football updates, previews and predictions. Items of
note…Thornville Sheridan (6-0) hosts Dresden Tri-Valley (5-1) and Steubenville Central Catholic (5-1) hosts St. Clairsville (6-0). Buckle up.
In a blink of an eye it’s week 7. The fastest 10 weeks of the year is 60% in the books. Conference races are on fire, while the playoff picture appears to be clearer.
The week 6 picks were good in terms of record, but I lost the two games that were talked about in-depth. The final tally was 28-4. The season total is now 179-34, which is good for 84-percent. Is that why they call me “Guru?”
Enough with the gloating as it’s on to week 7. A pair of big match ups headline the card with Thornville Sheridan (6-0) hosting Tri-Valley (6-0), and Steubenville Catholic Central (5-1) playing host to St. Clairsville (6-0).
Drum rolls please and now let us get it started with another edition of “who is hot.” This will be an extended version as a lot of great performances and happenings took place a week ago including Steven Spillman becoming the all-time leading rusher at Tuscarawas Valley and Matt Dennison won his 50th game at New Philadelphia.
Who is Hot
-Let us start with Steubenville Big Red extending its overall winning streak to 36 games and regular season streak to 45 contests. Big Red knocked off previously unbeaten Columbus Bishop Watterson 23-14 in front of an overflow crowd at Harding Stadium. The Red used special teams, defense and a sprinkle of offense to earn the hard fought triumph. Senior do-it-all Stevie Davis returned a kickoff 69 yards, blocked a punt that led to a Crimson and Black TD, intercepted a pass that led to Big Red’s go ahead score, and finished the night off with 55-yard punt that rolled out of bounds at the 1-yard line. The latter dashed all hopes of an Eagle comeback.
The last time I picked against Big Red was August 25, 2005 when they hosted Akron Buchtel. However, the Red won that game and hasn’t lost since. So, why I picked against Coach Saccoccia’s bunch this past week I don’t have an answer. Perhaps it was stupidity?
– The undefeated Tri-Valley Scotties continue to make the list. It was once again the West to Warner show. Senior quarterback Cameron West completed 14 of 23 passes for 303 stripes including 4 TDs. Senior speedster Wade Warner hauled in four balls for 165 yards including a score. For the season, West has completed 77 of 117 aerials for 1,661 yards with 19 TDS to just one interception. West is averaging 21.6 yards per completion. Warner, on the other hand, has snared 27 balls for 722 markers including seven trips to pay dirt. The sure-handed senior is averaging 26.7 yards per catch. The black and gold has outscored its opponents 292-34 through six contests, but the record of those teams are just 11-25. That is the main reason coach Justin Buttermore’s crew is sitting in ninth in the latest computer rankings. The Scotties will be tested tonight against undefeated Sheridan with big points on the table.
– The Claymont Mustangs won their third game in a row after a 1-2 start to the season. Coach Ed Henry’s boys trailed 13-0 at halftime to the Coshocton Redskins before scoring 14 unanswered in the second half to come away victorious. The ‘Stangs were dominated in the first half of play being out gained 224-63 in the total yards category. However, two second half Ryder Dynes’ TDs led to the triumph. Dynes finished with 61 yards, while Jared Kendziorski led the team with 97 yards on the ground. This was Claymont’s first win over Coshocton since the 1995 campaign (19-15). The Mustangs are currently seventh in Division III, Region 11.
– The Tornadoes are rolling through the East Central Ohio League just as I expected. Corey Lisowski tossed 5 TDs and threw for 213 yards on 14 of 27 passing in a 56-0 beat down of previously once-beaten Cambridge. The junior also ran for 95 yards on nine totes. Sophomore sensation Marcus Mamarella caught 2 TDs as did senior Michael Reneker. Matt Rinehart scored on the other TD toss. Dover led in total yardage 409 to just 108 for the Bobcats. The Tornadoes have now won three straight and are currently 10th in Division III, Region 11 with a huge game with Claymont tonight.
– New Philadelpia’s Tyler Dummermuth threw a touchdown on a halfback pass and caught three scores in the Quakers’ 42-0 throttling of Meadowbrook. The junior hit Vinnie Granato on a 26-yard scoring strike off of a Jordan Miller toss. The play occurred on fourth down. Dummermuth’s three TD receptions were from Miller.
– Philo’s Carter Paul was running wild this past Friday in a 56-23 win over Maysville. The senior was “electric” carrying the ball 15 times for 309 yards including four first-half scores. Philo trailed 14-7, but rolled off 49 consecutive points including 28 in the third stanza.
