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Review blog from Monsignor Martin Association championship

Review blog from Timon-Frannies MMA semifinal

PrepTalkTV's Plays of the Weekend for Week Five

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

Watch video highlights below and vote in the poll:

1. Patterson Off To The Races: Alden's Justin Patterson left defenders in his path as he ran 76 yards on this touchdown run in Alden's 14-13 win over Depew in a battle of unbeatens.

2. Kelly Krunch: It isn't very often Chad Kelly gets sacked, but St. Francis' Joseph Smith delivered the quarterback quite the blow on this play. St. Joe's defeated St. Francis 27-20.

3. Akeel Airborn: St. Francis' Akeel Lynch usually uses his feet to get the ball to the end zone. This time he sent some airmail 35 yards to Jarrett Dolegala for The Red Raiders' first score of the game.

4. Lake Shore Sack Attack: Lake Shore's defense delivered back-to-back- sack's to South Park's quarterback Maurice Howie in the first quarter. Final score: Lake Shore 29, South Park 6.

5. Zach Zips On By: St. Francis' Zachary Wells wiggled through defenders to return this kickoff 78 yards and into the end zone.

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

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

--Lauren Mariacher


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 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)

High school football: Day One from St. Joe's and St. Francis

Just got back from watching St. Joe's and St. Francis on their first day. Wasn't able to see any 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 stuff at either camp, but did get to speak with Joe's quaterback Chad Kelly and St. Francis running back Akeel Lynch.

Lynch and Kelly are regarded as the top two prospects in the area. Over the summer Kelly comitted to play at Clemson and Lynch comitted to Boston College.

Highlights from the summer for Kelly included meeting numerous NFL and college level quaterbacks and being named one of the best QBs in the country at the Elite Eleven camp in Malibu, Calif.

But on Monday Kelly was all about getting his team back to the Monsignor Martin championship game.

"I'm ready to win a championship again, hopefully we can repeat," Kelly said. "St. Francis, they reloaded, Canisius, they reloaded too. It's going to be a great league again this year and hopefully we can get back to another championship. Hopefully we get new chemistry with all these new players and hopefully they are ready to go."

St. Joe's has lost 16 players from last year's squad said heach coach Dennis Gilbert.

As for Lynch, he said he is hoping to be able to play a full 12 games this year. Lynch was forced to sit on the bench for the season's final six weeks because of a ruptured tendon in a finger on his left hand.

One of those six games just happened to be a loss to St. Joe's in the championship game.

"I only played half the season last year. My first goal is to just make it through the season," Lynch said with a laugh. "Then just take it one game at a time. We're trying to go and win every game, that's our goal."

Lynch also said that even though he is comitted to Boston College he still plans on looking at other schools before signing his letter of intent.

St. Francis coach Jerry Smith was pretty optomistic about his teams chances. He said that he thinks he has 22 solid players that he can rely on. As always with high school football though, Smith wondered about his teams depth.

I have to go write a notebook up for tomorrow's paper now, but check back here later. If some stuff doesn't make it into the notebook I might put it up here.


More from St. Francis

Continue reading "High school football: Day One from St. Joe's and St. Francis" »

PrepTalkTV: Preseason interviews with coaches from St. Francis, Burgard, Sweet Home, Hamburg, Wilson, South Park and St. Mary's

PrepTalkTV met up with a few coaches before the Kensington Lions All-Star Classic at Depew High School to ask them about the upcoming season. Here's what they had to say about their teams and divisions:

St. Francis head coach Jerry Smith:

Burgard head coach Jason Kolb:

Sweet Home head coach John Faller:

Wilson head coach Bill Atlas:

South Park head coach Tim Delaney:

Hamburg head coach Mike McFadden:

St. Mary's head coach Dave Hersey:

Be sure to check back to the PrepTalk blog as we gear up for the first day of practices all around Western New York on Aug. 15.

--Lauren Mariacher

St. Francis RB Lynch commits to Boston College (with video)

St. Francis coach Jerry Smith congratulates Akeel Lynch as several Red Raiders look on. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

St. Francis
running back Akeel Lynch verbally committed to Boston College this afternoon. 

Lynch, a native of Toronto who will be a senior this fall, made the decision in the Athol Springs private school's weight room.

The 6-foot, 1/2-inch, 205-pound Lynch -- who runs a 4.45 40-yard dash -- said he selected BC over Penn State. 

"The offense fits my style, it's the zone offense that we run here," Lynch said. "Also, their ability to move me around [on offense], which I really like. I think what really made the difference were the coaches. They made me feel like I was part of the family. I think that's key in anywhere you go, because after football you got to have people to help you succeed in life."

