By Keith McShea
Every week a panel of voters participate in The News' large and small school football polls, and every week we tell you how The News voted. The News is one of 10 voters on the large and small school polls, which are published each Tuesday in the Sidelines section of the Scholastic Spotlight.
Here are our two top 10s:
1. Jamestown (4-0) [last week: 3] -- They are not just beating people, they are dominating.
Close your eyes. Rattle off the scores that Jamestown has won by. If I told you it was Orchard Park, you'd probably have no problem voting them No. 1. Also, as I wrote in last week's blog about the state rankings, if a team is clearly considered the best in Section VI Class AA, that deserves respect based on recent history (three state AA titles in last five years, plus another runner-up with last year's OP team).
Last point: After consideration of three very, very, very good teams, the tie goes to the team with an excellent dual-threat quarterback leading the way.
2. St. Joe's (3-1)  -- This is what I wrote here last week: "having St. Joe's here [ahead of Canisius] would translate into me thinking they'll do significantly better against Aquinas than Canisius did (3-0 loss in Rochester last week), especially since they are at home ... and I would not disagree with that."
Did they do significantly better? That can be argued. While statistically overwhelmed for the game, St. Joe's found a way to score three touchdowns (two on offense) and to be leading the game heading into, and for a good chunk of, the fourth quarter. And they did it with Aquinas' outstanding quarterback Jake Zembiec enjoying a beautifully sunny day.
Canisius lost by only a 3-0 score at Aquinas, but it could not move the ball at all, while Mother Nature helped hinder Zembiec in a rainstorm.
3. Canisius (3-1)  -- They admit they are still evolving, still finding themselves. That's the exact reason I did not vote St. Joe's high last year.
Look at this, a great debate between which of these two old pals is better! Can't make this stuff up.
4. Frontier (4-0)  -- Deserve this spot after another Class AA shutout, a nod they deserve over ...
5. Sweet Home (4-0)  -- ... the Panthers, who are rolling along in A North play -- but A North is just not AA. Will see them Saturday at Masters Field.
6. West Seneca East (4-0)  -- Hamburg has been stingy with others in losses to GI and Hutch-Tech, and perhaps WSE looked past them. Considered dropping them behind the next team on this list, but the strength of WSE's win at Iroquois was better than that of the ...
7. South Park (3-1)  -- ... Sparks, and looky here: SP at WSE on Friday. Make that #SPvWSE on #PrepTalkLive. We'll be there.
Interested to see if anyone will join me in voting for these guys this week (note added later: looks like several did). Sparks only loss is to Jamestown, which has put up 50 against everyone, including ...
8. Lancaster (3-1)  -- ... these guys, who are Testment No. 2 to how good Jamestown is. I think you still have to consider these guys a top 10 team, and we'll certainly find out more on Friday when they welcome in ...
9. Orchard Park (3-1)  -- ... the Quakers. This vote means that we've written off the home loss to Lockport (Lockport's loss at Falls and OP's rout of Will South this past weekend sure helped).
Things get very difficult on this end of the ballot, and the letters 'OP' are hard to pass up -- especially coming off that emphatic a win over a good South team.
10. Grand Island (4-0) [NR] -- Four solid A North wins earns them this spot. Really tough to gauge A North vs. A Central vs. A South at this point. Sweet Home won at Iroquois in Week One, but that doesn't really help.
We're taking GI by the length of one of those Viking horns over Williamsville South and McKinley, in that order, since South owns a more impressive win over Wiliamsville North than the Macks do. We'd probably throw in Kenmore West soon after (losses to Lancaster & Jamestown, wins over WSW and close one at Clarence; OP had close home win over Clarence) -- and maybe Kenmore East right after them, partly to get those rivals trying to figure out who will win on the final Saturday of the season. Best 1-3 team is probably Iroquois, which pounded a decent Hutch-Tech team after losses to three top 10 teams: Sweet Home, South Park, West Seneca East.
1. Alden (4-0)  -- The Bulldogs were fantastic at Depew Friday night.
2. Burgard (4-0)  -- These Bulldogs have been pretty fantastic, too.
3. Randolph (4-0)  -- After Friday night, thought I was moving them up to No. 2. Burgard was that impressive.
4. St. Mary's (3-0)  -- After a bye week, big test at Canisius this Saturday.
5. Depew (3-1)  -- The Wildcats are better than they showed Friday night, when perhaps the moment got too much of them: playing at home, not only finally with a chance to beat Alden, but expected to beat them. Class B is always a blast.
6. Cheektowaga (3-1)  -- Good wins and the loss, we remind you, is to Class A's Jamesville-Dewitt by one point at the Carrier Dome.
7. Cleveland Hill (4-0)  -- Fine win at Lackawanna Friday night. Certainly tops on the C chart, but this is where I think the top of the C chart tops out right now.
8. Fredonia (4-0)  -- Gutted out win over Southwestern Friday. Still think they should be nestled pretty close behind Cleve Hill.
9. Medina (3-1)  -- Burgard moved up in this poll because of their performance. I still definitely think the Mustangs deserve a top 10 spot.
10. Bennett (2-2) [NR] -- Had tough time with this spot. Dropped Maple Grove out by a hair in favor of the Tigers, who lost opener to Burgard (only 14-0), lost to Cheektowaga (20-0), then blew out Maryvale and followed with similar win over Lew-Port (which started 2-0) that Burgard recorded last week. At a good Attica team this week.
Certainly others joining Maple Grove/Chautaqua Lake on this No. 10 consideration list are Lackawanna and Pioneer.
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