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. Here's how we filled out our ballot:
1. Orchard Park (3-0) [last week: 1]-- In a tough week, at least one decision was easy.
2. Clarence (3-0)  - I kept them low (see last week's ninth-place vote) because I suppose still had thoughts of their not-so-great second half last year. Was waiting for them to show me something. Well, a win -- a typically, tough, tight win in AA South over Frontier -- shows me something. OP visits Saturday.
3. Frontier (2-1)  - Our tribute to AA South, Part I.
4. Lancaster (2-1)  - Our tribute to AA South, Part II.
5. Sweet Home (3-0)  - Clarence, Lancaster and Frontier have dominated teams (when they're not playing each other in the toughest league in WNY). Sweet Home hasn't at all against smaller schools, winning by an average winning margin of eight.
6. Iroquois (3-0) - Dominating teams they should dominate. Impressive. But the Chiefs will have to do a little something more (or Sweet Home has to do a little something less) for us to flip the two. Sweet Home is still the champ.
7. North Tonawanda (3-0)  - Three big wins, but it's kind of clear how we feel about AA North. NT's win at Lockport wasn't as dominant as Lancaster's, also.
8. Grand Island (2-1) . Definitely a top 10 team in my book. Which I can't say about the other A's, regardless of their record.
9. St. Francis (0-3)  - The Red Raiders are not here because of the teams they played. They are not here because of "good" losses. They're here because I think they'd beat most other teams in Western New York, and I think they'd probably beat more than a few the top eight teams on this ballot. And what would anyone else's record be against the three teams Frannies played? If a poll included just teams with good records, all it would be is a glorified standings. That's the fun part about polls, after all.
10. Canisius (2-1)  - I love that Williamsville South and West Seneca East (whose resume is more impressive that the cardiac kids from South's, in my opinion) are 3-0. I just think those new kids on the block haven't beaten a quality enough team (hey, we're tough graders here) to get this spot, and we think these two Monsignor Martin teams would beat them. It'll take a lot for a Harvard Cup team to crack the large-school top 10 after Grover got routed by Canisius. Riverside didn't play Aquinas nearly as close as Frannies did, so they lose out there.
1. Cleveland Hill (3-0)  - The top three did it again, all with impressive, thorough wins. But winning at 2-0 Gowanda probably helped Cleve Hill's case for No. 1.
2. Southwestern (3-0)  - See above.
3. Lackawanna (3-0)  - See above again. Steelers' third straight shutout would have more weight if the opponent had scored at all this season.
4. Fredonia (3-0)  - Make that impressive, thorough wins for the top four.
5. East Aurora (2-1)  - Wow, I guess make it five.
6. Maple Grove (3-0)  - Class D is highly regarded around here, and the Red Dragons are just destroying good teams like Randolph and Portville, so we felt we had to move them up.
7. Alden (3-0)  - Moving Maple Grove up meant sliding somebody down, even after a 57-0 win. Sorry Bulldogs, that's the numbers game of the polls when everyone wins and you're the new kid in town.
8. Allegany-Limestone (3-0) [NR] - From 0-9 last year to 3-0 with win over vaunted Falconer. Best story of the first three weeks?
9. Depew (2-1) [NR] - Filling out the bottom of the poll wasn't easy, but these guys won a second straight gutsy game (over Maryvale) and the have a close loss to Alden on their resume.
10. Portville (2-1)  - We were talking about Class D's reputation in moving Maple Grove up. So the second best D team gets this spot (sorry Frewsburg and Clymer), squeezing out Cardinal O'Hara. Burgard's loss to Lafayette not only cost it its spot, but hurt O'Hara (who Burgard beat) and St. Mary's (who we still consider to be behind O'Hara at this moment).
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taggedHigh school football