football updates, previews and predictions. Items of
note…Steubenville puts its 48 game regular season win streak and 38 game overall win streak on the line at undefeated Canton Central Catholic; undefeated Dresden Tri-Valley travels to New Lexington (7-1); and unbeatens River and Buckeye Trail collide.
This past week brought about jackets, upsets, and strong performances. In addition, Harrison Central was back on the field after a lengthy teacher strike and found a way to win in dramatic fashion.
Tuscarawas Valley’s Pat Kane and Sam Gergley broke records, while Coshocton placed three running backs over the 100-yard mark.
Turning to Week 9, which is shaping up to be dandy headlined by Steubenville (8-0) traveling to Canton Central Catholic (8-0). Other huge contests are Buckeye Trail (8-0) traveling to Hannibal to take on the River Pilots (8-0), New Lexington (7-1) entertaining Tri-Valley (8-0), and Harrison Central (5-2) hosting Union Local (7-1).
Last Week’s Picks: (30-3)
Season Total: (236-42)- (84.9%)
WHO IS HOT
– John Glenn (6-2) ended New Lexington’s 22-game regular season winning streak and 17-game MVL streak in a 14-7 victory over the Panthers. The Little Muskies forced five New Lex turnovers (4 fumbles). However, the John Glenn defense was forced to hold the Panther offense late in the game to preserve the win. Staked on the Little Muskies 9-yard line, Clint Cannon’s ensuing pass was intercepted by Garrett Bennington in the end zone. Bennington had an all around big night as he led the team with 91 yards rushing and a score and returned a fumble 53 yards to set up a Justin Gidcumb TD in the 2nd quarter. Bennington also kicked both PATs. Furthermore, the New Concord-based school held 1000-yard tailback Will Hicks to just 53 yards on 15 attempts.
-Gaiters on the loose. Zanesville’s Bryan Gaiters broke Buster Howe’s (1987 Mr.Football- 1st ever) school record for rushing yards in a game (306) with 320 yards on 26 tries scoring 5 TDs. In do so, the Blue Devils (6-2) routed Marietta (49-7) and clinched the Blue and White’s first winning season since 1998. For the game, Zanesville ran for 415 yards. The Zanesville offense wasn’t the only ones producing as coach Chad Grandstaff’s defense intercepted five aerials from Marietta QB Cody Westbrook. Two of those were passes were thieved by Assad Sumani.
–Tri-Valley remained unbeaten with a 62-0 trouncing of Crooksville. Cam West was 11 of 14 passing for 217 stripes including 3 TDs and an interception. The odds on favorite for district player of the year also scored a rushing TD. West’s senior campaign has been magnificent, completing 100 of 151 aerials for 2,087 markers including 22 TD strikes to just three interceptions. The senior has also rushed for 571 yards on 61 attempts with 10 TDs. He has been nothing short of spectacular. Ryan Householder caught four balls for 92 yards in the win over the Ceramics. Wade Warner now has 825 yards receiving on the season, while Householder has 414 yards. Senior Allen Shirer carried the rock six times for 72 and a score for the Scotties. Tri-Valley will be at New Lexington this weekend in hopes to clinch the MVL and solidify its playoff spot.
-In my upset special of the week, the Morgan Raiders (5-3) came through for the “Guru.” The Raiders jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead, but had to hold on for a 20-14 triumph. Jordan Nichols had 27 carries for 100 yards, while Cody Bragg ran for 99 yards on 12 tries including 2 TD runs in the second quarter. The loss was Sheridan’s second straight. However, the Generals are extremely banged up.
-Carter Paul continues to be a nice kept secret in Duncan Falls. Paul rushed for 188 stripes on 21 tries including two trips to “the house” in a 25-13 Philo win over West Muskingum. Paul now has 1,116 yards on 145 carries with 13 TDs for the season. Electrics’ Quarterback Scott Williams completed 10 of 17 passes for 167 with a TD and an interception.
