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Class A final is set and it's a surprise; Canisius-Joe's in Georgetown Cup semifinal

The Class A final is set -- and it's not Iroquois-Grand Island.

Albion knocked off No. 1 large school and second-seeded Iroquois, 8-5, while Williamsville South toppled No. 1 seed and defending champion Grand Island, 11-5.

The undefeated Purple Eagles (21-0) take on the Billies (10-5) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Niagara Falls' Sal Maglie Stadium.

In the Monsignor Martin Association, we have three of the final four teams and one killer semifinal matchup.

St. Joe's beat Cardinal O'Hara, 9-0, while Canisius edged Nichols, 3-2 -- the rivals will meet in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Thursday at St. Joe's. The semifinal doubleheader at Joe's concludes with St. Mary's -- which knocked off Bishop Timon-St. Jude, 2-1 -- meeting the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal of Niagara Cathoic at St. Francis.

---Keith McShea

Class A baseball semifinal times set for Saturday

Here are the times for Saturday's Section VI Class A baseball semifinals:

Albion at Iroquois, 1 p.m.

Williamsville South at Grand Island, 2 p.m. 

---Keith McShea

DiPaolo family dishes out a night to remember

The Western New York high school wrestling family got together for their annual reunion.

Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant in Blasdell served as the site of this gathering also known as the Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Award dinner. The 15th annual event, which brought together 200, honored the best from the 2009-2010 wrestling season in the form of six awards and five college scholarships totaling $9,000.

Bob Koshinski of the Executive Committee made the case for the Class of 2010 being the most elite group in the award's history. The competition was so tough, two New York State Champions did not make the final list.

The winners combined for 836 career wins, 12 Section VI individual championships, nine place finishes at states and three state championships.

The distinguished group included:
Ilio DiPaolo award: Dominic Montesanti, Medina
Gary Castanza award: Kyle Colling, Pioneer
Destroyer award: Angelo Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield
Bill Hein award: Joe Kalinka, Iroquois
Cauiflower Alley Club: James Donner, Niagara-Wheatfield
St. Francis football captain's award: Adam Pasnik

• Past winner of the Ilio DiPaolo scholarship, Kane Smith, was the guest speaker. The 2005 Salamanca graduate gave a polished delivery in which he talked about how revealing 6 minutes on a wrestling mat can be, and how the sacrifice, sweat and pain it takes to be a wrestler prepares you for everyday life.

• A DVD presentation prepared by the committee gave a look into the life of man who brought everyone together. The 1950s black and white footage showed DiPaolo in the ring displaying amazing athleticism for a man his size and he disposed of each opponent.

• Dennis DiPaolo, always a gracious host, did his best to recognize some of his guests: former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, former Buffalo Bills trainer Eddie Abramoski, retired Niagara-Wheatfield wrestling coach Ace Cacciatore, retired Roy-Hart/Newfane coach Dick Lange, Empire State Games local chairman Ralph Galanti, Preston Teague of the Buffalo Bills Community Relations department, Linda Knuutila of WNY Wrestling Review and his charming mother.

---Mary Jo Monnin

More from the Section VI Division I wrestling championships

The champs. Section VI provided the photo (but not the who's who :-).

SANBORN -- Greetings from Niagara County Community College, site of the Section VI wrestling championships this weekend. Division I (large schools), finished a couple hours ago, while Division II (small schools will wrestle all day Saturday, with finals set to start at 4:30 p.m.

We're finished with our print responsibilities for the night and have plenty of notes left over to share. First, an observation: The simple finalist information sheet each coach fills out for his wrestlers is a valuable tool for the announcer and media in attendance. One of the toughest aspects of covering high schools sports is the availability of (reliable) statistical information, so when coaches have stuff like that prepared, it helps journalists write a better, more complete story on their student-athletes.

On to the winners and some information about them, as well as additional quotes that didn't make the paper.

96-pound champion: Steve Michel, Lancaster: Michel beat teammate Eric Lewandowski, 4-3, in a match I'm not sure either wanted to wrestle. Lewandowski was emotional after the loss, while Michel didn't seem to take much happiness out of his second straight 96-pound title. Here he is on the move that gave him the deciding points: "I shot a sweep single, then I hooked his leg and I stepped over."

