It is a slow-go out there tonight, and it looks like I may have only one stop. We'll see.
7:05 p.m. I've just arrived at Lockport, where Falls has a 36-31 lead on the host Lions in the second quarter. I've kept track of the game thanks to 1340 WLVL-AM.
7:16 p.m. At halftime we're enjoying the Lockport Royal Lions stomp team. Falls has a 45-35 lead. Falls has threatened to turn it into a blowout but Lockport has hung around -- if the Lions stop hanging around, I might try and make it to St. Francis.
7:50 p.m. Falls wins, 86-65. We are headed south and we'll see if we can catch the end of St. Joe's at St. Francis. Got a dunk from both sides on video, so that's cool. I'll post those later.
It's a Friday, and there are a ton of games tonight, so I'm reprising my Friday Night Live blog entry as I slush-slide my way around Western New York trying to catch as much action as I can.
My goal is to end up at the Amherst at Maryvale game in which son Chris Kensy of the Tigers will be coaching against his father, Mark. There are a lot of potential stops in between now and then, but we'll see how much we can squeeze in.
4:58 p.m. After a stop at the office, our first stop is an easy one - the earliest game of the night is a 4:15 p.m. Yale Cup contest between Burgard and Middle College at the Kats' home court -- ECC-City's Flickinger Center.
Upon my entry, I was handed a Middle College program -- a great-looking, 12-page full color edition with photos, bios and ads. It's even got an excerpt of the Prep Talk blog on the back page. We like that.
Middle College is up more than I expected -- 40-15 at halftime. Burgard is coming off a nice win over McKinley to start Yale Cup play on Wednesday.
Darale Young was honored for being the school's first 1,000-point scorer at halftime. That was a better highlight than much of the action on the floor -- Middle was running Burgard off the floor.
5:22 p.m. Middle's lead is now 62-23 after three quarters. Overwhelming defense by the Kats. Burgard had a two-point second quarter, according to a report from Centercourt.
With my stories posted and the next round of Yale Cup games set to start at 5:30, I'm outta here.
5:49 p.m. It turns out I was outta there a few minutes later after getting some more computer stuff straight, fending off an aggressive parking lot attendant who thought I wasn't going to pay, slip-and-slide driving over to Hutch-Tech, and getting the Darale Young video posted in the parking lot.
5:50 p.m. Then I walk into Hutch-Tech, right on time ... for the end of the JV game between the Engineers and McKinley! Arghhhhhh!
I've got no time to waste, so I'm heading to Grover.
6:07 p.m. We arrive at Grover to an expectedly frenetic pace between the Presidents and Seneca.
6:10 p.m. No. 15 for Grover just SLAMMED a one-handed dunk down off of a standing start at the left side of the hoop. Wow. I gotta find out who that guy is. Too bad I didn't have the iPhone going. Centercourt (he got here before me) was calling for the iPhone on that one. Bummer.
6:14 p.m. At the end of the first quarter at Grover, the Presidents lead Seneca, 25-18. Ricky Alejandro hit three three-pointers in the quarter, including one in the final minute, for Grover. He only missed one shot in the quarter, reports Prep Talk Nation member Hollywood. Looks like I'm going to the right games, running into these guys.
6:16 p.m. I've got a little bit of a cushion, time-wise, since Canisius hosts St. Francis in a 6:30 p.m. scheduled start. I'm planning on stopping by there and then heading north to the Kenmore schools (7 p.m. starts). The targets are then Will North at Clarence and finally Amherst at Maryvale. We'll see how it goes.
6:21 p.m. Seneca's Aaron Frazier just scored on a slick drive while being fouled but couldn't hit the free throw. It's a 31-26 Grover lead with about four minutes left in the second. There is a very -- spirited, shall we say -- discussion going on between an adult female Grover fan and an adult male Seneca fan. People getting fired up but nothing out of hand. Good stuff. One of the best things at this game is Grover's big dog of a mascot -- you should be able to spot the spotted fella behind the baseline on a video highlight I post later.
