So what happened in Northwest Ohio this past week? For starters, Huron lost an SBC volleyball match for the first time since 2001. How about Elida – winless last year – beating Findlay Liberty-Benton – last year’s D-V state runner-up – on the opening Friday of high school football? Want more? There’s plenty, including our Athlete of the Week and what’s On Tap.
Few events compare with the opening week of high school football for pure excitement. For the only time all year every team is undefeated and able to at least argue that they are the best in the state. It is a short-lived situation and by the end of the evening last Friday, nearly half the field had bitten the dust.
One of the most anticipated opening night games was the non-league match-up between the defending DII state champion, Sylvania Southview, and perennial Toledo City League power, St. Francis. This type of match-up, that is, one between a Northern Lakes League power and a Toledo City League power has been long needed and the respective athletic directors, Glen Gillespie of Southview and Dick Cromwell of St. Francis, are to be applauded for having the foresight and nerve for putting it together. Many programs are content to schedule less challenging opening games but match-ups of this nature are good for the fans and can help high schools grab a bigger portion of the entertainment dollar. Unfortunately, threatening weather was present all day Friday in northwest Ohio and probably limited the attendance but the game itself was anything but a disappointment.
Southview entered the game enjoying the state’s longest winning streak and only the most die-hard St. Francis fans gave the Knights much of a chance against the Cougars.Coach Cromwell’s young men, however, came ready to play and took advantage of an inexperienced Southview offensive line and some poor execution of fundamentals by the Cougars to capture a 28-7 victory that sent shock waves throughout northwest Ohio.
It is a long season and it remains to be seen how strong either team is but, regardless of what the rest of the season might hold for the Knights, the victory itself was one that was badly needed by the program and put a massive smile on the face of their veteran coach. Following the game, Coach Cromwell took the time to shake the hand of each and every one of his players in an effort to thank them for a job well done.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Milan Edison, Volleyball: The team of the week was originally going to be the Elida Bulldogs football team. The Bulldogs came from behind last Friday night to defeat the Liberty-Benton Eagles, 49-35 which was the first time since August 25, 2006 that anyone had defeated Liberty-Benton outside the Blanchard Valley Conference during the regular season. However, Tuesday night the Edison volleyball team decided to one up the Elida team by being the first Sandusky Bay Conference team to defeat Huron in league play since 2001. During that time, Huron had won 99 straight league matches in dominating the SBC in volleyball but last night’s Edison victory opens the door for a new Sandusky Bay Conference volleyball champion.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tom Hochstettler, Pandora-Gilboa, Football: As always, there were many fine candidates for this honor in northwest Ohio but there is one player that clearly stands out this week. Pandora-Gilboa’s Hochstettler made a dramatic comeback this past weekend by scoring four touchdowns in his team’s 31-6 victory over Columbus Grove. Included in these four scores were two touchdown passes, a punt return and an interception as Hochstettler demonstrated his versatility on both sides of the ball. What makes Hochstettler’s performance all the more remarkable is the fact that he is returning from missing nearly the entire 2008 season. Hochstettler broke his arm just prior to the start of last season and was not able to return to the line-up until his team’s playoff game against Riverdale.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Perrysburg’s New Turf: You can now add two new schools to the growing list of artificial turf playing surfaces in northwest Ohio. Both Perrysburg and Springfield debuted their new surfaces this past weekend with mixed results. Perrysburg downed Toledo Bowsher, 28-6, while Springfield lost to Oak Harbor, 14-0. Observers, however, were highly complimentary of both the appearance and playability of the fields.
A Fliers’ Golf Title?: It has been twenty years since the Clyde boys’ golf team could call themselves champions of the Sandusky Bay Confer, however, barring a complete collapse it appears that this drought will soon end. Entering this week, Clyde was undefeated (10-0) in league action and well on their way to their first SBC title since 1989.
