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Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Monsignor Martin Association

By Keith McShea

Who’s who: The six-team league includes the Bishop Timon-St. Jude Tigers, Canisius Crusaders, Cardinal O'Hara Hawks, St. Francis Red Raiders, St. Joe's Marauders and St. Mary's Lancers. The Nichols Vikings, who compete in the Monsignor Martin Association in most other sports, are an independent in football.

Continue reading "Countdown to Friday Night Lights: Monsignor Martin Association" »

Video: #preptalkpreseason interviews with Grand Island, St. Francis & Lancaster

Photojournalist Harry Scull Jr. continued our #preptalkpreseason coverage with Scrimmage Saturday interviews with Grand Island, St. Francis and Lancaster coaches and players.

 

Live from the Manhattan Cup quarterfinals: St. Mary's tops Nichols in great game (with video)

By Keith McShea

We will be live from Canisius High tonight for two of this evening's four Manhattan Cup quarterfinals as the Monsignor Martin Association determines its final four. 

I'll be at Canisius High, where the top-seeded Crusaders will play St. Francis at 5, followed by the highly-anticipated meeting of St. Mary's and Nichols at 6:30. Barring another quarterfinal upset, the St. Mary's-Nichols game will determine the Monsignor Martin's Class B representative in the state playoffs. 

At St. Joe's, the Marauders host Archbishop Walsh at 5 followed by Bishop Timon-St. Jude meeting Niagara Catholic at 6:30. There are also a handful of early-round sectional games tonight for boys and girls basketball. 

I'll provide updates in the live blog below. When I have my laptop out I'll be able to do play-by-play, otherwise I'll send #preptalkscores updates via Twitter, which will also appear in the blog. 

Your tweets with the hashtag #preptalkscores are welcome -- as they will appear in the live blog as well. Every night, scoring update tweets (in any sport) are welcome to those on Twitter -- just use the #preptalkscores hashtag.  

Check our scoreboard page for a complete schedule of today's games; the scoreboard will be updated as we receive game reports throughout the evening.

Continue reading "Live from the Manhattan Cup quarterfinals: St. Mary's tops Nichols in great game (with video)" »

PrepTalkTV Weekly starred Cardinal O'Hara girls hoops; live chat talked seedings we're expecting

By Keith McShea

For this week's PrepTalkTV Weekly -- which you can see right here tonight at 9 -- we'll welcome a team fresh off one of the biggest wins in school history (and that's any sport). We'll have the Cardinal O'Hara girls team on one night after beating Sacred Heart in a battle of Western New York's No. 1s.

And yes, we said the team. Part of the reason that O'Hara is a great story -- besides its undefeated record -- is that there are just eight players on the team, so they'll all be on hand along with coach Dan McDermott. 

We'll have another loaded show of highlights from boys and girls hoops as well as hockey, wrestling and swimming -- including a couple of "[BN] The Locker Room" videos of coaches' pregame speeches. We'll also have more highlights in PrepTalkTV Rewind as well our weekly look at the boys basketball polls and a look ahead to this weekend and beyond.

As usual after PrepTalkTV Weekly, I'll have a live chat following the show.

Here's a rundown of the show:

0:00 -- Opening, discussion of McShea's Prep Talk column on Depew Boys & Girls Club
3:10 -- Interview with Cardinal O'Hara girls basketball team, including coach Dan McDermott, senior Leah McDonell and junior Keyonte Edwards
13:40 -- Clarence hockey's win over Frontier, featuring [BN] The Locker Room footage of coach Rick Brooks
18:30 -- Canisius boys swimming dominates St. Joe's to start strong weekend
21:45 -- Canisius boys basketball moves to No. 1 in The News poll and the state Class A poll; featuring [BN] The Locker Room with coach Kyle Husband from Friday's win at Timon
25:50 -- Look at this week's boys basketball polls
28:10 -- PrepTalkTV Rewind (St. Francis wrestling, Iroquois girls basketball, a special guest star on the Bucky & Sully show), followed by discussion of concussions in football and a mention of locals on National Signing Day
35:55 -- Discussion of this weekend's big championship wrestling meets
38:05 -- A look ahead to upcoming action from Thursday to Tuesday; closing.

