The fall sports season is heating up in northwest Ohio as the league
championships in golf and tennis draw near but no sport is offering no
greater than excitement right now than Division I boys’ soccer. No less
than six teams have attempted to lay
claim to being the area’s best. Speaking of the area’s best, here’s a recap of this past week’s headliners.
The fall sports season is heating up in northwest Ohio as the league championships in golf and tennis draw near but no sport is offering no greater than excitement right now than Division I boys’ soccer. No less than six teams, Toledo St. Francis, Toledo St. John’s, Sylvania Northview, Findlay, Anthony Wayne and Perrysburg, have attempted to lay claim to being the area’s best. Arguments ensue as to who genuinely is as on any given day it seems that the balance of power seems to change.
As an example, last year’s top northwest Ohio DI team, Anthony Wayne, lost tough contests to DIII state champion, Ottawa Hills, 4-3, and to Perrysburg, 2-0, but came back and easily handled St. John’s, 4-1. A St. John’s team that defeated Northview 4-2.
The hottest team in this group right now might be Toledo St. Francis. Since an opening loss to Northview, 2-0, the Knights have run off five consecutive wins. Included among those five wins is a victory over Perrysburg, 2-1, and an 8-0 trouncing of perennial power Ashland and a 2-0 road win over Westerville South. Due to the fact that their toughest remaining games (Findlay, St. John’s and Lakewood St. Ed’s) do not occur until after the tournament seeding, St. Francis may have the inside path to a number one seed.
There is also excitement on the DIII soccer front as the defending state champions, the Ottawa Hills Green Bears, are beginning to look like they are poised to make a serious run at defending their championship. Despite losing heavily to graduation, the Green Bears have picked up right where they left off last season. So far this season the Green Bears are undefeated (7-0) and have surrendered only one goal since surrendering three in their opening night victory over DI Anthony Wayne, 4-3. Tough matchups with Northview and Perrysburg remain on their schedule but the Green Bears have definitely demonstrated that last year’s success was no fluke.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jake Graham of Columbus Grove and Matt Waaland of Findlay, Cross Country: This week’s player of the week honors is shared by two freshmen, Jake Graham of Columbus Grove and Matt Waaland of Findlay. Both young men were impressive in last Saturday’s Tiffin Carnival as Graham captured the individual crown in the DIII-B race as he crossed the finish line in 17:10.78 while Waaland finished as the runner-up in the DI-B race posting a time of 16:34.73. Considering their young ages and the size of the event, both performances are remarkable and point toward great high school running careers.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Toledo Central Catholic, Girls Tennis: Choosing a team of the week is often a difficult task but one team’s achievement this week begged for recognition. The Toledo Central Catholic Lady Irish tennis team downed league rival Notre Dame, 4-1, to position themselves as the favorite for the league title as they head into next month’s City League tournament. For the past thirty years two teams, St. Ursula and Notre Dame have owned girls’ tennis and now the Central ladies are poised to change all that. Achieving something that has not been done in over thirty years, always deserves recognition.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Strange but True: Straight out of the Woody Hayes playbook comes this strange occurrence from last Friday’s Sylvania Southview/ Toledo Start football game. Late in the second half, the Start Spartans appeared to be on their way to returning a punt for touchdown when, suddenly, a player from the Southview sidelines came onto the field and tackled the Spartan runner. Within a few moments, flags appeared on the field and the Cougars were penalized for having an illegal player on the field. As it turns out, the Southview punter, subsequent to punting the ball, misinterpreted his coaches’ admonitions to cover the sideline portion of the field and thought that they were signaling him to leave the field. As the Spartan runner came near where he was standing the Southview punter realized that the coaches were not telling him to leave the field and he re-entered the field of play just as the Spartan runner neared. Ironically, re-entering allowed the punter to make the tackle and prevent the Spartan touchdown.
Perfect Season: The Clyde Fliers football team is struggling so far this season but the school’s boys’ golf team is not as they have posted a 13-0 record. Coach Dick Farrar’s squad has used team balance and depth to dominate their opponents in their dual matches and is eagerly awaiting the state tournament to make an even bigger statement.
How Good Are They? Well, someone finally found a way to score against the Genoa Comets football team. The score came in a 62-7 loss but, nevertheless, the Port Clinton Redskins did do something that no one else has done against the Comets. In three games, the Comets have managed to score a total of 173 points while surrendering only seven. With upcoming games against 0-3 Woodmore and 1-2 Northwood, more of the same can be expected but is any team good enough to average nearly sixty points a game?
Final Game Showdown: The season is still young but the Blanchard Valley Conference title is rapidly beginning to look like a showdown between Leipsic and Liberty-Benton. Both teams stand at 2-1 and have been impressive since opening season losses. The two teams do not meet until the final weekend of the season but many prognosticators are predicting that Leipsic might just have what it takes to dethrone Liberty-Benton as conference champions.
Toledo St. John’s (2-1) vs Toledo St. Francis (3-0), football, Friday at 7:00 p.m.: This is always an intriguing match-up but takes on the additional attraction of St. Francis actually being undefeated and state ranked. It has been a number of years since the Knights entered this game as the favorites and it will be interesting to see how well they handle the increased pressure.
Anthony Wayne (2-1) vs Sylvania Southview (1-2), football, Friday at 7:00 p.m.: The Cougars have struggled but are still the defending champions and remain the team to beat in the Northern Lakes League. In a game that pits conflicting playing styles against each other it will be interesting to see which style wins out: the Anthony Wayne’s grind it out ground game or Southview’s spread attack. Both teams need a win to preserve league title hopes.
Rogers (3-0) vs Whitmer (3-0), football, Friday at 7:00 p.m.: Two undefeated public school teams in the Toledo City League, it cannot be? Therein lies part of the appeal of this matchup. Add in the fact that Rogers’ soft schedule makes this game a must win for them to hope to make the playoffs and you have a great game. Rogers has some great athletes but Whitmer may hold an advantage in depth.
Liberty Center (2-1) vs Patrick Henry (3-0), football, Friday at 7:30 p.m.: One of the greatest football rivalries in the state featuring schools from two communities that are totally dedicated to their respective teams. Any true high school football fan must experience attending one of these games.
St. John’s (4-3) vs Perrysburg (3-3), boys soccer, Thursday at 6:30 p.m.: Two teams dominated by strong junior classes meet to lay claim to being northwest Ohio’s best DI team. Both teams have posted impressive wins but have also been upset victims.
Anthony Wayne (4-2) vs St. Francis (5-1), boys soccer, Thursday at 7:00 p.m.: Can the Knights remain hot? Are the Generals finally coming together and adjusting to graduation losses and a new coach? This game should clear the soccer picture somewhat in the Toledo area.