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Video: NT discusses 13th straight win in T-NT game

Countdown to Friday Night Lights: A North

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the Grand Island Vikings, Kenmore East Bulldogs, Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons, North Tonawanda Lumberjacks, Starpoint Spartans and Sweet Home Panthers.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: A North" »

Video: NT's Cassidy Powers wins Section VI bowling championship

Cassidy Powers of North Tonawanda talks with The News' Mary Jo Monnin about her effort in winning the title.

Learn more about the Section VI championships in Monnin's story in Friday's Buffalo News.

How The News voted: Super Week (& we're not talking football)

By Keith McShea

Every week during the basketball season a panel of voters participates in The News' large and small school boys basketball polls.

And every week we let you know, like the title says ... how The News voted.

This is just one ballot -- there are nine other voters in each poll. This week's News poll is available via the high school home page.

It's a Super Week, and we're not talking about Sunday's football game. As you'll see throughout the blog, there are several big-time games this week -- there's even one on Super Bowl Sunday that is worth a bit of hype. 

Here's last week's ballot (Week Five, Jan. 22). Previous polls: Week Four, Jan. 15Week Three (Jan. 8, which followed a two-week holiday break); Week Two (our special Christmas edition, Dec. 18); Week One (Dec. 11). Also, here's last year's final 2011-12 post

LARGE SCHOOLS

1. Niagara Falls (10-1) [last week: 1] -- The 100-18 win over Kenmore East revived calls for the Niagara Frontier League to allow Falls to play as an independent. I've said they should have remained that way since the 2005 Federation championship team. 

Continue reading "How The News voted: Super Week (& we're not talking football)" »

First day of practice: North Tonawanda

New North Tonawanda football coach Tony Truilizio knows he’s inheriting a program rich with tradition. While every coach brings his own style to the locker room, Truilizio wants to give the players a mix of what’s made the Lumberjacks successful in past with an added dose of what he brings to the team. 

From an on-field standpoint for the players, that’s meant they haven’t had to encounter too drastic of a change from the systems they were used to running.

Truilizio says much of the option offense and defensive packages at North Tonawanda are similar to what he ran while coaching at Riverside.

“We’re bringing a different variation to it is the best way to put it,” Truilizio said. “We’re going to expand on what they’ve done. In simplest terms, [NT] had a better option program than we did, we had a better defensive program.”

The Jacks’ quarterback this year will be Chris Woodard, a 6-foot-4 sophomore. He’s a returner to the varsity program who admits “it’s a little nerve-wracking” to be a varsity starter, but it's something the NT native has been preparing for his whole life.

“I remember going to games as a little kid and thinking, ‘Someday I’ll be out there.’ And I finally am,” Woodard said. “I was at the state championship game (in 2009, which NT won) and it was a really good experience and you want to repeat that and keep up the tradition.”

Woodard made special mention of senior middle linebacker Tyler Durham, who’s been in his face during voluntary workouts all spring.

“He’s been up there, he’s been getting interceptions, he’s been all over the field,” Woodard said.

North Tonawanda opens the season at home on Aug. 31 against Sweet Home.

---Nick Veronica

Twitter: @NickVeronica

Longtime Riverside football coach Truilizio will take over at NT

Tony Truilizio, who coached the Riverside football program to great success in the Buffalo Public Schools for the last decade, has been named the new coach at North Tonawanda.

Trulizio told The Buffalo News that he accepted the job offer from NT athletic director Cindy Bullis on Tuesday night.

"I'm grateful for everything that happened at Riverside, and I'm so excited about working in a new community and working with the kids at NT," said Truilizio, who said he will remain a physical education teacher at Riverside, where he will also continue to coach swimming and lacrosse. "It's a professional decision to move upward. My ultimate goal is to coach at the collegiate level. To move in the direction of NT is just a blessing."

Riverside won the Buffalo Public Schools' Harvard Cup championship four times under Trulizio, including its final season in 2009. When the Buffalo schools joined Section VI for the 2010 season, the Frontiers won the AA North title.

"It's bittersweet," said Truilizio. "If it weren't for those kids [at Riverside], the Buffalo Public Schools and Riverside, I wouldn't have this opportunity. The success came from the hard work of the kids and we had a great staff that allowed me to be a successful coach. You can't do it alone."

