October 18, 2009 - 7:00 AM
The field is set, the only question is -- can anyone stop Southwestern? The defending state champions are No. 1 in the small school poll, but can they survive Section VI? North division tough guys Eden and Cleveland Hill both potentially stand in their way.
As with all of our polls, we want to hear how and why you voted. Let us know in the comment space below.
Be sure to vote in all of the polls: Class AA, Class A, Class B and Class D.
September 3, 2009 - 9:00 AM
The Alan R. Elia Sr. Memorial Basketball Tournament, which was known as the Can-Am for many years, will be held in Niagara Falls this weekend -- giving a weekend full of kickoffs a tip-off as well.
Here's a basic schedule and the rosters of local teams. The big news -- on this first day of school for many -- is that Stan Wier, who was an All-Western New York honorable mention as a freshman last year at East Aurora, is listed as Nichols. That confirms what some sources told me recently, that Wier had enrolled at Nichols to complete a transfer from EA.
That certainly gives the Vikings another scoring weapon to a team that returned four starters, and it gives them a serious outside threat -- which may make teams think twice about concentrating on Will Regan and Ron Canestro.
For those who want a hoop fix, there are games all day Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and the final games scheduled to start at 7 p.m. All those games are at Niagara Falls High.
Sunday's playoffs are at Niagara Catholic. Semifinals at 9 and 10:15 a.m. will be followed by an 11:30 consolation and a 12:45 p.m. championship.
Here are the local teams, which feature Niagara Falls players on all three:
Niagara PAL Chiefs
Ka'ron Briggs (Sweet Home
), Keegan Dunlop (St. Francis, Ont.), J.J. Harrington (Lancaster
), Davon Marshall (Niagara Falls
), Lucas Pachete (North Tonawanda
), Joel Pike (Frontier
), Dajon Street (Niagara Falls
), Sterling Taplin (Williamsville North
), Stan Weir (Nichols
). Coach: Sal Constantino.J Ballers
Gelajide Brown (Niagara Falls
), Mike Carson (Niagara Falls
), Jermaine Crumpton (Niagara Falls
), Lorenzo Joseph (Niagara Catholic
), Maurice Respress (Niagara Falls
), Kenny Stokes (Niagara Falls
), Jordan Street (Niagara Falls
), J.J. Wilkes (Niagara Falls
), Tajay Williams (Niagara Falls
). Coach: Carlos Bradberry.Harbor Hoops
Ethan Baker (Wilson
), C.J. Cox (Niagara Falls
), Dan Hanbrauch (Newfane
), Brennan Moxham (Wilson
), Alex Short (Akron
), Trevor Short (Akron
), Jonas Stalyga (Grand Island
), Tyler Truesdale (Wilson
), Connor Vandegriff (Nichols
), John Cincent (Wilson
). Coaches: Jim Vandergriff/Walt Moxham.
August 24, 2009 - 8:00 PM
Saturday is the first day football teams can scrimmage each other.
August 17, 2009 - 3:39 PM
The sight of players running pass routes, practicing blocking techniques and simply running wind sprints means football season has officially begun throughout the state.
But Monday was more than the official start of scholastic football season in Wilson. In this community, the event marked a return to normalcy for Bill Atlas.
Atlas officially resumed his career as an educator during the morning practice session. He was appointed to his former job as head varsity football coach last week by the Wilson School Board about a month after being cleared of child endangerment charges stemming from an alleged hazing incident on the Wilson High baseball team bus in April 2008.
While Atlas didn't comment on how significant this practice was in his life -- he had been on paid suspension for more than a year while the legal process played itself out -- he was very optimistic about his team's chances of having a successful season.
"I've got great kids," he said. "This is going to be a great football year. We have some fresh faces on the line. As long as we solidify our lineup, we'll do well."
Atlas has reason to be confident. He guided the program to a rare playoff appearance in 2007, when the Lakemen finished 6-3 after having won just two games the previous two seasons. Wilson, which has won just 20 games this decade, went 2-7 last year under current varsity assistant Al Scarpine, who took the head job on an interim basis until Atlas was cleared to return.
A total of 49 players (27 varsity members) took part in the practice session that ended shortly after noon. To a casual observer, it simply looked like a normal season-opening practice. In reality it was much more.
"It's great to have him (Atlas) back," third-year varsity member and senior quarterback John Vincent said. "I'm just ready to win some football games.
"Actually hearing the coaches scream is the best sound because it helps you become a better player," Vincent said. "Hearing the players joke around, having fun but always pushing each other is always great but the best sound is when the ball hits your hand and you release it and you hear that sound (the one the ball makes as it leaves his hand)."