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October 28, 2013 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
SAY IT ain't so. High school football, regular-season style, comes to an end this weekend. Yes, a handful of OVAC teams will be playing in week 11, but for the most part, helmets will be put away come Sunday. This season has produced many a memorable moment. Possibly, the biggest highlight to date was the renewal of the Shadyside-Bellaire rivalry after some six decades. The game generated a whopper of a crowd and put the Ohio Valley on notice that the Tigers were a special breed. Coach Mark Holenka's ground-and-pounders will put the wraps on a second successive 10-0 season when they vanquish Barnesville Friday. I will be shocked if Shadyside doesn't find itself in the Division VII semifinals. Anyone who was expecting a St. Clairsville dropoff after the Red Devils magnificent state runnerup performance last year were in for a rude awakening. Coach Brett McLean continues to show that he is one of the best in his profession as the Devils are poised to finish 9-1 and again play in the post-season. The annual Bellaire-Martins Ferry SPARKY contest shapes up as a dandy. The Big Reds (7-2) and Purple Riders (8-1) are both enjoying stellar seasons with OVAC championships on the line Saturday. Both are poised to mamke some post-season noise as well. The biggest prep grid surprise may rest in Steubenville. Not many pundits predicted Big Red to be 5-4, coming off back-to-back shellacking at the hands of Ursuline and Wheeling Park. The beatdown by Park burst Steubenville's aura of invincibility. The king might not be dead, but for this season, it is on life support. The regular-season finales morph into playoff excitement and then, all too soon, thinking about next football season.
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