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Two O.V. backs put up huge nights in wins

October 1, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

While the game of football is shifting offensively to more of a spread, no-huddle type of up-tempo game, most Ohio Valley offenses are built on the basic premise of being able to run the football.

Two head coaches who firmly believe that are Harrison Central's Justin Kropka and St. Clairsville's Brett McLean.

Both coaches have been very good about adapting to their personnel during their careers.

Both got back to the ground game last Friday and tailbacks Maurtice Hython and Jaylon Brown didn't let Kropka or McLean down.

Hython ran 35 times for 329 yards and scored four touchdowns. Brown, meanwhile, had another explosion. He ran 19 times for 224 yards and five touchdowns.

When you've got players as capable as those two, feed them often. The philosophy has worked pretty well thus far for both teams.

A lot of times you hear coaches talk about their desire to be balanced, but once the game gets tight or it comes down to crunch time, they go with what brought them there.

And with backs like Brown and Hython, who can could blame them?

HOMECOMING QUEEN/KICKER

St. Clairsville's Haylee Skukan pulled the rare feat last Friday. She selected the rose that made her Homecoming Queen. Then, in the second half, she nailed three point after touchdown kicks.

Many people were inquiring if that had ever been done before. So, with the power of a quick Google search, I found that she's at least the fourth football-playing queen in the country. And one of those, a senior from Georgia, is her team's starting placekicker, so it's been done before.

It was certainly the talk of Red Devil Stadium Friday night and rightfully so. What a night it must have been for Skukan.

NEW COACHES

Congratulations to Brooke High head coach Sean Blumette who became the latest first-year head coach to earn his initial victory.

Blumette led his Bruins to a 34-33 come-from-behind victory against Point Pleasant.

Barnesville suffered a tough loss to Caldwell, which won without throwing a pass. First-year coach Matt Johnson has his team at 4-2. The remainder of Shamrocks' schedule is challenging, including this week's trip to Steubenville Central.

Buckeye Trail rookie head coach Dale Broomhall has done a tremendous job in his first season with the Warriors. He's got Trail sitting at 4-2 on the season.

Two rookie head coaches - Tony Filberto at Weir and Kaleb Lawrence at Shenandoah - are still in search of their first victories.

PLAYOFF WATCH

As the quest for Week 11 continues for area football teams, the weekly look at the computer poll finds that seven OVAC squads would currently qualify for the postseason in the Buckeye State.

Strangely, if the playoffs started this weekend, only St. Clairsville (D-4, Region 15) would be playing on its home field.

Martins Ferry and Harrison Central are currently fifth and sixth, respectively in Region 15.

Bellaire, despite losing two straight, continues to be on the inside of the playoff picture. The Big Reds are currently sixth in a very tough Division V, Region 17.

In Division VI, Region 21, Shadyside and Steubenville Central hold down the sixth and seventh spots.

In Division III, Steubenville is currently in the sixth spot in Region 11. Harding Stadium will have a lot of eyes on it this week as Big Red hosts Youngstown Ursuline. That's a huge game for the playoff lives of both teams. There are plenty of folks in Division V, pulling for Big Red, while Region 11 is pulling for the Irish.

Obviously, much football remains with a lot of opportunities to earn points.

DEEPEST SYMPATHIES

We would like to extend our deepest sympathies and send our prayers to Bellaire assistant football coach Ed Miller. Miller's wife, Mary Ellen, died Sunday after a battle with cancer.

Miller has been away from the Big Reds' football team the last several weeks to help his wife in her battle.

Miller is one of the nicest guys I've ever come to know in this business. We'll certainly keep him and his family in our prayers. Hopefully, he's able to re-join the Big Reds soon.

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE?

Even though it happened, it's still tough to believe that Steubenville Central has had two of its game called early because of storms.

Often times during the football season, teams make it through without as much as a delay. Twice - against Frontier and this past week against Conotton Valley - the Crusaders have been awarded victories due to inclement weather conditions.

I am well aware of the OHSAA policy on lightning and I also don't blame the schools for deciding to call the games early since the policy calls for a 30 minute delay each time there's a sight of lightning or a sound of thunder.

It's just hard to believe that it could happen twice. If it happens a third time, then that would become an even bigger story.

CHECKING ON THE LOCALS

OVAC STANDINGS

There was a change at the top of the OVAC Class 3A standings. Bellaire, which had been setting the pace for the first five weeks, was overtaken this week by Magnolia. The Blue Eagles posted an impressive win against Monroe Central, while the Big Reds lost at St. Clairsville.

Madonna, Shadyside, St. Clairsville and University continue to lead the other classes.

By the way, it's Class 2A's turn to coach the OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic next July, so you could be looking at Mark Holenka of Shadyside against Ryan Wilson of Clay-Battelle.

Staskey can be reached via email at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com or on Twitter @TLSportsSeth

 
 

 

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