The education of the Western New York high school football fan continues tonight.
Will Orchard Park have another close one? Can Cardinal O'Hara head to the Southtowns and knock off St. Francis?
Will Frontier, North Tonawanda, Iroquois and Hamburg continue their winning ways among large schools?
Who will get the first win in the Harvard Cup?
The kickoff of the Buffalo Public Schools' Harvard Cup, which has Hutch-Tech taking on Grover Cleveland at All High Stadium, is the first of 25 games that will be kicked off tonight as Week Two gets started. You can listen to the first Intense Milk Harvard Cup Game of the Week at 5 p.m. at WJJL (1440 AM), WJJL.com or via the National High School Broadcast Network.
The Williamsville North at North Tonawanda game is on WGR (550 AM).
Stay here through the night as we'll have updates as soon as we get them.
Also, tune your twitter to "bufnewspreptalk" to get instant updates of the scores as soon as they are reported to us. We also have a fan page at Facebook -- just search "The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog" -- and you'll get updates with links to our high school sports stories.
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6:04 p.m. It's the start of our football night, but we've already been way up to Middleport for research on a girls volleyball story which features Roy-Hart (and there were tons of purple-football-jersey-wearing Ram fans walking around. I was also over at Canisius High to check out a few plays from their boys volleyball match that officially opened the school's new field house.
We watched some late second-quarter action of Hutch-Tech against Grover Cleveland in the Harvard Cup opener, including a touchdown and two-point conversion that gave the Engineers a 14-8 lead over Grover at halftime.
The scoring drive began with an interception by Tech (above), which then drove down the field and got a 7-yard TD run (below) by senior Antae Miller, who stretched out the ball ahead of him and jusssst broke the plane for the score.
Tech added a two-point conversion on a pass. I've got video of those plays and will get them up soon.
Tech scored first on a rushing touchdown by senior quarterback Mark Horne. Grover scored on a wild play in which senior tight end Dontay Byrd caught a pass that was deflected and then ran 64 yards for the touchdown.
We're writing this from the new press box at All High Stadium -- that's right, the new press box. It has been built behind the stands. The old one is still on the stadium roof, and the stairway leading to it remains boarded off and guarded full-time. I just shake my head when I think about that stairway.
The new press box is a good one, a decent space with a tables and electrical hookups, with a good view of the action despite some pillars in front of us.
With a bunch of games starting at 7 and 7:30 p.m. in the Southtowns, I'm going to get my fill down there -- I think I'll start at St. Francis, but there are games at Frontier, Hamburg, Lackawanna and Orchard Park as well. We'll see.
I'm heading to the parking lot and turning on the radio broadcast of this game.
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7:01 p.m. We're in the St. Francis parking lot and just posted some video highlights from the Harvard Cup game. Hutch-Tech still leads and the awesome Harvard Cup radio crew is letting an official have it for throwing a celebration flag on Grover after a big touchdown. "That's the worst call I've ever seen!" said Hall of Fame coach Art Serotte. Grover scores on the two-point conversion to go up, 22-20, on Tech. Great stuff. O'Hara-St. Francis just kicked off. I'm headed to the sidelines.
7:07 p.m. Holey crud. While I fixed some blog stuff, Cardinal O'Hara returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown (I believe that's how they scored -- there were 15 seconds gone on the scoreboard) and has a 7-0 lead on the host Red Raiders. I gotta get out of the car.
7:25 p.m. Back in the car and hitting up google for "iPhone reboot" after our phone went kaput. Ugh. It was fine in the car, then I got to the field and it was dead. Uh-oh.
On the radio, I just heard a riled-up Rick Kozak hollering that Grover beat Tech, 28-20. Quite the opener there. I kind of feel bad I don't have any Grover highlights here, but it was all Tech there at the end of the first half.
7:31 p.m. Thank you, apple.com. A reboot and we're fine. It appeared that a little piece of fuzz or paper got stuck in the slot where you put the battery in and maybe shorted it out or something. Oh well. We're back up and running and we're headed to another game.
I don't have any video or pictures, but St. Francis and O'Hara are tied at 7-7. It turns out that O'Hara scored on its first play of scrimmage, an 80-yard run by -- I believe -- Robert Davis. St. Francis answered with a very pretty play facing a fourth-and-9 at the O'Hara 19 as senior quarterback Michael Chuchia put up a pretty pass in the right corner for senior Roland Kerr, who made the grab with plenty of room for his feet to land in the end zone. Very nice play. There is 7:46 left in the second quarter.
