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Three area schools pace OVAC grid title chases

October 8, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor , Times Leader

In today's society, a lot of teams set up schedules and their goals around qualifying for the Ohio tournament.

However, several nip-and-tuck battles are forming for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships. The titles will be formally declared after the first weekend in November because that's when the West Virginia regular season ends.

Bellaire regained the top stop in Class 3A after sliding to second behind Magnolia. The Blue Eagles beat a winless 4A Weir squad, while the Big Reds beat a 5-win 4A Harrison Central team, which led to a huge gain in bonus points.

St. Clairsville, which is now 7-0, owns the biggest lead. The Red Devils hold more than a 26-point cushion. The Devils are the only team in their class with fewer than two losses.

Shadyside continues to pace the 2A field. The 7-0 Tigers have a solid cushion over Steubenville Central and still undefeated Clay-Battelle.

Madonna's win against Bishop Donahue was huge toward the Blue Dons' quest for the conference hardware. University and Morgantown are in a tight battle atop the 5A standings.

PLAYOFF TALK

There are only three games of the prep football regular season left, which is hard to believe in its own right, but the talk of the postseason is heating up as scoreboard watching has begun.

If the OHSAA tournament opened this weekend, eight OVAC schools would receive invitations to the party, according to the unofficial rankings of JoeEitel.com

Of those, only St. Clairsville and Steubenville Central in Divisions IV and VI, respectively, would play on their home fields.

The other six schools inside the top eight currently are Martins Ferry, Harrison Central, Bellaire, Shadyside and River.

The Tigers are one of those weird teams that could possibly finish undefeated, but go on the road in the first round. However, I highly doubt they won't finish in the top four should they finish 10-0.

Steubenville Central - on the strength of its victory against struggling Barnesville Saturday night - jumped all the way to third place in Region 21. The Crusaders were sixth last week.

Both the Crusaders and Tiger's opponents each have 17 victories, but Steubenville Central holds a large lead in second level points because one of its wins came against a Division III equivalant in Oak Glen.

Harrison Central, which was in solid position last week, finds itself clinging to the eighth spot in Region 15 after a loss to Bellaire. The Huskies have a huge points game ahead in Indian Creek.

As we've said, there's still a lot of football to be played and a lot of twists and turns until the brackets are offically announced on Oct. 28.

THINK PINK

Prep football completed its first weekend of October and pink was highly visible around the Ohio Valley. Whether it was pink socks, towels, tape or the decals on the backs of every helmet in the OVAC, high school football players paid their respects to those battling breast cancer.

While often times, pink isn't associated with football, it's extremely refreshing to see that young people of the Ohio Valley realize and take real-life issues such as the battle against cancer so seriously. Hopefully, the trend continues for the rest of the month.

NEW-AGE IN SPORTS?

We're all aware that social media and instant communication is simply taking over the world, including the prep sports realm.

While covering the Shadyside vs. Wheeling Central game last Friday, I was refreshing my Twitter to get updates on other games and I noticed that Magnolia big-play receiver Stephen Rogalski was tweeting during the game.

He was thanking his fellow students who were tweeting congratulations on a big first half at Weir. The Blue Eagles were up by a large number of points, but we're not sure Tweeting at halftime is something coaches want to see or hear about.

Rogalski's focus was certainly on the game. The Blue Eagle senior, who is one of the Ohio Valley's most electrifying players, had 119 yards of offense and three touchdowns in limited action.

CHECKING IN ON

THE LOCALS

TODD FILTZ and Canton McKinley dropped their first decision of the season last Thursday to rival Canton Glen Oak. The Bulldogs are now 5-1 on the season. They dropped to seventh in the computer poll. They'll take on Perry this week.

JOHN MAGISTRO earned win number 202 in his career when his Westerville Central Warhawks posted a 35-14 victory against winless Westerville North. Central takes on 5-2 Westerville South this Friday.

CINCINNATI MOELLER lost for the second time in three weeks, falling 17-13 to Elder. The Crusaders' quarterback Spencer Iacovone threw a touchdown, but the Crusaders' rally fell short. Moeller should still be in third place when the OHSAA announces the computer poll. Iacovone's parents are Ohio Valley natives.

COLUMBUS Bishop Hartley made a statement last Friday with a 40-7 victory against Bishop Leuers High School from Fort Wayne, which is the two-time defending state champion in Indiana. One of Hartley's top players is Jacob Matuska, who is a Notre Dame recruit. Matuska's parents are St. John Central graduates.

DUBLIN COFFMAN improved to 7-0 on the season last Friday with a 53-6 victory against Grove City Central Crossing. Coffman's got three players on its team with Ohio Valley ties.

Tanner Zinni is a starting offensive lineman. His father, Dan, is a 1982 Buckeye South graduate. Also along the offensive line, senior Zack Murdock is an Ohio University commit. Murdock's mother, the former Patty Collins resided in Yorkville and graduated from Mt. DeChantal.

Senior defensive back Brent Whitehead starts in the secondary. He's the son of Dr. Robert Whitehead, who is a Brooke High graduate. He's currently the Coffman team physician.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING?

It seems like the list of bizarre incidents surround prep sports grows daily.

It's getting to the point where all you can do is shake your head because we're well past the stage of being surprised.

The latest incident I stumbled across was in Westlake, Ohio, which is near Cleveland. A high school football official was suspended by the Ohio High School Athletic Association after he was arrested on drug charges.

According to a report on News Channel 5 in Cleveland, 22-year old Roger Ward was headed to work a football game, stopped into the police station to find out where to park and it was discovered that Ward had $1,291, a scale, pipe, marijuana in jars, plastic bags, cigars filled with marijuana and a knife.

Again, I just don't get it. What goes through people's minds? Unfortunately, I don't think much.

This guy is the real dope in this scenario.

INTERESTING STATS

I was searching some information on prep football and stumbled across something I found really interesting, so I decided to share it.

MaxPreps.com - a website devoted to high school athletics - published the composite records of all 50 states against all of the other states.

It was interesting to learn that entering this past weekend, Ohio held a record of 54-52 against teams from other states and Washington D.C. Against West Virginia, Ohio was 18-20, which came as a surprise to me. Ohio was 8-4, after six weeks, against schools from Pennsylvania.

Staskey can be reached via email at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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