103: Ronald Rodriguez-Spencer, Cheektowaga: The Class AAA winner improved his record to 32-5 and was the youngest competitor (eighth grade) to win a sectional title.

112: Tim Schaefer, Lancaster: Schaefer is 3-for-3 in sectional tournaments. He won at 96 in seventh grade, 103 last year and now 112 as a freshman.

119: Dylan Caruana, Kenmore West: One of the best matches of the night, Caruana held off Daiquann Burney of Sweet Home with a late reversal for a 6-3 decision. Here's Caruana on the fantastic finish: "The end was really exciting. I just didn’t want to give up that take down. He was about to get behind me and I couldn’t let him do it. I was only up by a point, so it was real close." Caruana has won two most outstanding wrestler awards this season, at the Orchard Park Tournament and last week at the AAAA tourney.

125: Joey Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield: Plenty on this match in the print product, but a quick note: Malvestuto has overcome a broken hand and knee injury this season. He's rounding into form and improved to 31-3. Opponent Ben Mikac lost his first match of the season, falling to 34-1.

130: Joe Kalinka, Iroquois: The first of three Iroquois champions on the night, Kalinka (46-2) will make his second straight tip to states. He won the AAA tourney last week, while his opponent, Mike Feeney of Lockport, won the AAAA tourney.

135: Pat Mix, Lake Shore: Both Mix and opponent Zack Fummerelle had just one loss entering the mach. Mix took control with an early takedown, then held on for the win. Nice celebration by the Lake Shore coaches and Mix after the match, too. A school not known for its wrestling program made nice strides this season.

140: Jimmy Kloc, Iroquois: Kloc, who is a pitbull on the mat, looked like he was going to cruise, but Gage Bateman of Sweet Home gave him all he could handle. A fitting final for a weight class my wrestling go-to guy, Fredonia assistant coach Ross Conti, called the deepest of the tournament.

145: Jacob Beichner, Williamsville East: Beichner was the only wrestler not seeded first or second (he was third) to win. His reaction after winning showed all that's right with high school sports: a tearful hug with his parents. Here's Beichner on what the win meant to him: "He was beating me up pretty good in the beginning, but I’ve been training my whole life for this moment. I just wasn’t going to let that stop me. I knew he was getting tired and he was breaking. It’s my senior year, I just went full force." The loss was the first of the season for Irvin Buck of Niagara Falls.

152: Kris Duge, Clarence: It was the 38th win of the season for Duge, a senior.

160: Raleigh Defields, Iroquois: Defields was struck with pneuomia during the season and didn't start to get healthy until the end of January. He had dropped an earlier decision by one point to his opponent Friday, Lancaster's Sean Woods. Defields was a fun interview after his match. Here's some of what he had to say: "I set a goal as a freshman that I always wanted to at least win [a] class [tournament] and going to states is just an awesome bonus." On his recovery: "I've been busting my hump in practice getting my conditioning levels back and it paid off because I could have gone another minute if need be." On the end of the match, which went to overtime: "I looked up at the clock with five seconds left, held on for dear life and smiled."

171: Tony Lock, Pioneer: A sophomore who has progressively improved this season, Lock picked up his 40th win.

189: Angelo Malvestuto, Niagara-Wheatfield: Falcons coach Rick Sweney called him the best wrestler ever to come through Niagara-Wheatfield, which sums up Malvestuto's career well. He was the only one to record a pin Friday night.

215: Kyle Colling, Pioneer: A 2009 national champion, the only surprise in Colling's title is that it didn't come by pinfall. According to Conti, it's believed Colling could become the first wrestler in state history to win class titles in Division I and II, due to Pioneer moving up to Division I this season (he won Division II last year).

285: Jim Donner, Niagara-Wheatfield: Donner gets a chance to build on his fifth-place finish at last year's state tournament.

Talk to you tomorrow from the Division II tournament.

---Jay Skurski



Who's going to win the Connolly Cup?

