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Connolly Cup's top 10 finalists to be revealed LIVE on PrepTalkTV Sunday

We're thrilled to announce that PrepTalkTV Sunday, in cooperation with the Connolly Cup Committee, will be announcing the top 10 finalists for the coveted award during our 8:30 p.m. live program Sunday night.

Each year, the Riverside Athletic Club's Connolly Cup Committee scouts games throughout the season, announcing weekly honor rolls all with the intent on determining the most outstanding football player in Western New York. 

The top 10 finalists are announced late in the season, generally after local championship games, with the Connolly Cup usually announced on the first Saturday of December during a banquet at Ilio DiPaolo's in Blasdell.

Connolly Cup Committee chairman Dennis Sarow will be part of our show as we unviel the finalists. 

Chad Kelly of St. Joe's was last year's winner. Kelly was also The Buffalo News Player of the Year (our award is separate and The News is not part of the Connolly Cup committee). Check out a ton of information on the award at connollycup.com.

PrepTalkTV Sunday is our weekly 8:30 p.m. live show at buffalonews.com in which Lauren Mariacher and I recap each weekend of high school football with highlights, interviews, analysis and in-studio guests. This week we'll have a rundown of this busy weekend of seven big games and we'll look ahead to the Monsignor Martin championship as well as the state semifinals.  

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

PrepTalkTV: Canisius 44, St. Francis 20

Canisius will face Bishop Timon-St. Jude in the Monsignor Martin Association Championship game.

Live from The Ralph: Monsignor Martin semifinals

The Monsignor Martin Association's final four is this evening at Ralph Wilson Stadium as we set the championship game for next Saturday, Nov. 17 at noon at The Ralph.

We will have live play-by-play coverage of both games, starting at 5 p.m. with St. Joe's vs. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (gameday guide) followed by Canisius vs. St. Francis (gameday guide).

If you are at the game, tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores attached will automatically show up in the live blog.

* * * 

We will be back Friday and Saturday with live blogs of the Far West Regionals. Also look for our PrepTalkTV video wrapups of tonight's games and all the regionals.

On Sunday night at 8:30 p.m., Lauren Mariacher and I will bring you another episode of PrepTalkTV Sunday, our live wrapup show here at buffalonews.com packed with highlights, interviews, analysis and in-studio guests. PrepTalkTV Sunday follows our Bills wrapup show, [BN]TheHuddle, which begins at 7:30.  

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

How The News voted: Week 10 (penultimate poll)

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.

This is the penultimate poll. We won't vote again until all the football has been played by Western New Yorkers when we fill out the ballots for the final poll. 

The News is one of 10 voters on the large and small school polls. 

An archive of this year's ballots: Week Nine, Week Eight, Week Seven, Week Six, Week Five, Week Four, Week Three, Week Two, Week One.

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Canisius (9-0) [1] -- Still a clear No. 1 after bye week, but the next two really made a great case for themselves at The Ralph ...

2. Orchard Park (9-1) [3] -- The second halves of their last two games have been extremely impressive.

3. Sweet Home (10-0) [4] -- Panthers looking like the Panthers, and this year there's no Aquinas waiting in the regionals. All around, we just like OP's squad a tad better. 

4Jamestown (8-2) [2] -- Still deserve a spot up here. Really complete team got beat by a better, complete team. 

5. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (5-4) [6] -- Another team that enjoyed a bye week. I still say they deserve to be ranked ahead of a team they beat ... we'll find out what's up on Thursday when they play ...

6. St. Joe's (8-2) [7] -- ... the Marauders, who had blowout win over Cardinal O'Hara last week. Thursday should be great fun.

7. West Seneca East (9-1) [5] -- Sweet Home stopped them in their tracks on defense and went on about as long a scoring drives as one could want. We've dropped them behind a MMA pair but kept them above an AA pair. I could see an argument for dropping them further, perhaps behind Lockport, but we see the A final as a Sweet Home masterpiece and not some kind of total indictment of WSE's great season. 

8. Lockport (6-3) [8] -- Same as last week. Excellent season by the Lions. Two losses to OP, one to St. Joe's. 

9. Frontier (6-3) [9] -- Same as last week. The third reason in this poll why the AA South is so tough. 

10. Grand Island (7-2) [10] -- We're sticking with the Vikings for toughing it out at Sweet Home (13-0 semifinal loss in the mud). 

Next on the list? Clarence, Iroquois or Will South -- and hold up -- who just came rumbling in here? St. Francis!

SMALL SCHOOLS

1. Alden (10-0) [1] -- Same as it ever was. 

2. Depew (7-2) [2] -- Wildcats need to stay up high. Again, the Alden games are a sign of the Bulldogs' excellence, not something that can be held against the Wildcats on this list. 

