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Tuesday, July 22, 2014: Sec. 6 football season to kick off at the Ralph

   Leading off today: This could be the start of something good if you're a fan of high school football in Western New York.

   Section 6 already has a tradition of concluding its season at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Now, that's where the season will also start, as The Buffalo News reported that a season-opening tripleheader is stated in the NFL stadium for Sept. 5.

   The Kick-Off Classic tripleheader begins at 4 p.m. with Buffalo's Hutch-Tech facing South Park, followed at 6:30 by Lockport vs. Lancaster and then a 9 p.m. tilt between Iroquois and West Seneca East.

   "This is a great chance for us to get exposure for our kids and our area," Ken Stoldt, the Section 6 football chairman, told the paper.

   Stoldt envisions future editions growing into two-day events, perhaps involving teams from Section 3 and/or the Monsignor Martin Association. He said talks with Section 3 began in April but details could not be finalized in time. Similarly, Monsignor Martin teams were already locked into schedules before the Kick-Off Classic debut could be firmed up.

   There has been talk of a similar undertaking in Section 5 in recent years, but availability of Sahlen's Stadium has been a consistent stumbling block.

   "Syracuse definitely wants to be a part of this," Stoldt said. "We're opening this to this whole end of the state. If someone out of Rochester wants to come up and we can accommodate them, we'll accommodate them. We just want to get exposure for this end of the state."

   On the move: Jobs and high school basketball players with remaining eligibility and huge potential continue to be New York's biggest exports.

   The latest player on the move is rising junior Howard Washington. reported Friday that the Monsignor Martin co-player of the year from Canisius will take his game to Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla. The 6-foot-2 guard, who averaged 15 points and 5.5 assists last season, was a third-team all-state selection in Class A.

   The Buffalo News reports Washington already holds scholarship offers from Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia and a slew of mid-majors. He is expected to represent Canada in the FIBA U17 World Championships.

   More coming and going: Ciro Frontale, 50, has been named the new AD at Syracuse Institute of Technology to replace Rick Spicer, who moved over to similar responsibilities at the combined Henninger and Nottingham high school programs.

   Spicer replaces Ari Liberman, who was hired in the spring to replace George Mangicaro, who retired from Liverpool.

   Also in Section 3, Jen Smarrelli is replacing the retired Matt Whipple as Westhill's AD. Smarrelli, who was previously a physical education teacher and dean in the North Syracuse Schools, will also work as an assistant principal at Onondaga Road Middle School.

   Seventh-year coach Tyler Slather has opted to step down after directing Rye Neck to the NYSPHSAA Class B baseball championship game. This year's Section 1 title was the team's first under Slather.

   Veteran Sherburne-Earlville assistant Jeff Nekton is Oxford's new football coach.

   Passings: Rodney Mac, a two-year starting QB a decade ago, died last week. Mac, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January shortly after completing training to become a fire fighter. He also acted in three films.

   Don McIntyre, a three-sport star who went on to coach numerous league and sectional girls track and field champions at Valley Stream Central from 1977-88, died last week in Queensbury at the age of 87.

   Respectfully disagree: Regular readers of this blog know that I frequently link to MaxPreps content, reflective of the fact that they publish some of the country's most newsworthy and informative material on high school sports.

   Having said that, I have to point out a flaw that calls into question the results of their annual MaxPreps Cup standings, which is intended to recognize the best overall sports program in the country.

   MaxPreps Cup rankings credit schools with points for finishing first or second at the state level, with certain other factors considered. For instance, champions in larger-school classes get additional points, titles in big states are football site

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worth more than in small states, and some sports (football and basketball, for instance) are worth more than others. National rankings -- to their credit, not just those from MaxPreps -- are also used.

   Bentonville (Ark.), boosted by spring championships in boys and girls track, took first place. I don't know enough about Bentonville or 23 other schools in the top 25 to form an opinion, but I have to politely disagree with the inclusion of Tottenville at No. 16 as the only New York school.

   The story notes state titles for that school in girls golf, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, baseball. In as much as the PSAL technically is a statewide-level organization, the "state titles" designation falls under the heading of "true but not accurate." Though I have no qualms with crediting Tottenville for its work on the diamonds and have no opinion on girls golf, I have to draw the line at the two lacrosse championships.

   The quality of lacrosse in New York City is indisputably better than it was 20 years ago when that region was routinely embarrassed at the Empire State Games, but only the most optimistic backer would dare to put top PSAL teams on a level with even top-five teams in NYSPHSAA Class C.

   The best win by the 19-0 Tottenville boys this spring was probably against Monsignor Farrell, which would have been one of the two or three weakest foes on NYSPHSAA Class A champ Massapequa's schedule. Similarly, the Tottenville girls may have finished 14-2, but there's no way they could have stayed on the field against West Genesee.

   Off the top of my head, Massapequa's championships in three major sports (boys soccer, girls soccer and boys lacrosse) in the much larger NYSPHSAA (more than 600 school districts) probably deserved more weight.

   On the subject of all-sport championships, the calculations have been completed for the NYSSWA's sixth annual Kerr Cup, and we'll be unveiling a first-time overall champion on July 29.

   Coming up: There's no rest for these weary bones during the alleged offseason, and the next week will be among the busiest of the summer. Barring last-minute problems, here's what you can count on seeing in the next several days:

    • Wednesday -- The year in review, which won't be a definitive account of the 2013-14 school year but will hopefully hit the most important highlights and lowlights.
    • Thursday -- Release of the all-state baseball team compiled by Tom Vartanian in Cortland.
    • Saturday -- Dan Doherty's annual girls cross country season preview.
    • July 29 -- Kerr Cup all-sport championship.
    • July 31 -- A bunch of look-ahead material for the upcoming football season courtesy of Steve Grandin.

    I also expect to drop in a couple of blogs over that span, hopefully previewing some of the key agenda items for the NYSPHSAA's annual Central Committee meetings slated for July 29-31.

   And statistician Paul Hutzler says he's on schedule to update the state football record book in the near future.

→ Recent blogs and news     NYSSWA RSS feed
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  • 4/29: Officials turning focus toward the fall
  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
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  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
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