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Hi everyone!

I haven’t posted since last week because I wanted everyone to have a chance to read about the new direction for the site. I’m still very excited to see what people will be interested in posting. That being said, let’s get into the latest.

We just had a very exciting weekend in the world of sports I wanted to talk about! First and foremost I wanted to talk about what everyone’s been talking about, the Mayweather McGregor fight. I did not buy the fight, but have watched it twice on YouTube now, and I think I can make an accurate assessment of what happened.

I am not going one of those writers that believes this fight was fixed, and the outcome was predetermined. I am looking at what we got, and I believe it was a decent fight. The weeks and months leading up to this fight all we had to hear was that McGregor was not going to land a single punch on Mayweather, which turned out to be false. This fight was a fairly entertaining one early on because a complete newcomer to the world of boxing was able to survive eight rounds in the ring with one of the best to ever do it. I was rooting for McGregor from the start, and was not disappointed. I could tell that McGregor’s awkward fighting style was getting to Mayweather. What got to McGregor was the length of the fight. Up until then, McGregor’s longest fight was 25 minutes. On Saturday McGregor had to fight for around 30 minutes, and trust me, five minutes of fighting can feel like hours. In the end, the man that was supposed to win the fight won the fight.


Being an Ohio sports fan, particularly Cleveland sports, I was intrigued by the prospect of having Deshone Kizer start the first game of the year. I say only the first game because, well, I mean it’s the Browns, you never know what could happen. I will say that Kizer looks more promising than any quarterback to put on a Browns uniform in a long time. Everyone knows that Kizer has the physical abilities, though, so the fact that he could sling the ball anywhere on the field he wanted to was no surprise. What shocked me was the mental toughness he showed. During the Browns’ Saturday night preseason game against the Buccaneers, and even in the two games before that, Kizer showed me he is well above where he should be. Being the youngest player in the league, and playing one of the toughest positions in sports, I expected Kizer to be somewhat nervous or intimidated in the pocket, and I expected him to have trouble directing his team at the line of scrimmage. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have seen very little of that. He’s looked poised, stood in and taken hits when needed, and has gotten better directing the team and getting the plays out. The first preseason game, against the Saints, Kizer would let the play clock run all the way to 1 second on almost every play. In the game against the Bucs the ball was being snapped with 5, 6, 7 seconds left on the clock on many plays. He still has a long way to go before I can say he’s even a good starter in the NFL, but I think that he, like the team, is trending in the right direction.

Another big story is that the Patriots lost Wide Receiver Julian Edelman for the season. They’ll be fine…that is all.

The Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was also suspended for the first five games of the season. Anybody really surprised by that? No? Me neither. That is all.

I will be updating the site every other day with new content, and hopefully my readers will contribute to the site, would really love to read, watch, or see what you all find inspiring or interesting.

Again, e-mail me at, and the few rules I have for this were made clear in the New Direction for the Site post. If you have problems e-mailing me for any reason leave a comment and we’ll get it worked out for you.

Thanks everyone,



New Direction for the Site

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this site. I took a long break from covering high school sports to focus on college, as my grades were starting to slip. I’ve refocused myself, gotten them back on track, and am ready to start posting again. I realized over this past year that, while  I do love sports, I also have many other interests, and I am sure you all do too!

I want this site to be a welcoming place for all to share ideas, art, music, or even your own thoughts on your favorite sports teams!

You all have read my takes on sports, and I will continue to post articles from time to time, but I want to hear what everyone else has to say!

All articles, pictures, or videos will be reviewed before being shown on my site. As always with art, it is ok to push the boundaries of what is acceptable, but anything involving racism, sexism, or anything else that me and my reviewers deem hurtful to others will not be published. Also, if you wish for your name to be known with your art or thoughts please specify in the e-mail, if not I will leave the work anonymous.

Now that we’ve gotten the serious stuff out of the way with, I can’t wait to see what you’ve created!

Please send you work to

James A. Garfield Vs. Crestview

First, I would like to apologize to my fans for missing week four (last week) of the football season. I was sick and didn’t want to make things uncomfortable for myself or anyone else. Thanks for understanding. Now back to the action!