Other schools to offer Lynch a scholarship included Duke, Cincinnati, Syracuse, UConn, University at Buffalo and Akron.

Lynch played just six games as a junior, missing the final five after undergoing surgery to repair a detached tendon on his left ring finger. He still earned a spot on the All-Western New York second team by running for 828 yards on 121 carries for an average of 6.8. He scored a total of 10 touchdowns, including five in one game in a 49-21 win at St. Joe's.

This gives Western New York in general, and the Monsignor Martin Association in particular, two major college verbal commitments for the Class of 2012. Quarterback Chad Kelly of St. Joe's has committed to Clemson. 

I'll have much more after taking part in today's Sully Live video chat.

* * *

Here's some video:

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

Live from Georgetown Cup Game Two: Canisius beats St. Francis, 5-4, for title

4:02 p.m. We're live from Coca-Cola Field as Canisius and St. Francis are getting ready to take the field. Just a reminder that this is game two of a three game series. Canisius won game one on Sunday at Northtown Center, 5-1.

Senior Josh Vaccaro gets the start on the mound for Canisius, with senior Evan Briggs, who will attend RIT next year, starting for St. Francis.

4:38 p.m. Mid 2nd St. Francis 1 Canisius 0: The Red Raiders draw first blood as Dallas Szustak starts the second inning off with a hard line drive that made it's way into the far corner of the stadium. The senior hustled for a triple and was driven in on the next at bat by senior Nicholas DiRienzo on a ground out.

St. Francis threatened in the inning again after a single and a walk. But Canisius avoided further damage with a Vaccaro strike out and a jumping catch by first baseman Joe Gagliano. 

5:17 p.m. Mid 4th St. Francis 4 Canisius 0: St. Francis strikes again this time with a two RBI single from senior Robert Harrington in the top of the fourth. The inning started off with a walk, followed by a bunt that Canisius failed to get an out on. Another walk loaded the bases and Harrington struck.

On the very next at bat, Canisius over threw second while trying to get Harrington. The play allowed for Junior Craig Matthew to advance from third and score the third run of the inning.

5:32 p.m. Top 5th St. Francis 4 Canisius 0: Canisius gets it's first hit off Briggs in the fourth with two outs. Senior Gordon Lyons followed the hit with a lengthy at bat, resulting in a walk. But, Briggs pulls out a great play by picking Lyons leading off at first for the third out. So far Briggs has 6 strike outs with three walks.

5:36 p.m. Mid 5th St. Francis 4 Canisius: Update on Vaccaro now. The senior just struck out two more in a 1-2-3 fifth. That gives him six strike outs with five walks, while allowing four hits.

6:16 p.m. Top 7 St. Francis 4 Canisius 4: After starting off the sixth by giving up a single and a walk St. Francis decided to pull Briggs. The senior gave up three hit with three walks and seven strike outs. 

Mercyhurst bound senior Michael Wagner came in to replace Briggs and walked his first batter. Up next was junior Tom Maxwell who drove two runs in with a hard double to left center. Wagner regained his composure with a strike out.

But, Canisius struck again though when Vaccaro grounded out to drive in senior Alex Heuer. Canisius then brought in junior Maurice Jordan to pinch hit. With two outs Jordan hit a hard line drive to left center to drive in the games tying run. In the sixth inning alone Canisius got three hits with four runs. Before that the team only had one hit.

6:30 GAME OVER St. Francis 4 Canisius 5: Senior Alex Heuer clinched the Georgetown Cup for Canisus with a walk off double to deep left. Heuer drove in junior Marc DiLeo who was on base after a one out single. 

Canisius has won the Georgetown Cup in an amazing comeback victory.


---Ryan Marfurt

St. Joe's QB Kelly offered by Florida State

St. Joe's junior Chad Kelly has been offered a scholarship by Florida State, according to

The site states he has received offers from the University at Buffalo and Western Michigan.

Based on his first-team All-Western New York performance as a junior in leading St. Joe's to the Monsignor Martin Association championship (review the championship game at Prep Talk Live), including becoming the first quarterback in state history to throw for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000, I would think this is just the start of the offers for Kelly.

Also, Rodney McKissic reports over at the Campus Watch blog that UB has also offered St. Francis running back Akeel Lynch and Canisius defensive tackle Corey Madlock.

---Keith McShea

Prep Talk Live's Monsignor Martin AA replay: St. Joe's vs. St. Francis

Go to the Prep Talk Live page for blogging, video and photos from both of tonight's Monsignor Martin championships at Ralph Wilson Stadium (as well as this weekend's Far West Regionals from All High Stadium).

Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments section.

---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.

@KeithMcSheaBN |