Rick Tomm coached NT last season but did not reapply for the position. Tomm followed Eric Jantzi, who coached at NT for 11 years -- including the 2009 Class AA state championship -- before stepping down.

"Everybody knows abotu the T-NT game and I'm looking forward to that," said Truilizio. "I'm looking forward to being a competior and obviously our goal is the same as everybody else's: to win a state championship. The division is nice, but winning states is what it's about."

* * * 

Truilizio raved about the NT program. I've often said that NT football games are one of the best game-day high school sports experiences in Western New York. 

Their new football coach has been a fan of the program for a long while, and it wasn't forged in football. 

Truilizio was impressed with NT dating back to his time as a swim coach for Grand Island. 

"hen I'd walk in as a coach from Grand Island, you'd see the stands full, parents, fans, just the general community," he said of the swim meets. "People would treat you with the utmost respect, even if you were an opponent. This was my first experience with NT, must have been 15 years ago.

"After I got the job at Riverside, coach Jantzi opened up a four-way scrimmage and we at Riverside got into it for three or four years. When we'd walk in as kids from Buffalo, they had respect for the team, for the kids, for me as coach -- the community was there, the booster club was there. It was just the most wonderful feeling walking into NT.

"I'd go to scout at NT and go to sit in the stands, and you'd just see left to right a full stadium of students, parents, alumni -- I was in shock. I'd walk in there wearing my Riverside colors, and instead of being jerks the fans were the most wonderful fans. 'Hey coach do you need anything?' They'd move over. I've been around long enough -- you don't get that everywhere."

* * *

Trulizio's Riverside lacrosse team, which consists of players from throughout the Buffalo Public Schools, is a member of the Independent Lacrosse Conference this season. The Frontiers, which are fielding varsity and JV teams this year, open its varsity season at home at 5 p.m. Friday against Newfane.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from Scrimmage Saturday: Seven stops and 24 teams (with 34 video highlights plus an episode of PrepTalkTV)

Cheektowaga and Eden line up on their first series with the Walden Galleria looming in the background. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

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.

Iroquois' practice field is way behind the school. And I mean wayyyy behind.

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.

The highlights:

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.

* * *

Also check out a photo gallery by Mulville.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

High school football: Day One from Iroquois, Canisius and North Tonawanda

The Buffalo News is scattering across Western New York to bring you complete coverage of the first day of high school football practice.

I'll be making scheduled stops at Iroquois, Canisius and North Tonawanda throughout the day -- three schools with rich football histories and brand new head coaches. Well, somewhat new...at all three, the new coach was promoted from within the program.

Stay tuned for updates, and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section, or shoot me a tweet @samkilb.

8:26 a.m. After two false starts (some construction at the school threw me off...that's my story) I've spotted some guys with pads at Iroquois...let's see how they're handling day one.

8:45 a.m. Coach Marshall addressing both teams in the auditorium. He means business. No nonsense, high goals. I'll be speaking with him shortly.

9:00 a.m. Chalk talk in Iroquois, Marshall hands out playbooks...without a single play in them. The players have to draw them in themselves. Not a bad idea. (They have some terminology in them, Coach Marshall wanted to make sure I clarified. "They won't be blank by Friday," he said.)

9:35 a.m. New Iroquois coach Keith Marshall, who was promoted to this job from the school's JV team after previous Coach Payne stepped aside, said he expects the transition to go smoothly.

"It's been a busy, really exciting summer," Marshall, who moved up from junior varsity with about 30 players, said. "Moving up with them has been a bonus, especially in terms of familiarity with the offense, with the system, with the things that I expect on and off the field."

Marshall said there would be plenty of similarities in how he runs the program and how it was run before. "I learned an awful lot from Coach Payne, I worked with him for ten years and I have a termendous amount of respect for what he taught me," he said. "I'm about similar things in coaching. I'm about keeping the kids safe, being successful and having fun. And we're going to accomplish those three goals this year."

Marshall is going into his 11th year coaching at Iroquois, and as a result, he feels the transition has gone well. The players agree.

"He's been with the program for awhile now, and I've had him since modified," senior wide receiver Madison Wesolowski said. "So I know him, he knows the routine of what we do."

