Here are the Plays of the Weekend for Week Five of high school football.
Watch video highlights below and vote in the poll:
1. Patterson Off To The Races: Alden's Justin Patterson left defenders in his path as he ran 76 yards on this touchdown run in Alden's 14-13 win over Depew in a battle of unbeatens.
2. Kelly Krunch: It isn't very often Chad Kelly gets sacked, but St. Francis' Joseph Smith delivered the quarterback quite the blow on this play. St. Joe's defeated St. Francis 27-20.
3. Akeel Airborn: St. Francis' Akeel Lynch usually uses his feet to get the ball to the end zone. This time he sent some airmail 35 yards to Jarrett Dolegala for The Red Raiders' first score of the game.
4. Lake Shore Sack Attack: Lake Shore's defense delivered back-to-back- sack's to South Park's quarterback Maurice Howie in the first quarter. Final score: Lake Shore 29, South Park 6.
5. Zach Zips On By: St. Francis' Zachary Wells wiggled through defenders to return this kickoff 78 yards and into the end zone.
Greetings on what will be an eventful night of high school football. By the end of the night, we'll know who will be headed to The Ralph for the Section VI championships.
6:59 p.m. Just arrived at Alden -- my first visit to the school -- and there's a great environment here with a super-packed bleacher and hundreds of fans standing along the fence around the field under the Friday Night Lights.
7:07 p.m. We've started. Burgard kicked off and Alden started at its 35; it just called a timeout facing second-and-10 at the Burgard 34 with 10:41 left in the first quarter. Alden has first downs via a big run by Dakota Peel and a pass interference penalty.
7:12 p.m. Alden has completed an impressive first drive with a score. Senior quarterback Tyler Stoldt took a quarterback draw and did an excellent job to speed his way to the left, dodge a few tacklers and then scoot untouched past the left pylon for a 23-yard TOUCHDOWN. Senior Ray Richards adds the extra point kick and Alden leads Burgard, 7-0, with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
7:21 p.m. Alden is off to a tremendous start. Burgard's first drive went three-and-out -- it appears that senior quarterback Darren Sanders is not playing.
Alden took just four plays to score again as Stoldt put up a very pretty pass to the back left corner to senior Nate Bailey for a 26-yard TOUCHDOWN. Another Richards kick puts Alden up, 14-0, with 5:19 left in the first quarter.
UPDATE from correspondent Nate Beutel at All High: Fredonia takes a 7-0 lead on Grover a 2-yard run by Shane Smith midway through the first quarter.
UPDATE from video reporter Joe Popiolkowski and blogger TML1000: Host Clarence leads Kenmore West, 7-0, after an 11-yard pass from Zach Lauricella to Dominic Principale.
Here's Principale's touchdown, thanks to Popiolokowski:
7:30 p.m. Alden calls a timeout with 18.7 seconds left with a first down at the Burgard 27.
7:32 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Alden leads Burgard, 14-0.
UPDATE from video reporter Lauren Mariacher: Orchard Park and Jamestown are scoreless after one quarter.
Here are Mariacher's highlights from that first quarter at OP, including a goal-line stand by the Quakers:
7:34 p.m. UPDATE: Fredonia up, 13-0, entering the second quarter after a 51-yard fumble return for a score.
UPDATE from Scott Kindberg of the Jamestown Post-Journal: Southwestern leads Salamanca, 7-0, with 6:14 left in the first quarter after a 3-yard run by John Mistretta.
7:42 p.m. Alden has scored on all three of its possessions, adding another TOUCHDOWN after another impressive drive. It ended with another pretty pass from Stoldt, a 5-yard score in which he lofted the ball up to the left side where Bailey reeled it in. Richards added another extra point and Alden's lead is 21-0 with 7:47 left in the second quarter.
UPDATE from TML: Clarence's lead is now 21-0. Wittig scored the second touchdown on a run that followed a failed fake field goal by Kenmore West.
7:51 p.m. Alden calls a timeout with 4:29 left in the second facing third-and-12 at the Burgard 43.
UPDATE from All High: A Chris Holland TD pass has cut Fredonia's lead to 13-8 with four minutes left in the second.