Continue reading "PrepTalkTV Weekly starred Cardinal O'Hara girls hoops; live chat talked seedings we're expecting" »

Video: St. Francis 45, St. Joe's 30 (wrestling)

Wrestling: St. Francis 45, St. Joe's 30

St. Francis grad Lynch staying at Penn State

St. Francis grad Akeel Lynch has decided to remain at Penn State.

Lynch, an incoming freshman, tweeted Friday evening that he would be staying with the Nittany Lions.

"I will be wearing #22 in Blue&White jersey come Sept. 1st #WeStillAre #PennState #Sorryforthewait"

Lynch had been considering a transfer to Iowa according to multiple internet reports, including espn.com. In late January, following his outstanding senior season for the Red Raiders, Lynch chose Penn State from among a final field that included Iowa, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.

Lynch had told rivals.com that he would make an announcement about his decision on Sunday. However, his tweet came at about 8:45 Friday night. Along with the tweet was a new photo as Lynch's Twitter avatar, one that shows him shirtless, wearing a Penn State helmet in front of a large Penn State sign.

The specter of who-would-stay-and-who-would-go has followed Penn State fans and players in the wake of major NCAA penalties Penn State's program received following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. 

Canisius grad John Urschel, a lineman entering his senior season, confirmed last week he would be staying at Penn State.

The most high-profile of transfers was that of running back Silas Redd, who moved on to USC. Redd's transfer increased the intensity of the interest in Lynch's situation with Penn State's running-back situation seemingly up in the air. Iowa had its own uncertainty -- and possible playing time for Lynch -- due to some players being dismissed from the team.

Penn State opens training camp Monday.

I had a feeling that Lynch would stay. My guess was based largely in what I wrote in late January -- that Lynch had the right kind of character to be part of an unprecedented rebuilding program at Penn State. 

---Keith McShea

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

Redd's transfer from Penn State puts added focus on St. Francis grad Akeel Lynch

Today's transfer by running back Silas Redd from Penn State to Southern California has put added focus on St. Francis grad Akeel Lynch. 

Lynch, an incoming freshman at Penn State, is considering a transfer to Iowa according to multiple internet reports, including espn.com. In late January, following his outstanding senior season for the Red Raiders, Lynch chose Penn State from among a final field that included Iowa, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.

Lynch is one of many Penn State players considering a transfer after the major NCAA penalties Penn State's program received following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Canisius grad John Urschel, a lineman entering his senior season, confirmed last week he would be staying at Penn State.

With Redd's departure, Penn State fans are wondering who will be the Nittany Lions' running back, thus the more intense interest in Lynch's situation. Penn State opens training camp on Monday.

A sampling of today's Lynch chatter on Twitter: 

‏* @TimTolleyVBR of victorybellrings.com: "Akeel Lynch now becomes crucial. Was told by a teammate "His athleticism is unmatched. Same with his work ethic." "

The York Daily Record -- ‏@YDRPennState -- had these two:

* "So #PennState tailback depth down to a former receiver (Bill Belton), a true freshman (Akeel Lynch) and a forgotten junior (Curtis Dukes)."

* "Have to think (hope, pray) freshman Akeel Lynch and junior Curtis Dukes stick at #PennState with Silas Redd gone. #InDireNeedOfATailback"

* Penn State fans held a rally this morning as players headed to a workout. The founder of the web site fightonstate.com, Mark Brennan (@PlaybookMark), tweeted that Lynch was in attendance at that workout/rally.

My only recent communication with Lynch was of the online variety and it went like this: I inquired about his situation, he said he'd let me know.

I can only imagine how difficult a decision this is for Lynch. I wrote in late January that Lynch had the right kind of character to be part of an unprecedented rebuilding program at Penn State; and anyone who follows his Twitter page can see what I was writing about. However, the penalties are severe and no one could blame a player in his situation for transferring. 

