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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: A Central

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team division consists of the East Panthers, McKinley Macks, Riverside Frontiers, Williamsville East Flames, Williamsville North Spartans and Williamsville South Billies.

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

First day of practice: Riverside

There’s no good way to put a positive spin on an 0-9 season, but with the track record Riverside football owns, the Frontiersmen are hoping to look past a down year after a Class AA North title and several Harvard Cups.

A new coach has improved the morale of the team, and the opening game of the year – in Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome Sept. 2 vs. Auburn – has the players thinking big things for the 2012 season.

“We’re starting at the dome, and I want to end at the dome,” said senior quarterback Justice Feggans, referencing the New York State title game played at the same location. 

Feggans, also Fourth Team All-WNY in basketball, was dismissed from the football team by the former coach earlier in his career, but, urged on by his family, he wants to give football another go in his last high school season.

“I had to play football,” he said. “It’s my first love.”

With a new coaching staff in place, led by head coach Jose Rodriguez, Riverside is putting away its double-wing, option offense – which fell out of favor with the players as it struggled to score points – in favor of a spread attack.

“What the double-wing did was use deception and speed, where now we’re just going to be using our speed,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to get to the outside because we already got our receivers out there.”

From the spread attack, which utilizes multiple-receiver sets, opposing defenses will be forced to cover all the receivers out wide. From there, the middle of the field will be open for Rodriguez’s rushing attack to pick up yards in chunks.

Rodriguez was Riverside’s offensive- and defensive-line coach for seven years before taking last season off. The players know him from working at the school and are taking a liking to his style.

“He’s a cool dude,” Feggans said. “He’ll crack jokes and keep you laughing, but he’s serious about football too. And when he’s serious, he’s serious." 

And with this new mentality around the program, Feggans, a Riverside native, plans to help restore the team and the community to its winning status.

“[Everyone] is pumped. This school is based on the football team,” he said. “That’s what people talk about: Riverside, they got them boys over there that really know how to play football. I think this year, Coach Rodriguez is going to put us out there and showcase us to the world.”

--- 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

Wednesday Night Live from Riverside's win at Hutch-Tech (with video)

Big Yale Cup matchup as top 10 large schools meet: Riverside at Hutch-Tech. Riverside won the first meeting at home in early January.

We'll be back with in the separate blog post for tonight's live chat.

* * *

Postgame show with Riverside coach Ron Killinger and junior Justice Feggans (32 points):

---Keith McShea

Thursday Night Live, tweeting #preptalkscores & getting video highlights from four games (including Tonawanda's record-breaker)

We're doing our running-around-to-games thing tonight, and for the second straight night we're doing a Twitter experiment. I'll be much more mobile if I just tweet, so that's what I'll probably do while I'm running around. At the end of the night I'll provide some overall thoughts and details here. 

So follow along at

And if you are out at any kind of varsity high school action, tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores.

You just might win the #preptalkscores Tweet of the Night (check out last night's).

Here's the plan: Hutch-Tech at Riverside (6 p.m.), MST Seneca vs. I-Prep/Grover at Medaille (6), Emerson vs. OTC Middle College at Waterfront (6), Tonawanda at Lackawanna (7) and Williamsville East at Hamburg (7:30). 

Here we go. See you on the tweeter. 

* * * 

You can check out the tweets for my travels ... here are some video highlights .. 

Foremost among them is the history-making moment for Tonawanda's Jesse Lalka -- yes, it's a free throw, but it was cruicial in putting the undefeated Warriors up four in the final seconds of a 46-41 win at Lackawanna. Scroll down for six highlights, plus interviews, from that one.

Pretty cool "Jess-ee Lal-kaa!" chant after the big point.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live from the Section VI semifinals: Wilson, East, Riverside win (with audio, video & polls)

Hello from the Buffalo State Sports Arena. We're moments away from our first game of a tripleheader tonight: the B-2 semifinal between Cleveland Hill and Wilson.

It's one of the best weeks of the year if you're a high school sports fan, and I'm excited to be here. We'll be back in moments with the tip.

Wilson starters: Thilk-Moxham-Parrott-Martin-Walch.

Cleve Hill starters: Glover-Tompkins-Barker-Molson-Spencer

5:31 p.m.: CH controls the tip, and we're off.

5:37 p.m.: CH leads, 6-4, midway through the first quarter. Brennan Moxham has three of Wilson's points, while Jeru Molson just converted a nice layup off a steal for CH.