6:28 p.m. We're off to Canisius soon, where hopefully the JV game is finished by the time I get there. Grover leads Seneca, 36-27, with two minutes left in the second quarter.
6:29 p.m. One very important quick correction before we split -- the Grover dog mascot is a female.
Some great videos featuring said dog ...
Was it a three? Just keep your eye on the dog, dog.
The action doesn't stop, the dancing doesn't stop. Outstanding.
6:43 p.m. I inexplicably take a much longer way to Canisius than I should have and arrive to catch the last seconds of the first quarter, which has Canisius leading, 15-9.
6:45 p.m. Back in the car to get some writing done, and my computer is on the fritz. Ugh.
7:07 p.m. Just pull into a primo parking spot at Kenmore West, where the Niagara Falls visit has a pretty full lot here.
Adding a few pictures then will get a very quick look at the game.
7:18 p.m. Walk into Ken West just in time for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Not soon after, Niagara Falls has an 8-0 lead.
C.J. Cox gets things started with a steal-and-basket.
Maurice Respress gets up for a rebound and a follow.
As Davon Marshall hits a long two-pointer, I'm out the door at 7:23 p.m.
7:32 p.m. Pull into Kenmore East, where Lockport is visiting.
7:44 p.m. Back in the car -- Lockport had a 15-3 lead after one quarter and is now up, 16-7, with 6:02 left in the first half. Shannon Haynes had two twos and a three for seven points in the first quarter.
Nice basket by East's Peter Crawford, followed by a near-miss by Lockport's Haynes.
Another near-miss by Lockport.
The play was a bit choppy and I wasn't able to get a quick highlight like I was at West. Off to Clarence.
8:11 p.m. Arrive at Clarence, and who is working the door to the gym but Buffalo News Hall of Fame Sports SuperClerk Alex Chambers, now a teacher and coach at Clarence. Gotta love it.
This was my first trip to the Clarence gym -- I've been here plenty of times for outdoor sports when the parking lot isn't all snowy.
8:20 p.m. Clarence and Williamsville North are tied at 27-27 in the final minute of the first half. I saw about two minutes of more choppy game action, but it was enough to see what people have been talking about with regards to talented eighth-grade starter Sterling Taplin of North.
Taplin sets up a teammate for a North basket.
With halftime approaching, I'm outta here and off to Maryvale.
8:37 p.m. Pull into Maryvale parking lot, hoping for at least a good chunk of the second half still to go.
8:59 p.m. After three failed tries at doors to the Maryvale gym (score one for security!), I find the right one and sneak under the bleachers to center court (two words) and there's a lot of basketball to play.
I catch some end-of-third-quarter action and Maryvale has a 54-40 lead over Amherst heading to the fourth.
9:09 p.m. With 2:58 left to play, Maryvale is up, 58-49.
Twice in the fourth, Amherst comes within seven points ...
... but both times Blair Estarfaa comes up big with a basket. Above is one of those times.
9:17 p.m. Maryvale is going to win this one, up, 63-52, with 25.7 seconds left.
9:24 p.m. Maryvale beats Amherst, 66-56. An embrace between the coaches at the end of the handshake line, then Chris Kensy with a little hug for all of the Maryvale players, who he coached as the Flyers' JV coach the last three years.
I had a great talk with both Kensys after the game -- I'll write more about their meeting in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.
* * *
In total, seven games at eight sites in less than 4-1/2 hours. Not bad. I'm still irked that I got to Hutch-Tech while the JV game was still going on. Could have been eight!
To review: I went from Middle College to Hutch-Tech to Grover Cleveland to Canisius to Kenmore West to Kenmore East to Clarence to Maryvale.
I planned the route based on geography and time -- and it pretty much worked out. I went a long way to not spend much time at Clarence, but I think it was worth seeing Taplin in what was a good ECIC I game. I saw Lockport and Shannon Haynes and got an idea of where their recent good play has come from. I wish I could have stuck around for more of what looked to be a very entertaining Grover-Seneca contest.
