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Monday homeroom quarterback

Looking downfield: O'Hara shouldn't sweat its four-game shutout streak ending with about 15 seconds left in its 38-7 win over Dunkirk, long after starters like senior linebacker Robert Addison (14 tackles, two tackles for loss) and senior defensive tackle Markey Turner Jr. (10 tackles) had left the field.

The Hawks are riding a 19-game win streak that could get longer. O'Hara's next five games (Niagara Catholic, Walsh, Timon-St. Jude, St. Mary's, Nichols) are against teams it beat last season. Talk about a possible must-see game: the Hawks could potentially take a 24-game run into its Oct. 20 contest at Town of Tonawanda neighbor St. Joe's.

Not so long ago: When McKinley beat St. Joe's last week, it sent us searching the history books to find the last time the Marauders lost to a Harvard Cup school (it was 1931). Wondering when the last time a large school from the Monsignor Martin Association lost to a Harvard Cup team? It was just last year, when Hutch-Tech beat Timon-St. Jude, 19-6, in South Buffalo. The Engineers and Tigers meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. at All High Stadium.

Click-clack: St. Francis improved to 2-0 Saturday with a 26-14 win at Holy Trinity on Long Island, where the rest of the state's Week Two was only Week One for Long Island teams. On Newsday's Web site, the Red Raiders are listed in the linescore as "other." St. Francis lost a 13-7 game last year in a game with was also the season opener for Holy Trinity, which went on to a 7-4 season in 2006.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's prediction was right on for Canisius' visit to powerful St. Ignatius. "PD pick: St. Ignatius, easy." Final score: St. Ignatius 64, Canisius 0.

Litz missed at Maryvale: News Sports Reporter Tom Borrelli notes that Maryvale dressed just two dozen players for last Saturday's 28-6 home loss to Iroquois, about half the number the Chiefs brought.

Flyers coach Steve Griffin insisted that two-way lineman Jim Litz's absence was most distressing. "It's kind of scary when you miss a 5-foot-6, 148-pound kid," said Griffin, whose team lost the first matchup between the schools since 1995 thanks to the Flyers moving up to Class A this season. "But when that kid is the heart and soul of your team who plays like he's 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, you miss him. Jim Litz is pound for pound the best football player in New York state, not just Western New York. To not have him in there hurts us."

Litz suffered a knee injury during a scrimmage and Griffin expects him to miss at least three more weeks. "When you don't have the depth, that's trouble," Griffin said.

Iroquois traveled with a squad of more than 50 and it paid off on a day when the temperature reached the high 80s. The officiating crew took it upon itself to call extra timeouts so that the players could stay hydrated. "Their numbers really hurt them today," Chiefs coach Frank Payne said afterward. "We were
able to substitute both ways. That was the difference."

Our game plan: All week there is game-planning and preparation and sometimes the game calls go better than others. I'm not talking about on the football field, I'm talking about in the newsroom. We try to be balanced while also picking the best matchups to cover, but you never know how games are going to unfold. It's especially difficult at the beginning of the season.

While Mary Jo Monnin went to Clarence to kill two birds with one laptop (Clarence's 23-20 football win over North Tonawanda and Frontier winning the area's top early-season boys volleyball tournament), we thought Iroquois at Maryvale was the football game we should definitely be at Saturday. We had considered, among others, Grand Island at Sweet Home, which turned out to be a more exciting game. We'll just have to hit our playbook hard, work on it in practice and try to do better next weekend.

--- Keith McShea

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