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Live from the Monsignor Martin girls semifinals: Nichols, Sacred Heart set up rematch

We're live at Canisius College for the first of two Monsignor Martin girls semifinals games. The first matchup features Nardin and Sacred Heart, with Nichols and Mount St. Mary to play at 7:30.

As the Black Eyed Peas say, let's get it started ...

First quarter

6:06 p.m.: A slow start and some good defense have added up to few points. Sacred Heart leads, 2-1, on a pair of free throws with less than six minutes to go in the first quarter. Nardin's Brianna Smith has been a force so far down low, recording a pair of blocked shots.

6:08: A free throw and the first field goal of the game, by Smith, give Nardin a 3-2 lead with less than four to play in the opening quarter.

6:10: First field goal for Sacred Heart comes from Sarah Pawlak. Her jumper from the right side puts the Sharks up, 4-3.

6:17: Sacred Heart leads, 8-5, after the first quarter. Victoria Krantz hit a 12-footer with about 20 seconds to play to extend the lead.

NOTE: We've made an executive decision on the blog from here on out: We'll go with the time left remaining in the quarter at the start of the update instead of the actual time.

Second quarter

6:07 remaining: First timeout sees the Sharks lead, 10-7. Nice jumper by Nardin's Hannah Gardner cut the Shaks' lead to three.

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Herlihy makes healthy decision

The Monsignor Martin Association lost one of its more colorful girls basketball coaches following the recent resignation of Jake Herlihy. The Nardin Gators' coach for the past 12 years stepped down, citing health reasons.

Herlihy, 61, had quintuple heart bypass surgery in April. He went into the season hoping he could finish, but three games in, it was apparent he couldn't. He was as verbal and animated as ever in a recent loss to Nichols, but confided to his wife afterward, "I'm getting too old for this. I just felt like I couldn't do this 20 more times." 

Herlihy ends his career 219-93, having won the Monsignor Martin Association playoff title in 2000, 2005 and the New York State Class C crown in 2007. Jackie D'Orazio, a member of that 2000 championship team, was quickly named Herlihy's successor. She had been as assistant the past two years.

"It's just too much for him. For him to change the way he coaches ... he really gets into the games ... he couldn't do it," said Athletics Director Mo Sheehan. "It was his decision. He's going to be missed. His daughter [Erin] had a baby [on June 28]. I think he wants to enjoy his grandchild."

Herlihy said he's comfortable with his decision. He said sometimes the best decisions aren't always the easiest. He said he likely won't go to another game until the MMA playoffs in March.

So what happens to his signatrue Gator green sport coat he wore for big games? Maybe I'll give it to [Holy Angels' coach] Fran [Snyder] mand he can wear it on St. Patrick's Day ..."

---Mary Jo Monnin

Live from Canisius' fourth straight win over St. Joe's

The fans are chanting back and forth, the place is packed and the parking lots are overflowing. It must be Canisius and St. Joe's.

I'll have live updates here when I can. Get friendly with your refresh button and enjoy the game.

2:07 p.m. Canisius calls a timeout with 8:07 left in the first quarter, having converted two third downs in a drive that has them with a first down at the St. Joe's 12.

2:09 p.m. We have the game's first TOUCHDOWN as Travis Eman has time and lofts a pretty pass to the back right corner of the end zone for Jimmy Gaines, who is open to make the catch and put Canisius up with 7:56 left in the first quarter. The extra point is good and Canisius leads, 7-0.

2:12 p.m. A big roll of thunder brings an "ohhhh" from the crowd and a signal from the referees to halt the game. We will have a 30-minute mandatory delay. There is 7:26 left in the opening quarter.

2:14 p.m. A flash of lighting in the distance and some umbrellas pop up in the crowd. Kind of weird since it was such a fabulous day -- sunny and one where you could leave your jacket in the car. We'll be back with more weather after this break.

2:19 p.m. Only in Buffalo -- under bright sunshine, we have a driving rain. Stay tuned for the five-day forecast.

2:30 p.m. Looks like we'll be able to get back to action once around 2:42 p.m. as the sunny skies have cleared and there is no more rain. 

Make sure you check out the Saturday Afternoon Live post, where some faithful and friendly members of Prep Talk Nation are updating the Southwestern at Cassadaga Valley battle of undefeated top 10 small schools in Class C South. 

2:43 p.m. It's like a second pregame going on, with teams doing exercises and music playing. Now the crowd is getting back into it and it appears we're ready to get going.

