We're doing our running-around-to-games thing tonight, and for the second straight night we're doing a Twitter experiment. I'll be much more mobile if I just tweet, so that's what I'll probably do while I'm running around. At the end of the night I'll provide some overall thoughts and details here.
And if you are out at any kind of varsity high school action, tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores.
You just might win the #preptalkscores Tweet of the Night (check out last night's).
Here's the plan: Hutch-Tech at Riverside (6 p.m.), MST Seneca vs. I-Prep/Grover at Medaille (6), Emerson vs. OTC Middle College at Waterfront (6), Tonawanda at Lackawanna (7) and Williamsville East at Hamburg (7:30).
Here we go. See you on the tweeter.
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You can check out the tweets for my travels ... here are some video highlights ..
Foremost among them is the history-making moment for Tonawanda's Jesse Lalka -- yes, it's a free throw, but it was cruicial in putting the undefeated Warriors up four in the final seconds of a 46-41 win at Lackawanna. Scroll down for six highlights, plus interviews, from that one.
Pretty cool "Jess-ee Lal-kaa!" chant after the big point.
If it's the last Saturday of August, it must be Scrimmage Saturday, and we must be on our way to seeing as much football action as we can.
We'll be bopping around Western New York today -- as we have the last two years -- to catch as much football as we can in a limited time.
Disclaimer/explainer: Regular visitors to the blog know how much I love it when fans cite scrimmages as evidence for one team being better than another during the regular season, especially when it comes to the discussion of our polls. Just because I'm interested in all of the scrimmages (and getting to as many as I can), and learning about teams and players, they are still scrimmages. Once the season starts, I don't want to hear about them. :-)
If you're out and about like we are today, we want your reviews and breakdowns of what you saw. Keep it in context -- try and notice which first-team units are out there and what the teams are trying to do. Be sure to comment here our on our Facebook page, tweet us at @KeithMcSheaBN or send an email.
8:34 a.m. We are on our way. I met up with photographer Mark Mulville at One News Plaza and we're headed to Cheektowaga for our kickoff.
Eden, Springville, Tonawanda and West Seneca East are visiting Cheektowaga. We're planning a quick stop before heading nearby to Cleveland Hill.
9:22 a.m. Great start to the day for us -- and for Eden. The Raiders, known for their ground-and-pound-and win formula, threw for two touchdowns against Cheektowaga -- including one on the first play of the scrimmage! -- and added in another touchdown as we were leaving.
We were on hand for some warmups before things got started, with Tonawanda coach Rob Gross asking his team, quite loudly, "What's this half-speed!? Why are we doing anything half speed?!"
After a fairly lenghty prepractice address by the officials, we got started as the head referee said, "Rock and roll, Scott," to Cheektowaga coach Scott Zipp.
And early misstep by Cheektowaga against Eden prompted a "Do your job!" admonition from an assistant coach to a player.
On the other half of the field, West Seneca East scored a TD against Tonawanda.
And let's go to the video:
Above is our first play of our season as West Seneca East got things off and running against Tonawanda.
Talk about a great start for Eden. This is their first play as their offense went against Cheektowaga.
A nice run for Eden.
9:30 a.m. Just about to pull in to Cleveland Hill. (Reminder for any hey-buddy-keep-your-hands-on-the-wheel fans: Mulville is driving).
9:37 a.m. iPhone update from Cleve Hill, where they haven't started due to Silver Creek being late. This may screw up some of our travel plans. We'll see.
9:48 a.m. Official addresses teams: "Next week it starts for real, today's for fun."
10:24 a.m. Back in Mulville's Honda heading north to Lockport. It's a super bummer that Cleve Hill was behind because we're a half hour off the ideal schedule I had set up for the day. That's alright. Every game (and every assignment) isn't going to go as planned and you've got to make those key adjustments, right?
On the bright side, we saw the first-stringers for all four teams at Cleve Hill. The defenses ruled the first round as a fired-up Silver Creek unit bottled up Burgard and the Cleve Hill defense kept Cardinal O'Hara out of the end zone.
Daryl Spencer had a nice sack for a big loss for Cleve Hill on defense, then looked very good with some rollout completions on offense. Zeddie Williams, who should be the feature back after the graduation of older brother Zach, looked solid out of the backfield for Silver Creek. Burgard also had some very solid run stops.
Here are the top videos from Cleve Hill:
10:36 a.m. It's a long trip to Lockport. We're just on to Transit from Millersport & the I-990. Six top programs in action up at Emmet Belknap Intermediate: St. Francis, Sweet Home, North Tonawanda, Williamsville South, Grand Island and the host Lions.
Trying to plot out a backup plan -- a main stop for us is Orchard Park, which is hosting Canisius in a scrimmage that started at 10.
11:02 a.m. Got to Lockport in time to catch the tail end of Jordan Johnson of Sweet Home leading the offense against Will South. Johnson and Sweet Home looked to be moving the ball fairly effectively -- he had a touchdown pass to the far left side of the field called back on a penalty. We didn't see a ton of Sweet Home against Will South but we saw a few more plays against Lockport.