–Buckeye Trail remains unbeaten thanks to a balanced offensive attack. Coach Randy Thompson’s Warriors rushed for 229 and passed for 224 more yards. Trail possessed a 29-0 lead at halftime and never looked back en route to a 42-20 victory. Senior Steve Beros amassed 110 yards on just 10 carries. Brock Davis completed 12 of 15 passes for 224 yards, while running for 56 yards on just nine totes. The Warriors have showdown looming with River this Friday night.
–St. Clairsville rolled to a 41-14 victory over rival Martins Ferry. The Devils used a powerful running game and some timely passing to accumulate 426 yards of total offense. The Devils grounded out 275 yards led by Kurtis Cullen (71 yards), Dustin Hynes (64 yards), and Anthony Vincent (59 yards). Vincent completed 3 of 5 passes for 151 stripes and two scores. Hynes was the recipient for the first TD on 3rd down and 25 yards to gain. The senior playmaker was wide open across the middle against man coverage and hauled in the aerial proceeding to race down the left sideline for the six. For the game, Hynes snared two balls for 102 yards. The Devil defense would not be outdone as they yielded just one first unit TD. Junior Zane Butler continued his terror finishing the game with three sacks. He has been almost unblockable this year. The Red Devils are trying to complete their first undefeated season in 22 years (1985).
-Wehr just in time. The Barnesville senior displayed his heroics this past Friday in a 21-19 barn burner win over rival Monroe Central. Wehr returned a punt 70 yards for a score and when he crossed the goal line the clock showed just nine-tenths of a second. The Noles led the entire way until the Wehr return. The playmaker also hauled in a 35-yard TD toss from Dalton Smith. Senior Johnny Miller aided Wehr’s performance with 26 carries for 141 yards.
–Shadyside (7-1) showed Williamstown (WV) what small school Ohio football is all about in a 47-13 rout of the Yellow Jackets in a game that was never that close. The Tigers scored 34 first half point and amassed 318 yards to all but seal the deal. The Yellow Jackets, who had a 57-game regular winning streak snapped earlier in the year by Belpre, got familiar with Shadyside senior Nathaniel Haney. The elusive senior was up to his old tricks catching 2 TDs and running for another. Haney ended the night with four snags for 97 stripes. For the year, Haney has caught 16 rocks for 509 markers, which is an astounding 31.8 yards per snag. Senior quarterback Billy Merryman completed 13 of 18 aerials for 248 yards including 4 TD strikes.
–Beallsville (8-0) continues to roll. The Blue Devils remained unbeaten with a 42-7 win over Bridgeport. Quarterback Kevin Stoney completed 8 of 12 aerials for 186 markers including two touchdown passes and a like amount of interceptions. Craig Neiswanger hauled in four of those completions for 132 yards including a 69-yard score. The Blue Devil defense didn’t allow point and only gave up 47 yards of total offense. That is smothering to say the least.
-The feel good story of the week comes from Cadiz where Harrison Central defeated Indian Creek in overtime 36-35 after missing week 7 due to a lengthy teachers strike. The Huskies won in dramatic fashion by going for the win in bonus football. Trailing 35-34 head coach Justin Kropka elected to go for the 2-point conversion. Senior quarterback Robbie Davia rolled left, but the first option was quickly taken away so the crafty senior sprinted all the way back to the right and dove to the pylon just beating Creek defensive back Michael Smith. The crowd went into a frenzy following an outstanding high school football game. Junior Wes Skinner ran for 114 yards on 16 tries and returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score. Christian Kirsch finished with 141 yards on 23 attempts and two scores for the Redskins. Congratulations to the Harrison Central players, coaches, and fans for weathering this storm. Also, I loved the fact that Coach Kropka went for the win. He must of felt like Tom Osborne (Nebraska) against Miami (Fla) in the Orange Bowl in 1984. However, the ending wasn’t same with Ken Calhoun knocking down Turner Gill’s 2-point try to secure the 31-30 victory for the Canes. Okay, I’m rambling.
