August 15, 2011 - 7:44 PM
Good news for Lackawanna fans. There's another kid named Smith at quarterback. No, not
Capone or Christian, but their younger brother, Cameron. And he's ready to carry on the family
tradition as signal-caller.
Cameron was one of 32 players who greeted the new season at Monday's first practice on the
field behind the school. He's only a sophomore and is 5-foot-10, 150 pounds, but he's got the
passion and pedigree to lead.
Capone was the 2008 Buffalo News Player of the Year while while Christian, who graduated
last May, was also first team All Western New York, at punter. Sounds like a lot of live up
"They just tell me to play my game, play my own style," said Cameron, who was a running
back last year on the junior varsity. "Just watching them since I was little, we would always
play football with our friends all the time. They tell me to come out here and practice hard.
My brothers were always a team in front of me, so I always watched their games and they always
Cameron said he expects his main targets this season to be wide receivers Anthony
Mastrocicco, Shaquille Brooks and his cousin Mike Smith.
The Steelers used the first day of practice to work on basic bag drills, worked on agility,
and some basic install.
They are coming off an 8-2 season which included a berth in the Federation's Class B
championship, which they lost to Alden, 14-12.
Elsewhere, Charlie Comerford, a two-time all-WNY pick before graduating from Timon in 2001, began Day One as head coach of his alma mater, succeeding Al Monaco.
The Tigers have one of their better teams in many years with the addition of six or seven kids who didn't come out last year. But the school with 240 boys still has to contend with Canisius, St. Joe's and St. Francis.
"You need every athlete in the school to come out to be competitive. We have a tough schedule and every game we play will be an uphill battle, but we like it that way," said Comerford. "We've been working out for three days a week for three months, so the kids have been really dedicated. Frankly, they're sick of losing, so they've come out in good numbers and have made this transition real easy."
---Mary Jo Monnin
July 7, 2011 - 6:00 AM
I had a summer break that started as soon as the 2010-11 season concluded, and now I'm back -- and here to throw some notes out regarding some summer news and notes ...
* Late in the spring season we told you about the BCANY Hoops Festival set for Johnson City from Aug. 5-7. The event seems like a great one, and it's one that came about due to the unfortunate absence of the Empire State Games this summer.
The roster has been selected by the coaching staff of head coach Larry Jones (Depew) and assistants Mike Haskell (retired Pioneer) and Mike Berkun (Medaille):
Reggie Agbeko (St. Joe's), Stan Wier (who has transferred back home to East Aurora), Sterling Taplin (Williamsville North), Ryan Whelpley (Walsh), Matt Hart (Canisius), Aaron Frasier (Seneca), Aaron White (Canisius), Jamaal Carter (City Honors), Adam Weir (Canisius), Jordan Williams (Bishop Timon-St. Jude).
Alternates are: Matt McDonald (Canisius), Demone Harris (Timon), Kyle Kobis (Timon), Derrick Sekuterski (Depew).
The team will play Long Island on Friday, Aug 5 at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 6, the Buffalo team plays New York City at 9 a.m. and Hudson Valley at noon. Saturday's evening session includes a dunk contest and three-point contest at 4:30 p.m.; a parent clinic on recruiting at 5:30 and a player clinic with college coaches at 6:30.
The event concludes on Sunday, Aug. 7 with the seventh-place game (9 a.m.), fifth-place game (10:30 a.m.), consolation (noon) and championship (1:30 p.m.).
While the event is being run by BCANY, there are some expenses that will need to be covered for teams and players (food, lodging, transportation -- costs mostly taken care of by the ESG during the Games). The squad is seeking sponsorships -- if you are interested in helping the team defray some costs, call Jones at (585) 746-8327.
This team deserves some serious commenting -- that squad is a really good one, a much better collection than I expected for what is a startup event this year. Great talent, great depth, great mixture of schools. Excellent job by the basketball community in getting the word out and credit the coaching staff for what must have been some difficult choices after the tryouts.
* Speaking of some good hoops competition, this weekend might be the Taste of Buffalo but fans can get a taste of hoops up in Niagara Falls. Some top programs are in action at the Niagara PAL Team Camp at Niagara Falls. Here's the lineup:
Friday: 5 p.m. -- Main gym, Niagara Falls vs. Canisius; Aux. gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 6 p.m. -- Batavia vs. Grand Island; Aux. gym, Wilson vs. Holland; 7 p.m. -- Main gym, Jamestown vs. Sweet Home.