Williamsville South and Grand Island were paired up on the other end and there were some hard hits, including a busted play for South that almost resulted in a hit on coach Kraig Kurzanski, who was in the customary coaches' spot behind the huddle.
St. Francis finished strong on defense against Grand Island and then paired up with North Tonawanda. I caught the second half of that pairing, with NT making some nice stops on defense.
Here's our best video from Lockport:
11:31 a.m. We're on the road again, heading south and hoping to fit in a stop at Riverside but that might not be a great decision with OP are key final stop.
11:37 a.m. Just talked to PrepTalkTV partner Lauren Mariacher at Canisius. The first-stringers are done there -- she has video and interviews from there so I might not go down there. I think we'll head to Riverside.
11:40 a.m. Just checked in with Lauren again. Canisius and OP will be on the field for another hour, so Mark and I are going to squeeze in a visit to Riverside, which is hosting McKinley, Bishop Timon-St. Jude and Maple Grove.
Even if we stay just a few moments, we'll be able to get some video, photos and some looks at the teams. Right now we've seen 14 teams in three stops.
With Scrimmage Saturday, it's certainly about quantity, not quality.
11:54 a.m. And JUST when we think we've come up with a great plan, we pull into the Riverside parking lot and pass a kid wearing orange-and-black carrying his shoulder pads out.
"That's not a good sign," says Mark.
It wasn't. The Riverside field was empty.
The kid was from McKinley. Arghhhhhhh.
If I wrote what I'm feeling right now, I'd get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maybe two.
Off to OP. Arrrrrrgh. Sigh.
1 p.m. We caught the very end of the Canisius scrimmage at Orchard Park, did some interviews and filmed an intro for PrepTalkTV. Lauren Mariacher is working on that and it'll be posted later today.
I'm headed back to One News Plaza to get some more videos and details posted before heading out to evening scrimmages at Iroquois and Amherst.
More updates to come ...
3:02 p.m. Here is the finished PrepTalkTV product (now starring on the buffalonews.com home page):
3:49 p.m. I've posted a bunch of video here, and I'll have more to come from the six-team Lockport scrimmage as well as some from my next two stops -- Iroquois and Amherst.
4:26 p.m. Hello from the awesome back field setting at Iroquois.
5:40 p.m. Note to football coaches and athletic directors. If you want Prep Talk hanging out at your scrimmage for a long time, have it at night :-).
Got a good long look -- along with the Prep Talk blog's "Milt Latimer" -- at Lackawanna, Frontier, Iroquois and Niagara-Wheatfield, seeing all of their first-strings go at in in their second go-round of '1's.
Lackawanna was very impressive with Keith Taggart leading the way not only at running back but on defense. Some big hits there.
Niagara-Wheatfield sure looked the part, sporting uniforms which looked ready for gameday, right down to every player's pulled-up red calf socks with a black Falcon logo on them. Coming off a winless season and with a new coach in Tim Hagerty, the program looks like it has a little spark. The sideline was extremely into the final offensive session against Iroquois in the first go-round.
Iroquois and Frontier both had good spurts in their session against each other, some nice run stuffs and scoring drives. Frontier got a spark on its offensive series after it made a change at quarterback.
It looked like a productive scrimmage for all four teams.
Here are the video highlights, which were included the best stuff I saw all day:
With six stops and 20 teams seen, now I'm off to Amherst for the final stop of the day.
6:25 p.m. Arrived at Amherst, which is hosting West Seneca West, Kenmore East and Hutch-Tech.
7:09 p.m. Saw some nice play at Amherst's Dimp Wagner Alumni Field, where it appeared that the hosts were the top unit -- not too surprising based on last season and the Tigers' returning experienced players, but certainly impressive nonetheless. Amherst is very fast, and they showed it off on both sides of the ball against a West Seneca West unit that made a few unforced errors, including some turnovers on offense. The Tigers had one player sprint from the backside to chase down a run, and also sped to big gains off of short passes.
Hutch-Tech had some nice run stops and moved the ball better than Kenmore East did in their two series.
And check this out -- I call it a day and walk off the field, and as I walk out of the gate, I run into Tonawanda coach Rob Gross. He was the first coach I saw this morning, and the last coach I see as I leave. Can't make this stuff up.
I think that gives us a very strong finish to our Scrimmage Saturday -- looks like we're ready to go for next weekend.
Hello once again from Buffalo State, and a big apology. We had some power problems here at the start, but should be good to go now.
We're in the second quarter of the first Section VI Class A-2 semifinal between No. 3-seed Bennett and No. 2 Kenmore East. It's Big Wednesday in the high school basketball world, as colleague Keith McShea coined it earlier today. Keith is at Canisius covering the Manhattan Cup, while Tyler Dunne is down in Jamestown, covering the Class C semis. We've got all the bases covered tonight.
We'll be live the rest of the night, so stick with us.
4:36 left in the second quarter: A pair of free throws by William Vanoy has given Bennett a 23-9 lead.
3:05 left:A 7-0 run by East has cut the score to 23-16. Dante Bono has five of those points for the Bulldogs.