Too many games and not a lot of time, so I'm outta here.
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7:39 p.m. I park far away from Frontier's far-away field, run through three parking lots (hey, it's good exercise) and I hear the PA announcer getting excited because Mark Schuster just scored on a 56-yard touchdown run -- but I'm still far away from the far-away field. Whoops. The Falcons take a 7-0 lead on West Seneca West.
7:54 p.m. I leave Frontier after seeing the Falcons on a nice defensive series (including the big sack above). I'd expect them to add to their lead, although the Falcons failed on a series just before I left. I think I'm headed to Hamburg next
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8:03 p.m. Whoops again. Hamburg is at halftime with a 13-3 lead over Grand Island -- looks like a great game, but halftime just started and there's 15 minutes on the clock. I'm outta here. North to Lackawanna we go.
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8:27 p.m. Whoa. I arrive and Lackawanna is down, 14-6, to Pioneer in the second quarter.
Pioneer was deep in Lackawanna territory, but the Steelers stopped a run (above) and got a big sack (below) to get some key field position back.
Pioneer called a timeout, but I don't have any time to spare. I run back to the parking lot -- where I parked illegally -- and head to Orchard Park.
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8:49 p.m. I'm guessing OP is now in the third quarter. I'm here, but in the car doing some updating via my laptop. I gotta head to the office at about 9:15 p.m. at the latest.
9:02 p.m. The good news is that WGR is doing high school football. The bad news is that they picked North Tonawanda's home game against Williamsville North, which was a blowout waiting to happen.
And it sure happened. NT went up, 49-0, at the halftime. It just went final: NT wins, 63-0. Yikes.
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9:18 p.m. I'm hitting the road after Orchard Park took a 28-10 lead over Jamestown on a touchdown run (below) by Okoya Anderson which came on the last play of the third quarter. He had a nice gain a play earlier (above) just after OP stopped Jamestown on downs in OP territory.
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9:36 p.m. Back in the office and ready to write. Stay tuned.
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10:32 p.m. Our scoreboard is getting updated by the minute.
As for the games I stopped by, it just proves the old adage: you can't tell a game by the two minutes of game action you see :-)
When I left All High, Hutch-Tech seemed OK with a lead. When I left St. Francis, it was a tie game. When I left Frontier, it was a one-touchdown lead. When I left Lackawanna, Pioneer was up and the Steeler sideline seemed to be getting nervous.
Six football games from about 5:30 to about 9:15 p.m. I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love my job.
But I'm tired. Good night.
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Did you see a game tonight? Listen to one on the radio?
Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.
These are the updates to the football schedule we have received, almost all a result of the dropout fall out caused by Brocton, Hinsdale and Walsh pulling the plug on their seasons:
Sherman vs. Forestville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Clymer at West Valley - Saturday, Sept. 5, 1:30 p.m. Week Two
Portville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Falconer at Randolph - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Pine Valley at Westfield - Friday, Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m. Week Three
West Valley at Pine Valley - Friday, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m.
V-Charles Finney at Salamanca - Saturday, Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Bishop Timon-St. Jude has a bye week (after being scheduled against Walsh) Week Four
Cattaraugus-Little Valley vs. Forestville at Silver Creek - Friday, Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. Week Five
Randolph at Portville - Friday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. Week Six
Silver Creek at Franklinville - Friday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. Week Seven
Frewsburg at Ellicottville - Friday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. Niagara Catholic at Allegany-Limestone - Friday, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.
The third straight loss in a state championship game is especially painful for T'ana Abt and her senior classmates. Many of them won regional and district Little League titles together. They had hoped to go out together as high school state champions by winning the one trophy that had slipped through their grasps. Instead, they were denied by a Mechanicville team devoid of seniors.
"It feels like a family breaking up," said senior Mary Kate Bongiovanni. "When we look back at this when we're older, we're going to realize we had so much fun -- and that not too many teams can say they've been to the state finals three years in a row."
"[The loss] hurts the girls but they're a great bunch," Hillbillies coach Dave Polechetti said. "I've been very fortunate to coach a great group of girls. I thanked them during the awards ceremony for taking me on a great ride the past few years."
This marks the third straight year Section VI has failed to win a state softball title.
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Frewsburg baseball coach Jay Grann loved the way his pitchers got the Bears to a 3-0 victory over Seton Catholic in the Class C semifinals.
"They were phenomenal," Grann said of his pitchers. "They were able to make plays, and they trust their defense to do that for them."