2:44 p.m. We're back to action. St. Joe's first play from scrimmage is an incomplete bomb.

2:52 p.m. Canisius has its second TOUCHDOWN and the Crusaders have a 14-0 lead with 3:06 left in the first quarter. After St. Joe's went three-and-out on its first possession, Canisius started at its 43 and moved up the field quickly behind two long Ricky Pringle runs. On second-and-5 at the St. Joe's 11, an inside handoff went to Nate Farrar, and the junior wasn't met with much resistance as he went up the middle for the score.

2:57 p.m. St. Joe's is on the scoreboard with a TOUCHDOWN on a screen play from quarterback Matt Rosenhahn to the right side to Nicholas Hall, who got quick-stepped his way past two nice blocks and down the right sideline for a 57-yard score. The kick by Kevin Schwartz was good and Canisius' lead is now 14-7 with 1:10 left in the first quarter.

3 p.m. At the END of the FIRST QUARTER, Canisius leads St. Joe's, 14-7. Canisius faces a third-and-15 at its 40 after Eman was sacked hard by Tyler Beresford.

3:04 p.m. Another sack, this one by senior Christian Didas, forces a punt by Canisius and St. Joe's takes over at its 29 with 10:57 left in the second quarter. Some big-time life in St. Joe's now.

3:09 p.m. Nice response by the Crusader defense after St. Joe's got two first downs and moved to the Canisius 47 -- two sacks and an incomplete pass forced a punt and the Crusaders take over at their 20.

3:17 p.m. Canisius calls a timeout with 3:14 left in the second quarter as it faces a first-and-18 at the St. Joe's 29 after a holding penalty. Eman has completed passes for two third-down conversions on this drive.

Eman hit Bernard Williams for 20 yards on this play (below) before Canisius failed on fourth-and-4.

3:25 p.m. Canisius calls a timeout with 28.1 seconds left in the second quarter. After its lengthy drive failed on fourth-and-4 at the St. Joe's 15, St. Joe's fumbed the ball on its first play to give it back to Canisius at the St. Joe's 26. The Crusaders have a first down at the 26.

Above is Eman hitting Theo Russell to convert a third-and-9 from the 25.

3:30 p.m. After a touchdown was called back on a penalty and St. Joe's got a sack, Canisius gets a 42-yard FIELD GOAL from senior Peter Roehmholdt, whose end over end kick got good height and fell through the uprights. Canisius leads, 17-7, with 1.1 seconds left in the first half.

Here's a great highlight -- but it is of the play that got called back (much to the chagrin of the Canisius parent who sounds like he's about to have a breakdown) ...

Here's the St. Joe's linemen getting to Eman -- the Marauders got some good pressure all day, but the elusive Eman was able to get away from it on several plays (but not this one) ...

Here's the iPhone video of the field goal -- good luck seeing the ball :-) Actually, you can see it right above the tree line before it goes through.

3:31 p.m. We are at HALFTIME with Canisius leading St. Joe's, 17-7.

3:48 p.m. Wow. Halftime stats for Canisius, hand-written and hand-delivered to the press box. Nice. Ricky Pringle has seven carries for 57 yards while Travis Eman is 8 of 12 for 155 yards and a touchdown. Also a note that Roehmholdt's field goal was a career long, and Canisius was 4 of 6 on third downs. Nice.

3:51 p.m. Canisius rowdies doing the St. Joe's "I believe that we will win" chant.

3:55 p.m. We've kicked off; St. Joe's has the ball and calls a timeout with 11:07 left in the third quarter facing a second-and-9 at its own 38.

3:58 p.m. Big play for Canisius as Farrar picks off a pass that bounced off Hall on the left side -- he returns it to the St. Joe's 23 where Canisius has a first down with 9:19 left in the third quarter.

4 p.m. And a big play for St. Joes -- Rosenhahn gets the ball back by stepping in front of an Eman pass and making his own interception from his defensive back spot. St. Joe's takes over at its 42 with 8:14 left in the third quarter.

4:07 p.m. St. Joe's scores a TOUCHDOWN on a fabulous run by Nick Hall, who took a pitch from Rosenhahn to the left side, banged off a potential hit, then spun out of another and sped down the left sideline for the score. Marc Montana hits the extra point -- after a 5-yard delay of game penalty -- and Canisius leads St. Joe's by a 17-14 score with 6:17 left in the third quarter.