Nature’s Fury: Unlike other areas of the state, mother nature had only a minimal effect on the playing of football games this past weekend in northwest Ohio. Only four area teams had their games postponed due to the weather although nearly every game was played under less than ideal conditions.
Red Devil Ground Attack: The grass at Riverdale’s D. Ray Baum Stadium was left thick by design but it did not slow down the Arlington Red Devils. The Red Devils easily defeated their hosts, 35-14, and did so in remarkable style as they featured not one, but two, 100-yard rushers in amassing 381 total rushing yards for the game. Contributing to this impressive output was Cam Brown with 183 yards and Cory Glick with 100 yards.
Career Night: Ada’s Mitchell Faine had an evening that he will one day be able to share with his grandchildren. One that even his own grandchildren will find unbelievable. All Faine did was pass for 388 yards, rush for 90 more and contribute to six touchdowns. On the evening, Faine threw for four touchdowns and ran to two more as his team defeated Hardin Northern, 49-7.
Another Great Effort: McComb’s Andrew Dee also enjoyed a great evening of passing as he completed 16 of 23 passes on his way to leading his team to a 20-6 season opening victory over Tiffin Calvert. Two of Dee’s passes resulted in touchdowns. For the night, Dee’s 16 completions resulted in 272 yards. Dee’s primary target was Jesse Cramer who caught 5 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown.
Rare Feat: Anyone who has watched the Toledo St. Francis football team knows that passes are a rare event and that, therefore, touchdown passes are even rarer so the fact that Knight senior Scott Loy caught not one but two touchdown passes in his team’s 27-8 victory over Sylvania Southview a memorable event. Loy was the recipient of touchdown passes from two different Knight signal callers and his two touchdown grabs sealed his team’s victory. Loy added to his team’s victory by intercepting a pass on defense.
Sylvania Southview (0-1) v. Toledo Rogers (1-0), Friday at 7:00 p.m.: The Southview Cougars find themselves wondering how good they are after losing to Toledo St. Francis last week. The Cougars face a talented and dangerous Rogers Rams team that defeated another NLL squad, the Anthony Wayne Generals, 32-28, this past weekend. Look for a high scoring affair with some great individual efforts. Rogers’ senior quarterback E.J. Tucker is a one man offensive machine as he accounted for 304 total yards last week.
Toledo St. Francis (1-0) v. Findlay (0-1), Friday at 7:30 p.m.: This game will go a long way toward determining whether or not the Knights are indeed ready to join the ranks of northwest Ohio’s finest football teams. Coming off their upset win over Sylvania Southview, the Knights face a stern test in the form of the Findlay Trojans. Even though the Trojans lost their season opener to Toledo St. John’s, 28-7, they remain a quality program and should provide a good test for the Knights. The two teams provide a contrast in playing styles in that the Trojans prefer a wide-open contest while the Knights prefer a more traditional approach.
Genoa (1-0) v. Oak Harbor (1-0), Friday at 7:30 p.m.: Oak Harbor coming off a road victory against Holland Springfield, 14-0, but questions remain as to how big a win it actually was. Meanwhile, they face a Genoa team that some are touting as a true powerhouse. Genoa almost effortlessly put up 60 points last week against Rossford. Oak Harbor will likely have their hands full this week.
Fremont Ross (1-0) v. Whitmer (1-0), Friday at 7:00 p.m.: Fremont Ross continues its trek through the Toledo City League by taking on one of the favorites for the league title. Ross defeated Toledo Start last week, 24-7, but look for them to have a tougher test this week. Whitmer returns a strong team that will likely return Coach Palka to the state playoffs. Playing at home is a definite advantage for the Panthers.
Elida (1-0) v. St. Mary’s Memorial (0-1), Friday at 7:30 p.m.: Are the Elida Bulldogs for real? Following their upset victory over Liberty-Benton, 49-35, great things might be expected from the Bulldogs. St. Mary’s is coming off a loss (Sidney, 14-0) but are traditionally one of the best teams in the Western Buckeye League and playing at home gives them an edge.