Senior lineman Brandon Vernen said the hard work in the summer paid off.

"I think it's going really smoothly," he said. "Both coaches have their similarities and differences. But Coach Marshall, he's very enthusiastic and he knows how to get the job done."

On the field, changes in personnel will lead to  different skill set for this years Iroquois team.

"We're going to be a smaller team, but faster," senior lineman Casey Erhardt said. He added that the team could certainly live up to Marshall's goal of being the smartest in the division. "All the juniors coming up really know their stuff...we're young, but we're also smart, and we're active, so it should be good."

Next stop: Canisius

Continue reading "High school football: Day One from Iroquois, Canisius and North Tonawanda" »

Jantzi steps down at NT football

Eric Jantzi, who has presided over one of Western New York's best football programs for the last decade, has stepped down as coach at North Tonawanda.

Jantzi told The Buffalo News that he was relinquishing his spot to spend more time with his young family.

     "My family and I are moving to Orchard Park to be closer to our parents and brothers and sisters, and our kids don't get see them enough," he said.


     "We wanted to be closer to our family, the amount of time I have to put into coaching I don't think I could put in the time with my kids, or spend every day with the kids up here."
 

Jantzi said his commute would make it difficult or impossible for him to be available for daily weightlifting and other workouts that make coaching a 12-month job.

 "I have only one speed, and I don't think it would be fair to the kids [to reduce his time with them}."

He informed the Lumberjacks team Thursday night that he was stepping down.

He teaches at North Tonawanda and will keep that position, but the rest of his plans are up in the air.

 "I think I will coach again," he said. "I don't know if it will be right away. I'll discuss it with my family since they are the ones who make the sacrifices. ... I don't have any plans right now."

Jantzi, a Springville native, coached NT for 11 years, winning eight Class AA North divisional titles. Last season, he led NT to the state championship in Class AA, the first football state championship for the school and for Niagara County.

It is the third high-profile departure for NT's athletic department in the last several months. Basketball coach Erik O'Bryan went to Niagara-Wheatfield while athletic director Greg Whitman is leaving NT for Hamburg.

-- Keith McShea

Friday Night Live with PrepTalkTV: Depew beats Lancaster, 19-16, in final minutes (watch the winning TD here); NT wins T-NT, 35-0

It's an interesting night as we get the final week of the Section VI football season started. Communities will gather for rivalry games while most of the league games being played tonight will have some sort of impact on completing the sectional playoff field.

We will have PrepTalkTV team members on hand at the T-NT and Lancaster-Depew games; I'll be stopping in at both of those games and perhaps another while I'll be providing updates from all over Western New York all evening. So stay tuned, or check back and hit up that refresh button.

5:30 p.m. Plenty of pageantry on hand here at Clint Small Stadium as the T-NT ceremonies begin with the senior cheerleaders and players being honored in a pregame program. Streets nearby are closed off to account for the large crowd, the red-and-blue supporters of the Lumberjacks are filling up the visitor bleachers while there are plenty of fans in Tonawanda Warrior maroon in the large home bleacher. 

5:58 p.m. A great National Anthem -- and in typical fashion at Tonawanda games -- a freight train roars by the elevated track just south of the stadium midway through the song.

5:59 p.m. Nice touch as Rick Casata and Larry Bodie -- members of the all-time All-WNY team we selected a few years ago -- were honorary captains.

Photo(73)

6:04 p.m. The T-NT game has begun as it has the last few years as NT scores on its first drive. It moved the ball fairly easily before Dan Montesanti took a pitch to the left and scored a 21-yard TOUCHDOWN. The run failed and NT has a 6-0 lead with 9:29 left in the first quarter.

6:09 p.m. First down for Tonawanda.

6:12 p.m. Tonawanda punts and NT takes over at its 20-yard line.

6:14 p.m. This matchup of a AA school with a ton of players on its sideline and a B school with maybe 11 reserves is personified in a Tonawanda defensive back. No. 9 Cody Wankasky, a junior who can't be taller than 5-foot-5, but he's in the mix on all the plays, throwing his body at guys like the much more mammoth Dan Montesanti (6-1, 215 senior).

