Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Listen to the Harvard Cup game

Today's 106th Harvard Cup championship between Burgard vs. Riverside at All High Stadium.(11 a.m.) will be broadcast on WJJL (1440 AM) as well as at wjjl.com and nhsbn.com. Pregame coverage begins at 10:40 a.m.

---Keith McShea

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

Who's going to win the Harvard Cup?

Ever since the Harvard Cup's opening weekend, when Burgard beat defending champion Riverside, those teams were expected by many to meet for the league's championship on Thanksgiving. And here we are.

The 106th Harvard Cup championship: Burgard vs. Riverside, 11 a.m. Thursday at All High Stadium.

The game will be broadcast on WJJL (1440 AM) as well as at wjjl.com and nhsbn.com. Pregame coverage begins at 10:40 a.m.

As always, discuss your vote and the game in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

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

Harvard Cup is set: Riverside vs. Burgard

You can make your Thanksgiving Day football plans, Harvard Cup fans.

Burgard beat Bennett, 25-14, this morning at All High Stadium in the second Harvard Cup semifinal.

As expected, it will be Burgard and Riverside battling it out on Thanksgiving Day in the Harvard Cup Championship game.

Burgard went up, 19-0, with Bennett scoring a late touchdown for a 19-8 halftime score. 

Defending champion Riverside beat Lafayette, 42-6, Friday evening

Thanks to correspondent John Hakes for the info -- look for his story in tomorrow's paper and of course online.

---Keith McShea

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

Friday Night Live: Week Two

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).

Here's what you think the best game of the weekend is.

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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

* * *

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.

* * *

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

* * *

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.

* * *

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. 

* * *

9:36 p.m. Back in the office and ready to write. Stay tuned.

* * *

10:32 p.m. Our scoreboard is getting updated by the minute.

* * *

1:16 a.m. Here's a link to our football roundup, featuring Frewsburg knocking off Maple Grove (wow!). The scoreboard (linked above) is complete. High School Extra has soccer, volleyball, tennis and field hockey. 

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.

* * *

Did you see a game tonight? Listen to one on the radio?

Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.

---Keith McShea

Lost games tough on Harvard Cup

It's a card every public school in the state has been dealt, but losing one game off the football season's schedule hits the Harvard Cup teams especially hard.

It was just a few years ago when the Buffalo Public Schools' league members added a nonleague date to each team's schedule.

The state's budget crisis sacked the Harvard Cup's opportunity to test its skills against the likes of Section V (Rochester area) power Aquinas and the Buffalo area's Catholic Schools (St. Joe's, Canisius and Cardinal O'Hara).

While the situation is something Riverside coach Tony Truilizio must accept since it's not going to change this year, he's still disappointed -- and not just because his defending Harvard Cup champions won't get a rematch against an Aquinas crew that handed the Frontiers their only loss of the 2008 season.

"They're a great benchmark team," Truilizio said. "You see where you stand when you play an Aquinas. ... It's just another step in the wrong direction for football (in general in the state). Where other states are playing at least three more games a season, in a four-year period, they would be playing five years (worth of games) compared to four (in New York) because of the extra games."

Do you think the public schools in Section VI and the Harvard Cup will ever get that additional game back?

---Miguel Rodriguez

Kickoff poll: Who will win the Harvard Cup?

The Harvard Cup doesn't get going until next weekend, so there's plenty of time to bounce this football around.

As always, feel free to tell us why you voted the way you did.

This is the seventh of seven preseason polls. Here are links to the polls for for Class AA, Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D and the Monsignor Martin Association.

The 2009 season kickoff is a little over 24 hours away. 

---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

Harvard Cup radio broadcasts in danger

This season is supposed to be the 10th anniversary season of Harvard Cup football games being broadcast weekly on the radio.

But not if they can't get enough sponsorship. 

Rich Kozak, who has been a driving force behind not only the radio broadcasts but the Harvard Cup Hall of Fame, says if he can't get sponsors to support the games he just won't be able to do them. Kozak is the Harvard Cup's biggest fan, and he works tirelessly (some would say insane-ly) out of his love for the league and its players.

However, there are costs involved in any radio operation that need to be covered. Several Buffalo companies have gotten involved in past years -- here's hoping someone steps up to support one of the very special things in Western New York high school sports.

Of course, the accessibility to games is excellent for friends and family near and far (the games are also broadcast on the Internet), but my favorite effect of the broadcasts comes during postgame interviews. You have to see the look on players faces after they've just won a big game at All High Stadium and they're being interviewed live on the radio. It's great stuff.  

The broadcasts are big-league quality, genuinely entertaining and very well done by a team led by Kozak, former Grover Cleveland coach and Hall of Famer Art Serotte and Roger Weiss. They've got stats, they've got opinions, they've even got a sideline reporter in John Pluto.

You can access broadcasts of the games via the National High School Broadcast Network (find New York and then search by the month -- there are also several state playoff games located there). 

Potential sponsors can reach Kozak by leaving a message at 627-5467 or emailing polagokoz@aol.com.

---Keith McShea

Advertisement

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

Subscribe

Advertisement