5:39 p.m.: Maybe some nerves on the big stage? Lots of sloppy play on both ends. Cleve Hill definitely trying to run more, while Wilson is trying to slow the pace.

5:42 p.m.: CH is out to a 13-4 lead, prompting a timeout by Wilson coach Brett Sippel. A three-pointer by Jordan Parker on the Golden Eagles' last possession were the last points.

5:44 p.m.: Golden Eagles lead, 13-8, after one quarter. Moxham hit a three and Pat Walch went 1 of 2 at the free-throw line with 4 seconds left for Wilson to cut into the lead.

5:48 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 17-15. Moxham has five in the second quarter for Wilson, which took a 15-13 lead, but the Eagles responded with a bucket in the lane by Barker and a steal and layup by Spencer.

5:53 p.m.: CH timeout, leading, 19-18, 3:35 left in the first half.

6 p.m.: Halftime, with the game tied, 25-25.

First-half note: Here's your scoring summaries: For CH, Tompkins has 2, Barker 4, Parker 3, Molson 4, Watkins 2, Davis 4 and Spencer with 6. For Wilson, Moxham leads all scorers with 15. DiLaura has 1, Walch 1 and Martin 8.

Programming note: Tyler Martin is wearing No. 30 for Wilson, not the No. 11 he's listed as having in the program.

6:10 p.m.: Third quarter is underway.

6:13 p.m.: Martin misses both free throws for the Lakemen, who trail by a pair. Wilson has been bad from the free-throw line, a big reason it's trailing.

Quick blog note: Making an executive decision to switch up the format and go with the time left remaining in the quarter. If you need to know what time it is, look at the corner of your monitor. :).

4:49 left in the third quarter: Jordan Thilk makes a traditional three-point play, Wilson's first points of the third quarter, and CH leads, 31-28.

3:01 left: Moxham gets his first points of the second half, as Wilson uses good ball movement to beat the 2-3 zone the Eagles have employed. CH leads, 33-30.

:24.3 seconds left: Spencer draws the foul and knocks down a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a 35-30 lead.

End of three, Cleve Hill up, 35-30. Martin missed a good look at a three for Wilson at the buzzer.

Fourth quarter

7:08 left: Moxham hits a pair of free throws after Martin started the quarter with a three and it's tied, 35-35.

5:04 left: More than 2 minutes without a hoop ...

4:18 left: The drought comes to an end when Walch hits 1 of 2 free throws to give Wilson a 36-35 lead.

3:36 left: Big-time three-pointer for Spencer to put CH up, 38-36. That's followed by a timeout.

2:47 left: Another clutch three by the Eagles, this time from Julian Glover. CH leads, 41-38. Wilson has possession.

1:22 left: Moxham drills a deep three for Wilson to tie it at 41. Wow.

1:07 left: Molson responds for the Golden Eagles with a contested 16-footer in the lane. It's 43-41. Good finish here.

:31.1 seconds left: I wasn't kidding about the great finish. Martin pures a deep three from the right wing to put Wilson up by one, 44-43. CH has possession after Wilson's Walch picked up his fourth foul on a battle for a rebound.

Here's Martin's three:

:11.4 left: Moxham grabbed a big board on defense for Wilson, but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. That gave the Eagles the ball, but Molson lost the ball in traffic. Wilson's Martin recovered. He hits 1 of 2 free throws to make it 45-43 Lakemen. Cleve Hill will have a chance to tie or win on the final possession. The next Wilson foul puts the Eagles in a 1-and-1 situation.

:3.7 left: Barker goes coast-to-coast, but can't finish at the rim. Ball goes out of bounds off CH. Wilson has possession. Eagles will need to foul, and hope for a miss.

0.09 left: Diez gets open under the basket, and Cleve Hill is late to foul him. He rattles home the first and knocks down the second, giving Wilson a four-point lead.

Final: Wilson 47, Cleveland Hill 43.

Wilson coach Brett Sippel



Welcome back for game two.

Thanks to Keith McShea for the video you see above. Game two is the first A-2 semifinal between Olean and East.

Olean starters: Hennessy-Scholla-Curtin-Eckstrom-Schmidt 

East starters: Fisher-Brown-Boyd-House-Jackson

First quarter

4:35 left: The shutout is over. Alex Curtin hits a long jumper to give Olean a 2-0 lead. On East's next possession, Chris Boyd hits a three. East leads, 3-2.