Saturday: 9 a.m. -- Main gym, St. Joe's vs. Niagara Falls; Aux. gym, Canisius vs. Jamestown; 10 a.m. -- Main gym, Sweet Home vs. Wilson; Aux. gym, Batavia vs. Niagara-Wheatfield; 11 a.m., Main gym, Grand Island vs. Holland.
Single elimination tournament begins at noon, with championship at 5 p.m.
There is a $2 admission for fans 13 and older.
* I will hopefully hit some summer events of all sorts -- I'll be soon selling raffle tickets to benefit the Tom Borrelli Award and Scholarship Fund. We have some great prizes and it's a great cause as we continue to honor our fallen coworker.
The third Borrelli Award for boys and the inaugural Borrelli Award for girls will be announced later this month and the winners will receive their trophies at the July 27 Tom Borrelli Golf Tournament at Holland Hills. For those interested in golfing ($100 per person) or donating, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* By the way, the spring All-WNY teams and all-league teams (for baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse), which have been published over the last month, have all been collected at the high school home page.
May 19, 2011 - 2:21 PM
I've been looking forward to Friday's boys lacrosse matchup between Orchard Park and Bishop Timon-St. Jude since before the spring season, and I know I'm not the only one.
Bad news just in from Timon coach Mike Burke: It's just a scrimmage.
Why? Timon scheduled too many games. The state limit for Catholic schools is 18 and the Tigers have already reached that total.
On the team's schedule as reported to laxpower.com, Timon is 16-3. Coach Mike Burke said that Timon's game with Kiski Prep (Pa.) was played as a scrimmage and will not count towards the team total.
Burke said he was unaware of the limit until he was told by league chairman Tom Franz, who is the Nichols coach, following TImon's 11-9 home win over the Vikings Wednesday evening. Burke consulted with Timon administrators, including athletic director Jim Palano, and learned that the Timon-OP game would have to be a scrimmage.
"It's disappointing because this is a game that all of our kids look forward to, because Orchard Park is the top dog," said Burke. "I know that they're disappointed, too.
"We overlooked the rule regarding how many games you could have. We probably need to be more selective with who we play -- maybe we didn't need to play Aquinas [of Section V] twice. I talked to [OP] coach [Gene] Tundo. He sounded disappointed but he was as accomodating as he could be."
The teams will still play Friday evening, but with a running clock for 15-minute quarters and no official score kept on the field.
"With the playoffs coming up, it's still good to get another quality opponent to prepare us, so something is better than nothing," Burke said. "We're going to be playing it as hard as possible, and I know they are too."
Timon has several games scheduled against private schools in Detroit this weekend; Burke said those will also be played as scrimmages and were always scheduled as such. Burke also said that in previous years, Timon's game against Ontario's Hill Academy was treated as a scrimmage.
"We did a couple of things different and it really screwed it up," said Burke. "We just have to be more selective with who we play."
Coach Burke has played perhaps the most impressive nonleague schedules in Western New York over the last five or six years. I credit him for seeking out top competition that has included outstanding programs both from within New York and out of the state (and out of the country). His scheduling is one of the major reasons that Timon has become one of Western New York's elite program.
But (and this is a big but) to schedule too many contests is a hugely critical error on behalf of Burke and the school. To have an outstanding game like Timon-OP wiped out because of too many games being played is inexcusable. It's a simple matter which could have been avoided. It's also something that almost never happens in other sports.
The bottom line is that arguably the best regular-season matchup between Western New York boys lacrosse teams has been lost for the players, programs, fans and yes, the media. A matchup like this attracts attention and deserves attention. It is one that would not have only benefitted the teams involved, but would have benefitted the sport in Western New York in general.
Instead, we won't be there. Because it's just a scrimmage.
May 17, 2011 - 3:19 PM
Three Yale Cup standouts are among an impressive recruiting class for Niagara County Community College and coach Bill Beilein.
All-Western New York first teamer Tremmell Fisher of East and honorable mentions John Black of McKinley and Kadeem Hillman of International Prep at Grover Cleveland will all sign letters of intent to the school on Wednesday. Also signing will be two Niagara Frontier League standouts in Jake Hughes (Niagara-Wheatfield) and Marc Morreale (Lew-Port) as well as Dut Dour, a 2010 Bishop Timon-St. Jude All-WNY honorable mention who is transferring from St. Bonaventure.