1:00 left: P.J. Blanch put on a sick dribbling display there for Ken East, drawing a reaching foul, but he missed the front end of a 1-and-1, so East still trails, 31-18.
Halftime: Bennett 32, Kenmore East 22. A nice drive and layup by Bono brought the half to a close.
First-half notes: Both teams are led by a few select scorers. For Bennett, William Vanoy has 11, Mckenzie Brown has 8, Forest Richardson leads with 12 and Kevin Johnson has 1. Dante Bono leads the Bulldogs with 10, while John Alessandra has 8. P.J. Blanch has 2, as does Jakai Daniels.
6:47 left: Eden Asipi cleans up a miss and puts it back and the Bulldogs are making a game of it with the first four points of the quarter.
5:32 left:Bennett gets the next four to get its lead back up to 10, with buckets by, who else, Vanoy and Richardson. It's 36-26.
4:44 left: The pace has slowed a bit with fouls on both ends. After Bono went 1 of 2 for East, Vanoy hit a pair for the Tigers, who lead, 38-27.
2:58 left:Steal and bucket in transition for Derrick Turner gives the Bulldogs a 40-29 lead and frustrates East, which thought Bono got fouled underneath. He probably did, but no call.
2:43 left: Bono hits a three after a nice set play to beat a 2-3 zone. Bennett's up 40-32.
1:24 left: Bono is trying to shoot the Bulldogs back into it. He hits a deep three from the right wing to make it 42-35.
End of third quarter: Bennett 42, Kenmore East 37. This is as close East has been since almost the tip.
6:02 left: Bulldogs are getting a huge lift from Alessandra, who has five points this quarter -- the only points scored -- to tie the game. He just completed a traditional three-point play after a strong drive to the basket. Bennett has called timeout.
5:23 left: Bulldogs call timeout to maintain possession with it still tied at 42. Important because East has just two timeouts left now.
4:51 left: Back-to-back turnovers by East has led to five points by Bennett. A transition layup by Richardson and a three-pointer by Derrick Turner. Huge momentum changer. Bennett leads, 47-42.
Stoppage in play with 4:05 left after a collision between Bono and Vanoy resulted in a cut above the eye of the Bennett player. He's being attended to by the trainers on the Bennett bench.
3:05 left: Derrick Turner with his second huge three-pointer of the final quarter to give Bennett an eight-point lead, 50-42.
1:47 left: Bono with a transition layup to cut it to six, 50-44.
1:07 left: Full timeout by East, which has one left. The Bulldogs trail, 52-44, after Richardson hit a layup for Bennett after the Tigers broke the press.
:29.1 seconds left: Bono can SHOOT. He hits two silly-deep threes to pull East within four, 54-50. Timeout by Bennett.
:11.5 left: Bono fouls out, a huge blow to East's chances. Vanoy goes to the line and makes 1 of 2 to put Bennett up five.
Final: Bennett 57, Kenmore East 50. Off for interviews.
Bennett coach Randy Rakowski
Bennett senior Forest Richardson
We're back for the second game, with the starters.
Will South: Stasiak-Licata-O'Connell-Hansen-Adams
3:52 left: Timeout, H-T, after losing an 8-2 lead. Engineers now trail, 9-8, after a reverse layup by Erik Hansen of South.
2:50 left: Stasiak to the line. He hits 1 of 2 and it's tied at 10.
2:22 left: Stasiak for a three to put the Billies ahead, 13-10.
End of first quarter: South leads, 18-12. Stasiak hit another three for the Billies. Updates will probably be limited for the next hour or so while I write a story for our print edition.
7:19 left: Hansen with a great tip-in off a Stasiak missed three. Hansen was fouled on the play, as well, but missed the free throw. It's 20-12, Billies.
6:11 left: Full timeout by H-T coach David Rappl. His team trails, 22-15.
4:01 left: Joe Licata fouled on a three-pointer for South, but he misses 2 of 3. South is up, 25-19.
Halftime: Will South leads, 27-25.
Scoring update: Hutch-Tech -- Andrew Strugg has 4, Marcus Nelson's got 9, Nelson Clark with 4, Maurice Miles has 2, Denzell Washington has 2, as do John Cherry and Tim Whitehead.
Will South -- Aaron Adams has 5, Joe Licata 1, Dan Schaus 4, Phil Stasiak's got 7, Kevin O'Connell with 6, and Erik Hansen with 4.
4:39 left: Stop me if you've heard this before: a three-pointer for Joe Licata. His first of the game gives the Billies a 34-27 lead.
:48.8 seconds left: Consecutive baskets in transition, one by Miles and one by Nelson, has given Hutch-Tech a 40-36 lead.
Note: Bennett is on a 13-0 run.
:22.5 left: Stasiak stops the run with a free throw, making it 42-37.
End of third quarter: Hutch-Tech leads, 45-37. Engineers ended the third quarter on a 16-1 run.
4:34 left: Will South senior Aaron Adams gets good position inside and finishes the layup to pull the Billies within two, 47-45. Adams is a 6-foot-4 senior.
:21.7 seconds left: Will South has completed the comeback and looks like it will advance. Phil Stasiak had the play of the game, a driving layup on which he was fouled with :55.2 seconds left. Stasiak hit the free throw to give the Billies a 56-52 lead.
