The Harrison Central Huskies have certainly taken their fans on an emotional roller coaster ride this season.
Coming into the season, Harrison Central wasn't expected to be very good. The Huskies had a lot new and young faces they were breaking in and a daunting schedule.
However, Justin Kropka and his squad didn't pay attention. Harrison Central sits at 3-4 on the season and ranked 10th in Division V, Region 15. Obviously, the playoffs are still a long shot as games against Bellaire and Indian Creek loom the next two weeks before meeting Buckeye Local for the VALES Trophy in Week 10.
Playoffs aside, the Huskies have been involved in more wild and wooly things in seven weeks than usually occur in an entire season or two.
In the opener at Wheeling Island Stadium, the Huskies fell to Wheeling Central, 7-6, after the official ruled the Harrison Central player didn't break the plane. However, photographs and footage captured by area media outlets appeared to show otherwise.
The Huskies were then battered and bruised. They've had several players get injured, including talented two-way player Casey Runevitch for the season with a knee injury. On top of all that, they've been bitten by the turnover bug countless times.
The idea that things balance out in life must be true, at least for the Huskies. This past week, Edison came to Cadiz with a 4-2 record and appeared to be well in control.
Harrison Central, however, rallied from 13 down to get the game into overtime. They had two chances to win the game prior to the third overtime, but missed PAT kicks.
Finally, the Huskies scored on a David Miser pass and then added a Miser to Nate Olmsted 2-point conversion.
The Huskies' defense allowed Edison to score on the ensuing possession, but the defense stuffed the 2-point try, securing the victory.
That's just the kind of season it's been for the Huskies. The good news if you're a thrill seeker is there are still at least three more games left. If you can't handle much more, the bad news is there's three more games to go.
Better settle in because you're never sure what these youthful and game Huskies are going to do.
There's no way of getting around it, the River Pilots had as rough a first half of the season as one could imagine. They were 0-5 and were blown out in several of those games.
However, the Pilots kept plugging away and are now 2-0 in the second half of the season with wins against Rosecrans and Bridgeport.
If you take a look at the River schedule, the Pilots have a legitimate chance to win out. River's remaining opponents have a combined record of 6-15.
Bryce Cross is quietly having a highly impressive season and Jordan Sapp has been steady as well for the Pilots.
At 0-5, it would have been easy to let the entire season go down the drain, but it's impressive how the Pilots have stayed the course. That's a credit to Mike Flannery and his coaching staff.
OVAC TITLE CHASES
The playoff races aren't the only ones heating up as the prep football season hits its stretch run.
The races for the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference titles are heating up. Last week's card involved several high-stakes matchups.
Rick DeLuca, who compiles the OVAC standings, released the new ones Sunday afternoon. The OVAC standings are compiled through a points system, so head-to-head matchups play a role, but not a definitive one.
For instance, St. Clairsville defeated Martins Ferry in week four, but the Purple Riders leaped over the Red Devils in this week's standings.
Bellaire lost to Steubenville Catholic in week one, but the Crusaders trail the Big Reds in the Class 3A race. The Big Reds help their cause because they play schools that are bigger than them, so those carry a greater weight in the standings.
Shadyside knocked off Wheeling Central in Class 2A this past week and the Tigers are well on their way to notching yet another conference title. Shadyside holds a 20-point cushion in the average column.
Madonna has all but locked up the Class 1A title.
In terms of the 3A race, that's also important because it's that division's turn to coach the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Game in July.
MAKING HIS ROUNDS
Shadyside junior Austin Dorris is enjoying quite the season for the Tigers as he's helped lead them to a 7-0 start.
Not only is Dorris catching the attention locally. He's also becoming a very sought after possible college player. The 6-5, 210 pounder, who projects as a tight end at the next level, took in a game at Ohio University over the weekend.
The Bobcats offered him a scholarship earlier this fall. He's visited Ohio State, Indiana and has trips to Toledo and West Virginia on the horizon.
CHECKING IN ON THE LOCALS
TODD FILTZ and his Canton McKinley Bulldogs got all they wanted and then some from rival Canton Glen Oak this past Saturday. It took a touchdown on a fake field goal to spark the Bulldogs to their seventh straight victory. McKinley will take on winless Massillon Perry this week.
JOHN MAGISTRO and his Westerville Central Warhawks kept things rolling and continued toward a home playoff game in Division I, Region 1. A 56-7 victory against city-rival Westerville North makes the Warhawks 6-1 on the season. They'll take on 3-4 Westerville South this week.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org