7:56 p.m. Alden got the first down and now has first-and-goal at the Burgard 8.
7:58 p.m. On second-and-goal at the 5, Peel takes a carry to the right side and through a great hole to pound in for a TOUCHDOWN. Richards adds another extra point and Alden has a 28-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first half.
Obviously a very, very impressive opening half for the Alden Bulldogs against the Burgard Bulldogs.
8:04 p.m. Darren Sanders has made an appearance here late in the half. Burgard had a first down at the Alden 15, but Sanders has been sacked on two straight plays. It is third and 28 at the Alden 33.
8:09 p.m. Some drama here to end the half, but Alden's big lead is intact. Burgard had a 33-yard touchdown from Shamari Cheney to Corvonte Jones waved off on a holding penalty; Cheney scrambled from the right side of the field to the left, got off a pass on the run and after the pass was deflected, Jones caught in on the doorstep of the end zone and trotted in. Burgard ended the half with another incompletion.
At HALFTIME, Alden has a 28-0 lead over Burgard.
8:12 p.m. UPDATES: Fredonia leads Grover Cleveland, 20-8, after a Shane Smith touchdown pass with four seconds left in the first half. ... Bee reporter extraordinare Pat Nagy reports that Will South has a 28-7 lead on Will East at halftime. ... Clarence leads Kenmore West, 27-0, at halftime.
8:22 p.m. UPDATES: Lackawanna has a 12-0 lead at Pioneer at halftime.
8:31 p.m. The second half has started terribly for Burgard and excellently for Alden, as Burgard fumbles a handoff on its first play from scrimmage and Alden takes over at the Burgard 29 just 15 seconds in to the third quarter.
UPDATE: Lackawanna now leads, 20-0, in the third quarter.
8:37 p.m. UPDATES: Clarence leads Kenmore West, 34-0, with 10:05 left in the third quarter; thanks to Prep Talk Nation's Coach K for that. ... Lackawanna's lead now up to 26-0.
8:39 p.m. Alden has finished off the first possession and good field position with a TOUCHDOWN after a 1-yard dive by Peel. Another Richards kick and Alden's lead is 35-0 with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
UPDATE: Fredonia's lead over Grover Cleveland is up to 26-8 in the third quarter.
8:50 p.m. UPDATES: Orchard Park leads, 26-0, in fourth quarter. ... Clarence has a 41-0 lead with 3:30 left in the third after a 10-yard pass from Lauricella to William Fitzhenry. ... Lackawanna's lead is up to 34-0.
9 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Alden leads Burgard, 35-0.
UPDATES: Will South leads East, 35-7, after three quarters.
9:11 p.m. Junior Ryan Sosnowski goes in for a 6-yard score and Richards adds another kick as Alden takes a 42-0 lead with 5:29 left in the fourth.
UPDATE: Will South now up, 35-14, in fourth.
9:19 p.m. Burgard scores on a 3-yard TOUCHDOWN on a run by junior Corvonte Jones. The two-point conversion is no good; Alden leads, 42-6, with 1:49 left.
9:26 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Alden 42, Burgard 6.
Here's the video package Joe Popiolkowski put together on the game:
FINAL: Will South wins, 42-20. ... Fredonia up, 38-20, with 3:39 left.
We'll be back tomorrow from Sweet Home to get the final puzzle piece for the Section VI championships, and soon after we'll have another PrepTalkTV preview of those five games at The Ralph.
Finally, I'd like to thank Alden for its hospitality and a great workspace. When I showed up at the gate, I was escorted to the press box by an intern with the athletic department. Whoa. Never had that happen before.
A great touch was the reading of what I believe was referred to as the "Bulldog athletic pledge," a sportsmanship pledge that set a great tone. The pledge was also printed on a sign at the entrance to the field. Very nice job.
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As always, we want to hear from you about any games you saw: Let us know what you thought of the players, teams -- even the concession stand -- in the comments section below.