The finalists for the 38th Connolly Cup are:

Lockport sr. RB David Fluellen, Lancaster sr. QB Justin Juda, Grand Island sr. RB Andy LaLonde, Williamsville South jr. QB Joe Licata, Sweet Home sr. QB Pat McMahon, Cassadaga Valley sr. RB/DB B.J. Monacelli, St. Joe's sr. QB/DB Matt Rosenhahn, Maple Grove sr. QB Chris Secky, Iroquois sr. RB/DB Calvin Sluberski and Southwestern sr. QB Zack Sopak.

Tell us why you voted the way you did in the comments section below. Also, what do you think of the list? Who's not on the list that should be?

Remember to be RESPECTFUL of ALL of the players because they all had a great seasons.

I'll be keeping my thoughts to myself for now since we are deliberating The News Player of the Year.

The winner will be announced Saturday afternoon shortly after 2 p.m. I'll have the winner posted here and at as soon as it happens.

---Keith McShea

Connolly Cup finalists announced

The Riverside Athletic Club's Connolly Cup committee has announced its 10 finalists for the award given to the most outstanding football player in Western New York:

David Fluellen, Lockport
Justin Juda, Lancaster
Andy LaLonde, Grand Island
Joe Licata, Williamsville South
Patrick McMahon, Sweet Home
B.J. Monacelli, Cassadaga Valley
Matt Rosenhahn, St. Joe’s
Chris Secky, Maple Grove
Calvin Sluberski, Iroquois
Zack Sopak, Southwestern

The winner will be announced, as always, on the first Saturday of December (the fifth) in a ceremony at Ilio DiPaolo's Restauraunt in Blasdell.

A reminder to all that any discussions about who should win the award, or about players who should have made the the top 10, should be respectful. Thanks.

---Keith McShea

More from Sweet Home's windy win

How windy was it at Sweet Home Saturday?

Watch and listen -- if you can hear Iroquois coach Frank Payne discussing the Chiefs' 34-6 loss.

---Keith McShea

Live from Sweet Home's big win (in a big wind) over Iroquois

Hello from the Class A postseason annual event that is Iroquois vs. Sweet Home. We'll provide updates when we can, so sit back and get comfortable with your refresh button. 

1:48 p.m. Good news is we're out of the wind, which I can hear howling outside. Not-so-good news is the press box at Robert P. Barczak Stadium is jam-packed. I've got a back-row seat with the front six seats occupied by the WGR guys, the Time Warner guys and Sweet Home's PA and scoreboard operators.

I've got the laptop literally on my lap and my view of the field is not so great, so the updates might not be coming so quick.

1:55 p.m. Bee guru Pat Nagy said he was here for last week's game, when it was he, the PA and the scoreboard guy. The door to the press box was just opened brief moment and the wind appeared to nearly take the door off. One of the ceiling tiles in this first level of the press box went for a ride and became dislodged. Nagy just said the door has been known to open on its own. I'm next to the door. Uh-oh.

2:04 p.m. We are underway and Sweet Home has a TOUCHDOWN after its first drive. Sophomore Jordan Johnson, on a fourth-and-1 play at the 10, took an inside toss and ran for the first down, then kept his legs moving and driving and powered into the end zone. Pat McMahon, Sweet Home's quarterback, powered the extra-point kick through and the Panthers have a 7-0 lead with 8:34 left in the opening quarter.

2:19 p.m. At the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER, Sweet Home has a 7-0 lead. Iroquois has a second-and-6 at the Sweet Home 23. 

2:28 p.m. Sweet Home has another TOUCHDOWN from Johnson, who followed some huge blocks through a hole to the left and sped down the left sideline for the score. McMahon's kick looked good to the press box and to McMahon, but it was waved off by the officials. Sweet Home leads, 13-0, with 8:19 left in the second quarter.

2:34 p.m. Iroquois calls a timeout with 4:26 left in the second quarter before a punt on fourth-and-18 from its 40.

2:38 p.m. Update from Miguel Rodriguez in Hamburg: Eden leads Cassadaga Valley, 7-6, in the second quarter but standout running back Julian Bermingham has been taken off the field on a stretcher due to a leg injury.

