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Second half of football season

September 30, 2010 - Michael Palmer
2010 Football State Polls as ranked by the Associated Press Week 3 Poll ranks Steubenville as number 1 in the state in Division III. It is a great honor for the OVAC Ohio side to have a consistent contender in the state championships among our ranks.

It may surprise some that Shadyside earned the number 5 spot in Division VI polling. The undefeated Tigers are atop the Region 23 rankings with Bridgeport, also 5-0 ranked at number 6 unofficially on the Joe Eitel web site. Shadyside, like many other area teams looking to qualify for the playoffs, still has some hurdles to clear before the celebration begins and the OVAC championship banner is hung.

The Tigers and Bridgeport will meet in week 9 for a local showdown on the Bulldogs home turf. Shadyside also has Barnesville (4-1) this week and finishes the season with a perennial West Virginia powerhouse Wheeling Central. Bridgeport made a statement about their being a legitimate contender by dispatching the same Maroon Knights 24-7 last Saturday in Steubenville.

The Bulldogs face off against Weirton Madonna (4-0) this weekend, which leaves just one team with a winning record on their schedule in Shadyside with River, Beallsville and Cameron filling out the other three slots.

In the Division 5 polls, Barnesville (4-1) was the only local team garnering any votes in the AP polling. They are currently listed at number 9 in the unofficial region 19 polls behind Monroe Central taking the number 4 spot this week.

Barnesville is hosting Shadyside this week and this is an important game for both teams. The Rocks then have two tough road challenges traveling to Monroe Central (4-1) in week 8 and then across the river to Magnolia (4-0) the following Friday. The Monroe Central game will be another great head-to-head game between local rivals with playoff implications.

None of these games can compare to the upcoming showdown in Martins Ferry when the undefeated St. Clairsville Red Devils come calling on the 5-0 Purple Riders. The Purple Riders are currently ranked fifth in unofficial polling with the Red Devils taking the number two spot. While both have received votes in the state AP poll they remain out of the top 10 for now.

Martins Ferry has two 4-1 teams on their agenda before week 8 in East Liverpool and Indian Creek. Another interesting game for the Purple Gang is with Wheeling Central when Coach Dave Bruney has the opportunity to exact a little revenge on the Maroon Knights for last year’s loss.

The Red Devils also have a tough road in the last half of 2010 beginning with two road games in Wintersville and Richmond as they take on Indian Creek and Edison (4-1) in their next two contests. Then back on the bus to Martins Ferry before heading home to battle with an undefeated James Monroe.

Both Ferry and St C finish off their schedules with trophy rivalry games and you can always throw out the records for those contests. I know our reporters will be Jonesin' this weekend when three of our undefeated teams are on the road and they can not follow them. So many games and you can't be in two places at one time, sometimes it is frustrating.

I wis I had a crystal ball that I could ask: Will one of these teams survive their rugged schedule and then follow the Big Red to Canton this fall? But ..... Wait my granddaughter has a Magic 8 Ball. I gave it a shake and the answer is, “Better Not To Tell You Now.”

My daughter tells me that I didn't have to look for the actual toy, I can play with a magic 8 ball online. I could have used that information over the last 5 weeks for the Pick Em polls!

It is the fastest 10 weeks of the year. This week I will be at Union Local and Barnesville for Homecoming celebrations. Maybe we will CU there.


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