Week five kicked off with an exciting match-up between the Garfield G-men and the Crestview  Rebels. Garfield entered the game with an undefeated record (4-0) and was tied for first place with Mogadore and Crestwood for first place in the Portage Trail Conference County Division. The Rebels, meanwhile, entered the game with a .500 record (2-2) and were looking to bounce back after two bad losses to Alliance and John F. Kennedy Catholic respectively. Garfield and Crestview fans packed the stadium for this exciting match-up, and were not disappointed!

The game came down to one thing for both teams, one facet of the game that rarely gets discussed, special teams. Garfield made special teams plays all night that completely changed the game, starting with their very first score. The game had gotten off to a very slow start, Crestview stalled on its first drive, and Garfield had done the same, failing to convert on third down, and had to punt from Crestviews 49 yard-line. Garfield Coach Mike Moser sent out RB Seth Morgan (4 att 4 yds, 1 cth 7 yds 1 drp, 2 tck) to punt. Morgan caught the snap and shuffled to the right, but was met by two Rebel defenders who blew by their blockers. Morgan quickly spun to the left and took off down the sideline. By that point most of the Rebel players had their backs turned, and were running down the field themselves to block and had no idea Morgan was blowing by them. Morgan finished the run in the end zone with 7:10 left in the first quarter.

Coach Moser talked about the run after the game, saying “It was a designed play, that wasn’t supposed to happen like that at all. The defenders got by our blockers and got in (Morgan’s) way so he had to improvise. When it comes down to it, it was just a special athlete making a special play.”

Garfield scored again at the 2:03 mark on a five yard run from Senior power RB Kyle Borrelli. The Garfield offensive line dominated on the play, blowing up a huge hole for Borrelli who waltzed into the end zone. After a bad snap on the PAT resulted in a missed pass by the holder for a 2-point conversion the score was 13-0 going into the second.

Garfield got going early again, this time in the second quarter. At the 7:18 mark RB Anthony Denigris (3 att 51 yds 1 TD 1 fum) down a reverse end-around 51 yards for the score. Garfield’s offense often used reverses, fakes, and trickery. This is the first game I’ve seen them play this year, but it is clear the coaching staff did a good job coming up with a plan this year. While the G-men may not have the most explosive athletes across the board, they worked this human chess match like pros. After another stalled drive for Crestview, the G-men got down the field in a hurry after Senior QB Dalton Fall (13-19 184 yds 2 TDs) nailed Senior WR Tommy Bissler (3 cth 73 yds) for a 60 yard gain. Borrelli took it to the house again, this time from 4 yards out to make the score 27-0 with 4:37 to go in the half. The score would remain that way, and the G-men would not look back.

Where Crestview struggled was up front. The G-men were routinely blowing up their offensive line, especially against the run. The Crestview offensive line could not, I repeat, could not block for the run! The were ok blocking for the pass, only giving up one sack, but they got no push on the run. Even though the Rebels got 121 yards rushing as a team, that was really hard running by their RBs and missed tackles. That being said, we move to the second half.

Garfield got the ball first to start the second half, and, remember that special teams thing we talked about earlier…yeah, that…it came up in a huge way right out of the gate. Borrelli took the kick off 85 yards, down the right sideline for most of it, until he was finally tackled at the Rebel five yard-line. After two failed runs Fall found his Senior TE Ben Nowak (3 cth 43 yds 2 TDs), for his first of two touchdowns, in the back of the end zone. Nowak had slipped right behind the zone coverage and drifted to the middle of the end zone where Borrelli found him between two LBs, making the score 34-0 with 11:03 left in the third. Crestview finally got on the board with 3:31 to go on a 5 yard power run by RB Andrew Yanssens (8 att 55 yds 1 TD) behind the LG, making the score 34-7. Garfield responded on its next drive with 1:32 in the third. Fall found Nowak again, for the pairs second touchdown, on a 26 yard fade to the right side of the end zone. Nowak got behind double coverage for an easy completion. The score was 41-7 going into the fourth.

