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Week Eight poll: Which #PrepTalkLive Friday game are you looking forward to the most?

Week Seven poll: Which #PrepTalkLive Friday game are you looking forward to the most?

Week Six poll: Which #PrepTalkLive Friday night game are you most looking forward to?

Week Four poll: Which Friday night #PrepTalkLive game are you looking forward to the most?

Which Friday night #PrepTalkLive game are you most looking forward to following?

Hut one. Hut two. VOTE. 



How The News voted: Canisius No. 1, St. Joe's No. 3, see you on Friday

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.

Here is a link to previous ballots: last week -- Jan. 17 (MLK edition), Jan. 10 (back from the break), Dec. 20, Dec. 13 (the tipoff).

Here are this week's polls, and here's our ballot:


1. Canisius (9-4) [last ballot: 1] -- I'm sticking with these guys, Friday night guests of the guys who beat Aquinas.  

2. Niagara Falls (9-3) [2] -- Sticking with these guys here over ...

3. St. Joe's (13-2) [6] -- ... the guys who beat Aquinas.

In other seasons, a win over one of the best programs in the state would vault a team, especially a 13-2 team, to the top. I would argue that Aquinas should be ranked No. 1 in a combined Section V/Section VI/Monsignor Martin Association poll. And in voting St. Joe's No. 3 here, I guess I would have Aquinas at the top? Canisius played Aquinas tough at home without Matt Hart. Aquinas lost at St. Joe's without starter Jarron Jones, who is certainly a great body to have in the lineup but certainly not the kind of impact player that Phil Valenti or Christian White or Jhamahl Pardner are. 

For me, it came down to my gut, based on what I've seen and gathered from this season. I would take No. 1 and No. 2 over No. 3 if they played. Which means I would take No. 1 over No. 3 no matter where they played. And would you look at this: No. 1 Canisius at No. 3 St. Joe's on Friday night. PrepTalkTV will be there (duh :-) ).

[After-the-votes-were-tallied note: I'm quite surprised that St. Joe's didn't get more than one No. 1 vote. I thought I might be on an island in considering Canisius still at the top.]

4. Jamestown (10-1) [3] -- Slide down with Joe's moving up. (at Clarence on Ridiculously Busy Friday).

5. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (11-3) [4] -- Make that two. (hosting Kearney on Ridiculously Busy Friday).

6. McKinley (8-2) [5] -- Make that three. (

7. Riverside (8-2) [7] -- Same spot for Frontiers, and with exams this week we're not expected to learn much about the city teams ...

8. Hutch-Tech (6-3) [8] -- ... including these guys. 

9. Williamsville East (11-2) [9] -- Really liked the way the Flames played without their coach, on rival's floor, against a program that had owned them the last six years or so. Liked the team play big-time. They play together on both ends, they are fundamentally sound, they have guys making unselfish plays, with 6-foot-3 Isaiah Kaudeyr making a ton of them. I wanted to vote them higher -- but they're just kind of stuck here in some sense. These three are in like a tie for seventh.

10. Kenmore West (9-2) [10] -- Blue Devils (at Niagara Falls on Ridiculously Busy Friday) still a step ahead of other contenders for this spot, a huddle that Frontier just rejoined after completing a season sweep of a Will North team I thought was on an upswing. East Aurora definitely in this crowd, Will South, Cheektowaga and maybe even Amherst too from competitive ECIC III that also includes top 10 small school Depew. Tough to figure out where the rest of ECIC I fits with Lancaster beating Clarence, along with Orchard Park beating Hamburg and then OP losing to Sweet Home in its next game. The rest of the NFL probably is in that neighborhood. 


1. Olean (11-1) [1] -- Schedule check: Dunkirk at Olean, next Tuesday, Jan. 31.

2. St. Mary's (11-5) [2] -- Fairly close ones over Nichols and Niagara Catholic and a huge blowout of St. Francis. Hmm.

3. OTC Middle College (6-3) [3] -- Host MST Seneca on Ridiculously Busy Friday.

4. Archbishop Walsh (11-3) [6] -- Chances to see these guys up north: Wednesday at Canisius, Friday at St. Francis. Scheduling note: First game with St. Mary's is home on Jan. 31.

5. Tonawanda (12-0) [5] -- A week after I wrote how impressed I was at Lackawanna, I can't say the same about the home win over Holland. Part of the reason for the Walsh promotion.