* * * 

Lynch stuff from the News archives: 

* My story (and video interview with Lynch) on his signing with Penn State. 

* My blog from that day, featuring several links including a highlight video.

* * * 

UPDATE (8/1): Lynch told rivals.com that he will announcing his decision on Sunday.

---Keith McShea

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

PrepTalkTV interview: St. Francis RB Akeel Lynch on picking Penn State

Photographer/videographer Mark Mulville & I headed to Athol Springs this afternoon to talk to St. Francis standout senior running back Akeel Lynch about committing to Penn State:

More to come in Tuesday's paper and we'll certainly discuss Lynch's choice during Wednesday evening's live video chat.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

St. Francis RB Akeel Lynch commits to Penn State (with tons of links & video)

St. Francis standout running back Akeel Lynch has verbally committed to Penn State. 

He did so via his Twitter page late Sunday night: "Making my dreams become a reality. #weare #pennstate".

Lynch, a 6-foot, 204-pound native of Toronto, originally verbally committed to Boston College last July 15 (our story is here; watch our video interview with him that day about his decision on the blog).

At the time, he said he selected BC over Penn State.

That was long before the news broke -- in November -- of the child sex abuse charges against former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky. The tumultous months that followed included the school's firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, the hiring of current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien earlier this month to replace him, and Paterno's death on Sunday.

Lynch's committment to Boston College became more and more tenuous as the high school season came and went. Lynch did participate in a recruiting trip to BC on Dec. 3, which caused him to miss the Connolly Cup awards banquet (he was one of 10 finalists).

After his successful senior season -- during which St. Francis won the Monsignor Martin Association championship -- Lynch began to received more recruiting attention.

In early January, he told Boston College that he would be considering other schools. Iowa and Oklahoma had coaches visit Lynch. On Monday, Lynch said Penn State was a finalist along with Iowa, Ole Miss and Oklahoma.

Lynch visited Iowa in early January, had a visit to Oklahoma canceled when a snowstorm canceled his flight, and he visited Penn State this past weekend.

The first day football recruits can sign with schools is Feb. 1. Lynch will make his official announcement then during a ceremony at the Athol Springs school.

Lynch was a first-team All-Western New York running back, the runner-up for The News Player of the Year award (it went to St. Joe's QB and Clemson commit Chad Kelly) and was selected as New York State's Gatorade Player of the Year. Lynch ran for a Monsignor Martin single-season record 2,136 yards in his senior season.

A highlight game in his highlight season was running for five touchdowns and a school-record 376 yards on 31 carries (the totals were updated after the game) in St. Francis' 42-27 win at fellow top 10 large school Bishop Timon-St. Jude on Oct. 7. Check out the PrepTalkTV video from that game: 

Other PrepTalkTV videos featuring Lynch: Week Six wrapup (including his postgame comments on Timon game), Monsignor Martin semifinals and Monsignor Martin championship.  

More to come.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

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

St. Francis RB Lynch named NYS Gatorade Player of the Year

Our All-Western New York team will be published Saturday, which is also the day that the Connolly Cup will be awarded. 

But when it comes to postseason awards, Akeel Lynch of St. Francis -- as he has a tendency to do -- got a quick start.

The outstanding running back of the Monsignor Martin champion Red Raiders, who has verbally committed to Boston College, was named New York State's Gatorade Player of the Year.

Here's the info at ESPNHS site, which includes the award program's "three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character." There's also a nice quote from Bishop Timon-St. Jude coach Charlie Comerford.

It is the third time a Western New York player has won the award, and first since Malik Campbell of Turner-Carroll won it in 1996. Bill Schoenle of Williamsville South won it in 1986, which was the second year the award was presented.

Our Player of the Year award comes out Saturday. I'll discuss our choice, the Connolly Cup and the entire All-WNY team in our weekly live chat next Wednesday.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     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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