The class will be introduced at 5 p.m. Wednesday during a press conference in NCCC's athletics lobby.
Also signing are two out-of-town recruits: Jordan Green from New Rochelle of downstate's Section I and Andre "TJ" McCrea from Brien McMahon High School in Connecticut.
Also making it official tomorrow will be Marcus Feagin of Niagara Falls, who will sign Wednesday with Monroe Community College.
I've written before about how I think Feagin might be the type of player who could use his time at MCC to possibly springboard to a scholarship somewhere; I think Hillman and Fisher could become candidates to do the same via NCCC.
May 11, 2011 - 2:48 PM
Bishop Timon-St. Jude has hired Charlie Comerford as its new football coach.
Comerford was chosen to replace coach Al Monaco, who was let go earlier this year.
* * *
"We had a search committee, and we picked him," said athletic director Jim Palano. "It's like deja vu here, he's going to have young Paul Fitzpatrick [Jr.] with him and another couple of guys who are in our Hall of Fame from around that time, 2000 to 2002. We're excited about it. We're certainly appreciative of what Al Monaco did here, but it's time to turn a new page."
Comerford is one of the greatest athletes to ever play at Timon. He was a two-time first-team All-Western New Yorker in football and basketball and was also All-Catholic in baseball. He went to Holy Cross to play both sports but a back injury halted his athletic career.
"If he didn't get hurt, I think you'd see him in the NFL today, like a Gronkowski, I really do," said Palano, referencing the three Gronkowski brothers from Williamsville.
Comerford assisted the coaching staff at Holy Cross for two years after he was injured and Palano said he helped out at Timon while he was in law school.
"He doesn't have a ton of experience, so if there's any knock on him, that's it," said Palano. "But I know the kid, I know the passion he has for Timon High School. To coach here in South Buffalo, you have to know the heartbeat of the school, and he does.
"There are a lot of plusses. He certainly knows the game, he'll hustle and work hard. If he brings the same competitive spirit he did when he played, he'll be fine.
Palano said that Dave Comerford, Charlie's father and a coach when Charlie played, will also be part of the staff. Another assistant will be former Timon standout Nick Parisi, who, like Comerford and Fitzpatrick, are members of the school's Hall of Fame.
Palano agreed that one of the major benefits of hiring Comerford is to tap into a recent era of greatness at the school. Football has struggled since then, while overall enrollment remains behind other League AA members St. Joe's, Canisius and St. Francis.
"Our football has been down -- we haven't done well for various reasons," said Palano. "It's never anything bad as far as Al Monaco goes -- I taught him, I hired him. We've had a lack of talent, and it's tougher for us to compete. In football you need so many guys. In baseball you need five or six guys and two pitchers. In basketball you need two or three. In football you need 15-18 kids. We have a decent squad coming back, we just have to put things together.
"When kids see Charlie in the gym, they know him probably as the best athlete to ever come out of this building, along with Tommy Ryan. He was all-state in football and basketball and his third sport was baseball, and he was All-Catholic in that, too.
"With Charlie and guys like [current basketball and baseball assistant] Joe Mihalics, these are guys I love. Charlie is getting married this month, he has a house in the neighborhood not far from his dad's. Hopefully it will attract kids to the school. Face it, winning breeds kids and we need to win to get some kids. In sports, when you win, you get noticed."
* * *
Here are some additional quotes from Comerford:
"I think the kids are the same at Timon when I was there or in the 80s. We just have to get the best out of them, and I'm going to try my hardest. I think I can try to get couple more kids in school who haven't been playing to play, and once we start winning some games we'll get more kids, both kids in the school and [local] grade schools in the area. I think we'll get a better student-athlete in the near future.
"We've got to get the kids in school -- there are still great athletes, lacrosse is great and basketball is doing well. The kids are there.
"We have a cuple obstacles as far as enrollment goes, but when I was there from 1998 to 2000 it was the same number of kids. We had 25 to 20 kids and we competed with the St. Joe's, Canisius, St. Francis, Aquinas, Cathedral Prep. There's a little more disparity now, but I think the kids are the same. We have obstacles other schools don't have, but I don't see that as an excuse to lose."
Comerford has been back in Buffalo three years and works for a demolition and asbestos company; he lived in Washington, D.C., for three years and Cleveland for one.
As far as hands-on changes, he said he wanted to get the players into college-like workout programs.
