It’s Week 6, which means the high school football season is half over. Here’s our annual look back at the first five weeks and who has done what. As usual there have been plenty of outstanding performances and stories that have popped up. We’ll take a look at those and several other facets of the first five weeks.
Five seconds. That’s all the separates Kettering Alter, Youngstown Ursuline and Delphos St. John’s from going for their third straight state titles this season in Divisions IV, V and VI, respectively. As it stands, all are going for their third straight state title games – and all are ranked No. 1 in their respective JJHuddle Power Polls at the mid-point of the season.
Its Week 6 and this is a look back at what’s happened in the 2010 Ohio High School Football Season thus far and what’s still to come. There’s plenty to cover.
Nothing stokes a fire like the “private vs public” debate and lower level football in Ohio is a burn pile right now.
Kettering Alter is 4-1 and No. 1 in D-IV. The Knights lone loss is to big school juggernaut Centerville, which is ranked No. 3 in D-I. No D-IV school in Ohio is beating Centerville. The question is can any D-IV school in Ohio beat Alter? None have the last two years but that could change come November. Teams with decent odds against the Knights? Clinton-Massie, Kenton, Elyria Catholic, Fenwick…there are land mines out there.
As for Ursuline, no one is beating the Irish in D-V. Or are they? “Invincible” is what people tabbed Youngstown Mooney a couple years back in D-IV and this Ursuline team reminds me a lot of that nationally-ranked Mooney team that eventually got upset by Coldwater in the state final. I personally don’t see Ursuline losing to anybody this season (except maybe Steubenville, see below). The Irish beat D-II No. 1 Mentor Lake Catholic in Week 3 and face Big Red, ranked No. 1 in D-III, in Week 8. Ursuline, whish is actually going for its fourth straight state final, also faces unbeaten Columbus St. Charles and has annual rivalry games with Mooney and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary left.
In D-VI, Delphos St. John’s is No. 1 and for good reason. The Blue Jays, who fell to Norwalk St. Paul on a last second TD in last year’s state final, have beaten 2009 playoff teams Lima Central Catholic, Jeromesville Hillsdale, Anna and St. Henry by the combined score of 137-41. They still have to face Versailles, Coldwater, Fort Recovery, Marion Local and New Bremen and will be favored in all those games. The stiffest test? Week 9 at Marion. If someone is going to beat St. John’s this year, it’s going to be the Flyers.
The two MAC schools will meet for the third time in 12 months on Oct. 22 in Maria Stein. That meeting will be a warm-up to what will probably be their fourth match-up in 14 months in the postseason. Where exactly that November match-up occurs is what’s intriguing. Last year DSJ beat Marion in both the regular season and state semis. This year it would be extremely historic if the OHSAA separated DSJ and Marion Local if they both make the state semifinals again. The Blue Jays are in Region 22 and the Flyers are in Region 24.
In 2004, I remember being engaged and entertained by an all-Midwest Athletic Conference state final in the Division III boys basketball state tournament. St. Henry beat Versailles that day 61-49.
It would be a fitting tribute and nod to a conference that has dominated small school football in Ohio for the last 20 years if the OHSAA gave the MAC the opportunity to get two teams to Stark County in the same division. Especially these two. St. John’s and Marion Local have combined for nine state football titles, including eight of the last 13 in D-VI. The Flyers won the D-V state title in 2007.
Did we mention the MAC has more state championships than any other conference in state history?
Speaking of state titles, here’s who I think wins them come December…
D-I: Colerain over Glenville
D-II: Mentor Lake Catholic over Winton Woods
D-III: Steubenville over Columbus DeSales
D-IV: Alter over Elyria Catholic
D-V: Ursuline over Anna
D-VI: Delphos St. John’s over Marion Local (We can dream can’t we…)
Columbus DeSales: The Stallions schedule contains five teams that are undefeated after five weeks. Unfortunately DeSales has already played two of them. The Stallions have lost to New Albany and Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary. They still have to face undefeated St. Charles, Lakewood St. Edward and Cincinnati LaSalle. Also on the docket? Archrival Watterson (3-1). Their reprieve? A Week 10 meeting with Benedictine (1-4).
Uniontown Lake: The Blue Streaks are a D-II school but the first nine opponents on their schedule are all D-I. As for week 10…well that’s when they get a reprieve and face a D-III team – current No. 2 Watterson.
Steubenville: Big Red is ranked No. 1 in Ohio in D-III, but it hasn’t played anyone from Ohio yet. Steubenville has beaten teams from West Virginia (two), Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Steubenville’s first Ohio opponent is Massillon Washington, which it meets in Week 7. The following week Big Red hosts Ursuline. After that a pair of games with New York teams loom.
TEAMS/STORYLINES TO WATCH
New Lebanon Dixie: The Greyhounds have been mired in a long stretch of futility. Dixie hasn’t had a winning season since 1983 but that streak should end shortly. Heading into Friday’s home game with Waynesville (3-2), the Greyhounds are 4-1. If Dixie can beat the Spartans, it should get historic win No. 6 the flowing week at Dayton Northridge (1-4). The good news for Dixie as well is that it has a lot of strong underclassmen including QB Luke Bowling (sophomore) and RB Doogie Hauser (junior).