And the end worked out great -- it was a blast seeing the Kensy-vs.-Kensy coaching battle at Maryvale. An outstanding atmosphere at that game. Amherst brought a lot of fired-up fans -- it seems the entire program has gotten a boost behind coach Chris Kensy.
I'm not sure the total mileage -- don't worry, I'll have it ready for the expense report -- but the route unfolded pretty well. My main tough call driving-wise was whether to take Sheridan all the way out between Ken East and Clarence -- I opted for the 290 to the Thruway to Transit to Wehrle to Harris Hill to Main. That was probably was best move considering the stop-and-go-ing on Maple and likely Sheridan, especially since you had to be careful with the slick roads.
Looks like I missed a big second half for Clarence, which went on to beat North; I was right about Grover's win over Seneca being a fun one (76-70). Middle College, Canisius, Lockport and Falls all rolled, which was expected even before I stuck my head in their games.
The one other game I wanted to check out but thought it was a little too far out of the way was Lew-Port at North Tonawanda -- and waddya know, NT wins in three overtimes. Whoa.
Centercourt was heading up to Newfane and he saw a great one it seems as the Panthers knock off Medina, 54-53. Another whoa.
Nice showing again from Cleveland Hill, which falls to Holland in overtime. A bit curious about Lackawanna only beating Tonawanda by eight; good job by the Warriors to keep it to single digits.
We'll leave this on a pretty cool note, a video of coaches Kensy:
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.
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.
Class AA has the defending state champion in Orchard Park, last year's runner up and many people's pick for this year in North Tonawanda, not to mention No. 1 large school Lancaster, plus a group of super-competitive teams.
Will OP repeat? Will NT break through? Will Lancaster hold on to the top spot? Will Frontier, Jamestown or Lockport prove as stingy as they've been in the regular season?
I'm live in the Dick Grapes Press Box at the Lumberjacks Sports Complex for a key Class AA North showdown between Lockport and North Tonawanda.
I'll update when I can -- just a warning that the updates will become less frequent the later we get because of tight deadlines on Friday night. Thanks for your patience and just hit refresh for updates. Thanks.
7:01 p.m. I knew Dick Grapes would never retire. :-) NT named the press box after him last year but I heard his familiar voice as I was walking to the stadium. Great to hear it.
Here's the opening kickoff:
7:07 p.m. Lockport is 0 for 1. The Lions started on its 27 and did not gain a first down on its first possession. After a punt, NT took over at the Lockport 44 with 9:28 left in the first quarter.
7:15 p.m. Big stop for Lockport, which held on fourth-and-1 at its own 5 with 5:17 left in the first.
7:19 p.m. A great start to a drive for Lockport -- David Fluellen had a very nice 24-yard run to gain the Lockport 39 -- ends quickly with a fumble after a pass play to the right side. NT takes over at the Lockport 47 with 3:12 left in the first quarter.
7:24 p.m. We are at the END OF THE FIRST QUARTER and there is no score between Lockport and North Tonawanda. NT has second-and-4 at the Lockport 19.
7:28 p.m. A huge play for Lockport, which not only stopped NT on fourth down again (fourth-and-3 at the Lockport 18) but did so with an interception by Luke Rankie, who returned the ball 41 yards to the NT 46.
7:31 p.m. But we're still scoreless after Lockport fumbles the snap on a fourth-and-1 at the NT 26 and the Jacks take over with 8:20 left in the second.
7:38 p.m. We're not scoreless anymore. NT scores on a 4-yard TOUCHDOWN run by senior running back Tom Sell with 4:56 left in the second quarter. He just bulled up the middle on first-and-goal after a very nice up-the-middle run by quarterback Mike Tuzzo that went for 30 yards -- the Lion defense had trouble locating the ball carrier and Tuzzo made some nifty moves. Aaron Davis adds the extra point and North Tonawanda leads Lockport, 7-0.
Here's the video and the fired-up fans:
7:44 p.m. Report from Jamestown: Southwestern has a 7-0 lead over Lackawanna early.
7:45 p.m. NT takes a timeout before a fourth-and-3 at its 48 and 2:06 left in the second quarter.