End of first quarter: East leads, 10-6. Sorry for the lack of updates, combination of a lot to do, and not a lot happening at the start. East got hoops from Jasen Oden, Tremmell Fisher, and a three-pointer by Chris Boyd for the lead. Nick Schmidt hit a three at the buzzer for Olean.

Second quarter

7:31 left: Sam Eckstrom opens the quarter with an inside field goal to bring Olean within two, 10-8.

3:51 left: Andre Jackson knocks down a pair of free throws and East leads, 19-13.

2:58 left: Max Portlow, a sophomore, has back-to-back baskets for the Huskies. The last one cut it to 19-15.

2:19 left: Fisher gets inside position and finishes a traditional three-point play to give East a 22-17 lead. If he catches the ball there regularly, Olean will be in trouble.

:40.8 left: It's turned into a three-point shooting contest. A three by Curtin for Olean was answered by a three for Boyd, only for Schmidt to respond for Olean. After all that, the Huskies are up one, 26-25, their second lead after Curtin's shot gave them their first.

End of first half: East 30, Olean 26. Action really picked up at the end of the first half. Boyd hit another three for East, which then got a steal by Oden on the inbounds pass. He kicked it to Jackson for a 12-foot buzzer-beater, and the Panthers are up.

Third quarter

7:00 left: The Huskies didn't forget their shooting stroke in the locker room. Sophomore Pat Scholla knocked down a three in the first minute to cut East's lead to one, 30-29.

5:56 left: Olean goes back in front as Eckstrom gets nice position inside and finishes with a short bank shot for a 31-30 lead.

4:03 left: Dominique House is cleaning up -- the glass. The 6-foot-4 East senior has back-to-back putbacks, the second of which he was fouled on. He knocks down the free throw and East leads, 37-31. The Panthers are on a 7-0 run.

1:47 left: East has extended the run to 13-3, taking a 43-34 lead and prompting a full timeout by Olean coach Jeff Anastasia. House had a long jumper, then a steal and pass to Oden, who's got back-to-back layups in transition.

:19.7 seconds left: Olean gets a much-needed hoop underneath by Eckstrom, who was fouled and hits the free throw to pull the Huskies within six, 43-37.

End of three: East 43, Olean 37.

Fourth quarter

6:44 left: Scholla at the line for Olean. He knocks down a pair of much-needed free throws, as East is threatening to run away with things. It's 48-39, East.

6:31 left: Another three-point play for House, making it 51-39, East. Coach Starling Bryant calls for a 30-second timeout.

4:26 left: Timeout called, with East ahead, 55-42. Updates will be minimal from now until sometime during the last game as I write a story for our paper's first edition, which of course, you can pick up tomorrow. :) I'm sure you understand.

3:19 left: Full timeout called by Olean, which trails, 56-44.

1:42 left: Beautiful passing by East finishes with an easy layup (sorry, I missed by who) and East leads, 61-46. The Panthers will face the winners of the night's final game between Cheektowaga and Riverside for the A-2 title at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

:30.7 seconds left: Olean is hanging around, but running out of time. The Huskies trail, 61-53.

Final: East 66, Olean 56. Off for interviews. Back at some point during the last game with some more coverage.

 East coach Starling Bryant

Game 3: Riverside vs. Cheektowaga

Riverside starters: Artis-Jefferson-Herrera-Little-Feggans

Cheektowaga starters: Jones-Nance-Green-Delaney-?

What's the question mark for, you ask? A No. 3 is on the court for Cheektowaga, but not the roster. I'll get his name after the first quarter. As for the action, Riverside leads, 8-6, with 2:39 to play. We'll update after the first quarter and halftime, then hopefully be able to give more updates in the second half.

End of first quarter: Cheektowaga 12, Riverside 11.

Halftime: Riverside leads, 28-21, after outscoring the Warriors in that period, 17-9.

Third quarter

5:23 left: A bucket by Willie Jefferson has given the Frontiersmen a 35-23 lead. Cheektowaga has just 11 points in the last 11 minutes.

4:36 left: Lamont Little to the line, and he makes both for his first points of the night and a 39-23 lead.

3:06 left: Delaney hits the layup and is fouled. He makes the free throw and Riverside leads, 39-28. A modest 5-0 run for the Warriors.