Cincinnati LaSalle: The Lancers are 5-0 for the first time since 1991 and are in the hunt for just their second GCL South title in history (shared the championship in 1995). LaSalle’s also in line to challenge for its first playoff berth since 2004 and fourth overall.
Austintown-Fitch: The Falcons are undefeated and have surprised quite a few people, including Canton McKinley, Canton GlenOak and Poland. Although several tough games remain, the Falcons look like the best team in the Federal League and will challenge for the school’s second playoff berth since 1992. The Falcons senior class also experienced a 1-9 season as freshman in 2007.
Fairfield Christian Academy: Who? Exactly. But you’ll know more about them come November. After going 0-8 last season, its first as an OHSAA sanctioned school, FCA is 5-0 this year and currently second in computer points in D-VI, Region 23. The Knights have big wins this year over traditional powers Portsmouth Notre Dame and Fisher Catholic. They should go 9-0 (only play a nine-game schedule) and make the postseason. Their last four opponents, though – Hemlock Miller, Fayetteville Perry, Bellaire St. John and Grove City Christian – are a combined 3-17.
Roger Bacon: The Spartans haven’t been unbeaten this far into a season since 2000 and they currently lead the GCL Central (2-0). Roger Bacon is also looking for its first playoff berth since 2005 and fifth overall. The Spartans are looking for their fifth GCL title since 1967 and first since 2005.
PLAYERS WHO HAVE INCREASED THEIR COLLEGE STOCK IN FIVE WEEKS
Brionte Dunn, GlenOak, Jr., RB
Steven Daniels, St Xavier, Sr., LB
Akise Teague, Ursuline, Sr., ATH
Deonte Gibson, St Edward, Sr., DE
Darien Bryant, Pickerington North, Sr., TE
Jacoby Boren, Pickerington Central, Jr., ATH
Kyle Kempt, Massillon Washington, So., QB
Zach Higgins, Marlington, Jr., OL
Demetrius Walton, Elyria, Jr., WR
Tyler Eden, University School, Jr., QB
Cleveland East Tech: The Scarabs are 0-5 but at least they are still competing. In Weeks 1-2 East Tech hit the road for games at Ursuline (lost 40-0) and Alter (lost 34-0).
Lima Central Catholic: Can the T-Birds win a state basketball and football title in a matter of 10 months? That’s the question. LCC won its first basketball championship in March by outlasting Orrville in the Division III final . To match that feat in football it’ll have to contend with Ursuline and others. The good news? Over half the T-Birds basketball roster is on the football team, including standout QB Tyler O’Connor and LB Taylor Royster. Experience counts – especially experience earned in crunch-time in state finals.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE?
Dayton Meadowdale: It’s doubtful any team in Ohio plays more home games than Meadowdale. The Lions opened the season at Monroe but since then have played four home games at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium. The next two weeks Meadowdale has “away” games at Dayton Thurgood Marshall and Dayton Belmont, which also call Welcome Stadium home. The Lions close the season with three more home games against Madison Plains, Greenville and Dunbar. Basically, Meadowdale plays nine of its 10 games at Welcome Stadium this season.
SO WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
Norwalk St. Paul and Tiffin Calvert: Looking for the state’s biggest upset of the first five weeks? Here it is: Calvert 14, St. Paul 13. That was the result of a Week 2 tilt between the two. As for the teams records to date? St. Paul, the defending D-VI state champ, is 4-1. Calvert is 1-4. What?
TOP SPECIAL TEAMS PERFORMANCE OF THE FIRST FIVE WEEKS
Bridgeport: In a 39-13 Week 4 win over Zanesville Rosecrans, Bulldog senior Garrett Price returned three punts for TDs. No lie. The TD returns covered 59, 77 and 55 yards. He also rushed for 71 yards on five carries.
Canton South: Senior QB Jared May secured a spot in the OHSAA record books when he tossed nine TD passes in a 62-14 Week 3 win over East Palestine. May tied the state record (held by four players) and was just one touchdown shy of tying the national record.
REMAINING MUST-SEE GAMES
Ursuline at Steubenville, Oct. 15: You might have heard about this one already. It’s unlikely either team loses before this meeting and it’s likely the loser of this one may not lose again this year. This could be a match-up between two eventual state champs.
Delphos St. John’s at Marion Local, Oct. 22: This will be the third meeting between these schools in 12 months and could be a precursor to another meeting in the D-VI state semifinals. Last year the Blue Jays beat the Flyers in the regular season and in the D-VI state semis. The Midwest Athletic title will likely be on the line, as will a ton of computer points.
Hilliard Darby at Hilliard Davidson, Oct. 29: This Week 10 meeting pits two neighborhood rivals and current unbeatens against each other. In addition to bragging rights, the OCC Central Division title and a massive amount of computer points will be at stake.
Lima Central Catholic at Ada, Oct. 29: This season finale pits two teams that are currently ranked No. 2 in their respective Power Polls (LCC in D-V and Ada in D-VI). Ada won last year’s game 31-24.
Lakewood St. Edward at Cincinnati Moeller, Oct. 23: North vs South. The Eagles and Crusaders are both undefeated and ranked among the Top 6 in the D-I Power Poll. Although they both have several tests before this meeting, if both are still undefeated come Week 9 watch out. Last year Moeller beat St. Edward 40-10. Expect this one to be a lot closer.