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Letters / Our readers speak out

O'Hara AD explains game cancellation

It's time for Cardinal O'Hara High School to set the record straight on the football game that was not played against St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

As football coach and athletic director, I approached Joe Wolfe, athletic director of St. Joe's, and Bob O'Conner, coach of St. Joe's, and asked them if they wanted to play an extra game at the end of the season since both teams were forced to cancel games due to the October storm.

We canceled a game versus Williamsville South, while St. Joe's couldn't play their game against Niagara Falls. Both Mr. Wolfe and Coach O'Conner agreed to play the game. With this agreement, I began the formal process by presenting our letter of request to play this game to the Monsignor Martin Association's executive director, Brian Kiszewski. Mr. Kiszewski took the request to the NYC Catholic Association, who granted us permission to play the game. With this approval, I started contacting various venues to host the game. Mr. Dave Thomas, athletic director for the City of Buffalo, was extremely cooperative and gave us use of the beautiful All High Stadium for Thursday evening, Nov. 16. Much to my disappointment, I received a call on the evening of Nov. 6 from St. Joe's, which informed me it was unable to play the game.

It was due to circumstances beyond Cardinal O'Hara's control that prevented this wonderful opportunity for two of the top football programs in Western New York to play a game that so many high school football fans were looking forward to witnessing. Due to the cooperation of both schools, we are excited that we have officially scheduled a game for the 2007 football season.

Angelo P. Sciandra

Cardinal O'Hara Director of Athletics

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Felser was wrong about Charlie Weis

I'm constantly amazed at how much Larry Felser takes away from a "60 Minutes" telecast on Charlie Weis. Yes, Weis shouts the occasional cuss words, but if you would have miked up Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian or Lou Holtz, I'm sure some salty words would have come out of their mouths as well.

Here are some facts you overlook on Charlie:

He is extremely devoted to his family, including his special needs daughter, Hannah.

He is involved in many, many charitable causes.

He is a stickler on player education. The Irish made their way to Los Angeles late a week ago Friday, due to the fact every player had to finish class before coach Weis would allow the team plane to leave.

And Charlie has been winning with the poor recruiting classes given to us in Ty Willingham's last two recruiting years. From Sports Illustrated: "Where the Irish did suffer a recruiting drop-off was during the Willingham-to-Weis transition, netting SuperPrep rankings of 27th and 34th in '04 and '05."

Weis, however, landed the nation's ninth-ranked class last winter. And he is due for another top 10 this year, including Jimmy Clausen, the top-ranked senior in the country, according to Rivals.com.

Mike Scaletta

Raleigh, N.C.

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Fighting Irish earned spot in BCS bowls

I am writing this letter to defend Notre Dame and head football coach Charlie Weis.

The first point that I have a problem with is the assertion that Notre Dame does not deserve a spot in the Bowl Championship Series as a participant. The Fighting Irish won 10 games and finished among the top 14 teams in the country. That makes them eligible under the agreement of the six major conferences and Notre Dame prior to this season.

Larry Felser also denigrates Notre Dame's schedule. The Irish played the 15th-toughest schedule in the country, according to the BCS Schedule Strength model. This is more rigorous than top-ranked Ohio State (22nd).

The bulk of the article dealt with coach Weis' use of vulgarity when communicating to his players and coaches. It also featured comments from a writer employed by the notoriously anti-Catholic publication that calls itself the National Catholic Reporter. Using curse words is not something that I condone but I challenge anyone reading this who has played organized sports to tell me that they haven't had a coach cuss them out when they messed up.

Mr. Felser also refers to coach Weis as a "slob." The man almost died from a gastric bypass surgery several years ago that did permanent nerve damage. That was a low blow.

Terence M. Stanton

Orchard Park

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Whiffing on Weight is Regier's fault

To the letter-writer who stated that "Doug Weight should know Jason Pominville is now," um, why? What exactly has Pominville done in the NHL? Pominville was 8 when Weight was already breaking into the NHL. Weight has played 15 years, was an Olympian and has played in 1,000 NHL games.

I think the writer needs to ask himself some bigger questions, such as why is it that Darcy Regier dropped the ball on picking up Weight for what was essentially nothing to help the Sabres win a championship?

Let's hope Darcy doesn't pass on any other veterans at deadline who are winners and who make their teams champions.

Henry G. Dembski

Amherst

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A playoff system isn't far-fetched

For the handful of people who are against a national playoff in Division I-A football, I think the Division II and III playoffs in progress now are a terrific example of how this system could work for the big guys.

St. John Fisher College in Rochester lost in the Division III Final Four in Ohio this weekend. If Fisher had won, it would have played in the national championship game in Virginia on Dec. 16. It would have finished before Christmas and played a total of 15 games. I guess the Division II and III players can handle the complexities of a playoff system, a system that the greedy control freaks in Division I are unable or unwilling to implement.

John Kowalski

Lockport

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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