2:38 left: Make that 7-0 as Aswad Jones knocks down an 8-footer and it's 39-30. Riverside coach Ron Killinger calls timeout after that.

1:00 left: Justice Feggans just buried a pretty three-pointer from the right wing to give the Frontiersmen a 44-31 lead.

End of three: Riverside 44, Cheektowaga 33

Fourth quarter

5:33 left: Dagger for the Warriors. Feggans knocks down a three after Riverside uses up almost the entire shot clock. That gives it a 53-35 lead.

3:31 left: Riverside still in control, up 55-37.

3:09 left: Killinger calls another timeout, still 55-37. Brandon Nance has all four points for Cheektowaga this quarter.

1:35 left: Riverside still on cruise control, so Killinger empties the bench to get the reserves some playing time on the big stage.

Final: Riverside 58, Cheektowaga 42. Off for more interviews.

 Riverside coach Ron Killinger

Postgame: Audio from the winning coaches is now posted in this blog. The East-Riverside matchup Saturday will be the third of the season for those two teams. Be sure to listen to Killinger's thoughts on that game, he's got some interesting thoughts.



Here's a link to the story in Wednesday's paper.

The box scores are on our scoreboard, which includes tonight's Class D semifinal results as well.



I'll be back Wednesday at Buffalo State for more sectional games. Hope you can join me then.

---Jay Skurski

Thursday Evening Live: East beats Riverside to win Yale Cup Div. I

East's Dominique House sinks a jumper for the first basket of the second half. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Hello from East High, where the host Panthers can with the Yale Cup Division I title with a victory over Riverside. 

I'm going to go with our "live" format for this game.

* * * 

Feel free to post comments on any games you've seen tonight. 

Keep track of tonight's games at our scoreboard page.

* * * 

After East, I wrote a bunch of my story in the parking lot, then headed to the Delavan-Grider Community Center because Dunkirk was playing Oracle Charter there. By the time I got there, Dunkirk's lead was 69-28 with just under five minutes left. I was hoping to get at least a look at Dunkirk -- albeit against not the best competition -- but it wasn't much of a look with the game already in rout city.

I'm finishing up my story now and then I'll be on hand for the chat. 

Big news from other city games is that International Prep at Grover Cleveland was taken to overtime before beating OTC Middle College, 80-78.

---Keith McShea

Monday Evening Live: East wins at Riverside, 67-52 (with video)

Hello from Ontario Street for a Yale Cup showdown originally scheduled for last week as East visits Riverside.

6:02 p.m. Riverside has gone on a nice run in the second quarter to take a 26-16 lead with 2:33 left in the second quarter.

Photo East had led, 13-10, after one.

It is an odd environment here -- odd in that it is quite quiet for a Yale Cup game, especially one at Riverside. It seems like there are no students in the balcony above my head -- that section is usually jammed and jamming all game. The pace of the first quarter (I walked in three minutes in at 5:40 p.m.) was quite slow, and the half has been more methodical than run-and-gun.

6:06 p.m. Nice block by Mike Leonard for Riverside, leading to a fast-break basket by Justice Feggans in which an in advertent moving screen my another player heading to the basket cleared the way; 28-16 Riverside under a minute.

6:07 p.m. Deon Artis with a sweeeet block of Jasen Oden, coming across the baseline to swat away what looked like an open layup. Oden hit one of two free throws shortly beforehand; 28-17 Riverside with :28 left in the second quarter, timeout Riverside.

6:10 p.m. Oden misses two, Fisher gets teh rebound of the second free throw and scores -- very nice play -- to bring it to 28-19 in the final seconds. Oden stole the inbounds pass and was fouled just before the horn and will go to the line with no time on the clock; misses the first, makes second.

6:11 p.m. We are at HALFTIME and Riverside leads East, 28-20.

Best line of the day so far belongs to Riverside assistant coach R.J. Killinger. His dad, coach Ron, was screaming at the top of his lungs at a player after a missed free throw: "RELAX! RELAX!"

R.J. Killinger summed up the ironic situation, "Man, you're screaming, 'Relax."

6:21 p.m. Feggans with a nice fast-break follow for Riverside for a 30-20 lead to open the half.

Lamont Little of Riverside hit with a technical foul with 7:08 left in the third. Chris Boyd to the line and he hits two for a 30-22 game and East keeps possession.

