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 (4-0) [last week: 1] - It might OP at No. 1 and the next-best team around No. 4 or 5.
2. Sweet Home (4-0)  - This is where we had them in the preseason. Consider it like the market correcting itself -- ok, maybe that's a bad analogy these days.
3. Iroquois (4-0)  - Wherever Sweet Home goes, we have to put Chiefs right behind. We've given the Panthers the very slightest of edges over the Chiefs all season. Also -- and this is out of Iroquois' hands, for the most part -- the Panthers have two wins over teams that were ranked (Grand Island, Williamsville South).
4. Clarence (3-1)  - Would anyone else do better than 48-0 loss to OP at home? Maybe not. They lose two spots perhaps not so much for that loss, but because the AA South bubble burst a little with Frontier's home loss to Jamestown and Lancaster having more trouble than expected (a lot more trouble than Sweet Home and Clarence had) with West Seneca West.
5. North Tonawanda (4-0)  - Four impressive wins. Four games against unranked teams. The AA South bubble did burst a bit, but the perception (and the results this season and last) remains that the AA North is JV to AA South's varsity, which is whey they're tucked behind Clarence.
6. Grand Island (3-1)  - Dominated a Will East team that Sweet Home let hang around. Vikings must be kicking themselves still about the Sweet Home loss.
7. Frontier (2-2)  - Great win for Jamestown. Falcons, a popular postseason pick, are facing 1-3 record in the AA South if they don't upend OP next week.
8. Lancaster (3-1)  - Every week, putting this poll together can be confounding, because there are so few head-to-head matchups to help gauge teams in different classes and leagues. So how can anyone ignore a head-to-head result after only four weeks? Yes, Lancaster blew out Jamestown, which just beat Frontier. However, a reminder: Frontier beat Lancaster, so Frontier stays ahead of Lancaster.
9. St. Francis (0-4)  - Same rationale as last week. Name a team not on this list, and we think St. Francis would beat them. Huge game with Canisius is next -- but after a bye week.
10. Riverside (3-1) [NR] - The balanced Frontiers are 3-0 in the Harvard Cup and a team that just
might be playing on Turkey Day -- right now they're as worthy for the
No. 10 spot as anyone. Their only loss is at Aquinas. Canisius was here last week, so how can they drop out if they didn't lose? Well, how can we keep them in if they didn't win? Bye week means bye-bye -- for now. Crusaders get their chance against Aquinas this week. Hate to say I told you so, but we weren't the ones voting for Williamsville South and
West Seneca East, both of whom lost last week.
1. Cleveland Hill (4-0)  - Stop me if this sounds familiar:
the top three all had very impressive wins last week, so ours remains
the same. But this week they've got St. Mary's.
2. Southwestern (4-0)  - See above. But this week they're at Allegany-Limestone.
3. Lackawanna (4-0)  - See above. But this week they're at Fredonia.
4. Fredonia (4-0)  - Will one big home win (East Aurora) prompt another?
5. Alden (4-0)  - I hated having them a No. 7 last week, but it was just a numbers game. They leapfrog Maple Grove after EA stumbled.
6. Maple Grove (4-0)  - We still respect Class D, just not as much as Class B. Ergo, 4-0 vs. Class B (Alden) gets you the edge over 4-0 in Class D.
7. East Aurora (2-2)  - Loss at Fredonia drops them, but still a top 10 team.
8. Allegany-Limestone (4-0)  - Great story gets better. From 0-9 last year to 4-0 this year. Then their kicker gets a ride from the principal from down South to up North so his foot can score points in a soccer game and a football game in the same day.
9. Depew (3-1)  - If they keep winning, and if Alden (their opening loss) keeps winning, they'll stick around here for a while.
10. St. Mary's (3-1) [NR] - Portville gets squeezed out, just barely, thanks to St. Mary's win over Section V's Bishop Kearney and O'Hara's loss to Timon, both of which strengthened the Lancers' resume. Clymer winning big but they're still in Class DD.
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taggedHigh school football