6:15 p.m. Tonawanda gets good pressure on Joe Montesanti, playing quarterback, which forces an intentional grounding penalty, a loss of down and forces an NT punt. Tonawanda takes over on its 35 with 3:38 to play. Nice job early by Tonawanda.

Photo(74)

6:27 p.m. That was quick. NT takes over after a punt and soon after Joe Montesanti keeps the ball on an option run to the right and he goes 69 yards for the TOUCHDOWN on what is the final play of the first quarter. Rob Wikierski adds a two-point run for a 14-0 lead for NT.

6:33 p.m. Tyler Hughes with an interception of a Joe Montesanti third-down pass and Tonawanda takes over at its 23 with 8:10 left in the second quarter. Hughes followed that up with a 20-yard first-down run to the Tonawanda 43.

6:35 p.m. A fumbled shotgun snap is scooped up by senior Luke Zacher and returned 20 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. The two-point conversion pass fails and NT leads 20-0 with 7:40 left in the second quarter.

7:04 p.m. At HALFTIME, NT leads Tonawanda, 20-0.

Here are some highlights from the first half thanks to video reporter Lauren Mariacher:

I made my way down to the field for the final minutes of the first half and was right next to Mariacher as Tonawanda executed a great screen pass play on third-and-17 from its own 47 to get to the NT 17 with 2:22 left in the half -- Warrior fans were fired up after that one. However, on the next play, Joe Montesanti picked off a pass at the goal line and returned it to midfield, where the Lumberjacks' drive fizzled in the final minute.

It was tough making my way through the crowd -- there are a ton of people here, I'd guess 3,000 or 4,000. I'm going to be headed East -- depending on how the trip goes I may stop by and see Alden at Maryvale (just kicking off) before finishing up at Depew at Lancaster. I had to get my car out of Tonawanda's grass area where they let me park quickly -- I was parked behind where NT was setting up it's de facto locker room area at the half.

UB's marching band, which it bills as "The Thunder of the East," was to perform at halftime (they arrived in a motorcade of several buses during the first half. I'm typing at the gas station at Grove and Delaware St. just a block or two from Clint Small, and I can hear the band doing its thing.

7:09 p.m. That was quick - just got a text update from Alden PA man Kevin Okiec: the Bulldogs have taken a 7-0 lead at Maryvale 49 seconds into the game.

7:45 p.m. Arrived at Maryvale to update the blog. I've been listening to Depew at Lancaster on WXRL 1300 AM with local high school football media megastars Rich Kozak and Sean Bruso teaming up on a very entertaining broadcast.

Depew took a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run by Anthony Emmanuele with 6:50 left in the first; that came on the Wildcats' first drive. Lancaster stopped Depew on third down and forces a punt late in the first quarter. Redskins take over at their 4 with 14 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Just got another text update from Okiec as I'm within view of the bleachers here at Maryvale -- but I can't see the scoreboard. Thank goodness for the text: Alden leads, 21-7, with 5:06 left in the second quarter after a 25-yard run. I'm going to try and get some video late in the half.

7:56 p.m. I don't think this actually counts as me going to a game -- I walked in as Alden kicked an extra point to go up, 28-7, with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. I headed back to the car and the Kozak-Bruso radio cavalcade.

I should be getting a text update on the touchdown I just missed in seconds! :-)

8 p.m. Sure enough: Okiec just zapped me the score a few minutes ago.

Lancaster has tied it up with Depew on a TD run by junior quarterback Ryan Radke followed by an Alex Debbins extra point for a 7-7 game with 9:16 left in the second quarter.

8:06 p.m. Depew has a bad punt snap go through the end zone for a SAFETY for Lancaster, which leads, 9-7, with 7:25 left in the first half.

8:15 p.m. Depew recovers a fumble on Lancaster's next possession and takes advantage of the field position with by going in for a touchdown and Depew leads Lancaster, 13-9, 4:58 left in the second quarter.

8:23 p.m. I'm going to sit tight and listen to the game and provide updates until the half before heading over.

8:28 p.m. FINAL SCORE from T-NT: North Tonawanda 35, Tonawanda 0.