6:27 p.m. A few computer problems. Ugh. East on a good mini-run to come within 32-27 and prompt a Riverside timeout with with 6:02 left in the third.

6:28 p.m. Turnover Riverside. Big rebound Mark Anderson for Riverside and he's fouled with 5:36 left in the third.

Gilbert Herrera misses a three for Riverside; turnover Riverside.

6:29 p.m. East coach Starling Bryant calls for a 30-second timeout with 5:18 left in the third and Riverside leading, 32-27.

6:30 p.m. East misses twice, another rebound by Anderson.

Anderson off a nice pass, scores on the baseline; 34-27 Riverside. Mike Leonard with a big block. East turnover. Riverside miss, foul.

6:33 p.m. Dominique House scores down low for East; Chris Boyd with a steal and he's fouled going in for a layup with 3:37 left in the third; makes first, misses second, 34-30 Riverside.

Raqib Hassan scores on the baseline and is fouled, misses the free throw.

House with a putback; Riverside, 36-32. Artis misses jumper. East the beneficiary of a faulty charge call on Riverside. Jason McDaniel on a putback; followed by a Herrera driving bank shot; Riverside, 38-34.

Feggans with a big follow on the baseline; Riverside, 40-34, under two minutes.

6:38 p.m. Two straight baskets by Boyd, followed by House taking a pass from Boyd in the lane for a layup to tie it up at 40-40.

Some confusion in the final minute thanks to the Riverside shot clock operator getting out of her seat to try and get Riverside fans to answer East fans making noise. Sigh.

6:40 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, Riverside and East are tied at 40-40.

6:44 p.m. House again with a putback on opening possession; East, 42-40. Riverside miss, keeps ball, Artis with a tap-in follow; 42-42. 

Fisher drives to the right and banks it in; 44-42. Under 6:45.

Forced shot by Riverside on the baseline. Boyd scores on a nice pass from Jason McDaniel.

Missed shot by Riverside turns into a fast break and Andre Jackson lays it in for a 48-42 lead for East, prompting a timeout by Riverside with 5:29 left. Nice start to the quarter for East, scoring off of misses by Riverside, which has not been in sync on offense.

6:49 p.m. Feggans with a follow for Riverside; 48-44 just over five minutes left.

East miss on a nice play that doesn't go down for McDaniel, then a foul; East miss; misses by both. 

6:52 p.m. Boyd with a layup, 50-44 East; McDaniel blocks Deon Artis. Artis fouls Boyd, fifth foul for Artis, that's big. Boyd hits first, hits second, East leads, 52-44, with 3:42 left.

6:53 p.m. East forces Riverside turnover. Jackson from Fisher on a nice drive and dish, 54-44.

Steal and fast break by Boyd, 56-44. Herrera baseline bank shot, 56-46. East travel, 2:30 to go.

6:55 p.m. Herrera fouled, misses both. House goes to the basket and is fouled with 2:04 left. Makes both; 58-46.

6:57 p.m. Technical foul called on McDaniel; Feggans misses two. Steal by Riverside, Anderson fouled going in for layup by Fisher; 1:36 left. Misses first, makes second. 58-47. Riverside steal and layup by Anderson, 58-49. Foul on Herrera with 1:15 left on Andre Jackson, he goes to the line. Hits one for 59-49 lead.

East's Starling Bryant rightly called for a technical foul. Just too much jawing. Feggans misses both free throws on the technical. East calls a timeout, 1:15 left in the game, East leads, 59-49.

7:03 p.m. Boyd to the line, hits two; East, 61-49, with :59 left.

7:05 p.m. Andre Jackson steal, he's fouled with :51 left. Hits both; East, 63-49.

A Riverside player left the gym; officials say he has to be on the Riverside bench. He's back. It was Hasan.

Three-pointer by Willie Jefferson; timeout Riverside with :41 left and East up, 63-52.

7:08 p.m. Boyd fouled. Hits first, misses second. Riverside, 64-52. Riverside players laughing at fans trying to taunt Boyd at the line with one-liners.

Anderson to the line, misses both.

7:10 p.m. Fisher fouled hard; hits one. East, 65-52. House scores. East, 67-52.

7:11 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: East 67, Riverside 52.

Not the prettiest game, but a very good result for East. More to come. 