–River uses a stout defense and a shinning “Starr” to run its record to 8-0 after a 21-6 triumph of Shenandoah. Troy Starr toted the leather 40 times for 251 yards including three trips to pay dirt. Yes, my friends, that deserves “Guru” player of the week honors. That gives Starr 16 rushing TDs on the season. However, he couldn’t of done his job without superb play from the offensive line which includes; Jordan Clegg, Travis Riesbeck, D.J. Duke, Harold Earley and tight end Zac Hammond. The Pilot defense held senior Joey Wheeler to just 20 yards on 10 attempts. The Hannibal-based school is set to host unbeaten Buckeye Trail Friday night.
–Union Local used big plays to get by physical Buckeye Local. The Jets found themselves trailing 7-6 at the intermission, but exploded with big plays in the second 24 minutes to gain a 27-7 victory over the host Panthers. Jordan Barbina continued his outstanding junior campaign throwing for 211 yards on 14 of 24 passing including a score and a rushing TD. Barbina has rushed for 532 yards and nine scores and thrown for 1,409 yards with 14 TDs to eight intercpetions. Remember, he split time at QB the first three games. Not to mention the 100-yard receiving game he enjoyed at Shenandoah. Zach “lightning in a bottle” Gust hauled in five balls for 118 yards with a score. The TD reception came on a double pass from Barbina to Robbie Kyer to Gust covering 57 yards. Senior Zach Azallion returned after suffering a concussion following a week 6 game at Edison to catch a TD and return an interception for a six-pointer. Junior Kyle Blackman snagged three pigskins for 74 stripes. However, the Panthers did come to play and outgained the winners 323 to 289 and had more first downs leading in that column 19-11. Buckeye Local, who missed last week’s game due to Harrison’s teacher strike, sacked Barbina four times throughout the contest.
–Steubenville thottled Wheeling Park, again. Big Red took advantage of a fumble on the opening kickoff and never looked back in their 40-0 trouncing of Park. The Red out gained the Patriots 429 to 175 in the total yard category. Coach Reno Saccoccia’s squad ran for 292 yards led by sophomore quarterback Dwight Macon’s 74 yards on nine totes. The improving underclassman also completed 9 of 19 aerials for 137 stripes. Roll Red Roll! Big Red is set to lock horns with undefeated Canton CC this Friday on the road.
–Steubenville CC jumped out to a 42-0 lead in the second quarter and coasted to a 49-22 win over visiting Dayton Jefferson. The Crusaders ran for 392 yards led by senior Justin Kaufman’s 125 yards on just 11 attempts. Kaufman has 972 yards on the ground for the season. CC is in a dog fight with Sugar Grove Berne Union for the final spot in Division VI, Region 23.
-The Dover Tornadoes continue to sweep away anything in its path. Coach Dan Iftt’s boys crushed Meadowbrook 42-7 this past Friday. Junior Corey Lisowski completed 17 of 26 passes for 245 yards and 4 TDs to nary an interception. Senior do-it-all Matt Rinehart hauled in 11 passes for 115 and two scores along with returning a fumble 43 yards for six. In his spare time, he booted a school-record 44-yard field goal. Kyle Sattler caught three rocks for 80 yards and a pair of six-pointers. The win is Dover’s fifth in a row after a 0-3 start. The Tornadoes have run rough shod through the ECOL outscoring their opponents 210 to 26 including three shutouts. The most lopsided being a 56-0 throttling of Cambridge (6-2).
-Speaking of the aforementioned Cambridge Bobcats, they pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the week. Coach Rick Goodrich’s bunch jumped out to 22-0 halftime lead over New Philadelphia and held on for a 22-6 win. Sophomore Tyler Hardesty ran for 150 yards on 40 totes including a score, and reached the 1000-yard plateau in doing so now with 1,038 yards on the season. Trevor Markley intercepted a Jordan Miller pass and returned it for a 36-yard TD just 55 seconds into the game. The Bobcat defense sacked Miller five times and held NP to negative six yards on the ground.