7:48 p.m. Lockport with a timeout before a third-and-1 at its 30 with 1:18 left before halftime.
7:49 p.m. First down Lockport at its 32 after a Fluellen run, followed by a Lions timeout.
7:52 p.m. A Fluellen run was stuffed on third-and-9 at its 33, but a flag flew afterwards for an unsportsmanlike penalty of some sort on NT. Moved to a first down at its 49, a Fluellen run was stuffed.
7:54 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and North Tonawanda leads Lockport, 7-0. Lockport's last play was a Fluellen run for a few yards.
8:08 p.m. Update from Jamestown: Southwestern 21, Lackawanna 8 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
8:17 p.m. On its first series of the second half, North Tonawanda scores a TOUCHDOWN to take a 14-0 lead. On a well-designed, well-timed play, senior quarterback Mike Tuzzo went play-action and was back to pass with a Lockport defender freed to blitz him, but he had enough time to loft a pretty pass to junior Travis Charsley, who was uncovered and without a defender near him on the right sideline for the 45-yard score. Davis added the extra point; there is 9:26 left in the third quarter.
8:20 p.m. Lockport starts its drive at its 24 and on second-and-10 it has to call a timeout with 8:41 left in the third.
8:25 p.m. Some crazy stuff. Lockport punted, the ball took a funny bounce, which may have hit a NT player, which led to the ball originally being awarded to the Lions. Then the officials conferred and gave the ball to NT. On NT's first play from its 44, Kijowski went up the middle then broke to the left sideline for an apparent touchdown, but two flags flew on the run -- and I'm fairly sure they were for blocks well behind the play.
8:27 p.m. Kijowski goes up the middle with some seriously strong-legged running and scores on an 18-yard TOUCHDOWN run with 6:31 left in the third quarter to give NT a 21-0 lead over Lockport. NT went 56 yards on four plays to score, with Davis adding another extra point despite a penalty on the first kicking attempt.
8:38 p.m. Lockport gets a big break as Rankie intercepts a Tuzzo pass on first down with 4:53 left in the third, but then the Lions have an unsportsmanlike penalty move them back 15 yards on their ensuing possession.
8:41 p.m. A break for Lockport as NT is called for a pass interference penalty on a third-and-21 attempt; fired-up NT fans are riotous over the call. They are riotous almost after every call, actually.
8:43 p.m. Another break for Lockport as NT is rightly called for roughing the passer. First down for Lockport at the NT 44 with 1:25 left in the third and NT up, 2-1.
Report from ace Post-Journal reporter Scott Kindberg in Jamestown: Southwestern 35, Lackawanna 8 at halftime.
8:47 p.m. At the END OF THE THIRD QUARTER, North Tonawanda leads Lockport, 21-0.
8:59 p.m. Aaron Davis, after a great run to get to the 2-yard-line, goes in to the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN on first-and-goal at the 2 and then adds the extra point for a 28-0 North Tonawanda lead with 5:26 left to play in the game. Not many updates from me in the next few minutes because I've got me a story to write.
9:28 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: North Tonawanda 28, Lockport 0. Lot of work for me in a little time. Keep checking back to the blog and buffalonews.com.
Orchard Park hosts Lockport, just one of several intriguing matchups on a busy (25 games) Friday night of football. Here's what you thought in a poll on what's the best game of the night.
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.
* * *
And away we go:
Note to those attending Bishop Timon-St. Jude games this season. They are offsides on their kickoff times.
I rushed to Tifft Farms and Fitzpatrick Field eager to see the first kickoff in the City of Buffalo this year.
I walked through the gate at 6:55 p.m. as I heard whistles and saw action on the field.
"What time did they start?" I asked the ticket taker.
"7 p.m." he answered.
I looked back at my phone. Still 6:55 p.m. Hmm.
On the field, Timon went three and out and Cardinal O'Hara scored on its first drive of the season as junior Robert Davis' touchdown run. He had another run that set up the score.
O'Hara had a nice pass play -- which featured some nice hitting by Timon -- early in the drive.
7:18 p.m. We're back in the car and heading to Hamburg for its opening night of refurbished Howe Field.