– The River View Black Bears got their initial victory of the 2007 season with a 38-0 thumping of Indian Valley. The Bears out gained the Braves 304-27 on the ground led by junior Coty Cochran’s 166 yards on 26 carries including a score. Congratulations as I picked the Black Bears to win.
– Buckeye Trail (6-0) rolled to a 33-0 victory over rival Shenandoah (4-2) last week in Sarahsville. In a game many thought to be one of the most entertaining (including myself), it turned out to be just another Warrior rout. Senior quarterback Brock Davis rushed for 170 yards on just 13 carries including 3 TDS and also threw a 13-yard TD to senior Tim Nealey. Sophomore Bobby Beros contributed 102 yards on 13 totes. The Blue and White defense held senior standout tailback Joey Wheeler to 55 yards on 24 carries. However, junior quarterback Cody Johnson was injured in the first quarter after making a sensational interception. The crafty signal caller went down with bruised ribs.
Trail is currently first in Division V, Region 19, while the Zeps dropped to 11.
– The Garaway Pirates (3-3) are proving they are more than just a basketball power. The Sugarcreek-based outfit knocked off previously unbeaten and third ranked (AP) Malvern, 39-36. This game featured seven lead changes. Junior speedster Devin Schie toted the rock 30 times for 210 stripes including 3 TDs. Junior quarterback David Gerber threw for 184 yards and two scores while also running for a score. The Hornets scored to make it 36-32 with 3:43 left in the game, but Garaway came right back with an 80-yard drive in under two minutes to take the lead back for good. Kudos to both teams for a great performance.
– Martins Ferry junior tailback Rawn Driver ran for three scores, finishing his night with 24 carries for 175 yards. Senior Derek Edwards intercepted four West Muskingum aerials. The Riders bounced back from two weeks ago with a 24-0 victory.
– Newcomerstown’s Justin Stoffer rushed for 193 lightings on 27 totes with a score in a 20-14 win over Sandy Valley. For the season, the senior has amassed 729 yards on 120 carries including eight trips to pay dirt.
– Ridgewood’s junior tailback Derrick Young needed just six carries to score 5 TDs in a 35-6 win over Tuscarawas Central Catholic. Young gained 111 yards for the game. The Generals (5-1) are currently 10th in Division V, Region 19 with a huge game against Malvern (5-1) on tap for tonight.
– Tuscarawas Valley improved to (5-1) on the season by virtue of its fifth consecutive game with a 36-13 win over Canton Timken. In the process, senior Steven Spillman became the all-time leading rusher at TV by surpassing Scott McCartney’s previous mark of 2,909 yards. McCartney played from 2000 to 2002. Spillman ran just 14 times for 59 yards including a TD, while senior quarterback Pat Kane completed 10 of 14 passes for 187 stripes with 2 TDS to one interception.
– Union Local (5-1) kept it rolling with a 41-8 victory over Richmond Edison. Junior quarterback Jordan Barbina completed 14 of 22 aerials for 312 yards including 4 TDs. Barbina hit senior speed merchant Zach Gust on three of those scores. For the game, Gust hauled in seven pigskins for 169 markers. Senior Robbie Kyer snared the other TD toss on a play that covered 64 yards. Junior Kyle Blackman snagged two balls for 42 yards. However, the Jets did lose senior tailback Zach Azallion to a concussion, which will force him to sit out this week’s homecoming game with Bellaire. The Jets are presently fifth in Division IV, Region 15.
– Beallsville (6-0) has given up the fewest points in the state in 2007 by allowing just 13 points through six contests. The Blue Devils routed Pioneer Valley Conference foe Caldwell, 48-0 this past Friday. Senior quarterback Kevin Stoney threw 4 TDs on 15 of 21 passion for 221 yards. Jimmy Reisz hauled in seven balls for 136 yards including two scores. Eric Lucas ran for 56 yards and a score and also completed both his pass attempts with one going for a touchdown to Craig Neiswanger. Beallsville’s needs some help as it is currently 9th in Division VI, Region 23.
– Frontier is in the win column. The Cougars won their first official OHSAA game for the first time since 36-35 overtime victory against River in week four of the 2005 season. Frontier did beat the Columbus Crusaders in that time frame, but the win doesn’t count toward the OHSAA computer points. The Cougars used the arm of freshman quarterback Corey Fickiesen to defeat Fort Frye, 24-10 this past Friday. The frosh completed 12 of 23 passes for 224 yards including 3 TDS to just one interception. Coach Todd Bradford’s club got 127 yards rushing from Mitch Rowland on 21 carries, and David Thomas snared seven balls for 109 yards including a score. Ethan Morris caught three pigskins for 72 stripes with 2 TDS. Congratulations Cougars as I picked you to win. In the loss, Tyler Stevens rushed for 223 yards on 27 carries, but left the game with an injury.