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Also, if you will be at a game and are interested in supplying updates to the Prep Talk blog, email me with your name and cell number at email@example.com and I'll get in touch -- or you can just email me updates from one of those fancy phones. We don't need every play or even every possession -- just scoring plays and the score after each quarter and anything else that would cause you to blow up a fellow fan's phone with a text/email. I'll definitely give you a shoutout here, as I have the last few weeks, for helping pass the word along during the Friday Night Live and Saturday Afternoon Live blogs.
Here are the Division I and Division II stories from the Section VI wrestling championship. And here are plenty of extras from the Division II meet Saturday night at Niagara County Community College. But first, a couple observations.
1. This was the second straight year NCCC served as host for the event, and it's a great venue. There's plenty of parking, and NCCC coach Eric Knuutilla (one of the nicest men you could ever meet) does a great job having the gym ready. The support staff, including announcers and officials, also do a good job of keeping everything moving as close to on time as possible.
2. Another thank you to Ross Conti, an assistant coach at Fredonia and committee member of the Wrestling Review of Western New York, the group that does such a great job seeding and ranking area wrestlers. Conti is a walking encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge.
112-pound champion Tom Page, Eden: Page moved ahead with a takedown in the second period to defeat teammate eighth-grade teammate Alex Smythe. Here's Page's father, also Tom Page, on what it's like for two teammates to wrestle each other: "It's extremely difficult because they're so familiar with each other's style. It's unfair to both, but some coaches say it's a privilege. I'm proud of both of the athletes, because they've done a fantastic job."
The elder Page said he wrestled both at 112 because they were the best at that weight class and deserved a chance to showcase what they could do at the sectional level. Nothing wrong with that logic.
119-pound champion Kevin Strong, Frewsburg: It's the second trip to states for Strong, who improved to 43-2 on the season. Here he is on his game plan from Saturday: "I was working on holding him down and taking it slow. Once I got my points I was very careful." Strong beat Newfane's David Ciaramella, 9-0.
125-pound champion Emory Rowe, Ripley: The smallest wrestling school in Western New York had two finalists, including one champion in Rowe. He scored a late takedown to earn a 5-3 decision over Jake Baer of Olean, a raw talent in just his third year of wrestling. Here's Rowe on the end of the match: "I was just looking for an opening and I saw him loosen up, so I dove for it and got it."
140-pound champion Devin Kramer, Depew: The Most Outstanding Wrestler of the meet scored three late points to break a 2-2 tie with Ben Haas of Salamanca and win his second sectional title (he won at 130 last year). The 130- and 140-pound divisions are packed with talented wrestlers. Kramer, a senior who is a member of the Cobra Wrestling Academy, is 36-4 on the season.
145-pound champion: Dominic Montesanti, Medina: Montesanti put forth a dominant performance despite being hampered by a knee injury. He's wrestling on a torn meniscus in his right knee. Here he is on competing hurt: "It's been a real bother, but it's my senior so I couldn't get surgery. It would put me out for the rest of the year. I have one last chance to be a state champion, so I have to tough it out."
Montesanti took sixth at the state tournament last year after dislocating his elbow and having to injury forfeit two matches at 140.
171-pound champion John Mistretta, Southwestern: Mistretta beat Greg Burroughs of Fredonia for the third time this season, never the easiest thing to do. Mistretta has a unique style that could make him a tough out at the state tournament.
189-pound champion Colin Palmer, East Aurora: Palmer is unbeaten on the season (24-0) after missing time early due to injury.
215-pound champion Pat Langworthy, Southwestern: Langworthy (33-6), a junior, won a wild weight class. Consider: the seventh seed, Panama's Cody DiDomenico, beat No. 2 Bashar Srouji of Lew-Port in the quarterfinals. Langworthy, the third seed, then beat DiDomenico. On the other side of the bracket, top seed Justin Taylor of Portville was upset by fourth seed Jake Eddington of Gowanda in the semifinals.
285-pound champion Theo King, Roy-Hart: King and 96-pounder Zach Bickle won titles for the Rams. Here's King on what he hopes it means for the Niagara-Orleans League school: "I hope it can inspire more people to come out for the team next year and continue to build the tradition of the program."
That's it for now, although we may have some video later of a few matches (if I can figure out the technology).