:13.8 left: A desperation three-pointer is off the mark for the Engineers, and South is going to advance. Schaus is at the line for the Billies. He hits them both and it's 61-52.
Final: South 61, Hutch-Tech 52. Final score doesn't indicate just how close the game was. Back later after interviews with some audio.
Here's a couple postgame interviews from the winning side:
Tonight marks one of the biggest days on the high school basketball calendar: Section VI's Quarterfinal Friday.
There are 28 games across seven classes tonight, with the winners advancing to the final four at Buffalo State (Classes AA, A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2) or Jamestown Community College (C and D). Prepare for the big night by reviewing game previews for almost all of the matchups on our scoreboard page.
Here's our video preview of the night:
Today's snowstorm has postponed four games as of 3:15 p.m. -- all of which were to be hosted by Southern Tier teams.
Section VI boys basketball chairmain Jim Walker said that the Class D matchups of Olmstead at Sherman, North Collins at Panama and Ellicottville at Clymer, as well as the Class B-1 game of Buffalo Arts at Dunkirk have all been postponed to Saturday at 2 p.m.
PrepTalkTV will visit some early games before settling in for the evening at Williamsville North, which is hosting McKinley at 7 p.m. in a highly anticipated Class AA quarterfinal.
We'll have a live blog of the action from Will North, and we'll provide updates from other games as we receive them; feel free to join the chat via your smartphone or chime in afterwards in our comments section. The same scoreboard page that has the previews during the day will be updated with results and box scores as soon as we receive them at One News Plaza.
5:24 p.m. The first game of the night is a 5 p.m. start for Sweet Home at Hutch-Tech, and the host Engineers have rebounded very nicely after a slow start.
Maurice Miles just took two defenders to the hole and scored for a basket and a foul; he hit the basket for a 26-24 lead with 2:41 left in the second quarter. Sweet Home scored the first seven points of the game and led after one quarter, 17-12. Hutch-Tech has stepped up the defense and is rebounding very well. Sweet Home has brought its usual energy but they've had trouble finishing shots. Miles has been too much to handle for Sweet Home defenders while Hutch-Tech has gotten good contributions from other players, including John Cherry and Marcus Nelson, who hit a three-pointer to give Tech its first lead of the game at 23-20.
5:31 p.m. We are at HALFTIME here at Hutch-Tech, and the Engineers have gone into the locker room on an upswing and with a 33-28 lead over Sweet Home. Miles swished a three-pointer with about 25 seconds left, and, after a basket by Sweet Home guard Rashan Crule (11 first-half points), John Cherry hit a shot in the lane at the buzzer for Tech. Cherry has four baskets for eight points, all in the second quarter.
Miles, as I mentioned, has been simply too much to handle for Sweet Home -- he has 17 points already. Whew. He does a nice job bringing the ball up and distributing as well.
5:49 p.m. With 3:46 left in the third quarter, Hutch-Tech tracks down a loose ball and calls timeout owning a 37-32 lead.
5:59 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, Hutch-Tech leads Sweet Home, 45-35.
Hutch-Tech continues to look good on defense and on offense with some unselfish passing plays, while Sweet Home continues to put up wild shots, most of them rebounded by Hutch-Tech. Nelson had a great steal and no-look pass for a Tim Whittlehead basket late in the third.
6:03 p.m. Great play by Miles to put Tech up 14 (49-35) and prompt a timeout by Sweet Home coach Scott Martin with 6:22 left. Miles stole an errant outlet pass -- dribbled up to the lane, went behind the back, then scooped a pass ahead to an open Nelson for a layup. Sweet.
6:12 p.m. Another very strong play from Miles, who shakes his defender on the right wing, then beats two more defenders on his way to a dominant drive and a 57-38 lead for Tech with 3:20 left. It was all the more impressive because on the previous defensive play, Miles was undercut and fell HARD to the floor. Scary play, but he jumped right back up.
6:13 p.m. Miles off a lob and he scores while being fouled for a 59-40 lead with 1:50 left.
6:17 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Hutch-Tech 59, Sweet Home 43. Very impressive win for the Engineers as they take care of business and advance to next Wednesday's Class A-1 semifinals at Buffalo State.
I'm heading up to Will North and I'll have a live blog from that game.
6:59 p.m. Hello from Williamsville North. Here we go with the live blog.
10:59 p.m. Wheeeewwwww. What a night. Story and PrepTalkTV work is finished. We'll post the video later as I take a look ahead to the semifinal matchups at Buffalo State and Jamestown Community College.
Big win for Riverside, obviously. I know some might say I should have been at Maryvale, but as I discover from time to time, I can only be in one spot. McKinley was the highest-ranked team among the four, and with them playing on the road against a good team, and with it being a higher class (bigger schools), it was an easy choice.
I REALLY appreciate all the updates in the chat. It really made the night enjoyable for me and hopefully others "tuning in."
