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Monday homeroom quarterback: Week Three

We're likely looking at a new No. 1 large school after St. Francis' 13-7 loss to Aquinas in Rochester.

Since Aquinas is one of the best teams in the state you could make a "good-loss" argument, with the Red Raiders having played the Little Irish tough at their place. The Rochester private school swept Buffalo's large Catholic schools last year and then beat Iroquois -- which would win the top spot in last year's poll -- in the Class A regional.

But with No. 2 Orchard Park rolling along in Class AA (27-17 at home over Jamestown), it would be tough to keep OP out of a deserved top spot.

And St. Francis coach Jerry Smith's comments after the game were telling. "We didn’t practice well all week, and the way we practice is how we play,” he told The News. "Quite honestly, we didn’t play well. We lacked intensity. Offensively, we played sloppy. We dropped too many passes." When a team travels to Rochester to play one of the best programs in the state and their coach gives a review like that, it sure doesn't sound like they're a No. 1 team.

But give credit to coach Smith for not spin-doctoring it any other way (and for calling immediately after the game on what's always a busy Friday night in the office).

Here's how the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle covered Aquinas' win with a story and several photos (also included is Nichols' loss to Charles Finney).

Tough trip: St. Joe's made their annual trip to Steubenville, Ohio this weekend, dropping to 0-3 with a 32-14 loss. How tough is the trip? Well, this year the Marauders were present for the dedication of the Big Red's field as "Reno Field" in honor of 25-year Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia. He is 248-45 in his career, which has included 10 undefeated seasons, 17 playoff appearances, six Associated Press championships and three Ohio High School Athletic Association championships (including in 2005 and last year). The Big Red was also featured in Sports Illustrated and on NBC's Sunday Night Football this week, part of a promotional campaign which is looking at some of the best high school rivalries in the nation.

Steubenville, located in southeastern Ohio, is ranked second in the state's Division IV poll (the state has six divisions). Almost anything you wanted to know about the Big Red is at rollredroll.com. Cardinal O'Hara fans might want to check it out since the Hawks will play their regular season finale at Steubenville on Oct. 26. O'Hara's win streak is at 20 games. Steubenville's regular season run is at 44 games. Hmmmm...

Around Week Three: The Town of Cheektowaga may be planning a takeover of Western New York football. The town's four teams not only went 4-0 last week, they did it with a combined score of 171-23. Their victims were from Niagara County (Cleveland Hill 54, Roy-Hart 16), the Northtowns (Cheektowaga 22, Amherst 0), the Southtowns (Maryvale 55, Hamburg 0) and the Southern Tier (JFK 40, Silver Creek 7).

* Some statement games: Iroquois took a 33-0 halftime lead on previously undefeated Lake Shore on its way to a 33-21 win. "They didn't come off the ball," said Iroquois coach Frank Payne. "We controlled the line of scrimmage. They didn't look like the team we scouted. We took them out of the game early." Another Class A power to impress was Albion, bouncing back from a close call at Kenmore East with a 33-0 bullying of a Lew-Port team which had been 2-0.

* Lackawanna's Bruce Lakso is one of the better-prepared coaches when it comes to calling in scores. But he didn't have too many details on the Steelers' 20-0 win over Newfane. That's because the rain soaked all his stat sheets. ... Wilson won a wet battle with Allegany-Limestone after which Lakemen coach Bill Atlas lamented, "we've got a pretty good passing game, but the weather's been bad so we can't use it."

* St. Joe's scored its first points of the season in the fourth quarter at Steubenville, with two different Scaffidis throwing touchdowns. After senior starter Phil Scaffidi hit Nick Torrence for an 11-yard touchdown before, senior backup Brian Scaffidi, Phil's first cousin, connected with Mark Emerson for a 43-yard score. 

My shot at All-WNY: As The News celebrates the 50th year of All-Western New York football, I just couldn't help myself. It was pretty excruciating, but I picked an 25-player All-WNY football team from among the players I've covered since 1999. It will be published in "Prep Talk" in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.

-- Keith McShea

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