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High school football from Ohio, W.Va.

November 8, 2010

There are too many times when adults need to be reminded about life.

Such was the case Saturday night at the Ohio Division I football regional playoff game between Lakewood St. Edward and Mentor.

It's a stark reminder of life.

Brandon Shime, a junior varsity player at Mentor, died Thursday of a cause that has yet to be determined, and the game started with a moment of silence.

"It took a lot of effort and mental focus for us tonight," Mentor senior defensive back Joe Kasper told the News-Herald. "It was a tough week for us. A roller coaster of emotion."

No. 3 St. Edward won, 35-21, in a contest that was closer than anyone ever thought. It was tied 14-14 midway through the third period.

"It was a great effort by the kids tonight," Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno told the News-Herald. "We gave everything we had for as long as we possibly could."

Of the 96 Ohio playoff games Friday and Saturday, the lower seed won 27 times (28 percent).

That included six No. 1 teams going down - Canton McKinley (31-28 to Medina), Middletown (21-0 to Huber Heights Wayne), Avon (42-35 to Sandusky), Richwood North Union (23-0 to Hamilton Badin), Springfield Catholic Central (44-21 to Minster) and Bucyrus Winford (34-21 to Dalton).

Only seven of the 24 regions had the top four seeds advance.

Dearest football fan, upsets happen all the time.

Your team is not immune to it.

More upsets will happen in Week 2 in Ohio and Week 1 in West Virginia.

It's called sports.

I readily admit I am nobody's apologist.

I write what I believe.

Far too many idiots are taking pleasure in the fact that the Steubenville Big Red football team did not beat a team from Ohio this year.

For whatever reason, here is a list of Ohio teams that are no longer on Big Red's schedule since 2001:

Niles McKinley, Boardman, Zanesville, Buckeye Local, East Liverpool, Rayen, Ashtabula Lakeside, Cleveland South, Middletown, Cleveland JFK, Canton Central Catholic, Akron SVSM, Edison, Beaver Local, Indian Creek, Bishop Watterson and Poland Seminary.

The 2000 and 1997 schedules had 10 Ohio teams on them and the 1999 and 1998 schedules had nine Ohio teams.

Big Red had a verbal agreement with Warren Harding to be its Week 4 opponent, but Warren Harding backed out for some reason and replaced Steubenville with Youngstown East and had some Canadian team in Week 5.

Look, I fully understand why some of those teams are no longer on the schedule.

I get it.

But, as I have said before, I do not see a lot of Ohio teams lining up to play Big Red.

Youngstown once had five public schools. It now has two.

Want to know why Ursuline is better?

Dear Morgantown High School,

Welcome to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference.

Your football team went 4-1 against conference opponents and 9-1 overall.

Brooke, on the other hand, went 5-2 against conference challengers and 8-2 overall.

We know you, the Mohigans, beat the Bruins, 44-20, when meeting face-to-face.

But, sorry, Brooke has won the Class AAAA football championship.


Of course, you can say something similar about Class AA where Bridgeport, which finished 10-0, tied for third with Caldwell (9-1), behind Shadyside (9-1) and Monroe Central (8-2).

The Bulldogs handed the Tigers its only loss.

Yes, Bridgeport, I understand you beat Shadyside head-to-head, but that means nothing in this points system.

Look folks, without mandatory scheduling, something has to be done with the points system.

I fully disclose I do not have the answer, I'm just stating the obvious.

Of course, if we go back to Class AAAA, Big Red finished fourth behind Brooke (which it beat), Morgantown (which it beat) and East Liverpool (which dropped Steubenville).

The Potters were 5-0 against OVAC teams.

Big Red was 3-0.

And, right now, Steubenville has two OVAC teams on the docket for next year because story is Wheeling Park is no longer on the schedule.

So, what's next?

Of course, this is not the first time this has happened and sure won't be the last.

In 2008, Wheeling Park finished 9-1 and won the OVAC football title, ahead of second-place Big Red, which beat the Patriots, 41-7.

Last year, 8-2 Buckeye Local finished in front of 10-0 Brooke and 9-1 Big Red.

The return trip to Wheeling Island Stadium the first weekend of December is infinitely harder for Brooke and Madonna this year.

The Bruins finished No. 8 and host Nicholas County at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

A win gives them a trip to Charleston to take on George Washington, the top seed, which should easily get by Logan.

The Blue Dons finished No. 13 and head to Elizabeth to take on Wirt County at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Six teams in West Virginia gave up less than 100 points in 10 regular season games and Madonna was one.

The Blue Dons allowed 94 points, 41 of which came in their two losses, to Bridgepoprt and Bishop Donahue, and another 20 in a 32-20 victory at Clarksburg Notre Dame.

In the last Associated Press high school football poll, five sportswriters from across Ohio did not vote Youngstown Ursuline as the top Division V team in the state.

Two voted for Kirtland, two for Richwood North Union and one for Fredericktown.

I get voting for your local team.

But, sometimes that just cannot be done.

Kirtland beat two teams with a winning record and finished almost nine points behind Ursuline in the regional standings.

Richwood beat three winning teams, did not play a team with a winning record in the final seven weeks, and finished with about eight points less than the Irish.

Fredericktown finished second in its region. The team that finished first in the region, Oak Hill, wasn't even in the top 10.

Ursuline beat Mentor Lake Catholic and the last five weeks of the season beat St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Charles, Big Red, Cardinal Mooney and Akron SVSM by an average score of 36-17.

The Irish are the two-time Division V defending state champions and lost in the 2007 final to Maria Stein Marion Local.

Thanks to No. 5 Malvern beating No. 4 Willow Wood Symmes Valley, No. 1 Shadyside stays in the area with its regional semifinal game. The Tigers will meet the Hornets at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Harding Stadium.

Jerry Jones, pull the trigger.

(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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