Unbeaten teams left: Tri-Valley, Steubenville, Buckeye Trail, St. Clairsville, Beallsville, and River.
Best team in the district? Steubenville
Who is Not
John Glenn (4-2) earned just six first downs and got held under 100 yards of total offense in a 35-0 loss to unbeaten Sheridan. The Little Muskies gave up 400 yards rushing on 50 carries.
– The Cambridge Bobcats were throttled by the Dover Tornadoes after winning four consecutive games. Sophomore Tyler Hardesty was held to just 21 yards on 13 carries after four-straight 100-yard games.
– Something has to give for Indian Valley. The Braves haven’t scored since a 29-9 week 3 triumph of Sandy Valley. The Braves have been outscored 116-0 over the last three weeks.
– Meadowbrook, which will play Indian Valley this week, earned its initial first down with 4:30 showing on the fourth quarter clock in a 42-0 loss to New Philadelphia. The Colts only had two first downs for the game, and none came against Philly’s first unit. Coach Bendle’s outfit was out gained 351-42 in the total yardage department.
– Carrollton started the season 2-1, but has found life in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference not so pleasant. The Warriors have lost three straight all in conference games. This past week they were routed by a very good Louisville team, 55-6.
– East Liverpool needs a change. When will the Potters step out of the Metro Athletic Conference, and come back to a more Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Schedule? The Potters are 0-6, and have been outscored the past two weeks 101-7. Playing the likes of Poland, Canfield, Niles McKinley, and Warren Howland isn’t going to put many check marks in the win column each year. Basketball is going to be the same situation. The Potters were defeated by Canfield 45-0 this past week and now have to look forward to playing Niles (4-2) tonight.
– Beaver Local has made it through the most brutal road trip in the state. The Beavers were on the road four consecutive weeks against teams with a combine record of 21-3. Counting the game with West Branch at home in week 2, the Beavers have faced teams with a collective 26-4 record excluding Liverpool’s (0-6) mark. Coach Wright’s bunch has lost five in a row, but were a play or two away almost every week. I said it when I saw this schedule and still believe it to this day, the schedule is entirely too demanding for almost anyone. They play host to Youngstown East (5-1) this week before getting the buses back on the road next week to Youngstown Ursuline (5-1). Sometimes one can over schedule and that is the case in this situation. There is never an opportunity to regain confidence after a loss with this schedule. Beaver is the best 1-5 team in the state, but I’m not sure anyone wants that sticker.
-St. John Central has given 291 points to date, while Strasburg is right behind with 287 points allowed. Both teams are (0-6).
Teams still looking for initial win: East Liverpool, West Muskingum, Bellaire, St. John, and Strasburg.
Best team without a win? West Muskingum.
A look at week 7:
Tri-Valley (6-0) at Thornville Sheridan (6-0)
The Scotties are the best team in the Muskingum Valley Conference, and they have done nothing to change my mind. Coach Buttermore’s passing attack led by quarterback Cam West is something new to a predominantly run oriented MVL. This is why T-V will be successful for years to come. This game is a lot larger for Tri-Valley as it needs the points, while Sheridan is first in Division III, Region 12.
However, the Black and Gold defense will have to limit the hottest player in the conference in Sheridan senior tailback Adrian Balser. The 5-foot-9,165-pound speedster ran for 178 yards on just 16 carries including 3 TDs in the Generals’ 35-0 win over John Glenn. For the season, the Division II 100 meter dash state qualifier has churned out 755 yards on only 60 totes good for a 12.6 average. Balser has garnered 13 scores and all of his work has been done in basically four weeks. He missed week one, and week 2 the Sheridan tailback touched the ball just twice both resulting in scores.
If this turns into a shootout, then go ahead and phone in the Scotty victory. If Tri-Valley can keep Sheridan from playing ball control the Scotties will have the game in their favor. Look for this game to stay under 30, but Tri-Valley wins 24-21.
St.Clairsville (6-0) @ Steubenville Catholic Central (5-1)
Saturday night’s biggest game will be at Harding Stadium at the Crusaders will entertain the unbeaten Red Devils. St.Clairsville came away with a hard fought 21-7 win over the Crusaders a year ago.