2:47 p.m. We are at HALFTIME with Sweet Home leading Iroquois, 13-0

The wind is insane here. It just moved a Sweet Home golf cart a few feet along the track, then knocked over a water jug. The ball has moved when it has been spotted. Officials hats' have been blown off. Iroquois threw one pass and the wind knocked it down like it was Dikembe Mutombo.

Iroquois hasn't been able to move much at all against Sweet Home, while the Panthers have had a few big plays lead to their touchdowns. Sweet Home's Steve Spencer is having a tremendous game on defense.

Quality comment by Hollywood. It appears there are about as many fans from Iroquois here as from Sweet Home, and the total crowd can't be more than 500, and that's probably being generous. 

Another wind update: The press box has been shaking here and there, something the Sweet Home scoreboard operator says has never happened.

Great lines of the day:

WGR's Tony Caliguri, during one of the more powerful gusts: "I'm expecting to see Dorothy and Toto fly by."

Sweet Home PA man: "Ladies and gentlemen, we would ask you to not blow away as we have a second half of action remaining."

A mini-update that should have been given a while back -- on the way here Riverside had a huge lead on Lafayette.

3:06 p.m. We're about to kick off the second half -- Iroquois will receive.

3:17 p.m. Report from Rodriguez in Hamburg: FINAL SCORE: Eden 7, Cassadaga Valley 6.

3:19 p.m. Sweet Home and Johnson have a third TOUCHDOWN. Johnson took a toss across a great push on the left side of the offensive line for the score. McMahon adds the extra point and Sweet Home has a 20-0 lead on Iroquois with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

3:26 p.m. Sweet Home now has a 26-0 lead with 2:11 left in the third. Mike Coleman took a handoff to the right side, went through a huge hole, then got some great blocking from D.J. Nettles as he went around the right side for a 36-yard TOUCHDOWN. The play was Sweet Home's first after an Iroquois punt. 

3:30 p.m. Another update, another TOUCHDOWN for Sweet Home. Iroquois fumbled a snap and the Panthers took over at the Iroquois 20. Two plays later, McMahon kept the ball up the middle and broke left, then pounded through a pair of tacklers for the score. On the extra-point kick, a snap went awry, but it happened to go to McMahon, who ran to the right side and bested another tackler to get in the end zone for the two points. Sweet Home leads, 34-0, with 1:26 left in the third quarter.

On the kickoff, McMahon kicked his third straight touchback with the wind at his back.

3:33 p.m. We are at the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER with Sweet Home up, 34-0.

3:39 p.m. We have an injury timeout with a Chief lineman down with 9:53 left in the fourth quarter.

3:59 p.m. Iroquois gets on the board with a 10-yard TOUCHDOWN pass from Brandon Souder to Dan Parker, with a missed kick.

3:55 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Sweet Home 34, Iroquois 6.

5:46 p.m. The Ralph field is complete: AA-North Tonawanda vs. Lancaster; A-Sweet Home vs. Grand Island; B-Cheektowaga vs. Alden; C-Southwestern vs. Eden; D-Maple Grove vs. Randolph.

5:49 p.m. Our scoreboard is up and will be updated.

---Keith McShea

Saturday football times & sites update

This just in to the home office:

Saturday's Section VI football schedule -- all two games of it -- has been tweaked.

The Class C semifinal of Cassadaga Valley at Eden will be played on Hamburg's new turf field at 1 p.m. The game (originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m.) was moved because Eden's field is soaked.

The Class A semifinal of Iroquois at Sweet Home will be played at the traditional kickoff time of 2 p.m. (Section VI originally had the game at 1:30).

---Keith McShea

Who's going to win Class A football?

Class A has been a blast to keep track of all year with its talented teams and unbalanced schedule, and the next three weeks are sure to be fun as well.

Right from the start there are tremendous games as West Seneca East heads to Iroquois and WIlliamsville South hosts Grand Island in a rematch of an excellent Week One game won by South. Hamburg has had a tremendous year, and Sweet Home is only the defending state 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 B, Class C and Class D.

---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.

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