1. Canisius (7-0): Rich Robbins’ 51st coaching win with the Crusaders comes at expense of longtime rival St. Joe’s.
2. Lancaster (7-0): Division title: check. Rivalry win versus Depew: check. Quest for Section VI Class AA title: It starts Friday against last year’s runner-up and quietly sizzling Kenmore West, winners of four in a row.
3. Starpoint (7-0): Second straight unbeaten regular season for Class A North Division champions, but now the real work begins for the hungry Spartans
4. Niagara Falls (6-1): Pro wrestler Ric Flair said multiple times, “in order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.” Wolverines should be heading into postseason brimming with confidence after Saturday’s victory over defending Class AA champion Orchard Park. Woooo!
5. Timon (3-4): Tigers cap crazy week by dressing just 19 players and rallying late to not only beat Aquinas but also eliminating the Rochester power from postseason contention – thus ending Little Irish’s reign as state Class AA champions.
6. St. Francis (2-4): I’ll keep Red Raiders in my poll because Cathedral Prep of Erie, Pa., is crazy scary good. Still, Frannies had halftime lead and trailed by one during third quarter before avalanche of points by Prep.
7. Orchard Park (4-3): Quakers look to regroup after second loss in three outings, as games that really matter begin this weekend.
8. Bennett (5-2): Tigers survived three weeks without starting quarterback and still win third division title in third different classification size in as many seasons.
9. McKinley (5-2): Winners of five in a row. First-year coach Brian Hillery leads Macks back to the playoffs after last season’s absence. Macks have made postseason six times since Buffalo Public Schools football joined the Section VI football federation seven years ago.
10. Clarence (5-2): Red Devils have lost two straight since securing playoff spot.
1. Cheektowaga (7-0): Mike Fatta’s bunch once again rallies from double-digit deficit to win a very important game.
2. Maple Grove (7-0): Playoff time for top-ranked Class D team in the state that pretty much blew out everyone during the regular season.
3. Olean (7-0): Cardiac kids cruise to easy win heading into tough home playoff matchup against well-traveled Alden crew preparing for fifth long roadie of the season.
4. Maryvale (6-1): Class B is a bear. Flyers come oh so close to not only winning division title at rival’s expense but hosting home playoff game. Instead, they must make long trek to Southern Tier to face streaking Dunkirk – winners of five straight since 0-2 start.
5. Cleveland Hill (6-1): Third Class C North title in four seasons for Golden Eagles – winners of six straight. Now the quest for another Section VI title begins.
6. Medina (6-1): This year’s Mustangs streak to glory by winning program’s first outright division title since 1988. Rematch with old friend Lackawanna on deck for Medina crew that has home-field edge for first two rounds of playoffs.
7. Alden (5-2): Bulldogs have won in Erie, Orleans, Niagara and Monroe counties. They’re trying to win in fifth different one Friday night when they head to Cattaraugus County to face unbeaten Olean.
8. Dunkirk (5-2): What did I write a few weeks ago? Watch out for these Marauders, whose only losses have come against unbeaten Cheektowaga and Olean.
9. Southwestern (6-1): Jehuu Caulcrick trying to return to his former NFL home and do what predecessor Jay Sirianni did many times before him – lead Trojans to a championship celebration at the former Ralph Wilson Stadium.
10. Silver Creek (6-1): Black Knights edge defending Class D champions by a point in finale to earn No. 2 seed for postseason and home-field advantage for possible rematch with Franklinville/Ellicottville should seeding hold. (F/E’s foe Frewsburg also played Silver Creek tough, by the way, losing a six-point decision on final play of game.)