Tributes to breast cancer awareness: A very nice touch

It was quite nice to see how many players this weekend were supporting breast cancer awareness month. Obviously, each school in the OVAC received pink ribbon helmet decals, courtesy of Wheeling Hospital, but several players took matters into their own hands.

Numerous members of both St. Clairsville and Bellaire broke out the pink socks and pink athletic tape for their battle last Saturday.

To me, kids these days are chastised all too often for negative things and not praised when they do something well. Showing support for such an important cause, which touches so many, is one of those things they’ve done well.

Hopefully, these sorts of tributes are something we see for the remainder of the season.


Big School

1. Steubenville – Big Red just keeps marching along. They dismantled East Liverpool this past Friday and have a date with Mt. St. Joseph from Maryland ahead this week. Big Red appears as if it’s on a collision course for a showdown with once-beaten Massillon in Week 9 at Harding Stadium. That appears to be the only true challenge which stands between Big Red and another perfect season.

2. St. Clairsville – The Red Devils made it six wins in a row Saturday with a convincing win against Bellaire. St. C. showed it can splash through the mud and muck just as well as it can play on its artificial carpet. The Red Devils also showed a vaunted ground game, proving they’re far more than a passing team.

3. Martins Ferry – The Purple Riders just continue to get it done. That’s been a hallmark of Dave Bruney’s teams during his career. They don’t beat themselves and they find ways to win games. The Purple Riders came up with a key special teams play late to fight off Buckeye Local.

4. Cambridge – The Bobcats rebounded impressively by thumping Marietta in an ECOL game last weekend. It was good to see the Bobcats play so spiritedly after suffering their first loss of the season a week prior. It proves once again that sometimes it takes fans longer to recover than it does players and coaches.

5. Indian Creek – The Redskins vault back into the top five after they took Union Local behind the woodshed Friday. The Redskins’ defense, which is directed by Shadyside High product Sean Grinch, has posted two consecutive shutouts.

Just missed: Oak Glen (5-1), Buckeye Local (4-2).

Small School

1. Barnesville – The Shamrocks just keep plodding along and they keep winning. The Shamrocks got past a routine stumbling block last week when they upended Caldwell in Noble County. The Shamrocks will be heavily favored against Steubenville Central this week, but they can’t get caught looking ahead to their Week 8 encounter with Monroe Central.

2. Wheeling Central – The Maroon Knights just keep getting it done. They took care of Oliver, Pa. with relative ease Friday. The Knights will receive a stern test this week when they host Shadyside. The Tigers defeated the Maroon Knights a year ago.

3. Linsly – This Cadets’ team might be the team in the area which is getting overshadowed the most. What hurts Linsly’s image is the fact that it plays so few home games and so few games against OVAC competition. Obviously, B.J. Depew would like to change both of those, but it is what it is. Living in the present, the Cadets are really good and scoring points in bunches.

4. Monroe Central – The Seminoles have found their mojo. Coach Jay Circosta’s team has now won five games in a row, including an impressive victory against Magnolia last week. The Seminoles host 2-4 Shenandoah this week, and like Barnesville, can’t get caught looking ahead to what’s down the road.

5. Shadyside – The Tigers eked out an important one-point victory against Beallsville last weekend. Shadyside didn’t do anything flashy offensively and were out-gained, but the ‘W’ was all that concerned Mark Holenka. Shadyside will have to play much better if it hopes to compete with Wheeling Central.

Just Missed: Bishop Donahue (5-1) and Beallsville (4-2).



It’s that time of the year when coaches, fans and even players are calculating all sorts of different points.

Obviously, the computer points, which were talked about earlier, are extremely important, but some very tight races are developing in the OVAC standings, which can be found on today’s scoreboard page.

The best race is unfolding in Class 3A where Barnesville is setting the pace, but Martins Ferry and Monroe Central are closing fast.

The three teams are within 12 points of each other. All three have their fair share of acid tests still to go.

In Class 4A, Steubenville sets the pace with fellow unbeaten St. Clairsville making a charge, within eight points.

The Class 2A title could be decided on the final day of the regular season when Wheeling Central and Linsly meet. The Cadets are within five points in the standings. It’s important to keep in mind, winning the OVAC is the best the Cadets can do, so they’ll certainly be dialed in for the chase.

In Class 1A, Beallsville’s loss to Shadyside last Friday opened the door for defending champion Bishop Donahue to catapult into the top spot. Dave Caldwell thought after the game that his team may need help to win the title and it appears he was correct.

Along with the OVAC standings, the Buckeye 8 and PVC standings are also contained in today’s edition.


Harrison Central head coach Justin Kropka was brought up through the football ranks in the Martins Ferry system of run first.

Kropka doesn’t have any trouble following that mentality since he has one of the area’s premier running backs in junior Maurtice Hython.

When it rains and the fields become slower tracks, it just plays into the Huskies’ game plan even more definitively and that was the case last Friday against Edison.

All Kropka did against the Wildcats was saddle up his workhorse and ride him to a 21-7 victory.

The Huskies had lost two games in a row to open Buckeye 8 play and Edison was coming off a big win against Buckeye Local. Just when you believe the Huskies are done, Kropka circles the wagons.

Something tells me that regardless of the weather forecast this week, Kropka will again feed Hython.

Staskey can be reached at