Let the fun begin. After ten weeks of preliminaries, the real season
begins as the state playoffs get under way this coming weekend.
Discussions regarding who will ultimately prevail in each division have
already begun in earnest and before it is all over there will surely be
many surprises and memorable moments.
Let the fun begin. After ten weeks of preliminaries, the real season begins as the state playoffs get under way this coming weekend. Discussions regarding who will ultimately prevail in each division have already begun in earnest and before it is all over there will surely be many surprises and memorable moments. Before it begins, however, let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing match-up possibilities.
Northwest Ohio’s only DI representative, Toledo Whitmer, faces one of the state’s most notorious programs in the form of Canton McKinley. McKinley stumbled into the playoffs with a 6-4 record and had to not only upset archrival Massilon, 35-21, in the season’s final game but receive some help from results of other games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Nevertheless, McKinley is a strong program that is playoff tested and the Whitmer Panthers must be careful to look past the Bulldogs’ 6-4 record.
Division II provides the Toledo area with a variety of choices. This Friday there will be four, count them four games, being hosted in and around Toledo in Division II. For the true high school football junkie this is almost too much to handle and it represents an absolute first for northwest Ohio.
The toughest draw is likely Maumee’s having to face Avon Lake. The Shoreman feature a punishing ground attack and an outstanding performer in end Dan Schneider who is headed to Pitt next year. The Panthers, meanwhile, are a bit undersized for a Division II team but have a full stable of skilled players that can be explosive on offense.
The other northwest Ohio teams should be able to move on in Division II with little difficulty which will set up an intriguing second round contest between Toledo Central Catholic and Toledo Rogers. If this game should occur it will be the first time that the two Toledo City League teams have met since last season when a fight during the game forced officials to end the contest early.
Division III representatives, Bryan and Napoleon, both face stiff challenges. Bryan because they must travel three hours to face an always tough Columbus DeSales squad and Napoleon because they face defending Division champion Eastmoor Academy. Perkins, meanwhile, will finally be able to show that their 9-1 record was not a fluke.
To hear many Genoa fans talk, the Comets are already state champions in Division IV. The Comets have breezed through the regular season and have been waiting for this moment since early August. Riding a 28-game regular season winning streak Genoa has their eyes focused on a future date with Kettering Alter but they must be careful not to overlook an undefeated Galion team.
Another northwest Ohio team that has been on a state championship course from the beginning of the season is Patrick Henry. The Patriots posted a perfect season in which they were barely tested and this pattern should continue until late in the playoffs, however, there is a team from Youngstown Ursuline who is waiting to end the Patriots wild run.
Finally, there is Delphos St. John’s in Division VI. The Blue Jays have been impressive from day one and are the overwhelming choice to grab the brass ring on the season’s final day. Obviously the games have to be played but the fact that the Blue Jays are the defending champions, won the always tough Midwest Athletic Conference championship, and already defeated five playoff teams contributes to the assessment that St. John’s is the clearest choice in the six divisions.
Volleyball and soccer have reached the regional stage of the state playoffs. Up until last week the upsets had been few in number but this past week saw many of the top seeds go down to defeat.
In volleyball, the Toledo St. Ursula Arrows have progressed toward their anticipated date in the state semi-finals in Division I but Ottawa-Glandorf, in Division II and both New Riegel and Norwalk St. Paul have fallen in Division IV. Marion Local, however, marches on with its perfect record.
In soccer, Ottawa Hills in boys’ Division III, seeking to defend their 20008 state championship, was upended by Bluffton in a shootout while in Division I none of the tops seeds emerged as Toledo St. John’s, a number four seed, outlasted everyone to advance to a regional final date with Strongsville on Saturday and, on the girls’ side, St. Ursula and Findlay remain alive.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ryan Peterson, Toledo St. John’s, Boys Soccer: St. John’s has a date this Saturday to play Strongsville for a regional DI championship in boys’ soccer. Without the services of junior Ryan Peterson this honor may have never been achieved. In a remarkable week in which the Titans upset top seeded, Toledo St. Francis, 1-0, in overtime and defending regional champion, Anthony Wayne, 3-2, Peterson scored 3 of his team’s four goals. In a post game interview following his team’s 3-2 victory over Anthony Wayne, Peterson described the past few days as “the best week of my life.”