Other big wins? Some thoughts after a scan of our scoreboard:
How about Kenmore East going to win at Williamsville East? Really nice win there. ... Cleveland Hill going south to win its way back to Buffalo State -- nice job by that program. ... Lancaster with a solid home win over Kenmore West. ... With the way Frontier was playing that looked like it might be a scary game for Niagara Falls, but they run away with it and return to Buffalo State. ... The margin for Williamsville South over ECIC II rival Iroquois was an eyebrow-raiser. Joe Licata remains one three-pointer away from tying the all-time state record. ... Olean lived up to the hype that I and others were giving a young team that has been on quite a run with a rout at Amherst. ... Cheektowaga joins Cleveland Hill in returning to Buffalo State with a nice win over Lew-Port. ... No surprises in B-1. ... Maple Grove by one! That was fun to follow on the blog. Great job by Silver Creek. ... Impressive Class C wins for I-Prep, OTC and Tapestry -- which gets 32 from Dazmon Knight in a nice win over MST Seneca. ... Jordan Farrant of Holland scores 33 of his team's 41 points against OTC. What a finish of the regular season for him.
Big day tomorrow as well -- I'll be at Canisius College for the semifinal doubleheader of St. Mary's against Canisius at 6 and St. Joe's against Bishop Timon-St. Jude at 7:45 p.m.
9:03 a.m. We traversed our way through North Buffalo to Cleveland Hill to see Burgard warming up on a practice area and O'Hara and Cleve Hill going at it on the main field (which appears to be getting some upgrades -- newly paved asphalt and concrete is taped off in some areas).
It is sounding more and more like football season with coaches yelling and pads popping.
It doesn't take long for O'Hara coach Angelo Sciandra to find midseason form. After a play didn't go the way he wanted, he exclaimed from behind the line of scrimmage: "Are you kidding me?!!? You've GOT to be kidding me!!"
The parents were ready to go as well. A Cleveland Hill run play against O'Hara invoked cries of "Get him! Get him!" by a mom.
9:16 a.m. After a series between O'Hara's defense and Cleve Hill's offense (in which Joe Pops and his camera almost got run over on the sideline -- twice :-) ), Burgard's defense takes on O'Hara's offense. The Bulldogs looked ready to go, with No. 0 Victor Peoples calling out plays for the defense, which stuffed a few O'Hara plays in the series I watched.
Here's a nice pass breakup by O'Hara (below) -- check out the deft move by Joe Pops to pull the tripod out of the way just in time. This was our first play of the day. Some more good commentary by coach Sciandra as well.
Here (below) Burgard did a good job to bottle up O'Hara standout back Robert Davis (who had some big fans on the sideline):
9:24 a.m. We've seen enough quality stuff (and gotten it on video) to hit the road up to Lockport, which is hosting Sweet Home, North Tonawanda, Grand Island, St. Francis and Williamsville South. Kensington Ave. brings us to the I-290 and we're headed to the 990, Millersport Highway and Transit Road.
9:55 a.m. Arrive at Lockport's Emmett Belknap Middle School, home of the Lions' football field (my first visit). We see the end of the first session and are on hand for a great show between defending state champions Sweet Home and North Tonawanda, which was a blast to watch.
The first session had quarterback and Jordan Johnson moving Sweet Home's offense very well against NT's defense; the second session had NT starting slowly but finishing strong with several scoring plays.
All teams are pretty hyped up to start Scrimmage Saturday -- there were loud pregame hollers going on at Cleveland Hill -- but you got the sense from both defending state champions that this scrimmage matchup would mean more than most.
You can hear the energy in the teams' opening play, as NT players are clapping it up before a tone-setting run by Sweet Home's Ralph Neasman that the sideline loved (above).
After another run by Neasman, check out this great play (above) -- Johnson for his scramble and Coleman for a lot of reasons.
Coleman -- in the backfield -- dispatches with a blitzer to help enable Johnson to get free on a run that he would end extremely solidly in a big collision with an NT defender. But listen and watch Coleman after the play. Sweet Home players were understandably fired up with the big hit, but then Coleman tells them to "take a knee!" as the player is down.
I believe you can hear him off camera telling the player he's going to be alright. The player did get up and walk off under his own power, and Coleman yells to the player, "You good, you good! Told you it was just a stinger!"
After a tough Coleman run up the middle, Neasman took a pitch to the far right (above) for a touchdown.
Sweet Home's next possession started with a Johnson scramble to the left side, followed by Juwan Douglas with a run to the right (above) in which he kept his legs churning.
After a pass to the left, Coleman went in easily for a touchdown run (above), taken from a scrimmages-only camera vantage point (leaning on a goal post on the back line of the end zone).
When Sweet Home headed back near midfield for a new series, coach John Faller hollered at his team, "Let's have some fun ... all those two-a-days ... this is fun. Let's have some fun."
The Panthers' next possession was a quick one as K.J. Zinermon went in motion and caught a pass from Johnson before he dodged some tacklers to speed down the right sideline (and right by me) for a touchdown (above).
Another quick strike by Sweet Home: Johnson heaves it down the right side (above) and Brian Barnes adjusts to the ball and goes in for a touchdown.
NT gets an interception of Johnson (above); Sweet Home obviously had a nice offensive set but NT did get some pressure up the middle and a few sacks on some other plays. We can't show 'em all, of course.