–Claymont’s Jared Kendziorski ran for 174 yards on 38 tries including 3 TDs in a 27-12 win over River View. The Mustang defense held RV to just 25 yards rushing. Here is hoping for a speed recovery for Claymont head coach Ed Henry who was unable to coach in this game due to double bypass surgery on Tuesday, October 9th. His son, Eric, is the interim coach for the remainder of the season. Get better coach you are doing and outstanding job.
-Carrollton finally get win in NBC conference play. The Warriors used a huge performance from quarterback Ben Mallette to secure the 35-21 victory. Mallette ran for 4 TDs on 167 yards, while passing for 127 yards including a score. Dylan Peoples caught three passes for 102 yards and score, while Ricky Palmer ran for 108 yards on 19 totes. The win ended a four-game losing streak.
–Ridgewood achieved a rare feat in its 55-26 pummeling of Sandy Valley. The Generals returned three interceptions for scores. Derrick Young took two of those to the house from 20 and 79 yards out respectively. Young was also good for 109 yards on the ground. Colt Landis also returned one for a score and Dustin Sharier took a kickoff back for six. The win was Ridgewood’s 20th straight in conference play.
-The Coshocton Redskins (6-2) handed Indian Valley Braves a 69-0 beat down this past Friday. The Redskins sent three backs over the 100-yard barrier. Sophomores Marcus Johnston (6 for 141) and Dom McCluskey (8 for 126), and along with junior Ian Chrisman (11 for 120) all reveled in the fun. Johnston (796 yards), Chrisman (697 yards), and McCluskey (433 yards) have combined for 1,926 yards on the season. Couple that with junior Alex Hunt’s 270 yards on the ground and that equals out to 2,196 yards of ground work. If you noticed, they will all be back next year. The Redskins led 42-0 at half and gained just under 600 yards of offense. The defense allowed just 63 yards of total offense for the Braves.
–Garaway rolled to a 31-0 victory over Conotton Valley. After starting the season 1-3, the Pirates have rattled off four straight. Junior Devin Schie ran for 168 yards on 19 attempts with 3 TDs and classmate Clay Wilson churned out 140 lightings on just nine totes and a score. Both juniors have 807 yards a piece on the season. Tyler Carrothers snagged seven balls for 132 yards in defeat.
–Tuscarawas Valley was breaking records this past Friday, but it came in a 49-21 loss to Warren JFK. Pat Kane broke the school record for yards passing in a game formerly held by Toby Oswald (1982- 282 yard) by completing 28 of 53 passes for 349 yards and 3 TDs. Sam Gergley caught 10 balls for 202 yards and score, which also broke the school record for most yards receiving in a game formerly held by Kevin Lake (1983- 171 yards). However, stud running back Steven Spillman was held to just six yards on five carries. The Trojan defense gave up 134 yards rushing to the outstanding Jared Province including 6 TDs. TV is still in good shape as far as the playoffs go falling in the seven spot with games against Fairless and Wooster Triway remaining.
–Tuscarawas CC was off and running in a 48-0 win over Strasburg. The Saints ran for 495 stripes led by Quinn Cummings with 199 yards and two scores.
Unbeaten in the district: Buckeye Trail, Tri-Valley, Steubenville, St. Clairsville, Beallsville, and River.
Best team in the district: Steubenville
WHO IS NOT
–Maysville continues to struggle mightily on defense. After a week one victory, the Panther defense has surrendered 316 points (45 ppg.). The defensive woes have led to seven straight L’s.
–New Philadelphia was projected by many, including me, to be one of the top teams in district. Although 5-3 isn’t horrible, the record has to be a disappointment for a team with such high hopes. The Quakers fell behind 22-0 in the first half to Cambridge this past Friday, and could never get any momentum going in 22-6 setback. Coach Matt Dennison’s boys were in the negative yardage on the ground (-6). Not exactly a good statistic for a team with 17 starters back from an 8-2 squad a year ago.
-The Bellaire Big Reds have had numerous things go wrong in 2007, and last Saturday just put another rock on the pile. The Big Reds led 7-0 in the fourth quarter and appeared to be on their way to victory or at least overtime at the very worst, but the Edison Wildcats had other ideas. The scrappy Wildcats mustered two TDs late in the fourth quarter to earn a 14-7 victory and keep Bellaire winless. Bellaire will face Indian Creek followed by Martins Ferry to close out the season, so 0-10 could be on the horizon.