"We need to have kids lifting more, with more college-based lift programs, not whatever they want to do it whenever they want to do it.
"I'm going to bring a brand of hard work to the kids -- we want to be more prepared than any team in Western New York. We were with coach Fitzpatrick. We had to work harder and we had to be more prepared than our opponent -- we had to be."
* * *
Timon football since Comerford graduated in 2001, which was the last season before a playoff was instituted in the Monsignor Martin Association (Timon has never appeared in the championship game at Ralph Wilson Stadium):
2001: 6-3, 2-1 (League AA co-champs with St. Francis)
2002: 4-4, 2-1
2003: 6-4, 1-2
2004: 5-4, 1-2
2005: 2-7, 0-3 (Paul Fitzpatrick's 28th and final year)
2006: 2-7, 1-2 (alum Al Monaco, Fitzpatrick's longtime assistant, takes over as coach)
2007: 3-7, 0-3
2008: 5-5, 0-3
2009: 1-9, 0-3
2010: 3-7, 0-3
* * *
My very bad: Monaco's record was 14-35. I erroneously computed the totals for the record that appeared in the paper and shorted it two wins. I caught it too late for the paper, while I was updating this blog with more info. We will run a correction.
April 29, 2011 - 5:23 PM
Bishop Timon-St. Jude, undefeated through nine games of a very tough lacrosse schedule, have another challenge awaiting Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers head to Irondequoit, the defending Section V (Rochester area) Class B champion, for an 11 a.m. game. Irondequoit is 5-2 with its only two losses very close ones to top teams in Section V Class A power Pittsford (9-0) by two goals and Massachusetts' Duxbury by three.
Timon, which boasts Division I-bound players like defenseman Brian Sullivan (North Carolina), goalie Dave Scarcello (Marist) and midfielder Sam Connors (Canisius), will take on a team that is loaded with Division I talent like Drew Colohan (Virginia), Colby Wehber (Canisius) and junior Nick Doktor (who basketball fans may remember from the Eagles' AA regional loss to Jamestown).
"They've got tons of athletes, but they're smart, too," said Timon coach Mike Burke. "They really know how to play."
Timon (see its schedule here) already has victories over teams from three different states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, California) as well as Aquinas of Section V. The Tigers have games remaining with Ontario's Hill Academy (postponed from this week to May 5), McQuaid of Section V as well as a highly anticipated game at Orchard Park on May 20.
I'll have more boys lacrosse in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.
* * *
Update: Timon falls, 13-7, at Irondequoit for the Tigers' first loss of the season. Standout defenseman Brian Sullivan with two goals for the Tigers.
No great shame for Timon (9-1) whatsoever. While Timon has talent, it doesn't have great depth, while Irondequoit does.
On a sidenote, it seems like Section V is playing at another level than Section VI these days, with OP suffering its two losses to Section V teams and Timon and Hamburg's only losses coming to neighbors down the Thruway.
Live from the Manhattan Cup semifinals: Canisius, St. Joe's will meet again in final (with video interviews)
February 26, 2011 - 5:58 PM
Hello from Canisius College for the Manhattan Cup semifinals. We'll do separate live blogs for each game below.
You can check our scoreboard with box scores of today's Section VI quarterfinals and we'll have the Manhattan Cup box scores there as soon as we can. Tonight's winners meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Canisius College.
Here's the postgame show from both games as Canisius and St. Joe's talk about their victories and their upcoming third meeting of the season.
Canisius talked about how defense keyed its win:
St. Joe's talked about how the Marauders rallied despite Reggie Agbeko going down in the opening seconds:
Here's my game story for Sunday's paper.
Stay tuned for what should be an exciting Championship Week, including a live blog from Wednesday's final.
For a look at the Section VI final fours and how those teams got there, check our video after Quarterfinal Friday.
February 12, 2011 - 12:55 AM
Williamsville South's Joe Licata has been a PrepTalkTV subject for his record-breaking football career, and Friday we saw him do his three-point shooting thing in basketball. It is part of a three-pronged episode featuring a big win for Maryvale and fine performance by Sacred Heart in our first visit to a girls hoops game.
Review the action -- thanks to video reporter/producer Lauren Mariacher -- and get our breakdown of the top games of the upcoming week:
* * *
My bad (chest-tap): Please excuse my stuffy voice due to my stuffed-up head and the cold I'm fighting.