6. Depew (7-4) [7] -- I liked what I saw from Cheektowaga in close loss to I-Prep (probably No. 11 on this list) at MLK Classic; Cheektowaga just won in OT at Depew. I suppose you could argue that these Wildcats should drop further, but ECIC III is no picnic with large schools like Cheektowaga, Amherst and EA (which got a good run from Maryvale the other night).

7. Wilson (8-2) [8] -- I saw one quarter in a tiny, packed, loud CSAT gym and really liked what I saw. Diez hitting threes, Martin playing like a senior, well-run operation. Like Will East, wanted to vote them higher, but just couldn't.  

8. MST Seneca (8-1) [4] -- Drop down with loss to City Honors, which moved probably from Top 20 to Top 15 with that win. 

9. East (4-6) [9] -- Saw them against McKinley without top guard Johnathon Lewis. Team deserves to be -- just holding on -- in the top 10.

10. Silver Creek (7-1) [10] -- Hosting Portville, one of many contenders for this spot, on Ridiculously Busy Friday.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below.

---Keith McShea

How The News voted: Week Six

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.

Here's our shot after three weeks of action.

For reference: Week FiveWeek FourWeek ThreeWeek TwoWeek One and the preseason poll.


1. Orchard Park (6-0) [last week: 1] -- An very respected e-mailer brought to my attention that the one spot that I wrote about that OP hasn't been dominant in -- its defense -- is the perfect (or imperfect) counterpoint for those who argue for the Maurauders being in this spot. I hear that. I think the Maurauders and Chad Kelly, in any kind of shootout-type game, could outscore just about anybody. I still like OP's overall well-rounded-ness, and the Quakers' offense is loaded, too. The "Big Cat" formation got a passing TD this week. 

2. St. Joe's (5-1) [2] -- Marauders can make a serious statement Friday night in the land of serious high school football. That's Steubenville, Ohio, where St. Joe's is 0-10.

3. St. Francis (4-2) [3] -- Akeel Lynch's night in South Buffalo the performance of the year so far. 

We definitely see a top three and then another tier in this poll, which brings us to ...

4. Jamestown (5-1) [8] -- ... the Red Raiders. They've shown a ton of dominance, and with the rest of the poll tough to figure, that kind of dominance deserves a jump like this. 

5. Clarence (5-1) [5] -- Didn't look like Gelz played last week. Enough of a concern there to have the Red Raiders run by. Will Jamestown's speedsters do that Friday night at Strider Field?

6. Sweet Home (6-0) [6] -- Two out of the last three weeks, I've hustled to Sweet Home to see a team down at the half get bailed out by Jordan Johnson touchdown runs. In the third quarter Johnson was running and Tim Oaks was making plays on defense, giving a glimpse of a team that -- if it were more consistent -- would be higher than this. But I can't put them any higher, and I certainly thought about moving them behind the ... 

7. Williamsville South (6-0) [7] -- ... Billies, who I've had behind Sweet Home all season because that's the way the season started (Sweet Home is the defending champion four times over, by the way). A move might be in order after South hosts Amherst this weekend. We shall see. Last week I got my first look at South, and after watching the first quarter at at Will East, I'm like, "huh?" Then the Billies shook off Thursday afternoon cobwebs and Trent Ferguson was impressive. The only thing they didn't execute well after the first quarter were the last-minute water-jug dumps on assistant coaches (0 for 2).

8. Canisius (2-4) [4] -- Timmis didn't play this week. As with Gelz, there's enough of a concern there to result in a drop. If Timmis comes back, and they play like the team that played St. Joe's tough, they could back move up. Reminder to those who want to mindlessly howl about a 2-4 record: losses to St. Joe's, Aquinas, Cathedral Prep (Pa.) and Walsh Jesuit (Ohio) -- four teams who I think would beat everyone on this post other than the top three large schools.

9. Kenmore West (5-1) [9] -- Thought that win over Lockport was solid, then Falls routs visiting Lockport this week. Ahh, life in the AA North. Blowout last week, could be another blowout during Rivarly Week.

10. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (5-1) [10] -- They showed me enough to keep them here ahead of NT. They pushed St. Francis and were only overwhelmed by an overwhelming player. Ryan Dougherty can really throw the ball while fellow hoopers Jordan Williams and Bryant Fulton sure can go up and get it. DiMillo was able to be mostly neutralized by the St. Francis defense, which I don't think would happen against most teams. 

Who's No. 11? NT has the inside track on McKinley (beat NT) and Starpoint (beat McKinley, 7-0 loss at NT), which are both a step ahead of Amherst (seemed to find its early-season form against Will North following loss to South Park and OT win over Hamburg).