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Sylvania Northview cross country teams: In a rare accomplishment the Sylvania Northview boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams both captured regional championships this past weekend. The Northview boys did it by outpointing Cleveland St. Ignatius, 70-80, while the Northview ladies won their championship by defeating Dublin Scioto, 61-71. The two teams will be seeking to repeat this feat this Saturday as they compete in the State finals in Columbus at Scioto Downs.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Broken Patterns: The Galion Tigers have enjoyed a spectacular season. Not only have they gone undefeated, 10-0, they have also chalked up the number one seed in the state playoffs. Along the way the Tigers have captured their first Northern Ohio League football championship since 1997 and become the fourth team in Galion history to record an unblemished regular season.
Northwest Conference Anoints Their Best: The Northwest Conference became one of the first to announce their all-conference teams and, in the process, announced that Ada’s Heath Jackson, a 6’1”, 180 pound senior, was voted as the Back of the Year while Lima Central Catholic’s Jacob Rigali was voted as the Lineman of the Year.
Jackson, who replaced injured quarterback Mitchell Faine in midseason, led the Ada Bulldogs to their second straight NWC title and an perfect 10-0 season. Rigali led his team in tackles with 90.
Statewide Respect: The northwest portion of the state captured two of the available six spots in the final media football poll. Patrick Henry in Division V and Delphos St. John’s in Division VI were voted as the top team in their respective divisions.
A Legend Calls It Quits: The Norwalk High School volleyball program has had only one coach and now, after a 32 year career that includes 552 wins, Grace Hutchinson has retired. Hutchinson began the program in 1978 and along the way has coached more than 20 athletes who earned All-Ohio honors.
State Cross Country Meet, Saturday, November 7th, Scioto Downs
11:05 A.M. Division III Girls
11:50 A.M. Division II Girls
12:35 P.M. Division I Girls
1:20 P.M. Division III Boys
2:05 P.M. Division II Boys
2:50 P.M. Division I Boys
Toledo St. John’s v. Strongsville, boys soccer, Saturday at 3 pm: Teams playing for the right to advance to the state semi-finals. Game will be played at Bay High School.
Ottawa-Glandorf v. Doylestown Chippewa, boys soccer, Saturday at 3 pm: Teams playing for the right to advance to the state semi-finals. Game will be played at Ashland High School.
First Round Football Games:
Canton McKinley (6-4) v. Toledo Whitmer, Saturday at 7 pm.
North Ridgeville (8-2) v. Toledo St. Francis, Friday at 7:30 pm.
Avon Lake (7-3) v. Maumee (9-1), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Rocky River (7-3) v. Toledo Central Catholic (8-2), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Maple Heights (8-2) v. Toledo Rogers (9-1), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Bryan (8-2) v. Columbus DeSales (7-3), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Tippecanoe (8-2) v. Sandusky Perkins (9-1), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Eastmoor Academy (8-2) v. Napoleon (8-2), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Eastwood (8-2) v. Galion (10-0), Saturday at 7 pm.
Ottawa-Glandorf (8-2) v. Triway (8-2), Saturday at 7 pm.
7:30 Edison (8-2) v. Genoa (10-0), Saturday at 7 pm.
Northwood (7-3) v. Patrick Henry (10-0), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Fairview (7-3) v. Tinora (9-1), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Hicksville (9-1) v. Lima CC (8-2), Friday at 7:30 pm.
Arlington (7-3) v. Delphos St. John’s (10-0), Saturday at 7 pm.
Fremont St. Joseph’s CC (9-1) v. Leipsic (9-1), Saturday at 7 pm.
Cory-Rawson (7-3) v. Ada (10-0), Saturday at 7 pm.
Columbus Grove (7-3) v. Carey (9-1), Saturday at 7 pm.