* * *
You can find all of our videos easily by going to the video player and clicking "PrepTalkTV."
February 11, 2011 - 6:05 PM
It's a PrepTalkTV first as we tip off at a girls game -- and it's a great one as Nichols hosts Sacred Heart in the Monsignor Martin Association powers' second meeting of the season.
Here's our take on tonight:
As always, if you were at a game tonight, let us know how it went here in our comments section.
* * *
5:56 p.m. The cozy Nichols gym is getting cozier as fans file in for the big game. The girls are on the court for their pregame shootarounds. There are 13 minutes counting down on the scoreboard. The preceding game here was a St. Francis-Nichols JV boys game won by the visitors.
6:04 p.m. Both coaches -- Ron Torgalski of Nichols and Sister Maria Pares of Sacred Heart -- are standing under their baskets as their teams go through the final minutes of warmups.
6:14 p.m. We're tipping off.
6:17 p.m. Katie Healy reverse layup is answered by a Njideka Boble basket. An open Christina Healy off a nice pass. Katie Healy with a nice drive from the left side for a 6-2 Sacred Heart lead. Standout freshman Taylor Rooks is fouled with 5:49 left in the first; she misses both.
6:19 p.m. Taylor Rooks with a nice steal and drive; Sarah Pawlak answers inside off a nice bounce pass. Sacred Heart, 8-4. A runner by Sloan Walton for Nichols; travel on Sacred Heart with 4:22 left in first.
6:22 p.m. Rooks with a great hustle play to swipe a loose ball Sloan Walton hits a three for a 9-8 Nichols lead. Crowd loved it.
6:23 p.m. Katie Healy off a rebound; Sacred Heart, 10-9. Under three minutes. Nice baseline floater by Walton; Nichols, 11-10.
6:24 p.m. Katie Healy with a fast-break layup; Noble from Meghan Heldwein off nice ball movement from Nichols; Katie Healy with a nice reverse layup in traffic, nice awareness of where she was.
6:26 p.m. Sophomore LaTrice Hall of Sacred Heart drops a baseline jumper from the right side (right in front of me as I'm sitting on the court, photographer-style) just before the buzzer to give Sacred Heart a three-point lead.
At the end of the first quarter, Sacred Heart leads Nichols, 16-13.
6:29 p.m. Krissy Russo starts the second quarter the way Sacred Heart ended it -- hitting another three on a bank-shot.
6:30 p.m. Following a Nichols turnover, Bridget Andrews swishes a three from the left side for Sacred Heart for a 22-13 lead. That prompts a timeout by Nichols coach Torgalski with 6:47 left in the second quarter.
6:31 p.m. Rooks with a fast break; 22-15 Sacred Heart; Sharks travel; Nichols turnover; Sacred Heart miss; Nichols miss; Sarah Pawlak hits another three for Sacred Heart and the lead is 25-15 with under five minutes to play in the second.
6:34 p.m. Pawlak is fouled and hits one of two with 4:33 left in second; 26-15.
6:35 p.m. Another three by Sacred Heart as Pawlak drills one from the left baseline. Wow. Great shooting by the Sharks. Nichols calls another three-induced timeout with 3:36 left in the second quarter and Sacred Heart up, 29-15.
6:45 p.m. WOW what a finish to the quarter by Sacred Heart, which scored the quarter's last 17 points. Whoa.
At HALFTIME, Sacred Heart leads Nichols, 39-15.
A recap of the fantastic finish to a 23-2 quarter for Sacred Heart:
A Pawlak block of Rooks -- I believe her second in two possessions -- leads to a three-pointer by Russo for a 32-15 lead with 2:05 left. A turnover by Nichols was followed by a layup by Katie Healy with 1:40 left (34-15). A Pawlak steal translated to an un-boxed out Hall putting in an offensive rebound for a 36-15 lead. One free throw by Katie Healy and two by Russo in the final minute pushed the lead to 24.
6:51 p.m. I'm going to take off to Williamsville South to make sure I get a good seat for the Billies game with Bishop Timon-St. Jude. More updates to come.
7:36 p.m. Hello from Williamsville South, where we are plugged in courtside and we're about to tip off.
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About Prep Talk
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.
- #PrepTalkLive from the Cataract Classic: Timon-St. Jude beats Will North in OT
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- The 2013 All-Western New York football team: Links, videos & more
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- VIDEO: All-WNY football players, 'In their own words'
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