1. Alden (6-0) [1] -- Can't wait for what should be an intriguing Class B playoff bracket for Bulldogs ... 

2. Depew (5-1) [2] -- ... and Wildcats ...

3. Cheektowaga (5-1) [3] -- ... and Warriors. 

4. Maple Grove (6-0) [4] -- Handled Frewsburg nicely. Red Dragons have some serious athletes at key positions. We see a strong top four in this poll, then it gets very tricky. 

5. Fredonia (6-0) [5] -- We still like that gut-check win at Cleve Hill.

6. Lackawanna (5-1) [6] -- People might forget about the Steelers after a home loss during the regular season. Same people might forget what Lackawanna did last year after doing the same thing.

7. Pioneer (6-0) [10] -- Strong finish for the Panthers. The way this division has done I foresaw a close one with Olean, which would match up with where I've had Pioneer on my ballot most of the season. The Panthers delivered a 28-0 win, enough for me to give them a boost. The Silver Creek Week One win over Dunkirk (the great benchmark that had many, including me, considering the top D schools stronger than a lot of B schools) lost a bit of its luster with Springville continuing a solid season with a win over Dunkirk. Springville's solid season began with a win over Salamanca, which keeps the Class C South first-place team off the ballot.

8. Randolph (5-1) [8] -- Big win over I-Prep, as expected. Things get a little muddled here since they've beaten Frewsburg, which played Maple Grove a little better than the Cardinals did. One could argue the Bears should move past Randolph based on how they're playing right now, but I'll keep them as close as Randolph's two-point win. Should these Ds be higher? Right now, I don't think so. Maple Grove created enough separation in the scores with the Cardinals and Frewsburg that I think some separation is appropriate on this ballot as well.

9. Frewsburg (4-2) [9] -- The good news for the Bears is that they might get a shot to avenge both of their losses in just a few weeks.

10. Cleveland Hill (5-1) [7] -- Had a big win over Lafayette, as expected. In the same way that I liked Fredonia's gut-check win, I gotta admit that watching the Golden Eagles fall at home is still sticking in my head a bit, too. But we'll keep them ahead of Silver Creek, Salamanca, Southwestern and St. Mary's.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below, let us know via Twitter or facebook (addresses below), or join the live chat Wednesday evening (which starts live-video-style at 8).

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: Week Five

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.

Here's our shot after three weeks of action.

For reference: Week FourWeek ThreeWeek TwoWeek One and the preseason poll.


1. Orchard Park (5-0) [last week: 1] -- We have a very clear top three, and after seeing them all on Saturday, we have a very clear No. 1. They have not only beaten three top 10 teams on this ballot, they have dominated them. Multi-dimensional, talent all over the field, could be a longggg season.

2. St. Joe's (4-1) [3] -- Canisius? Check. St. Francis? Check. And both on the road. Very impressive.

3. St. Francis (3-2) [2] -- Akeel Lynch, who was defended well by St. Joe's in the mud, can be a much different factor on turf. The postseason is on turf.

4. Canisius (2-3) [5] -- We're not doing this just to get people riled up. We swear. We had Canisius ahead of Clarence two weeks ago, now we're swapping them back. Canisius lost to Cathedral Prep (Pa.) two weeks ago, lost to Walsh Jesuit (Ohio) this past week, something that we think would happen to the schools below as well. Canisius also played the No. 2 team tough. Sneak preview: This might happen again next week since Canisius is at Aquinas Friday night.

5. Clarence (4-1) [4] -- Red Devil fans hoping Gelz is OK for the stretch run. After West Seneca West visits Friday, the final week of the regular season has the Red Devils at the Red Raiders down in Jamestown for a game that likely decides second place in AA South (and a home playoff game).

6. Sweet Home (5-0) [6] -- Blowout of Kenmore East doesn't tell us any more about team that toughed out wins over Starpoint and McKinley. 

7. Williamsville South (5-0) [7] -- Billies could be the most underrated team on this ballot. Thursday Night Football this week.

8. Jamestown (4-1) [9] -- If the Billies aren't the most underrated team on this ballot, then the Red Raiders are. Not to say I told you so, but I had these guys in my top 10 last week before they beat Lancaster. Also own a respectable 31-14 loss at OP.