These teams appear evenly matched at first glance, but I tried to find a spot where one team owned the edge. Steubenville CC owns victories over squads with a collective 6-24 mark, while the Red Devils have triumphs over clubs with an 13-23 record. The Red Devils have one signature victory being a 27-20 double-overtime triumph of Union Local (5-1).
Both teams have playmakers, and both teams sport good defenses. However, here is where I found the Red Devils’ edge over Coach Bahen’s squad. St.Clairsville is giving up just 7.7 points per game. Its secondary is outstanding, and a lot better than Steubenville CC’s. Both teams can stop the run, but when it comes to the limiting the pass give the edge to Coach McLean’s ball squad. I’m going with St.Clairsville, 21-12.
The Rest of the Slate for week 7:
Athens 0 @ Zanesville 56
The Blue Devils will be in an angry mood, and the Bulldogs aren’t very good.
Youngstown East 7 @ Beaver Local 21
The Panthers’ five wins have come over teams with a collective 6-24 mark. They have some top-notch athletes, but Beaver is battle tested.
Cambridge 22 @ Coshocton 21
A match up of Dover’s last two victims. Closest game of the night.
Canal Fulton Northwest 42 @ Carrollton 7
The Indians have way too much talent for the Warriors.
Claymont 0 @ Dover 35
I used the word exposed last week for the Dover/Cambridge match up, and I will do again this week. The Tornadoes expose the Mustangs in a big way.
Niles McKinley 49 @ East Liverpool 7
The Dragons send the Potters to 0-7.
Edison 14 @ Toronto 20
Should be a hard-fought game.
Martins Ferry 31 @ Indian Creek 14
The Riders have struggled in Wintersville, but get it done tonight.
John Glenn 28 @ Philo 7
The Little Muskies get the running game back on course, and roll over the Electrics.
Morgan 27 @ Maysville 7
Morgan will start out a little sluggish after two straight beat downs, but get it going to improve to 4-3.
New Philadelphia 38 @ River View 7
The Quakers appear to be focused after two early season L’s.
West Holmes 17 @ Mansfield 31
The Knights have won three-straight over the Tygers, but this will all change this evening.
Indian Valley 13 @ Meadowbrook 26
Someone has to win, but on a serious note the Colts are a better outfit.
Sandy Valley 28 @ Strasburg 0
The Cardinals send the Tigers to 0-7.
Mount St. Joseph (MD) 14 @ Steubenville 34
It will be another night and another Big Red victory. 37 and counting.
Tuscarawas Valley 21 @ Akron Manchester 14
In what was supposed to be a match up of the unbeaten in the PAC-7 didn’t turn out as such after the Panthers lost a shocker to Wooster Triway last week. The Trojans go on the road and secure the PAC-7 title.
Bellaire 7 @ Union Local 56
The Big Reds have outscored the Jets 134-34 over the past three seasons, but tonight that will all change. The Jets are loaded with speed, and this is a homecoming in more way than one for Zach Gust. The Jets are celebrating homecoming as school while Gust grew up in Neffs (a part of the Bellaire school district.).
Crooksville 19 @ West Muskingum 22
The Tornadoes get in the win column. Remember, I’m good at picking these games.
Tuscarawas CC 0 @ Garaway 34
The Pirates are getting better and better. Devin Schie and David Gerber, both juniors, are going to be household names real soon. TCC has not beat Garaway since the 1998 season.
Newcomerstown 35 @ Conotton Valley 14
Justin Stoffer will be the best player on the field.
Linsly (WV) 27 @ Barnesville 28
This will be the game of the night. Really?
Buckeye Trail 55 @ Fort Frye 0
The Cadets would be in trouble if they were healthy, but minus the starting quarterback and tailback things are even worse.
Shenandoah 29 @ Monroe Central 7
Monroe lacks offense. If Cody Johnson plays this will be ugly if not the Zeps win a close one.
Malvern 24 @ Ridgewood 41
The Generals have won 18 consecutive IVC contests, and posses a 23-game home winning streak. The Hornets are coming off their first loss of the season, but I just don’t see them beating Ridgewood. Derrick Young will be the difference.
Wellsville 21 @ Lowellville 20
The Tigers ended a four-game slide last week, and continue with another league victory.
Beallsville 49 @ Paden City 0
The Blue Devils can only keep winning, and hope for help.
Rosecrans 28 @ Shadyside 41
This will be a high scoring contest between a pair of 5-1 outfits.
River 35 @ Bridgeport 7
The Dogs will be exposed.
Frontier 16 @ Caldwell 20
Will it be two in a row for the Cougars? No, Caldwell wins a close one over an improving Frontier squad.
Bishop Donahue (WV) 55 @ St. John 6