The second session during this rotation was outstanding because while NT's offense came on to battle Sweet Home on one half of the field, fans got to watch University at Buffalo-bound quarterback Joe Licata and the Williamsville South offense take on Lockport on the other.
Licata twice hit Kevin O'Connell on the right side, once to get into scoring range and the second time for the touchdown (below).
Here's the fun second session in a nutshell (below) ...
... Licata completes a long pass on the left side of the field, then Joe Montesanti runs for North Tonawanda on the right side.
NT finds a big hole in the defense for a rushing touchdown (above) that gives Lumberjack players and fans cause for celebration.
Back to the South scrimmage ... Licata hits Phil Stasiak (I believe) for a long completion (above) but there's a fumble at the end of the play.
Here's another two-for-one clip (above) and it's defensive minded as Sweet Home and Lockport both stopped up run attempts by NT and South, respectively.
NT finds another hole in the defense (above) by running to the left for a touchdown.
Afterwards, Sweet Home coach Faller scolded some of his frustrated troops with: "Don't point fingers! Don't point fingers ... unless you're perfect."
The run-and-fun-and-gun Billies of South haven't seemed to change much, as they show here with an nice reverse run for a score.
I'm disappointed I didn't get over to watch two outstanding programs in Grand Island and St. Francis go at it on the practice field behind the bleachers (Joe Pops did with the video camera, however), but there was just too much going on on the main field. As is the case with the entire day, there's just not enough time to catch everyone.
10:57 a.m. Back in the car and ready to move shortly. This was our first chance to actually catch up on the blog, pounding away at the laptop in the car in the parking lot at Lockport.
11:08 a.m. We're on our way to Riverside, where a good group of the Frontiers, Bishop Timon-St. Jude, McKinley and Maple Grove are in action. This will be a relatively quick stop because we need to get out to Canisius' West Seneca field for their scrimmage with Orchard Park.
11:43 a.m. Arrive at Riverside and its newly paved parking lot adjacent to its new facility, which looks great with the four teams in action and a modest group of fans checking it out.
Maple Grove's offense is going against McKinley on one half, with new quarterback Alex Grace completing several screen passes against the Macks. On the other half of the field, Riverside's defense is standing very tall against Timon's offense.
Here's a look:
12:11 p.m. We're off to zip around the I-190 to Canisius' Stransky Complex in West Seneca.
12:27 p.m. We arrive at Canisius' fine facility on Clinton Street, where in a mile or three you go from citylike to suburbanlike to countrylike surroundings.
This scrimmage might have just two teams, but if you're going to check out a two-team affair, you can't get much better than the defending Monsignor Martin champion and one of Section VI's best programs.
When we arrived, the teams were going through rudimentary special teams plays, like punt and kickoff returns without the full units on the field.
It was a good time to catch up on what happened earlier, and word on the sideline (just for the record, it was the Canisius sideline, but all from very reliable sources :-) ) was that the Crusaders had a great early session when the No. 1 offense and defense from both teams matched up.
Canisius had two touchdowns on early drives while it stifled OP's drive, which, sources said, didn't get across midfield while the Crusaders also had at least three takeaways. A standout was Canisius running back Mercer Timmis, a transfer from Canada who had plenty of people talking after some strong runs.
I was pleased to find out that the No. 1s would be going at it again, and Orchard Park fared much better than it apparently did earlier. It moved the ball quite well, including a nice completion by senior quarterback Kyle Witkowski (below).
In the next nine-play segment, Orchard Park had a great start with a few run stops as well as an interception (above).
Canisius showed the offensive firepower it displayed last season when Eman, after hitting a pass across the middle, delivered a deep spiral down the left side and Theo Russell stretched out to reel it in.
OP came up with a good finish to the session as well. It stopped two runs inside the 10 and, on the ninth-play on what would have been a third-down, a linebacker made a nice read on an Eman pass for another interception (above).
In a final series between the top units, Eman hit Russell -- this time for a long touchdown -- just before the close of the scrimmage.
1:39 p.m. After shooting our "stand-up" (TV term) for PrepTalkTV -- which is also referred to by me as my "blabbity-blah," we're heading back to the office where I'll be updating a ton on the blog.
1:48 p.m. We're back at One News Plaza, where I'll update the blog with a lot of stuff while Joe Pops puts the episode of PrepTalkTV together. I'll have that posted here as soon as it's completed.
I'll be heading out two two evening scrimmages (hosted by Iroquois and Amherst) and will have more updates and details later.
4:36 p.m. I'm hitting the road again, hitting Iroquois and then Amherst.
5:19 p.m. Make that Amherst and then Iroquois. It made too much sense to swing by Amherst after driving Joe Pops back to his car.
5:28 p.m. With some good highlights in the phone, I'm off for my lengthy trip to Elma and the Chiefs' scrimmage with Lackawanna and Frontier.
There were some nice plays between Hutch-Tech's offense and West Seneca West's defense on one half and the Kenmore East defense and Amherst offense on the other.
