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Week Eight walkthrough

It's time to pick 'em for Week Seven. And the selection show doesn't stop here -- make sure you check out our contest: Predict the Road to the Ralph.

Since we have eight large school games, we decided to do eight small school games (no offense to Brocton, Panama or Springville, but those are the games appear -- we stress appear -- to be the longest longshots; Randolph, on the other hand, would probably dominate the vote if their game at Forestville was included.

My picks? For the small schools, it's East Aurora -- should be a great game no matter what, a rematch from last year and the Blue Devils just gave Lackawanna a great game. After that, I'd go with, in order, Maryvale, Gowanda and Frewsburg.

For the large schools, top choice is Jamestown (not a surprise since I have them ranked in the top 10) followed by Clarence, Williamsville South and Starpoint.

** Speaking of polls, Alden precincts were apparently heard from loudly as the Bulldogs led the way with 30.2 percent of the 182 voters selecting last week's most impressive victory by a small school. Well, polls are polls. While Alden was home against unranked Akron, Lackawanna's win at East Aurora (21.4 percent) certainly held more weight.

On the large-school side, things seemed to be less biased as two high-quality road wins led the way. Sweet Home's win at Jamestown had 23.4 percent of the 128 voters while Clarence's victory at Iroquois was next with 19.5.

** Check out a fine story in today's paper by Tom Borrelli on Lackawanna's Capone Smith.

** Not only is it the first weekend of Section VI's expanded playoff format, but they'll dominate the weekend spotlight because there aren't too many other marquee matchups.

The best of the rest seem to be St. Francis going for its first win at St. Joe's and Cardinal O'Hara heading down to Steubenville. A few weeks ago I was cringing at the Hawks going down to face the Big Red and the smoking scoreboard, but after their win over St. Joe's, at least O'Hara can head to Ohio with some confidence.

** I mentioned how more and more games are being played on Friday in the live blog, and check this out: this weekend there are 33 games on Friday night and 14 on Saturday.

** OP is up one spot to ninth in USA Today's East region rankings. No real huge movement by New Yorkers in the East Region (where Long Island's St. Anthony's is up two spots to 15th) or the Rivals' Atlantic East (Aquinas is still 19th and well outside the top 100).

Another reliable national poll is the National Prep Poll. It has Aquinas as its only team ranked from New York State, fifth in the East Region, which is one of seven regional top 10s. Some quick math would lead some to believe that that puts Aquinas in the top 35 in the country, but that's not so -- the East region only has one team in the National Prep Poll's top 25, which would likely put Aquinas outside the top 50.   

---Keith McShea

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