Attention Orchard Park and Sweet Home football programs: Please keep Week One of your 2014 season open. That is now the target for the kind of season-opening kickoff event that Western New York high school football deserves.
As I have been known to do for, oh, about a decade or so, I was planning to deliver a State of the Nonleague Football Games Address around this time. That’s because January is the time of year when football schedules are filled out for the fall.
The timing is perfect for me to urge Section VI schools, particularly large schools, to schedule their Monsignor Martin counterparts in nonleague games, something that has been glaringly missing from the Western New York high school sports scene. The shoot-for-the-moon aspect of the idea – and really, why shoot for anything else? – is to urge Section VI schools to participate in a major, season-opening event, one that would pair up some of the best public schools with the best private schools (similar to basketball’s Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge as well as many other events in many other sports).
The good news is that Section VI football chairman Ken Stoldt has had positive talks with Monsignor Martin president Brian Kiszewski, as well as representatives from ADPRO Sports (a very willing and interested sponsor), about setting up that exact kind of Week One event. It’s an idea that has been floated before, in which Ralph Wilson Stadium or UB Stadium would be the site of a multi-game celebration of football, perhaps on the Sunday of the season’s opening weekend.
The bad news is that the opportunity for a big event later on in 2013 is already lost. Section VI cannot figure out its schedule until it gets the enrollment numbers and classification guidelines from the state. That is expected to happen later this month. Part of the delay is due to a proposal that will be voted on Jan. 29, one in which classification guidelines may change for those schools which combine its athletic programs with other schools.
Monsignor Martin programs, understandably, have made arrangements to fill its Week One schedule (according to Kiszewski, Canisius again plays McQuaid, St. Joe’s will host Long Island power St. Anthony’s, Bishop Timon-St. Jude plays Aquinas and St. Francis is paired up with Archbishop Curley of Baltimore).
Which brings us back to the Quakers and the Panthers.
Last year programs like Williamsville South, Lockport and McKinley played private schools to outstanding reviews all-around. Teams like Jamestown and North Tonawanda have done it in recent years as well.
However, in order for the 2014 Kickoff Classic (or whatever it will be called) to be the great, galvanizing event it should be for Western New York football, stellar Section VI championship programs Orchard Park and Sweet Home need to be involved.
We won’t even get into why this kind of event, or these kind of games, should have happened already. We’re looking ahead.
Everyone has plenty of time to figure it all out. See you all for the announcement story about this time next year.
Make that Super Monday
The tradition of Western New York’s hockey championships being held on a Super Sunday appears it will skip a season.
Who’s fault would that be?
None other than Bon Jovi.
It was recently announced that Bon Jovi added a Buffalo date to its tour. That date would be Feb. 24, at the First Niagara Center, which is the traditional date for the finals for the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation as well as the area’s club leagues. I’m obviously all for high school sports, but I think anyone can understand the arena booking that date for what should be a major concert downtown.
According to Federation president Mark DiFilippo, the athletic director at Niagara-Wheatfield, the three Federation championships (large school, small school and private schools) will be moved to Monday, Feb. 25 at the arena while the club games are slated for Tuesday, Feb. 26.
“It actually works out better for us,” said DiFilippo. “That Sunday is the end of the February break – with kids in school, we’re hoping with that those six schools back to school Monday, we’ll get a better crowd. Everyone is excited about it.”
DiFilippo lauded the Sabres for the team’s commitment to hosting the games despite the schedule change.
DiFilippo also said the Sabres were committed to hosting the high school games even if the ice was not set up for a possibly canceled NHL season.
“The Sabres have been great all along,” he said. “They were going to find a way to make it happen.”
PrepTalkTV Weekly tonight
Lauren Mariacher and I host PrepTalkTV Weekly tonight, and our guests will be New York State Basketball Hall of Fame coach Sister Maria Pares of Sacred Heart along with seniors La’Trice Hall and Hannah Rehbaum. We’ll again have a review of the past week and a look ahead to this weekend’s action at 9 p.m. at buffalonews.com.
State championship pages
The fourth edition of our state championship pages honoring teams from the fall will be dedicated to the Canisius boys soccer team on Monday.