BINGHAMTON -- Good afternoon from muggy NYSEG Field. We're here live for the Class AA baseball state semifinals between Clarence and Section II's Columbia High School. Opening pitch was scheduled for 1 p.m., but didn't come until 2:12 p.m. The first semifinal went 3 hours, 21 minutes as Mamaroneck of Section I defeated Massapequa of Section VIII, 4-3, in 11 innings.
Zach Lauricella is on the hill for the Red Devils. He struck out two, hit a batter and induced a ground out to get out of the top of the first inning, then laced an RBI double to right field to put Clarence up 1-0 in the bottom. A sacrifice fly by Adam Urschel later scored Lauricella and Clarence is up, 2-0, after the first inning.
I'm also tracking the Class B semifinal between Fredonia and Section III's Westhill. That one got started at the 1 p.m. scheduled time, so I was able to catch a little more than an inning at nearby Conlon Field. The Hillbillies lead, 1-0, on a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning from Anthony Polvino. Updates will be sporadic as I try and follow two games at different locations, but be sure to check back often.
3:59 p.m.: Super-quick update: Fredonia loses in Class B, 4-2, while Frewsburg advances to the Class C state title game. The Bears beat Section VI (Binghamton area) champion Seton Catholic, 3-0, and will face Maple Hill in the final at 4 p.m.
4:02 p.m.: Super-quick update II: Clarence advances to the Class AA title game with a 2-1 win. Complete game for Lauricella. Off to get quotes, title game should start about 4:35 p.m. here at NYSEG Stadium.
4:43 p.m.: Here's some additional information from Frewsburg's 3-0 semifinal victory over Seton Catholic in the Class C semifinal. Starting pitcher Asa Johnson went 5.1 innings, striking out 9 and giving up just two hits and two walks. Jake Sleasman had an RBI double in the first inning to score Dalton Scalf with the winning run. The news isn't all good for the Bears, though, as they trail, 7-2, in the Class C title game in the bottom of the second inning to Maple Hill. That update comes courtesy of correspondent Dan Scotchmer.
4:52 p.m.: We're underway in the Class AA title game between Clarence and Mamaroneck and I'm finally catching my breath. Wind is picking up and some dark clouds are rolling in, so I've got my fingers crossed for no rain delays. Check back later for updates.
5:59 p.m.: The news isn't good out of Binghamton for Section VI fans. Here at NYSEG Stadium, Clarence trails, 7-2, after four innings. Red Devils starter Derek Hoffman went 2.2 innings, allowing 7 runs, 6 of which were earned, on 7 hits. In the Class C final, Frewsburg trails Maple Hill, 18-2, through five innings. News photographer Mark Mulville made the trip down I-81 South from the state track championships in Syracuse to get some shots from both games, so be sure to check those out in Sunday's print edition. And lastly, before I forget, a huge thank you to Scott Stutzman, assistant principal at Fredonia, for his help in tracking the Class B semifinal earlier via cellphone.
6:18 p.m.: We have a final in Class C, 19-2, Maple Hill defeats Frewsburg. The Bears ran out of pitching, according to Scotchmer. It's 8-2 Mamaroneck in the top of the sixth inning after a titanic home run by Matt McGovern. The shot to right brought chants of "MVP" from the Tigers fans in attendance.
6:53 p.m.: We have a final in Class AA, 12-2, Mamaroneck defeats Clarence. The Tigers broke it open with five runs over the last two innings. That's it for live updates from NYSEG Stadium, have a great night.
Saturday could be a very big day for Section VI. It certainly could be a big day for any number of teams.
In and around Binghamton, Clarence (Class AA), Fredonia (B) and Frewsburg (C) will participate in the baseball state final four. At Waterloo, Fredonia (B) and Randolph (C) will play in the softball final four. At downtown Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium (formerly Paetec Park), the Orchard Park boys lacrosse team will try and win Section VI's first state championship in that sport.
Orchard Park lacrosse might have an advantage in having to only play one game (the baseball and softball teams have to win a semifinal and a final for a state title), but the Quakers are charged with reversing decades of history in the sport.
What's your pick? Let us know how you voted in the comment space below. I'll have my pick as we get started on Saturday.
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.
Lauren Nicole Mariacher joined The News in 2009 after graduating from the Columbia University School of Journalism. The Elma native and Iroquois graduate can usually be found on a sideline, capturing highlights for PrepTalkTV. She also hosts Prep Talk's weekly live show, with Keith McShea, as well as The News' live postgame Bills show — [BN]TheHuddle.