Understandably, with the game being a blowout at that point, there weren’t too many interesting plays. Crestview did get its final score of the game with 10:02 to go in the quarter. QB Caleb Hill (4-9 34 yds 0 TDs, 6 att 2 yds 1 TD 1 fum) took the ball on a fake to the back 10 yards for the score.

After the game I caught up with Garfield Coach Mike Moser, and he talked about when he expected from his team, heading into their first PTC game next week against Waterloo, saying “24 hours. I always tell my guys, you have 24 hours to enjoy this win as much as possible, then it’s back to work. This week we’re going to improve on all the little things. I thought we did a lot of good, and give credit to Crestview for any of the bad things we did. They’re a good team, a great team actually, and we have all the respect in the world for them, which is why we are enjoying this win more than most, because they’re so good.” Now that the season is half way through we will get to enjoy a lot more league play from all teams. I know I am really excited for the second half of the season, and I hope all of you are as well.

Thanks to all my fans for your time,


Streetsboro Vs. Huron

For its first home game of the year Streetsboro faced a non-conference school: The Huron Tigers. It was a huge night for the Streetsboro school district, and the Streetsboro community as a whole. The school put on a huge tailgating display for anybody who wanted to join, providing food trucks, a face painting station, and even a hey bale ride for the kids. It was truly an exciting night, and it was easy to see that the Streetsboro fans were pumped for their opener. Streetsboro entered the game 1-1, losing their previous game to Crestwood, while Huron entered the game 0-2 and desperate for a win. So with that, let’s see what happened during this showdown.


Both teams started off slowly, with not many noteworthy plays. The only score of the quarter came on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Huron’s Senior RB Jake Ortman (7 Att 32 Yds 2 TDs). Although the score would remain 6-0 because Huron’s kicker, Eric Martin, just didn’t have it in him that night. Martin wound up kicking four kickoffs out of bounds, at one point kicking two in a row out of bounds, and missed that extra point. If I could offer one piece of advice to the young man it would be this, improve your accuracy. Martin has a good amount of power in his leg. As a matter of fact Martin would go on to make two field goals, 32 and 41 yards respectively. So whether it was just nerves that got to Martin, or just a lack of work on his accuracy, he needs to put in a little time on ball placement. Back to the game. Streetsboro just could not get going in the first half. When it comes to the first quarter, they tried several screen passes on their first drive that worked with mild success. Streetsboro would have a decent drive going, but penalties, penalties, and more penalties got in the way. The team looked lost to start. Many players did not know where to line up, plays came in late, there was a lot of poor communication. There was not really one person to blame, it was more of a whole team effort that lead to a poor first half performance.


Streetsboro was driving at the end of the first quarter, and into the second quarter. Fans were starting to gain some of that energy back as the Rockets set up on the 15 yard line. Streetsboro’s Junior QB Will Butler, who had a good game on the whole (23-31 213 2 TDs, 16 Att 59 Yds 1 TD 1 Fum), scrambled for a 6-yard gain to his right before being hit by Huron LB Brandon Dowell (1 Tck 1 FF 1 FR). Dowell not only hit him hard enough to dislodge the ball, but also scooped it up and took it 51-yards to the Rockets 40 yard line. Rocket fans were crushed, all their momentum and life had just been sucked out of them. Huron wound up taking that opportunity and turning it into a score. Ortman powered it in for his second touchdown of the game with 9:27 left in the half. After another stalled Streetsboro drive Huron was able to get into field goal position, where Martin nailed a 32-yard field goal to go up 16-0 with 4:34. To add insult to injury Huron went for an onside kick just after the score, and recovered! Now Streetsboro was really in trouble! All energy was gone, and many fans were starting to get upset. Those bad feelings got downright ugly once Streetsboro gave up a 31-yard touchdown run to Junior Huron RB Lucas Critelli  (15 Att 115 Yds 1 TD, 3 Cth 30 Yds) with 2:12 left in the second. Critelli took a sweep to the right and just flat out beat all the Rocket defenders, whether it was over-powering them or running faster. By the time the Rockets offense got the ball back there was 2:00 left in the half, and fans were not expecting much. The Rockets were down 23-0 and all hope seemed lost, but that was not the thinking of the team itself. The Rockets drove the ball down field, using a lot of play action roll-outs and were able to get into the Tigers red zone with just over a minute left. Coach Arlesic (Streetsboro) put the ball in the hands of his QB and he delivered on a beautiful fade to the left corner of the end zone, finding Senior slot WR Dakari Carter (9 Cth 101 Yds 2 TDs) for the Rockets first score with 58 seconds left in the half. Coach Arlesic talked about that vitally important score after the game, saying,