The Class B field is set, and there are favorites everywhere you turn -- Cheektowaga is tops in the polls, Depew is coming off a tremendous performance against No. 1 large school Lancaster, East Aurora might be the hottest team in the bracket, and Lackawanna is the defending champion.
The actual poll starts next week, so this, just like everything in high school football the past two weeks, is just practice. That's right, we're talkin bout practice.
So much so that -- hours after we submitted a top 10 list for publication in the paper -- we have second thoughts about a bunch of this top 10, particularly the large schools. If most polls should be taken with a grain of salt, this one should be taken with 1/10th of a grain.
1. Orchard Park (13-0 last year) [last year's final poll: 1] - A no-brainer to end last year, a no-brainer to start this year.
2. Sweet Home (13-0)  - They might not be the state championship-caliber team they were a year ago (last year's depth was phenomenal), but we still like them here.
3. North Tonawanda (9-1)  - A lot back from a team that gave OP a tough test. You could argue they could be No. 2. Preseason-wise, we clearly see the top three, then a bunch of more teams.
4. Iroquois (8-2)  - Call it scrimmage bias after being fairly impressed with them on their Field of Dreams. After how low I voted them last year, they shouldn't be up this high. But certainly a great year-after-year program that should be in the top 10.
5. Lancaster (6-3)  - Speaking of great year-after-year, here's another top 10 team. We eagerly await the battles of AA South.
6. St. Francis (4-6)  - They beat Canisius when it counted last year, so we gave them a slight edge here, as we did in last year's final poll. Yet another top program which should be in the mix. Another murderous schedule this year.
7.Canisius (6-4)  - On paper they lost a lot, but so did they teams ahead of them. Proof that Nos. 4-7 in this poll could be interchangable. This year their schedule might be just as murderous as Frannies' (both play Ohio's St. Ignatius, Rochester's Aquinas and Pennsylvania's Cathedral Prep).
8. Riverside (10-1)  - The Harvard Cup
champions kept a lot of talent and welcomed top lineman Sean Mulhern of Canisius. With no nonleague games for Harvard Cup teams this year, it's pure guesswork how they stack up against the rest of Western New York. Talk about a poll headache.
9. Kenmore West (6-3)  - Here's a nod to the Blue Devils playing OP tough in the postseason (two losses at OP, one at NT). We err on the side of what you did last year, rather than offseason hype, and we reserve the right to change our mind once the teams hit the field :-).
10. Williamsville South (6-4) [NR] - A whole lot back from last year's team, so we'll throw the Billies in this spot, slightly edging out Grand Island, a top 10 team that's not in the top 10 (I have Frontier right after that at 12, for what it's worth). And well, would you look at this: Saturday afternoon -- Williamsville South at Grand Island.
1. Southwestern (13-0)  - Too many weapons back to not be in this spot.
2. Maple Grove (13-0)  - All signs point to these two being atop the poll for a while. But I guess that's why they play the games.
3. Lackawanna (10-1)  - We'll keep the Steelers up high despite the loss of Capone Smith. Like Iroquois, this might be a case of seeing Lackawanna scrimmage (and scrimmage well).
4. Fredonia (8-2)  - Another slot-them-in-from-last-year, although this year's schedule (C) might hurt them in the polls (to the bunch at B).
5. Cleveland Hill (8-1)  - A bunch back from a team that was a top three program last year until losing to Silver Creek in last year's semis.
6. Depew (6-3)  - When in doubt, rank the teams that are usually ranked.
7. Alden (8-1)  - Might be generous considering what they lost in graduation.
8. Cardinal O'Hara (6-4)
 - Four Monsignor Martin small school titles in a row make them one of the best small schools. They looked it on Scrimmage Saturday, too.
9. Randolph (6-3) [NR] - Could make some noise Friday night at Maple Grove.
10. Cheektowaga (4-5) [NR] - You'd think these guys will be in the top 10 after dropping down from Class A. We shall see -- starting Friday when the Warriors host high-powered Medina.
Our small-school poll regret? Probably not making room for Burgard. We'll call them the small school version of Grand Island (the 11th top 10 team).
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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.