9. Kenmore West (4-1) [10] -- Solidified spot in top 10 and perch in AA North with a solid, 20-point win at Lockport.

10. Bishop Timon-St. Jude (5-0) [NR] -- Are they better than any of the teams I go through below? We're not completely sure, but we're leaning to yes here after a quality win at a solid Springville team along with DiMillo being back and running all over the place. Fun Friday football at Fitzpatrick Field with Frannies visiting. First major test for the Tigers.

Who could be next? Lancaster, which (lost to Jamesown and Clarence but) beat Lockport, which (lost to Ken West but) beat Starpoint, which (lost to Sweet Home but) beat McKinley, which (also lost to Sweet Home but) beat 4-1 North Tonawanda, which I definitely have ahead of 4-1 Amherst (especially after the team they lost to, South Park, lost to 1-4 Lake Shore), which beat West Seneca East, which (also lost to Will South) beat Bennett, which beat Hamburg, which beat South Park and Lake Shore and lost at Amherst in OT.

From that list, NT and Starpoint were probably the teams I considered most for the 10th spot -- both ever-so-slightly ahead of Lancaster since those two are on an upswing while Lancaster isn't -- and would you look a this? The Lumberjacks host Starpoint in a quality Niagara County deal on Friday night.




1. Alden (5-0) [1] -- Can I vote them higher than No. 1? Yes, Depew went for two when it probably should have kicked, but the late FG attempt was a long shot, and if Patterson plays the second half it's not that close. 

2. Depew (4-1) [2] -- Certainly still tucked right behind the Bulldogs after losing to them.

3. Cheektowaga (4-1) [3] -- Certainly still tucked right behind the Wildcats after losng to them (Week One). 

4. Maple Grove (5-0) [7] -- Thorough win over Randolph leads to a switch of spots.

5. Fredonia (5-0) [10] -- To go to Cleve Hill and play disciplined defense and offense for what should end up being a division-clinching win, you get rewarded with a big jump here.

6. Lackawanna (4-1) [5] -- Only loss to Cheektowaga.

7. Cleveland Hill (4-1) [6] -- Still an explosive team.

8. Randolph (4-1) [4] -- Swapped spots with Maple Grove after bigger loss than would have been expected.

9. Frewsburg (4-1) [NR] -- Probably should have had them in here last week, not that there was an easy place to put them.

10. Pioneer (5-0) [9] -- We're not sure what we've got in dealing with those Bs Pioneer keeps beating, but we'll keep them ahead of Silver Creek, Salamanca, Southwestern and St. Mary's.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below, let us know via Twitter or facebook (addresses below), or join the live chat Wednesday evening (which starts live-video-style at 8).

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

How The News voted: Week Four

Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls.

Here's our shot after three weeks of action.

For reference: Week ThreeWeek TwoWeek One and the preseason poll.


1. Orchard Park (4-0) [last week: 1] -- Super Saturday starts with Quakers' homecoming game at noon.

2. St. Francis (3-1) [2] -- Super Saturday ends with Red Raiders' hosting St. Joe's at 7.

3. St. Joe's (3-1) [3] -- This Super Saturday stuff is lining up as if we planned it like a made-for-TV ESPN event or something because the two games include the top four teams on our ballot, these Marauders (impressive out-of-town display in Pa.) and ... 

4. Clarence (4-0) [5] -- ... the Red Devils (who seemed in a different league than Lancaster during a rainy, 20-0 win Friday).

5. Canisius (2-2) [4] -- We did consider not moving Canisius down, based on our standard everyone-would-lose-to-that-opponent-too rule. However, all 58 points in the first half -- even at Erie, Pa., power Cathedral Prep -- was not something that was expected.

6. Sweet Home (4-0) [6] -- These Panthers like close calls, following a close win at Frontier with a close homecoming win over Starpoint. Or, perhaps, as quarterback Jordan Johnson told me (and everyone watching PrepTalkTV), Sweet Home's opponents are better than we think.

7. Williamsville South (4-0) [7] -- Billies rolled past Iroquois, welcome West Seneca East Friday, and all of a sudden that season finale against Amherst has a different feel.

8. McKinley (3-1) [9] -- Week Five's ridiculous amount of good games includes another solid one as the Macks go to Starpoint.

9. Jamestown (3-1) [NR] -- We had a feeling last week that Red Raiders might be better than Lancaster. Now we're saying it's more than a feeling. We'll find out Saturday. That 31-14 loss at OP is far from terrible. The opponents aren't the greatest, but they've posted big wins over Falls, Wheatfield and West Seneca West.