“I thought the momentum changed when we got our first touchdown. When we got it we were able to sit back, take a breath, and say ‘you know what, we got this’.” Coach also commented on the teams mistake and penalties of the first half, saying “We (the coaching staff) didn’t expect that at all. We wanted to come out here and use our speed, but give Huron credit, they played better than we did. We had a turnover, and gave up the onside kick, which gave them 14 points, and really wound up making the difference at half time.” It was clear that Streetsboro had a lot of work to do in the second half, but they proved they were up to the task.


The second half did not start out pretty for the Rockets by any means, it was more of the same. Huron got the ball, and started on their own 30 yard line. Huron called a QB read, and the ball wound up in the hands of Critelli who took it 70-yards to the house on the first offensive play of the half, making the score 30-8 real quick. Streetsboro did not take long to respond though. On the ensuing kickoff WR Keshaun Jones (9 Cth 55 Yds) the kick 80-yards for the touchdown. In an instant life was back in the Streetsboro fans as Jones broke the first tackle, second, third, fourth, and finally just out sprinted everyone and scored the touchdown. But, as excited as the Rockets were, they knew they had a long way to go yet. The Rockets wound up missing the 2-point conversion, making the score 30-6 Tigers. The Rockets defense had life, and completely shut down anything Huron tried to do, especially through the air. Streetsboro crept even closer when, off a fumbled snap by Huron’s punter which resulted in red zone field position for the Rockets, Rocket QB Butler powered it in with 58 seconds. After Butler connected with Jones on a 2-point conversion the score was 30-22 with one quarter of action to go.


Both teams battled hard in the fourth quarter. Both defenses shut down the opposing offenses. Streetsboro fans were on the edge of their cool bleacher seats, some barely being able to look when their defenses were on the field. It wasn’t until there was just 2:00 left in the whole game before Streetsboro was able to get a solid drive going. The Rockets faught, scratched, and clawed their way into the Tigers red zone. Everyone, including myself, was on their feet as the Rockets drive stalled on the four yard line. The intensity could not have been higher as the Rockets and Tigers lined up against each other on a 4th and goal from the 4 with just 1:00. Streetsboro had no timeouts, and a failure to get into the endzone would surely result in doom. Butler and Junior powerhouse back Kendal Russell (9 Att 67 Yds 1 TD) waited in a shot gun formation for the snap. Butler took the snap and handed off to Russell who was stopped in the backfield by a defender…but he would not be denied by just one Tiger. He bowled over the poor young man and headed for the end zone, where he was met by TWO Tiger defenders this time…but Russell was not going to be denied by just two Tigers. Russell obliterated the two defenders and scored, making the game 30-28. The Rockets gave it to Russell again for the 2-point conversion, and he did what he does best, slamming it up the middle to even the score at 30, sending it into overtime.


In overtime Huron got the ball first on the 20 yard line. They failed to even get a first down and had to settle for a 41-yard field goal by Martin. Now it was the Rockets turn, and a touchdown would win it. The Rockets drove the ball down to the 4 yard line, where the whole crowd expected Russell to run over a few more defenders. Instead Butler took the snap and nailed Dakari Carter on a hard slant to win the game. It was a good finish to one of the most exciting games I’ve covered in my short career. After the game Coach Arlesic gave a few comments about his teams resilient effort, saying,

“We kept believing, no one quit on our side line, and that’s a sign of a great team. We didn’t point fingers after the Crestwood loss. We owned it, and came out here as a team, and never gave up.”

