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Prep football season hits halfway point

September 30, 2013
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

The fastest 10 weeks of the year are half over.

Didn't we just publish our Pigskin Preview last week? It sure feels like it.

Well, the reality of it all is the second half of the prep football season begins this week and with it comes the chase for the postseason.

Actually, the chase in football is ongoing over the entire 10 weeks, but things really heat up in the second half as the bonus points are counted and computed daily.

I fully realized that it's the second half of season late Saturday when I had a coach text me for a score. When I gave it to him, he responded that they needed the other team to prevail because of bonus points.

Not sure it's late enough in the season to start scoreboard watching, but I think there's actually scoreboard watching been going since the start of the season.

Locally, when you start talking postseason, it appears as if seven teams are legitimately in the playoff chase.

Those are St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry and Union Local in Division V; Bellaire and Monroe Central in Division VI and Shadyside and Beallsville in Division VII.

Obviously, there is a lot of football to go, but it's always fun to start thinking about these scenarios. While coaches, fans and media will stare at the numbers for hours, it's nearly impossible to predict what's going to happen.

And I don't mean just in the teams' games themselves. The bonus points situation is especially important.

Wow, it's exciting just thinking about it. Friday and week six will be here before we know it.

GOOD DEEDS

Often times, we get caught up on the negative things in sports.

High School football is a good reprieve from that and I saw that first hand Friday night at Martins Ferry and heard of another episode of it the same evening at Barnesville.

Harrison Central lost a member of its football family, Jimmy Cameron, in 2011 when he was just a sophomore. Justin Kropka spent a lot of time trying to figure just what he wanted to do to honor Cameron for his senior season.

Each week, the Huskies' captains carry Cameron's jersey out to the field with them for the coin flip. In essence, Cameron is serving as a team co-captain this season, too.

That's absolutely straight class on the part of Kropka.

At Barnesville, Matt Johnson showed just what kind of guy he is and I've known for several years that he's a top-shelf individual.

To help honor a student-manager, Grayson Willis, who's been battling cancer, Barnesville and Shenandoah held fundraisers, sold t-shirts, wore special decals on their helmets and made it quite an evening for the young man.

These are things that the families will never forget and I am guesssing are more than appreciated.

What impressed me also about Johnson was he'd just led his Shamrocks to their first win of the season. What did he want to talk about first with Rick Thorp? The benefit and Willis, of course.

Kudos to both Harrison Central and Barnesville.

I would be remiss if I didn't offer a sincere thank you to the schools that have held moments of silence in honor of the late Rich Gibson this season. I've heard several have paid tribute to a man who covered their team for so many years.

Again, it's just a sign of the type of people in the Ohio Valley.

HITTING THEIR STRIDE

Monroe Central started off the season 0-2. The Seminoles had plenty of off-field issues that the entire school district had dealt with and they were searching for solid play at the quarterback spot.

Curtis Nixon has moved to quarterback and the Seminoles have won three of four since the move. Their only loss with Nixon at the helm was against 5-0 Shadyside.

Nixon and Levi Brown have formed quite a backfield duo for the Seminoles who just knocked Fort Frye from the ranks of the undefeated this past weekend.

Monroe Central has a test this week at Magnolia, which if you start looking at the Division VI, 21 computer poll. The Seminoles face just one team the rest of the season with a winning record.

TIGERS REUNION

Shadyside is currently in its 50th year of being the Tigers. To help celebrate that, a reunion of the 1963 Tigers' football season is being planned for later this season when Shadyside hosts Barnesville in Week 10.

Members of that team are urged to contact Ty Fleming if they'd wish to participate in the reunion.

CHECKING ON THE LOCALS

CANTON McKINLEY ran its record to 5-0 by virtue of a hard-earned 18-14 victory against Lake Friday. The Bulldogs are coached by Todd Filtz, who is a Steubenville High graduate. He's in his second season at the helm.

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL improved to 4-1 with a 57-14 beatdown of winless Canal Winchester.

The Warhawks, who are coached by former Bellaire High head coach John Magistro, are currently sitting in 10th place in in the regional standings in which the top 16 teams will qualify for the postseason.

CALENDAR FLIPS

With the start of October and the second half of the season means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I was glad to see Wheeling Hospital and the OVAC once again teaming up. Wheeling Hospital provided all of the OVAC member schools with pink-ribbon decals to be placed on their helmets for the remainder of the season.

I am sure some of the players around the area will carry through with their own special tributes since there aren't many who've not known someone who's battled one form of cancer or another.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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