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Sometimes you just get beat and that is OK

October 26, 2009
By MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

It's a loss.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Yes, Inkster's 36-29 win over Steubenville Big Red Friday night at Harding Stadium snapped 68-game regular season and 60-game home winning streaks, but so what.

It's sports and teams lose in sports.

And, yes, even Big Red loses.

The world didn't end. The players woke up Saturday morning and the coaches are preparing for Tonawanda Cardinal O'Hara this week.

When the Vikings went up 28-15 with 5:06 left in the game, it seemed like Steubenville's long regular-season run was quietly over.

But, that didn't happen.

And, when Big Red went up 29-28 with 1:19 still showing, it seemed like Steubenville's long regular-season run was going to continue.

But, that didn't happen.

Those in attendance saw why Inkster's Devin Gardner has committed to play football at the University of Michigan for Rich Rodriguez.

They also saw why 6-foot-2 receiver Jonathan Taylor is going to Central Michigan.

Sometimes you just get beat.


Life goes on.

It did some 46 weeks ago when Big Red lost the Division IV title game to Kettering Alter and it has again.

Steubenville is 89-5 since the beginning of the 2003 season.

Those five losses were to Cleveland Benedictine, Thornville Sheridan, Cardinal Mooney, Kettering Alter and Inkster. One can say the only surprise in the bunch was the 2004 defeat at the hands of Sheridan.

A normal football team would have wilted watching its 13-point lead evaporate in less than four minutes at Death Valley.

Not Inkster. The Vikings didn't wilt, they won.

It cannot be that hard to congratulate Inkster - the Michigan Division III state runner-up a year ago.

And, it sure didn't take long to question the coaching staff about its play calling.

Go to the boosters meeting Tuesday night and complain to coach Reno Saccoccia face to face or just shut up.

No one complained about the play calling in a 13-0 win over a really good Woodland Hills squad that is burying everyone it is playing in the WPIAL.

No one complained about the play calling in a 13-3 win over an even better Massillon Washington team.

A team, by the way, that has rebounded from the loss to Big Red by beating Warren G. Harding, a team on Big Red's schedule next year, and Mentor.

And, please, do not tell me Poland put up a better game against Steubenville than Massillon.

You cannot compare the energy level in Death Valley between the games.

So, stop it.

The Tigers are No. 1 in the Division I, Region 2 standings.

Their only other loss was 26-21 to the best team in Division I - Cleveland St. Ignatius, which beat Cleveland Glenville 14-13 and Warren G. Harding 10-7.

Do not compare Poland to Massillon.

Also, a nice pat on the back to all the fans around the Valley who cheered when it was announced at the stadium you were in that Big Red lost.

Last time I checked, Big Red's success throughout the state is keeping a keen eye on Ohio Valley football.

I'm not sure there is a lot of cheering (or any at all) when it is announced at other high school football stadiums that your team lost.

You just cheered that teenagers lost a football game.

Grow up.

Those teenagers, by the way, really hate to lose, which is a big reason why that number approached 70 games.

They are not happy about the loss.

To but it bluntly, they are sick about the loss.

The defeat, though, does not change the ultimate goal - host a playoff game, win the region, win a state semifinal and the Division III state championship game, which will kick off at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4 at Massillon's Paul Brown Stadium.

Let's see - No. 2 in the state, but No. 3 in the OVAC - anybody else see something wrong with that?

I do not understand how teams can earn bonus points for playing OVAC teams when there is no mandatory scheduling between OVAC teams. There will never be mandatory scheduling so why give teams bonus points for doing so?

As I have said before, I do not see a lot of OVAC teams lining up to play Big Red.

Any other team in the Valley want to play the schedule Big Red will have next year - which will include Akron Buchtel, Warren G. Harding, Massillon and, quite possibly, Inkster again.

That's three Division I schools.

That help would be for No. 9 Minerva, No. 10 Harrison Central, No. 11 Sheridan and No. 12 Carrollton to lose.

But, all of that is out of the Redskins' hands.

They can only control what they do Friday at Cartwright Field.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

Of course, a finish at No. 8 would mean another trip to Harding Stadium, but that doesn't matter.

Getting to Week 11 is a far cry from last year and maybe all of the critics will jointly jump off coach Andrew Connor's back.

The Huskies need a win and some help to make it to postseason.

St. Clairsville, Harrison Central's opponent, needs a win and some help to make it to the postseason.

Sure hope Joe Eitel's site doesn't crash Friday night and early Saturday morning.

The Golden Bears are firmly in the playoff hunt, but must climb a mountain this week with a visit to West Virginia Class AA No. 2 Magnolia.

Oak Glen's bye is Week 11, so, regardless of what happens Friday night, the Golden Bears must sit and wait for their playoff fate or opponent.

Although, a win against the Blue Eagles will assure them a spot in the playoffs.

The Blue Dons, in my opinion, have a gigantic chip on their collective shoulder pads and want to prove some things.

They are not a cocky bunch - far from it.

They are pretty confident in their abilities and that's the way it should be.

Those things can only be proven on the football field and that, I am guessing, is fine with them.

They got a taste of it last year, making the West Virginia Class A state title game against Williamstown and dearly wants another shot at playing on the turf at Wheeling Island Stadium.

And, please, you can stop with the "who have they played" talk.

Not to compare Madonna with Big Red, but I am not sure how many like-schools are calling over to Weirton to get coach Bob Kramer's crew on their football schedule.

The Blue Dons, No. 4 in the rankings, will not stay there with wins in the final two games - at home against Bishop Donahue and at Clay-Battelle.

The Bruins are No. 1 in the West Virginia Class AAA rankings and I cannot see that changing with victories over John Marshall (2-6) and Musselman (4-4).

That's pretty impressive for a program that still has way too much garbage floating around it.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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