Hutch-Tech scored a touchdown on West Seneca West as I walked into Dimp Wagner Field, then put in a two-point conversion. Amherst scored a nice passing touchdown on one of the first plays I watched; on the next play on that half, Kenmore East's sideline got fired up after its defense knocked the Tigers back for a loss.
Here's how it went down:
5:52 I arrive at Iroquois and, thanks to my trip here last year, I know where I'm going.
I take the dirt road behind the school to near the baseball field, then walk through some high grassy and wooded areas into a clearing and what you could call the Chiefs' practice field of dreams.
I'm told by noted Prep Talk Nation first-ballot Hall of Fame blogger Milt Latimer that there has yet to be a touchdown, and there won't be in my stay there, although there are some solid plays.
Lackawanna's Keith Taggart probably had the play of the day -- he managed to handle a pitch that bounced on its way to him, then evaded tackler after tackler has he advanced well into the secondary.
The Steelers had some effective pass plays in the time I was there, while Frontier and Iroquois both had some nice stops.
Here are the best ones the phone and I captured from the sidelines:
6:59 p.m. After a good discussion about the day's action as well as the upcoming season with Milt, I walk up the hill, drive back up the dirt road, pass Latimer Field, and head back to One News Plaza.
The two evening trips brings us to a total of 22 teams covered across six sites. Whew. That's over a quarter of the teams in Western New York (87). Booyah.
(And 35 video clips! Booyah again.)
If you were at any scrimmages, let us know which ones and what you thought of the action in the comments section below.
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It was a fantastically sunny day for the All-High championships in track and field, an event I've covered the last few years just because it works out that way with my schedule -- this year I covered it before the weekly live chat.
This year I had my first track and field experiment with video, which went OK. I should have realized that if I'm shielding my eyes against the sun looking in a particular direction, then the camera is going to have the same issue.
The details can be fuzzy on some races -- particularly the full-lap look at the boys 400 relay -- but part of what I like about the videos is that you get the sounds of the event, too.
As I wrote in my story, it was a big day for Hutch-Tech -- in particular seniors Donte Ettipio and Ondrea Barker.
We'll start with probably the highlight that is the most fun: Hutch-Tech coach Dave Sardo getting a celebratory soak from his team -- twice.
Next up are interviews with a trio of Techsters -- my apologies for not holding the iPhone straight sometimes, I guess I'm still working on that.
Here is Barker finishing off her first sub-minute 400 of the season.
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Below are a few more highlight videos:
Hutch-Tech's Sam Harris wins the 100.
Bennett's Brandon Davis wins the 200.
Davis is back to anchor Bennett's 400 relay victory.
Andrea Marion of Riverside wins the girls 100.
Shontai Moye of East wins the girls 200.
Hutch-Tech wins the girls 400 relay.
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One great tradition at the meet is the seniors' final lap -- all seniors from all events go for one last trip around the All High Stadium track after competing there all spring.
It's a fun finish and a nice touch as there is a final round of applause for the athletes. It's not a race -- a group of Hutch-Tech girls even went skipping around the track -- but Antae Miller of Tech burst ahead of the pack and then sprinted home to the finish, which was a neat moment since he's a three-time boys shot put champion.
Hello from the Buffalo State Sports Arena, where we're live for the Section VI Class A-1 semifinals. Sorry for the delay in getting this posted: Buff State doesn't have a wireless Internet connection, so I was bailed out by Keith McShea, who graciously let me borrow his wireless card.
Since we're short on time, here's the update: McKinley beat Yale Cup rival Bennett, 47-45, in the first game to advance to the A-1 championship game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Shaquille Holman led the Macks with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
The Macks will play the winners of tonight's second game, which is at halftime with Williamsville South leading Hutch-Tech, 34-25. We'll have sporadic updates here on the blog, and then much more from both games later tonight.
4:13 remaining: Hutch-Tech is hanging tough, but free throws are killing them. Maurice Miles just missed a pair, leaving the score, 43-32, Will South.
3:11: Michael Daniels hits one of two from the ine for H-T after the teams traded three-pointers. It's 46-36 South.
2:08: Mark Coppola of South, like always, has been fun to watch. He's got the last five points on a trey and a steal and layup to extend the lead to 53-38.
00.0: End of three, 58-45 Will South. Maurice Miles of Hutch-Tech ended the third quarter with a layup.
6:00: Some sloppy play comes to an end with a timeout. South is still holding a 10-point lead, 60-50, but Hutch-Tech won't go away.
4:17: Timeout, Hutch-Tech as the Billies begin to pull away. South is up, 67-50, after a nice layup by Kevin O'Connell underneath.
00.0: It's a final, 73-61, Williamsville South. Be sure to check back later for much more on both games. Off now for interviews.
I'm starting here at One News Plaza, but the plan is to catch a little bit of Hutch-Tech's boys game against City Honors, and then head to Clarence for its girls-boys doubleheader against Orchard Park (girls at 6 p.m., boys to follow). Not a bad ECIC I doubleheader -- Clarence, which is having good basketball seasons in both boys and girls, is hosting the No. 1 girls large school and the No. 10 boys large school.