– Indian Valley was 2-1 heading into ECOL play, and then things went south in a hurry. The Braves are 0-5 in conference play. Not only have the Braves failed to get in the win column they have been flat out hammered along the way. The Gnaddenhutten-based school has been outscored 212-7 in those five games, and shutout in four of those contests. The Braves suffered a 69-0 defeat this past week to Coshocton. However, it doesn’t get any easier with the best team in the ECOL (Dover) standing on the opposite sideline this week and Claymont will be the foe next week.
– What happened to Martins Ferry? The Riders were projected by many, including “Guru,” to win the Buckeye 8 and likely go undefeated. That isn’t going to happen. The Purple has seen a plethora of injuries, and lack of passing game play a huge role in a disappointing 5-3 mark. Star tailback junior Jeremy Murray has missed almost the entire season with nagging injuries. The loss of Murray has likely hurt the Riders more in the passing game than the running game. Another huge blow came in week 5 against Union Local when two-way lineman Ben Hores went down with a season-ending injury. With the absence of Hores in the middle on defense, the Purple has been giving up chunks of yards on the ground. Junior Cheyne Forter is also out for the year with a broken foot, while senior Steve McIntosh and junior Brandon Leonard are also on the shelf. Needless to say, things haven’t went Ferry’s way. However, the Riders have played a lot of young kids, and return a house full of players for next year.
– Bridgeport started the year 5-0, but has since lost three straight. The Dogs haven’t scored an offensive TD in the past three games, and have been outscored 83-7 in those match ups. Coach Rudy Vavrock’s outfit managed just 47 yards of total offense last week in a loss to Beallsville. However, the three teams that have beat Bridgeport are a collective 22-1. It doesn’t get any easier for the Dogs this week against heavily-favored Shadyside.
– Frontier won its initial game in week 6, but has since given up 127 points in the past two weeks in L’s to Caldwell and St. Mary’s (WV). The Cougars are giving up 40.4 points per outing, and it doesn’t get any easier with Monroe Central and unbeaten River remaining on the schedule.
Teams still winless: Bellaire, East Liverpool, and St. John
Best team without a win: East Liverpool
A LOOK AT WEEK 9:
Steubenville 34 @ Canton Central Catholic 14
Big Red is 5-0 lifetime against the Crusaders, and things aren’t going to change in 2007. The Reds roll the streak to 39 consecutive overall. Quarterback Joey Rhoads will pose some problems, but the Red defense is too good to give up very many big plays. I bet Coach Reno Saccoccia’s crew will score on special teams or make a play to set up a TD.
Buckeye Trail 22 @ River 21
I don’t want to pick a winner in this contest. The self proclaimed “Guru” has picked 278 games to date and none have been as tough as this encounter. Trail has a great offense and River has a spectacular defense. The Pilot defense has yielded just 38 points the entire season. However, Trail’s offense is putting up 34.6 points per outing. River got a taste of what lies ahead last week against Shenandoah with a dual-threat QB. The big difference is Coach Randy Thompson’s bunch have a lot more weapons than Shenandoah. I will give the edge to the Warriors on account of having the most offensive firepower the Pilots have seen all season.
Tri-Valley 35 @ New Lexington 7
The Scotties are on a mission. Tri-Valley hasn’t been in a close game all season, and don’t look for that to change this week. The Panthers are 7-1, but only one of those wins has come over a team with an above .500 record (Morgan). Everyone talks about Tri-Valley’s offense and rightfully so, but let us talk about the defense, which has given up just 40 points this year (5 ppg.). Cam West, my vote for district player of the year, will light up the big board and the defense will make the night miserable for Will Hicks and the running game.