Here's Lauren Mariacher's video report from the T-NT game:

8:30 p.m. UPDATES: I heard "Touchdown Maryvale!" from my car and Okiec's text says it was a Bilal Clay 1-yard run with 5:04 left in the third, but I just saw an Alden celebration in the end zone -- sure enough, the text reports a 50-yard touchdown by Dakota Peel for a 34-14 lead with 3:45 left in third ... now another TD by Alden ... Whew.

It is HALFTIME at Lancaster with the Redskins leading Depew, 16-13, after a huge play to end the half.

With Depew up, 13-9, and on the verge of another score, Geoff Franger intercepted a pass in the flat and ran 95 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. Debbins added the extra point for its 16-13 lead. It was absolute bedlam in the press box -- you could hear the home box rooting for Franger to "GO! GO!" and Kozak's radio call was a trip with all the noise. Great stuff.

I just got called out by Bruso on the radio because I'm not there!

Check out Joe Popiolkowski's video of that Franger touchdown.

UPDATE from Prep Talk blogger extraordinaire Milt Latimer, who had someone call me to tell me that Iroquois had a 25-0 lead over Hamburg after three quarters. ... Scott Kindberg of the Jamestown Post-Journal reports that Southwestern is up, 35-0, over Wilson with 8:40 left in the second quarter and he got word from Jamestown that the Red Raiders have a 14-3 lead over OP.

I'm off to Lancaster.

9:11 p.m. Hello from the very full press box at Foyle-Kling Field. Bruso said my seat was saved. There's a sign that says "MacKay" on it. Nice! I'll take it.

UPDATE from Lackawanna: EDEN LEADS LACKAWANNA, 20-6, to start the fourth quarter. Thanks to Steelers hoops coach Tim Foley for that update.

9:16 p.m. Depew has taken over with 2:12 left in the third quarter at its 33 with Lancaster still up, 16-13.

9:20 p.m. UPDATE from Lauren Mariacher -- now Eden's lead at Lackawanna is 20-14 with 7:45 to play. ... FINAL SCORE: Alden 48, Maryvale 21.

9:28 p.m. Depew gets a big play, an interception in their end zone by Sam Sallaj; Wildcats take over at their 20 with 8:35 left.

9:33 p.m. FINAL SCORE: Iroquois 31, Hamburg 0. Thanks to Milt for that one. ... Lackawanna fumbles on a late drive and Eden takes over with 2:51 left.

Lancaster stops Depew, forces a punt, and takes over at the Lancaster 38 with 6:32 left.

9:36 p.m. UPDATE from Lauren: Eden makes an interception at its own 5 with one minute left. Whoa. ... Update from noted blogger Malt Blathermore! Medina up on Albion, 36-14, with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth.

9:42 p.m. WOW. Depew's Aaron Ertel hits three passes on the Wildcats' drive, the last a slant pass over the middle to Joe Miller for a 46-yard TOUCHDOWN with 1:36 left in the game. The extra point goes wide right and Depew leads Lancaster, 19-16.

9:49 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: Depew 19, Lancaster 16. WOW.

Here's the winning touchdown from video reporter Joe Popiolkowski:

Interview time; I'll have more updates from other games as soon as I can get them on here.

Here's Joe Pops' complete wrapup of the game:

10:31 p.m. Sorry for the delay; had a little wait for interviews, then did some PrepTalkTV-ing.

FINAL SCORES: Eden 20, Lackawanna 14. That's huge.

Check out the reactions after Eden's win, thanks to video reporter Lauren Maraicher:

Also big in the B playoff picture: Medina 44, Albion 14.

Dan McGrath told me Depew will be the No. 2 seed in Class B behind No. 1 Alden.

The wins by Amherst, Will South and Iroquois mean that Lafayette takes the fourth and final playoff spot in Class A South.

Randolph wins the D East division title with a huge win over Portville.

OP comes back to beat Jamestown and take second place in AA South; No. 3 will be Frontier; No. 4 will be Jamestown.

Pioneer wins at East Aurora, meaning that B South will have three teams (Pioneer, Lackawanna and Eden) all in the playoffs at 5-1. Pioneer reports that they have won the division on tiebreakers.

* * *

As always, we want to hear from you if you were at any games. Tell us about the players, teams -- even the concession stand.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

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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.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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