Every week of the football season, nine voters rate Western New York's best teams from 1 to 10 in the large and small school polls (published in the Sidelines of each Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight). The News has one vote in each poll.
And this week:
1. Orchard Park (7-0) [last week: 1] - Kind of like an OP lacrosse year -- regular season, schmegular season. NOW is when the season really starts. Unfortunately for Niagara-Wheatfield, OP's new season starts where it's old season ended.
2. Sweet Home (7-0)  - Thought they would win at Jamestown, but a shutout? Whoa.
3. Canisius (3-3)  - Nothing to do with loss at powerful Walsh Jesuit, everything to do with Sweet Home earning its No. 2 spot back.
4. North Tonawanda (7-0)  - I'm repeating myself: Still undefeated, still have played teams who haven't even come close to making this list (OK, Tonawanda doesn't count since it's a small school). Finally, a team from this list.
5. Grand Island (6-1)  - Dispatched with Niagara Falls, 36-0; NT beat Falls, 33-6. GI gave Cheektowaga a tough playoff game last year, we'll see if Warriors can do the same. Neutz putting together a nice Connolly Cup/Player of the Year resume.
6. Lancaster (6-1)  - Expected their shutout like I expected Sweet Home's. Momentum should keep building -- Week One: Lancaster 50, Lockport 12.
7. Jamestown (4-2)  - They lost to Sweet Home, but seriously, someone please explain to me how they did not make the top 10 in the poll. Talk about bulletin board material for the Red Raiders as they travel to No. 10 Kenmore West.
8. Clarence (4-3) [NR] - Let me get this straight: The Red Devils lost to OP, Lancaster and Jamestown, but beat Iroquois at Iroquois handily last week, and they're still ranked behind Iroquois. Makes as much sense as Section VI football teams not scheduling nonleaguers against Catholic schools. 🙂
9. Frontier (4-3)  - Still managing mileage from beating Lancaster and the two-point loss to OP.
10. St. Francis (0-6)  - Record against WNY remains: 0-1 to our No. 3 team. Some say win a few games, then they'll get a vote? We think they are going to win a few games, so why wait?
Second-and-five: Our next best are Iroquois, West Seneca East, Riverside, Grover Cleveland, West Seneca West.
1. Lackawanna (7-0)  - The win at EA likely would have gotten them here regardless, but Cleve Hill's struggles with JFK ensured it.
2. Alden (7-0)  - Playing too well not to move up after Cleve Hill's close game.
3. Cleveland Hill (7-0)  - We know it was a tough rivalry game, and passing a test like that will probably help the Golden Eagles in the playoffs. But for top-of-the-poll's purposes, you just can't be losing to JFK entering the fourth quarter.
4. Southwestern (7-0)  - Nearly slid them up past Cleve Hill, but we still see Class C in this order.
5. Maple Grove (7-0)  - Re-run from last week: They likely won't move up until they punch a ticket to the Ralph. New this week: Funny how the semifinal matchups are lining up again, huh?
6. Fredonia (6-1)  - Was very tempted to move them up.
7. East Aurora (4-3)  - Gave into temptation and moved them up.
8. Depew (5-2)  - We thought they'd give Lancaster a game, but that's not a reason to move them down -- EA's ability to hang with Steelers dragged them up a spot.
9. Maryvale (4-3)  - Four wins in a row and a trip to Fredonia in one of the gifts (for fans) of the new playoff format.
10. Portville (6-1)  - Again nod to Class D's depth over Class C's and the team that starts off our second-and-five. Silver Creek, Randolph, Cardinal O'Hara, Clymer and Allegany-Limestone.
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