5:54 p.m. We're signing off and making the trip a few blocks away uptown to Hutch-Tech.
6:19 p.m. Hutch-Tech has an 18-16 lead with 6:24 left in the second quarter. I was there for the final minute of the first quarter and the first minute of the second, and the only basket scored made for a nice highlight -- a nice drive for Hutch-Tech.
I'm off to Clarence.
6:55 p.m. Arrive at Clarence where the host Red Devil girls are trying to hand top-ranked Orchard Park its first loss of the season. Clarence leads OP, 41-37, after three quarters.
OP standout senior Jaymie Druding is out for about three weeks with an leg injury, obviously a big loss for the Quakers. You can see her crutches near the bench.
Sidenote: A flying chest-bump to copy editor Geoff Nason, who changed the headline of this blog from Wednesday Night Live to Thursday Night Live. Whoops.
7:03 p.m. Some nice back-and-forth action and Clarence has a 47-44 lead with 4:31 left in the game.
7:18 p.m. Senior guard Val Nappo has hit six straight free throws and Clarence continues to lead, 55-51, with 21.3 seconds left.
OP junior Taylor Swiatek hits a huge three-pointer to bring the Quakers within one at 55-54.
7:23 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE from the girls game: Clarence 56, Orchard Park 54.
The Quakers had a final shot to tie but it came up short. A big celebration and a big finishing call by Clarence sophomore PA guy/team manager Dominic Taverna.
Scorebooks for each team are at the right.
The Clarence reaction, starting with coach Erin Roos:
Coach didn't say anything about cookies, though ...
8:01 p.m. After the first quarter of the boys game, Clarence has a 16-11 lead. Nice pace to the game.
8:03 p.m. Rant alert: I HATE scoreboards that, during timeouts, don't show the time left but instead show the time counting down in the timeout. Hate it. The game is tied at 19-19 at some point in the middle of the second quarter but I don't know how much time because I'm staring at 11 ... 10 .... 9 ... . Canisius and Clarence get D-merits for that. Do they still have D-merits?
8:08 p.m. Really nice game here, and Troy Nowak of OP seems to have a ton of points. OP takes a 26-24 lead and Clarence calls a timeout with 2:02 left in the second.
8:13 p.m. At halftime, OP leads Clarence, 26-24.
A funny moment of the first half. Some Orchard Park dudes and dudettes have made the trip (nice job by them), and when a Clarence player was at the free throw line, an OP player on the bench turned around to his OP people.
OP player on bench: "Hey, say something."
Buddy in bleachers, a little confused: "What do you want me to say?"
[Pause as Clarence player steps to the line]
Buddy in the bleachers: "AHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"
8:29 p.m. I've been checking in with the office about the girls game so I've missed some action but OP leads, 30-26, with less than five minutes left in the third.
8:32 p.m. OP coach Bob Rumschik calls a timeout with the Quakers, leading, 35-28, with 3:08 left in the third.
8:38 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, OP's lead is cut to 37-36 on a three-pointer in the final seconds from Clarence's Greg Lucsok.
8:43 p.m. OP calls a timeout with Clarence ahead, 40-39, with 5:52 left.
Hill's three-pointer puts Clarence up, 43-39, and DJ Dominic gets busy.
Nesci finishes off a nice hustle play with a three to put OP up, 44-43, and Nowak blocks a big man's shot on the other end.
8:49 p.m. A great finish of a tough fast-break drive by OP sophomore Matt McCormick gives the Quakers a 46-45 lead.
With 2:28 left, Rumschik calls a timeout.
8:54 p.m. After a McCormick three puts OP up three, Clarence calls a timeout trailing, 49-46, with 20.7 seconds left.
Late in regulation, DJ Dominic with a nice job, reminding the Clarence fans who are nearly spilling on to the court across the way that sportsmanship comes first in "the Devil's Den."
8:56 p.m. Clarence dribbles across halfcourt and calls another timeout with 15.5 seconds left.
8:58 p.m. Clarence's David Hill takes a DEEEEP three-pointer and swishes it in the final seconds; OP misses a desperation heave, and we're going to OVERTIME.
As it is every year, it was great to see many familiar faces as well as some cool early-season basketball matchups at the Pastor-Cooper Tournament at Daemen College.
A private school played a city school in both boys games. How about that, football people? :-)
The final game was a fun one, with St. Mary's edging East, 62-59. Domonique Jackson of East and Vince Kazmierczak of St. Mary's both drew plenty of oohs and aahs from an entertained crowd.
St. Mary's looked fantastic at the start (18-9 first quarter and 36-26 at halftime) with Kazmierczak dropping several sweet long-distance shots. Jackson displayed his all-around talents as East caused several turnovers in a game that took on the frenetic pace of a Yale Cup contest.
Sophomore guard Rashaad Rogers was impressive for the Lancers with several strong takes to the basket; some times it appeared he was on the verge of going out of control, but often times he finished off the play.
Late in the third there was a flagrant foul on a St. Mary's player for a blatant body check in open space at midcourt. The foul was totally unnecessary, correctly called, and prompted some East fans to get very fired up and leave their seats. They were just venting, and they had reason to.
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.