10 a.m.
Niagara Falls, Williamsville East and Maple Grove at Depew, 10 a.m.
Jamestown, Fredonia, and East Aurora at Hamburg, 10 a.m.
Akron, Lew-Port, Wilson and Medina at Medina's Veterans Park, 10 a.m.
Randolph at Southwestern, 10 a.m.
Cassadaga Valley, Clymer and Forestville at Chautauqua Lake, 10 a.m.
Panama and Gowanda at Cattaraugus-Little Valley, 10 a.m.
Salamanca, Pioneer and V-Wellsville at V-Dansville, 10 a.m.
Lancaster at V-Webster Schroeder, 10 a.m.
Olean at V-Hornell, 10 a.m.
Nichols at V-Finney, 10 a.m.
Cathedral Prep (Erie, Pa.) at St. Joe's, 11 a.m.
Silver Creek at Dunkirk, TBA
Newfane and South Park at Riverside, 2 p.m.
Kenmore East and West Seneca West at Amherst, 3:30 p.m.

If you have scrimmages or details to add, email them to me at kmcshea@buffnews.com or tweet to @KeithMcSheaBN and I'll update the list as soon as I can.

We'll be bopping around Western New York on Scrimmage Saturday -- as we have the last two years -- to catch as much football as we can in a limited time.

Third annual disclaimer/explainer: Regular visitors to the blog or live chats know how much I love it when fans cite scrimmages as evidence for one team being better than another during the regular season, especially when it comes to the discussion of our polls. Just because I'm interested in all of the scrimmages (and getting to as many as I can), and learning about teams and players, they are still scrimmages. Once the season starts, I don't want to hear about who "beat" who. :-) 

But on Saturday, we want your reviews and breakdowns of what you saw. Keep it in context -- try and notice which first-team units are out there and what the teams are trying to do. Be sure to comment here, tweet us or send an email.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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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 | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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