10. Kenmore West (3-1) [NR] -- AA North, as it has historically, seems to be a significant step behind the South, but we'll go with this offensive firepower over what we saw from Lancaster (and yes, we did take into account the rain).

South Buffalo conspiracy theorists want to know where Bishop Timon-St. Jude and South Park are. Timon's 4-0 start has come against two local small schools and two middle-of-the-road teams from outside the area (Timon just crushed Wilson Magnet, which was crushed by McQuaid, which was crushed by Canisius; Timon also crushed St. John the Baptist, which was crushed by Canisius last year). We like what the Tigers are doing, very much, especially without Adam DiMillo the last two times out, and we certainly thought about them, but we don't like them enough right now to put them ahead of teams like Jamestown or Kenmore West. Timon takes on another small school this week in Springville, an intriguing game but one that might not help them crack our top 10 -- a venture that will ultimately rest in how the Tigers do against the MMA's "big three."

South Park knocked off ranked-all-season Amherst, but we can't vote for a Sparks team that owns a loss to Hamburg. The Tigers, with the way they went 3-0, really seem like a team that might be worthy of getting back in the top 10, but it would probably take quite the performance in Week Seven at South to do it. North Tonawanda, with its lone loss a close one to McKinley in Week one, might be a better choice than all of these.




1. Alden (4-0) [1] -- We couldn't have come up with a better Week Five lineup if we tried. Super Saturday is one thing, but on Friday we get these Bulldogs against ...

2. Depew (4-0) [2] -- ... the Wildcats? What a weekend.

3. Cheektowaga (3-1) [3] -- I had them here last week based on a close opening loss at Depew and the major win at Lackawanna, and the Warriors played the part with a blowout of Tonawanda. 

4. Randolph (4-0) [5] -- Man, are the Southern Tier chatters gonna give it to me Wednesday about Southwestern losing :-). 

5. Lackawanna (3-1) [6] -- We'll keep the Steelers here but definitely thought about ...

6. Cleveland Hill (4-0) [7] -- ... the high-scoring Golden Eagles.

7. Maple Grove (4-0) [8] -- Tremendous Week Five extends all the way to the top of the D's, where the Red Dragons play at Randolph.

8. Silver Creek (2-2) [9] -- Black Knights lose at Maple Grove, which one would think would cause a drop (or more of a rise for MG), but welcome to life in the crowded small school poll. Black Knights continue to bolster the D portfolio as a whole with that season-opening rout of Dunkirk. 

9. Pioneer (4-0) [10] -- Latest close win came against Dunkirk this week.

10. Fredonia (4-0) [NR] -- We've got Cleve Hill rated higher based on the points they're putting up -- including in a rout of Gowanda, a team that the Hillbillies had to come from behind to beat this week.

A Week One loss to what has proven to be a solid Springville team keeps Salamanca out after their big win over Southwestern, which -- whoa -- when's the last time this ballot didn't include Southwestern? Frewsburg -- with a two-point loss to Randolph -- might actually be the No. 11. St. Mary's gets a nice win over Cardinal O'Hara but there's too much small school depth right now for that to earn -- as it may have in many past years -- a vote.

Don't like what you're reading? The comment space is below, let us know via Twitter or facebook (addresses below), or join the live chat Wednesday evening (which starts live-video-style at 8).

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

PrepTalkTV's Plays of the Weekend for Week Four: Vote for your favorite

Here are the Plays of the Weekend for Week Four of high school football.

Watch video highlights below and vote in the poll:

1. Rashad Rush: Rashad Thomas of Cheektowaga took this one 75 yards to the house in the Warriors 43-6 win over Tonawanda Friday night.

2. J.J. Juke'N Jive: Jordan Johnson of Sweet Home dodged a few defenders and wiggled his way out of a tackle on the way to the end zone in the Panthers 22-14 win over Starpoint Saturday.

3. Not it!: Here at PrepTalkTV we got a good laugh out of this one. As one TV reporter on the sideline said, "I went swimming and a football game broke out" at Clarence Friday night. There were more fumbles than touchdowns in the second half, and this 'play' was just ridiculous ... and hilarious. (We realize this highlight won't receive votes for football greatness, but entertainment purposes maybe?)

4. Stop in the name of Thomas Mitchell: Number nines collide as Sweet Home's Mitchell delivered this blow to Starpoint standout Cory Regnet.

More great plays: Here are the Plays of the Weekend for Week One, Week Two and Week Three.

PrepTalkTV will be on the sidelines again this weekend to catch more exciting plays during Week Five action.

--Lauren Mariacher

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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 |