3. Randolph (8-2) [9] -- As I said last week, they could move up. The Cardinals have the look of Cardinal teams that have won state championships. We'll see. Three wins away. 

4. St. Mary's (5-5) [3] -- Annihilated by St. Francis at home in quarterfinals. Anyone see that coming? They've done enough this year to stay here.  

5. Springville (5-5) [5] -- Still the best story of the season. 

6. Burgard (6-2) [6] -- Still like the Bulldogs over Class C teams.

7. Cleveland Hill (8-2) [7] -- Golden Eagles are the C champs, but we continue to see them here, and a 22-20 close shave keeps them just above of the ...

8. Fredonia (7-3) [8] -- ... Hillbillies, who still have to be scratching their head over those wacky two-point conversion bounces.

9. Maple Grove (9-1) [4] -- Essentially flipped spots with Randolph. Didn't see enough, and game wasn't close enough, for me to keep this D ahead of the C finalists or other B's ahead of the Red Dragons on this list.

10. JFK (7-2) [10] -- Keeping the C North champs here, again just ahead of neighbor Cheektowaga. 

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 Thursday evening at 9.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Gabe Michael is Will South's new boys basketball coach

The Williamsville South boys basketball position, one that has been in the news since the controversial dismissal of longtime, accomplished coach Al Monaco this summer, has been filled.

Gabe Michael, a veteran area college assistant, ran practice today at Williamsville South. Today was the first day that basketball practices were held across the state.

Michael said he was named to the position last Thursday. He met with the team Friday before starting practice today. 

"Al [Monaco] is a great guy, I know that," Michael told The Buffalo News. "It's a weird situation for me, because dealing with everyone at Will South, every seems awesome.

"When you stop and think about it, it's about the kids. We had a good experience today. They needed a coach, and I enjoy coaching."

Michael said he applied for the position in October and that he was interviewed by district athletic director Jim Rusin and South's new principal, Keith Boardman.

When reached by phone and asked to comment on Michael's hiring, Rusin declined.

Michael was a member of Tom Parrotta's staff at Canisius College for the last two years. Prior to that, he spent four years at Medaille's successful men's program under coach Mike MacDonald. In 2004-05, he was the head freshman team coach at Canisius High School as the team went 19-0; he was also a varsity assistant for the Crusaders.

Michael had returned to Medaille as an assistant this year prior to taking the South job. He also teaches courses at Medaille.

"To me basketball is basketball. Coach 'Mac' was very supportive, he said it was a good opportunity at a good school with good kids. Everything that happened, happened. We'll get through this year, and we'll have kind of a target on our backs, but after this year, it will be business as usual.

"There were people that I trust that said I was kind of crazy to do it, too. Some of my friends in coaching were looking at it like, 'What are you thinking?' From my end, it's still basketball. So far everyone has been very positive with the feedback I've gotten."

Michael said he was looking forward to rounding out his staff, and to directing that staff rather than being part of one. 

"I'm looking forward to sitting down and planning a practice," he said. "I've always been No. 2 or No. 3 on a staff. ... I'm looking forward to calling a timeout.

"I've always had great people around me, always just learned from everyone. I believe I'm ready. It's just going to be a fun, exciting experience."

On Aug. 24, Williamsville superintendent Scott G. Martzloff removed Monaco as South’s basketball and golf coach after 24 years. Monaco’s basketball teams went 364-211, including several league and Section VI titles. He remains a health teacher at the school.

Several families filed harassment complaints against Monaco in June on behalf of their children, but the Amherst Police said its investigation resulted in no charges or violation findings. About 70 Monaco supporters attended the Sept. 11 Williamsville school board meeting; at that meeting the board stated its support of Martzloff’s decision.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Replay: PrepTalkTV Sunday for Nov. 4

Part I:

Part II:

PrepTalkTV Sunday show tonight at 8:30; live chat to follow

Here we are. We have Section VI champions and a Monsignor Martin final four. We will wrap up Week 10 of the high school football season with our 10th episode of PrepTalkTV Sunday tonight at 8:30 p.m. here -- and also right on the home page of buffalonews.com

PrepTalkTV Sunday follows tonight's 7:30 broadcast of the [BN]TheHuddle Bills wrapup show, which can also be seen in the window below.

We'll have highlights, postgame interviews and analysis. We'll break down the Section VI championships and the Monsignor Martin final four with Buffalo News pollster Sean Bruso.

Afterwards, I'll have a live chat right here. It should start around 9:30 p.m. -- the exact time depends on how long the live video show goes. Let us know what you thought of the show, as well as all of the high school action, football and all fall sports.

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

As always, please just ask questions once. I promise I'll get to them.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

Live from The Ralph: Class AA final -- Orchard Park 35, Jamestown 20

Live from The Ralph: Class B final -- Alden 42, Springville 7

Live from The Ralph: Class C final -- Cleveland Hill 22, Fredonia 20

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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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