Postgame show:

East coach Bryant starts with an answer to my question about what was talked about at halftime before East turned the game around:

---Keith McShea

AA North playoff picture in better focus (updated)

Since our initial playoff breakdown of AA North was disputed by some (thank you!), including during last night's live chat) we had further consultation with Section VI, blogger extraordinare Milt Latimer, a bunch of charts and stuff (and seven cans of Diet Coke).

And here is our updated take on the playoff picture in AA North: 

Kenmore West (4-1): Clinched spot, can win division title by beating Riverside.

Lockport (3-2): Clinched spot.

Williamsville North (3-2): Clinched spot.

Riverside (3-2): A win not only gets them in but earns it the division title.

A loss means they are likely out and NT is in.

How likely? The only scenario that Riverside can make the playoffs with a loss is if they lose to Kenmore West in a close game (four points or less) AND Lockport or Williamsville North beats the other by a lot (16 points or more). (See explanation below).

North Tonawanda (3-3): Makes it if Kenmore West beats Riverside by more than a field goal OR the margin of the Lockport-Will North game is less than 19 (same explanation below).

Niagara Falls (2-3): Out no matter what.

* * *

Why have Lockport and Will North clinched spots? And how can Riverside advance with a close loss?

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. If two teams are tied, it's easy. If there are three (or more) teams tied, head-to-head only works if one team has beaten both (or all) of the others.

The next tiebreaker is point differential, as defined to me by Section VI chairman Ken Stoldt as a team's total point differential in all of its league games. There is a maximum differential of 20 points (if you win by 20 or more, you only get plus-20; if you lose by 20 or more, you only get minus-20).

The teams' point differentials entering the final week:

Williamsville North is +34. Lockport is +33. Riverside is +17. NT is finished at +6. NFalls is -26.

[Note: I had Lockport and Riverside's numbers both off by one because we at The News had Riverside's 23-16 Week Six win listed as 23-17. Sorry. Yikes.]

The loser of Will North-Lockport will be 3-3, will have beaten NT (3-3) and Niagara Falls (likely 3-3), will have lost to Riverside (3-3) and will own a strong point differential. Any scenario results in the winner of Will North-Lockport clearly making the playoffs and the loser making it on tiebreakers.

If Riverside loses, it is tied with NT, very likely Falls and the Lockport/North loser, all at 3-3. None of those teams have beaten all of the others, so point differential is used. 

Riverside's best-case point-differential after a loss (losing by one) is +16. Will North's worst-case point-differential (losing by 20 or more) is +14. Lockport's worst-case point-differential is +13.

If Riverside loses, NT is in and Riverside is out as long as Riverside loses by five or more (giving Riverside a +12, which would be less than Will North or Lockport's worst-case); OR Lockport beats Will North by 17 or fewer (giving Will North a +17 or greater); OR Will North beats Lockport by 16 ore fewer (giving Lockport a +17 or greater). Those +17 or greaters for Will North/Lockport would be better than Riverside's best-case scenario in a loss (+16).

Here's why: The Will North/Lockport loser would win the No. 3 spot based on winning the point-differential tiebreaker. Then the head-to-head tiebreaker comes back into play among the remaining tied teams, with NT taking No. 4 since it beat both Riverside and Falls.

A scenario of a close Riverside loss and a big margin of victory between Lockport and Will North would make Riverside the No. 3 team based on point differential; the Lockport/Will North loser would be No. 4 because the head-to-head tiebreaker comes back into play (the Lockport/Will North loser beat both Falls and NT).

(If there is an unthinkable tie in point differential, the Section VI handbook says the next tiebreaker is total points allowed. Since the tiebreaker would be between two teams, I sure hope it would rever to head-to-head).


Why is Niagara Falls out? Because the only win it has over a team it might be tied with at 3-3 is over Riverside (Falls lost to North, Lockport and NT). If Falls beats Hutch-Tech, there will definitely be at least a three-way tie at 3-3. There's no possible scenario in which Falls' head-to-head victory over Riverside benefits them. Falls' maximum point differential is -6 (if it beats Hutch-Tech by 20 or more) so it loses out on any point differential tiebreakers.

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If this is not correct, email me. But break it to me softly.

---Keith McShea

Video: PrepTalkTV makes a statement in Week Four

It was Statement Weekend for Canisius, St. Francis and the Buffalo Public Schools. Find out why in PrepTalkTV's wrapup of Week Four:

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You can find all of our videos easily by going to the video player and clicking the "PrepTalkTV" tab.

---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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