* * *
7:37 p.m. I talk myself into a side parking lot, which is key because this place is mobbed. There are purple-clad people walking everywhere. I see WNY football guru Dick Gallagher on the sidelines as well as Hamburg lacrosse coach Jerry Severino.
Williamsville East has a 6-0 lead on the host Bulldogs, but Hamburg gets a big sack just before I head to the car. The camera angle isn't great, but hey, it's a phone.
While I'm typing in my car, I hear Iroquois turn its game into a blowout against East Aurora, while Hamburg scored a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead on Will East.
7:58 p.m. I do some typing, and it's off to Orchard Park -- an update on WGR said the game is tied at 7-7 late in the first quarter. Looks like I should get moving.
8:02 p.m. Still posting stuff from my car when Hamburg scores a touchdown on an interception return and adds a two-point conversion for a 15-6 lead on Will East. Iroquois' lead on East Aurora is 25-0 late in the first half.
* * *
8:23 p.m. After a slowwwww drive to OP, I walk in and my timing is not great -- 42 seconds left in the second quarter with OP up, 14-7. I'm kicking myself for posting stuff at Hamburg instead of driving right here.
I see two plays -- one is below, the final play of the half -- and I've gotta get going. I can afford to sit at the field for 15 minutes. Gotta get back to the office. Our first deadline is 10:15, so it is going to be super-tight getting games in the paper.
8:49 p.m. After some posting, tweeting and Facebook-ing (see The Buffalo News' Prep Talk blog fan page), I'm heading back to the office. EA has scored a touchdown and is down, 25-7, at Iroquois.
* * *
I'm back in the office for what should be a crazy night.
OK. It's well after midnight, but all of the games that were reported to us are in the main story -- for many games, there are details and statistics that we didn't have room for (or time for) in the paper.
* * *
Did you see a game tonight? Listen to one on the radio?
Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.
Members of Lancaster's High School's championship football teams in 1969, 1989 and 1999,
set aside Sept. 18. You are wanted at Foyle/Kling Field.
The Redskins are sponsoring a Salute of the Champions Night when they host Frontier in the
home opener on the 18th and all players from those three team are invited. There will be a
pregame dinner for the current and former athletes on Thursday of game week. The former
players will also be honored in a pre-game ceremony before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We bring back Championship teams as a way of rekindling and reliving those moments players
had during their era. It's important to connect those teams with our present players to put
substance into our tradition,” said current coach Len Jankiewicz. "It gives the kids some
first hand insight into the history of the program."
Former players planning to attend are asked to call Len Jankiewicz at 686-3270 or e-mail
him at: LJankiewicz@lancaster.wnyric.org. Len Jankiewicz was coach of the 1999 and 1989 squads
while Joe Foyle was the head coach in 1969.
The calendar says 2009 and that's good news for Lancaster fans. Besides the titles in 1969,
1989 and 1999, this is the 90th season of Lancaster football and its program was founded in
Consider where some of these players are continuing their careers ...
Everyone knows Jeff Tundo is headed to Ohio State, he committed as a junior, but what about Pierce Abrams of Niagara-Wheatfield ticketed for defending national champion Syracuse? Besides honing his skills in Wheatfield, he was also selected to the under-19 Iroquois National team and has been participating with a select group of players on a Six Nation junior A box lacrosse team in Canada. He accepted the prestigious Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship to SU.
Clay DelPrince of Frontier is going to Brown where he will receive an Ivy League education.
"I chose Brown because they have a really good mix of academic and athletic programs at a very high caliber," said DelPrince, who plans to study biochemistry. "Obviously in the Ivy League they're one of the best academic institutions and lately they're under a new coach and the lacrosse program has been really good, making the NCAA Tournament this year."
Those players wouldn't be going anywhere without good grades. Ten schools received the state's scholar/athlete award for having a combined 90-plus average: Lockport, Hamburg, Lancaster, Iroquois, Clarence, Frontier, Williamsville North, Sweet Home, Niagara-Wheatfield and Williamsville East.
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.