Rootstown Vs. Fairport Harbor (Harding)

Hello Portage Trail Conference fans! I know I am just as happy as you are that high school football is back across the nation, and especially in our local northeastern Ohio area. I have to apologize to my fans for missing week one, it was completely my fault, I had my dates mixed up, thinking this week was the first. But, I am happy to report I was on the ball this week, and covered a great game for fans of the Rootstown Rovers. It was almost a perfect night, weather wise, for football. Cool, crisp, a slight breeze. Rovers fans packed the stadium in anticipation of their team starting 2-0 on the season after a solid victory in the first week against Newton Falls. The Rovers did not disappoint either, winning 56-7. Here’s how it happened:

The game started off very slow for both sides. The Rovers and Skippers both pounded the rock on the ground early. The Rovers only threw three passes in the first half, with one completion for a measly 7 yards, while the Skippers only threw one pass in the first quarter, and it was dropped by WR Mitch Yommer (1 catch 80 yards 1 TD). Yommer, in all honesty, had a very rough night. He was redeemed by one play that will be discussed later, but he had four drops throughout the game. He has to sure up his hands by Fair Port’s next game. The Rovers defense did a great job of closing up any rushing lanes the Skippers attempted to make. The Rovers front seven, led by Seth Noel (6 tackles 2 TFL). The action didn’t pick up until the second quarter, when the Rovers really let loose.

The Rovers scored 35 points in the second quarter due, in large part, because of their play through the air. Sophomore QB Scott Sterger (7/12 139 yards 2 TDs) had an amazing second quarter, with almost all of their score coming as a result of his passes. The first score of the game came in the first minute of the second quarter. Sterger connected with Junior TE Nathan Moore (2 catches 76 yards 1 TD) on a 56 yard pass. Moore found himself wide open in the middle of the field after slanting over from the left side. He got behind the Safety and never let up, even dragging a defender into the end zone! After a stop on the other end the Rovers went on another nice drive that was caped off by an easy 1 yard rushing touchdown, up the middle, by Christian Reddick (12 attempts 85 yards 3 TDs) with 9:19 to go in the second. Reddick was helped by two consecutive 19 yard receptions by Giovanni Sibbio (5 att 33 yds, 4 cth 47 yds 1 TD) and Dillon Conner (5 att 47 yds, 1 cth 19 yds) respectively. The Skippers starting QB Tanner Nahorniak (1/11 80 yds 1 TD) went down with an injury with 7:24 left in the second, which meant the Skippers had to send out Freshmen backup QB Sammy Schuster. How to put into words…Sammy is…young…we’ll go with young. I am not quite sure how the Skipper coaching staff thought it would be a good idea to make Sammy a Quarterback…but the experiment didn’t work. Let me make it clear, I don’t enjoy ‘ripping’ people as they say…but the play calling the coaches gave Sammy was terrible. I can’t put it all on the kid, he went out and at least tried to do his job. The Fairport Harbor coaching staff should feel embarrassed and ashamed that they threw this Freshmen out their and immediately had him throwing the ball down field. You can’t do that to a Freshmen, it is just inexcusable. The Skippers swung Schuster out to the left off of play action on his first play. The pass was intended for a receiver that was at least 12 yards down field if not 15. To the average person, that may not seem like a long with to throw, but to a Freshmen throwing his first pass that is a very tough play to run. He has to fake it to the back, turn his own back to the play (so he doesn’t see the receivers or defense for a split second), and try to complete a pass on the run. Long story short, that lead to the third score for the Rovers. Chandler England, CB for the Rovers, intercepted the ball, which was thrown high and behind the intended receiver, and took it 21 yards to the end zone with 7:17 in the quarter. The game stalled a little after that, with both sides pounding the rock once more before the Rovers Reddick broke his first long TD of the day. Reddick took a sweep to the right 27 yards to the house, weaving his way through defenders, giving the Rovers a 28-0 lead. Fair Port Harbors lone bright moment of the game came not long after that. Starting QB Nahorniack returned with 3:04 left and delivered a strike with 1:07 to go to the aforementioned Mitch Yommer for an 80 yard TD. While I did give Yommer grief earlier for his rough day, I have to give credit where credit is due: Yommer is an incredible athlete with a tremendously high top speed. He caught the ball with several defenders in position to tackle him, but nobody could catch him. So, there you go Fair Port, I gave ya one. With less than a minute to go the Rovers made a mad dash for the end zone to sneak in one last score. Sterger delivered some strikes, and caped it off with a cool 10 yard touchdown pass to Sibbio off a play action roll out to the right.