Union Local 40 @ Harrison Central 21
The Huskies are hoping the rain keeps falling. Why? In hopes to slow down the quick striking Union Local offense. Harrison Central is coming off a very emotional win last week, while the Jets have had two so-so performances against Bellaire and Buckeye Local. The good news for UL is the Jets won those games by a combine score of 73-21. If it doesn’t rain, I’m pretty sure people will be shocked at the outcome of this contest. The Husky defense is giving up 22 points per game and I know that is skewed a bit with some teams scoring on the second and third units, but giving up 35 to Indian Creek was eye opening to me. Union Local is averaging 33.5 points per game playing against a defense that gives up a good amount of yards then watch out. Both teams do things well on offense, but UL’s defense is better. Not that this matters, but the Jets are 7-1 all-time against the Huskies.
REST OF THE SLATE FOR WEEK 9:
Zanesville 55 @ Ironton 12
The Tigers have given up 136 points in their three losses. What does that have to do with Zanesville? Ironton just took one on the chin to Portsmouth 41-18, while Zanesville handled the Trojans 56-14. Gaiters will run wild.
Youngstown Chaney 7 @ Beaver Local 42
Frustration will be taken out in a huge way for the 1-7 Beavers.
Buckeye Local 28 @ Edison 7
The Panthers are much better than their record indicates.
Claymont 24 @ Cambridge 21
This will be a fantastic ECOL match up.
Carrollton 6 @ West Branch 28
Carrollton will get a steady dose of QB Steve McNeely from West Branch.
Dover 63 @ Indian Valley 0
This will be ugly early and often.
Warren Howland 42 @ East Liverpool 0
It will be another long night for the Potters facing an outstanding Howland squad (8-0).
Bellaire 14 @ Indian Creek 35
Creek is playing with a lot of passion for a team with three wins, and that is a testament to Coach Andrew Connor and his staff.
John Glenn 27 @ Martins Ferry 14
The Little Muskies are much better up front, and posses two capable backs in Garrett Bennington and Justin Gidcumb.
Morgan 34 @ Philo 19
The Raiders are a better football team, but Carter Paul will still put up big rushing yards.
Coshocton 20 @ New Philadelphia 28
The Quakers bounce back with a much-needed win after a rare home loss last week. NP has performed well after its two previous L’s.
Meadowbrook 20 @ River View 14
I would be surprised if the Black Bears won this game.
Lexington 39 @ West Holmes 8
The Minutemen roll by the Knights to set up next week’s battle with Ashland in a game that will determine the Ohio Cardinal Conference champion.
Sandy Valley 0 @ Garaway 49
The Pirates win their 5th in a row, and continue momentum for what should be an outstanding 2008 campaign.
Tuscarawas Valley 41 @ Navarre Fairless 7
The Trojans do whatever they want in this contest.
Maysville 21 @ Crooksville 14
Both teams are winless in MVL play.
St. Clairsville 49 @ Oak Glen 0
The Red Devils play “name that score.”
West Muskingum 7 @ Sheridan 34
The Generals are banged up, but get by in this encounter.
Tuscarawas CC 21 @ Newcomerstown 7
The Saints aren’t too bad on offense, while the Trojans are without their best player (Justin Stoffer).
Magnolia (WV) 24 @ Barnesville 20
This has the making of a close game as the Shamrocks are improving each week.
Fort Frye 0 @ Shenandoah 36
The Zeps take out frustrations on the Cadets.
Frontier 7 @ Monroe Central 35
The Noles are much better than their record.
Conotton Valley 0 @ Ridgewood 42
The streak goes on for the Generals in the IVC.
Southern 6 @ Wellsville 27
The Tigers are a better football team.
St. John 0 @ Beallsville 56
Caldwell 10 @ Rosecrans 17
The Bishops probably win this one by more.
Bridgeport 7 @ Shadyside 56
The Tigers usually put up huge numbers against the Bulldogs.
Steubenville CC 28 @ St. Thomas Aquinas 13
Aquinas will get to know bruising tailback Justin Kaufman.
Malvern 55 @ Strasburg 6
The Tigers are giving up 43.5 points per game.
Toronto 8 @ Tuslaw 33
The Red Knights won’t be able to recover after last week’s beat down at the hands of Wheeling Central (WV).