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Fans need to relax, it’s only the first week

August 29, 2011
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

While attending a quartet of games this week, I experienced my fair share of fans.

While I was taking pictures at the Bellaire vs. Wheeling Central game, I heard several fans yelling about the coaching decisions and calling out head coach Jose Davis by name.

Just because you pay your money to get into the game, doesn't give you the right to call out the coaches. I understand fans have a rooting interest, but to call a guy out on opening day is just ridiculous. You're allowed to disagree, but keep your thoughts to yourself or at least keep them to the people around you.

Not every play over the course of a game is going to work. Fans never seem to care about the plays that work. However, as soon as there's a breakdown or a negative gain, it's immediately the coaches' fault. That's just not right.

I am just guessing that nary a coach calls a play from the sideline with the hopes it fails or doesn't gain a yard. Fans need to get a serious dose of reality.

Hopefully, as the season goes along this doesn't become a consistent problem.

It's fans like those that schools don't need or shouldn't want. It's also fans like this that will eventually drive coaches out of sports.

INAUGURAL POWER POLL

Each week, I'll provide my power poll, ranking the top five big and small schools in the OVAC. This is strictly my opinion and not based on anything surrounding the OVAC.

For the purpose of dividing, Divisions V and VI in Ohio along with Class A in West Virginia will be considered small schools, while the remaining divisions will form the big schools.

Small School

1. Barnesville - The Shamrocks were highly impressive in knocking off John Glenn. They ran and passed the ball well and played sticky defense.

2. Shadyside - The Tigers set themselves up for another strong season with an impressive, hard-earned win against a solid Strasburg combine.

3. Wheeling Central - The Maroon Knights just never seem to miss a beat. Despite being ravaged by graduation and defections, the Knights looked mighty impressive in knocking off Bellaire thanks to a strong running game.

4. Monroe Central - The Seminoles dropped a tough opener, but there is enough talent in Woodsfield that Jay Circosta's team won't be down for long. They've got a huge game this week against aforementioned Shadyside.

5. Linsly - The Cadets have offensive firepower to score from anywhere on the field. As they gain experience, Coach B.J. Depew's team will be tough to handle as the season moves along.

Just Missed: Beallsville.

Big School

1. Steubenville - No-brainer choice here. Big Red romped past Morgantown and proved still they're still premier program in the Ohio Valley.

2. St. Clairsville - While the Red Devils have plenty of work to do in certain areas, they proved they can move the ball and score in bunches. What St. C. might lack in experience, it makes up for it with speed and athleticism.

3. Cambridge - The Bobcats were impressive in hammering John Marshall Friday night. The Bobcats racked up 700 yards in offense and more than 500 on the ground. Dashaun Lewis is the real deal at tailback.

4. Martins Ferry - The Purple Riders just get it done. They might not do it with the most style points each week, but the tradition of winning doesn't change. The Riders have a deep and talented running game.

5. Wheeling Park - The Patriots coughed up a two-score lead in their opener against New Philadelphia, but I still believe they've got the talent to win a bunch of games this season. However, this week's trip to Bridgeport, W.Va. won't be easy.

Just Missed: Oak Glen.

GAMES TO WATCH

It's only week two, but there are already some intriguing games on the docket. Last week, there was a lot of unknown. There's still much unknown, but the cliche around prep football says teams make their greatest improvement between week one and week two.

My must-see game is in Woodsfield where the Monroe Central Seminoles will host Shadyside.

Obviously, there are no literal must-win games in Week 2, but this is close for the hosts. After dropping a tough, 13-7, decision to Columbiana, the Seminoles will need a win over the Tigers to get going.

With so many skilled players back in the fold, we're not sure anyone would have predicted a possible 0-2 start. As for Shadyside, the Tigers got an impressive win against Strasburg, but have consistently had trouble winning in Woodsfield.

The Tigers won last year's meeting, 12-0.

If you're just a neutral observer and looking for a good game to attend, make your way to Harding Stadium Friday to see Big Red battle Akron Buchtel. You won't be disappointed. Big Red is awful tough to beat in 'Death Valley', but the Griffins feature a highly talented team, which finished as state runnerup a year ago.

WELCOME TO VARSITY FOOTBALL

Often times the transition to varsity football comes with some growing pains.

St. Clairsville quarterback Matt Kinnick had no such problems when he made his first varsity start on the road at Columbiana Crestview Friday night.

Kinnick put up video-game like numbers as the Red Devils hung on like a cat on a screen door, for a cherished 40-37 victory.

The Red Devils' signal caller completed 20-of-32 passes for 396 yards and 4 touchdowns. He wasn't picked off and he added a rushing score. For good measure, he picked off a pass as well.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Each season begins with what we'd deem a wake-up call and I think this season it went to Bridgeport.

The Bulldogs, coming off a 12-1 campaign and an undefeated regular season, saw their 15-game regular season winning streak snapped in a big way at Rosecrans. The Bulldogs were pummeled, 44-8 and from all reports looked like they were in a total funk.

The good, but unfortunate thing about high school football, the Bulldogs have five days to lick their wounds and get back to the drawing board.

Obviously, Rosecrans is a much better squad than we had thought. We're certainly not ready to write off the Bulldogs. They're another team with too much talent to just lay down.

Having said all that, when you lose three all-Ohio and Division II college players such as Chris and Curt Smelley along with Garrett Price from a Division VI team in the Ohio Valley, there has to be some time of transition.

RUNNING BACK HIGH

While Penn State and Miami are known as Linebacker and Quarterback U, respectively, Martins Ferry should be known as running back high.

It never seems to fail. The Purple Riders always have talented running backs, which execute Dave Bruney's offense to a tee.

Last year, current senior Tyrel Simmons was joined by now graduated Casey Bain. So some probably though without Bain, Simmons would take a pounding since teams could key on him.

Enter C.J. Williams. The diminutive senior tailback took some of the load off the shoulder of his classmate Friday in the Riders' win against Heath. He flirted with the 100-yard barrier and scored two touchdowns.

It's that kind of effort the Riders will need because they can ill afford to lose Simmons.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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