Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls, and every week we tell you how The News voted.
The News is one of 10 voters on the large and small school polls.
For reference, here's last year's final polls.
1. Orchard Park (1-0) -- A few stumbles (and fumbles) early, but by the end a decisive, impressive, 21-point win. No, they're not last year's team. Let it go. They're this year's team. And they're definitely No. 1.
2. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (1-0) -- I'm writing my Prep Talk column (Wednesday's paper) about the season's worth of emotions the Tigers had on Friday night. They deserve this spot for an extremely impressive win (Will South was a consensus preseason top 5 large school, which makes this the highest quality win of Week One) that has almost been forgotten with the news of season-ending injuries to senior QB Ryan Dougherty and WR Bryant Fulton. Next week is next week. What could have been? Shelve that as we credit what was -- and it was pretty darn great. This week they emphatically deserve this spot.
3. Clarence (1-0) -- The Red Devils have a claim on the highest quality win of Week One, and I think some pollsters may have missed it since the game was played Sunday afternoon. The Red Devils beat the defending Section III AA champions, West Genesee, in the Carrier Dome. They outlasted an outstanding running back and the Division I baseball arm of Mark Armstrong put on a show. We thought Orchard Park at Clarence in Week Two would be a good matchup -- Week One's results have made it a great one.
4. Sweet Home (1-0) -- Extremely impressive victory in what many, including me, thought might be a tricky opener for the Jordan Johnson-less Panthers, in one of the best settings to play football in Western New York, against a tough playoff team from last year with a new, enthused coach taking over. So much for that. Panthers have won 51 (!) straight against Western New York teams.
5. Jamestown (1-0) -- Red Raiders handled last year's AA North champions at home, just like they did in the playoffs last year. I see a top five right now; I just thought the performances of the previous three were more impressive.
6. St. Joe's (1-0) -- Some tough calls here. The Marauders blew out (56-34) a Section V team that didn't have a great record last year in Wilson Magnet (3-5, including a 34-0 loss to Timon). We're placing them ahead of their rival partly based on last year, and ...
7. Canisius (1-0) -- ... partly based on that while the Crusaders' 36-17 victory over McQuaid was quite impressive, it's something we've kind of seen before (Canisius beat McQuaid, 64-33, last season). A good win, but I'm not sure how much we learned from it.
8. Williamsville South (0-1) -- The way they came out on Friday night, one could say that this is a very generous ranking. They certainly did not play their best, but some of that has to be due to a very impressive Timon team. With its returning talent and pedigree, we still see them as a top 10 team.
9. McKinley (1-0) -- Macks spent a lot of time in top 10 last year, have serious weapons, and displayed them during a 52-0 rout of Niagara-Wheatfield. Class A looks like it's gonna be a blast.
10. West Seneca East (1-0) -- Speaking of Class A, the Trojans thumped a Bennett team that made the playoffs last year. They just edged out their crosstown rivals, among others for this spot.
Best of the rest: West Seneca West opened nicely with a win at Frontier. ... St. Francis could be a top 10 team, but it was impossible to tell what was up with them with overwhelming Aquinas dominating from the start. Certainly not enough data to put them in a top 10 full of impressive starts. ... Lockport will be tough to handle for AA North opponents, especially if James Chambers is out there; he had some super runs against OP. Right now the Lions deserve to be considered ahead of Lancaster and Kenmore West. ... Iroquois mounted a very nice comeback against a Hutch-Tech team which was very impressive to me as I watched the first quarter -- both teams would seem to be in the same neighborhood as Grand Island, Starpoint, South Park, Williamsville East right now.
1. Alden (1-0) -- Business as usual for Bulldogs.
2. Amherst (1-0) -- Highest quality small school win has to be the Tigers' 31-20, highlight-filled victory over Lackawanna in their Class B debut. As I suspected, these guys will shake up an already competitive B West -- not to mention this poll.
3. Depew (1-0) -- Seems like business as usual for these guys, too. Depew at Alden can't come soon enough (Week Five).
4. Cheektowaga (1-0) -- Preseason-wise I had these guys behind Depew, but I liked the Wildcats' complete effort (shutout) over Warriors' outscoring of Tonawanda (53-32).
5. Southwestern (1-0) -- As will happen, the Bs have crowded the top, and this year Amherst is in that mix.
6. Cleveland Hill (1-0) -- Golden Eagles beat crosstown rival and Class B school Maryvale.
7. Maple Grove (1-0) -- Solid start with win over Silver Creek, after first week, finalists from last year (Red Dragons and Frewsburg, which beat Randolph) look to be favorites again.
8. Lackawanna (0-1) -- Amherst's win was impressive because I think these guys are capable of winning a lot of games.
9. Pioneer (1-0) -- Might be slighting a team that has won two straight titles, but I just didn't see opening win over Dunkirk as overly impressive.
10. Fredonia (1-0) -- Solid win over JFK for a recent top 10 regular.
Who's No. 11? Could be Frewsburg with a great start against Randolph. ... Could be Burgard. ... Olean lost to rival Bradford (Pa.) but we still may hear from them. ... Then there's a group that probably includes Randolph, St. Mary's and Eden.
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