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Trench Trophy finalists announced

The Trench Trophy Committee has announced its finalists for this year's award to the top lineman in Western New York.

Troy Bigelow, Eden
Jasen Carlson, Southwestern
Dillon Gallagher, Williamsville South
Eric Harnden, Grand Island
Matt Hornung, Cheektowaga
Desmond Howard, St. Francis
Zach Marsh, Panama
Sean Mulhern, Riverside
Casey Shreve, North Tonawanda
Kyle Shreve, North Tonawanda

Finalists will be honored at the annual Trench Trophy banquet on Dec. 9 at the Lancaster Elks Lodge, 33 Legion Parkway, Lancaster. Tickets are available via reservation by calling the Lancaster Elks at 685-1478 or by calling Carl Kuras at 698-1893. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner will follow at approximately 6:30 PM. The cost per ticket is $20.

---Keith McShea

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

Prep Talk Live's B regional replay: Hornell hammers Cheektowaga, 48-12

Check the Prep Talk Live page for live coverage of the Far West Regionals this weekend including outstanding photography from The News' Mark Mulville.

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

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

Prep Talk Live's Class B replay: Cheektowaga outlasts Alden, 27-13

Check the Prep Talk Live page for outstanding photography from The News' Mark Mulville.

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

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

More sights and sounds from Cheektowaga boys soccer

Last week I headed out to do research on the fine boys soccer seasons going on in Cheektowaga -- both for Maryvale and the Warriors of "Central" (that's Cheektowaga Central to those who only visit the Galleria or the airport and aren't down with the lingo).

Maryvale is hoping to fill up the blank banner that hangs in the gym, so they keep a reminder of it in their locker room. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) Cheektowaga was undefeated -- up until Monday night, hours before my story had to be finalized for Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight. Call it the Spotlight jinx -- I did a story on Iroquois golf being undefeated a few weeks ago, and the Chiefs lost on the Monday before the story came out.

It's always great to get out and see teams in their own environment. Even just a few moments spent with Cheektowaga before their game and watching them play the first half against Springville last Thursday gave me a good look at a team that has come a long way.

I saw their photo of their empty banner in the locker room and snapped a shot of it. Despite Cheektowaga's 3-1 loss to Maryvale Monday night, the Warriors can still wrap up the school's first soccer championship of any kind on Wednesday at home against winless Pioneer.

After seeing Cheektowaga take a 2-0 first-half lead in what would be a 3-1 win over Springville, I headed up Union Road to Maryvale, were I saw them finish off a 3-0 victory over Depew. Included was an extremely pretty goal which began with a one-touch from a midfielder to the left wing to Dan Fox, who one-touched it back across the middle, where Jared Starzynski one-touched it into the net. Great stuff.

Cheektowaga's first loss of the season didn't exactly mess up my story -- since it was a loss to Maryvale it actually worked right into the storyline of how both teams from the town are having great seasons.

Both programs' coaches -- Cheektowaga's Matt Haberl and Maryvale's Tom Staebell -- lauded the Cheektowaga Soccer Club for aiding in player development in the town. Check out the Cheektowaga Soccer Club site here.

Here are a couple of plays from Cheektowaga's game against Springville -- one goal (where the ball girl had her head in the game) and one save.

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win Class B football?

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.

As with all of our polls, we want to hear how and why you voted. Let us know in the comment space below.

Be sure to vote in all of the polls: Class AA, Class A, Class C and Class D.

---Keith McShea

How The News voted: Preseason practice

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. 

One final look back is here with the 2008 final poll, and here's our 2009 look forward:

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) [2] - 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) [3] - 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) [9] - 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) [7] - 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) [4] - 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) [5] - 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) [6] - 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) [8] - 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.

Small schools

1. Southwestern (13-0) [2] - Too many weapons back to not be in this spot.

2. Maple Grove (13-0) [1] - 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) [3] - 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) [4] - 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) [7] - 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) [9] - When in doubt, rank the teams that are usually ranked.

7. Alden (8-1) [5] - Might be generous considering what they lost in graduation.

8. Cardinal O'Hara (6-4) [10] - 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).

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

Also, visit here Wednesday for a live chat with yours truly at 7 p.m.

---Keith McShea

Scribbling down scrimmages: Saturday's lineup

Saturday is the first day football teams can scrimmage each other.

Below is a list we've compiled from your responses to the Kicking off 2009 football talk post as well as some other research.

PLEASE let us know of any inaccuracies, updates or additions via the comments section below or an email to kmcshea@buffnews.com Thanks.

Also, check out a statewide scrimmage list from the NYS Sportswriters Association.

* * *

Saturday's scrimmages

Cardinal O'Hara at Cleveland Hill, 8 a.m.

St. Francis, Sweet Home and East at Lockport, 9 a.m.

Williamsville North, Burgard, Starpoint and Kenmore West at Clarence, 9 a.m.

Maple Grove and Clymer at Cassadaga Valley, 9 a.m.

V-Hornell at Olean, 9 a.m.

Alden, Wilson and Lew-Port at Medina, 9:30 a.m.

East Aurora and Gowanda at Cattaraugus/Little Valley, at 9:30 a.m.

Riverside and Grand Island at North Tonawanda, 10 a.m.

Maryvale, Grover Cleveland, Eden and three others -- yup, a seven-team scrimmage -- at Williamsville South, 10 a.m.

West Seneca East and Cheektowaga at Canisius, 10 a.m. (Stransky Complex at 2885 Clinton St., West Seneca)

St Joe's at Orchard Park, 10 a.m.

Salamanca, V-Dansville and V-Wellsville at Pioneer, 10 a.m.

Hamburg at Jamestown, 10 a.m.

Southwestern at Randolph, 10 a.m.

Frontier and Lackawanna at Iroquois, 5 p.m.

West Seneca West, Lake Shore and Kenmore East at Amherst, 6 p.m.

Depew and Niagara-Wheatfield at Williamsville East, TBA

Batavia at Albion, TBA

Lancaster at V-Webster Schroeder, 9:30 a.m.

Newfane and V-Charles Finney at V-Elba/Byron-Bergen, 10 a.m.

Niagara Falls, V-Hilton, V-Marshall, V-Spencerport at V-Greece-Olympia, 10 a.m.

---Keith McShea

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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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