4:15 p.m. Canisius with a very nice answer. Ricky Pringle leans in to the end zone behind an nice push from the line for a 1-yard TOUCHDOWN run on second-and-goal with 4:06 left in the third quarter. Eman had a great run that went for 57 yards that put Canisius at the 3 and set up the score. Canisius leads, 24-14.

4:18 p.m. And a nice answer by St. Joe's -- and quite quickly. Wow. Matt Rosenhahn just ran for an 83-yard TOUCHDOWN run. It looked like an option run to the left which the quarterback just kept and turned upfield, through a gap in the defense and untouched down the left sideline. Wow, fun game. St. Joe's keeps coming up with ways to hang in this game. Canisius leads, 24-21, with 3:42 left in the third.

4:26 p.m. Lot of action here in the third, lot of action. Canisius has scored another TOUCHDOWN as Eman keeps the ball for a 2-yard score with 1:11 left in the third. The Crusaders marched down the field on an 80-yard drive that took six plays. Pringle had two first-down runs and Eman hit Johnny Davis for a 26-yard pass to give Canisius its first-and-goal at the 2. The extra-point kick is good and Canisius regains its 10-point lead at 31-21.

4:31 p.m. At the END of the THIRD QUARTER, Canisius has a 31-21 lead. The Crusaders took over at its 42 after a St. Joe's punt.

4:40 p.m. Canisius goes to the end zone in five plays, ending with a TOUCHDOWN by Pringle on a 13-yard run on first-and-goal. Canisius leads St. Joe's, 38-21, with 10 minutes exactly left in the game.

4:44 p.m. Canisius calls a timeout with St. Joe's having moved to the Canisius 14 with 8:23 left in the game. Rosenhahn just had a nice first-down run, followed by a pretty pass to Hall for a first down to get the Marauders to the 14.

4:49 p.m. St. Joe's scores a TOUCHDOWN on a fabulous leaping catch by Joshua Moore on a Rosenhahn pass on fourth-and-4 at the Canisius 18. Canisius now leads, 38-28, with 6:29 left in the game.

4:50 p.m. St. Joe's keeps coming up with big plays -- Rosehnahn gets his hands on the bounce of an on-sides kick and the Marauders will start their drive at the Canisius 47. 

4:58 p.m. St. Joe's moved to the Canisius 12, but then moved itself back on some penalties and on first-and-forever at the Canisius 29, Rosenhahn was pressured and fumbled the ball. Canisius takes over at its 35 with 4:11 left in the fourth quarter.

5:05 p.m. We have a timeout with 1:40 left in the game; Canisius has a third-and-10 at the St. Joe's 22.

5:07 p.m. Another big boot as Roehmholdt drops in a 40-yard FIELD GOAL to give Canisius a 41-28 lead with 1:30 left in the game. 

5:11 p.m. An interception for Canisius by senior Vincent Panuccio gives the Crusaders the ball with 1:13 left. 

5:12 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Canisius 41, St. Joe's 28. More to come later.

Here's the fans flooding the field:

---Keith McShea

Will North field hockey on a roll

Check out the High School Extra for a busy Wednesday of fall sports. Here are some extra notes from around the fields:

* * *

Williamsville North field hockey coach Kris LaPaglia has the Spartans firing on all cylinders early this season. The latest example: an 8-0 domination of Holland.

"We're working well as a team right now and we have a lot of kids who can be offensive threats," LaPaglia said.

Playing that role Wednesday was junior Alley Ahern, who had four goals.

 "This is a big year for her," LaPaglia said. "She's been with me for a couple of years now and her game has really improved. Her skill level is very high."

Nikki Atkins added a hat trick and backup sophomore goalie Alayna Wageman got the shutout. The Spartans are now 4-0 on the season.

* * *

 In girls soccer action, Jackie April had the game-winning goal midway through the second second half as Orchard Park stayed unbeaten at 3-0 in ECIC I with a 2-1 win over Frontier.

Nichols senior Bri Smith had all five goals in her team's 5-0 shutout of Sacred Heart in Monsignor Martin action. Smith now has 19 goals in seven games after scoring 59 a season ago. Bethany Novak and Meaghan Heldwein split the shutout in goal for the Vikings (6-1).

---Jay Skurski

Kickoff poll: Who will win the Monsignor Martin?

This is the sixth of seven preseason football polls -- the last one is coming up at 2 p.m. Here are links to the polls for for Class AA, Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D.

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

---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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