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September 24, 2013 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
FOUR WEEKS into the prep football season, Shadyside and St. Clairsville have acquitted themselves as the premier teams in Eastern Ohio. Both are 4-0 and both have signature wins on their respective resumes. The Tigers made their grid statement in week 3 against neighboring foe Bellaire. After waiting 63 years to renew gridiron acquaintances, Coach Mark Holenka's Bengals made the most of the opportunity by dismantling the Big Reds, rushing for more than 400 yards and nearly dropping half a hundred points on Bellaire. St. C.'s breakout statement came last Friday, running past Martins Ferry, 35-14, in a meeting of unbeatens. Most media prep predictors picked the Purple. The Red Devils' D-I gridders -- Jaylon Brown and Michael Ferns -- put the state's gridiron world on notice that the reigning Division IV runners-up are primed for another extended post-season run. I see the Tigers and Red Devils with one major hurdle each to clear en route to repeating 10-0 regular-season marks. Shadyside must get past Wheeling Central in week 7. The Maroon Knights are never an easy touch. For St. C. its final acid test comes much quicker, this Friday, in fact. Unbeaten Indian Creek travels to the the hilltop, looking to avenge its lone regular-season setback last fall. Going 10-0 is a major achievement. Doing it back-to-back is remarkable. Both Shadyside and St. C. are primed to pull off the notable feat. When it comes to the post-season, both squads have moved down a division. St. C. now navigates in Division V while the Tigers take up residence in the newly established Division VII. Sometimes smaller is better.
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