After the game I caught up with Coach Mark Geis (Rovers) to talk about his game plan. I asked whether it was the plan to start slowly and attack strong in the second, or if it just felt right in the moment? He responded “We were getting good gains in the first, but we started getting so many holding penalties we decided to switch things up in the second. It wound up working out for us though.” Coach Geis was spot on. I must admit I did not keep track of the penalties in the game (I prefer to focus on as many positive stats as possible) but every time I looked up it seemed the Rovers were being called for a hold. It surprised me, as it did Coach Geis and his staff, because Rootstown is so much better than Fair Port, and they were getting so many good chunks of yardage on each play, they didn’t need to hold at all. But, any of us who have ever played sports, even recreational sports, will know that sometimes we can’t get out of our own way.

The second half didn’t provide much entertainment, the game was already won. But there is something that Coaches love about a game already won, at least you can get the young guys some experience. Coach Geis talked about that after the game, saying “We love being able to get those guys out there. They work just as hard as everyone else, with two-a-days, and all the long practices, they just don’t usually get the payoff. We were happy we could play those guys almost all the second half.”

One player that stood out to me, and the rest of the crowd, in the second half was Freshmen RB Gavin Schlaubach (3 att 57 yds 2 TDs). Schlaubach scored his first touchdown in the fourth quarter with 5:56 to go on a simple right sweep from 1 yard out. Schlaubach would score again with 59 seconds on a 45 yard counter to the right (I’m saying to the right a lot aren’t I, might want to sure that side up Fair Port). Gavin is only 5’9, 150 lbs, but he plays like a much larger back. He has a lot of speed and some shifty moves. I think Schlaubach is a player the Rovers will really count on down the line.

Rootstown is now 2-0, as said before, on the season. They play East Canton next week in a match-up that all Rovers fans are in high anticipation of. It would be great for the Rovers to start 3-0 on the season before they get into league play.

Thank you to all of my fans for reading my articles, and I appreciate any feedback I get

Zachary Bellar


Rootstown Vs. Crestwood

The game between Crestwood and Rootstown was a lot more entertaining then the final score proved to be. There were several key in-game battles that provided fans with a lot of excitement. Ultimately it was Crestwood winning 79-43 over Rootstown. The first good battle was between the guards. For Crestwood it was Senior Point Guard Jacob Krupp (16 pts, 4 rbs, 6 asts) who lead his team like a true captain, and Caleb Kaut (23 pts, 3 rbs, 10-14 FTs) who gave his school all he had. The next battle was between a pair of big men. Center Nathan Moore (2 pts, 8 rbs, 2 blks) put up a fight in the paint, while Junior Forward Jordan Fabry (35 pts, 12 rbs, 2 asts) went off, scoring from every possible location on the floor.

The game started with the battle of the guards. Both team started out slow, except for Krupp who came out like a man on a mission.

“Krupp is one of our leaders for a reason, it’s why we voted him Captain.” Coach Jakacki said of his Senior Guard, “He’s has a knack for making play. He was the one who settled us down…the fact that he scored nine points and distributed the ball the way he did really helped us.”

While Rootstown was busy turning the ball over 6 times in a row to start of, Krupp scored his teams first 9 points. Krupp’s first score came off of a Fabry steal at the 6:00 mark. Fabry found Krupp on the fast break and Krupp laid it in perfectly. All of Krupps scores were inside the arc. He surprisingly struggled from the three point line all game, only hitting on one in the second half. Kaut was finally able to get Rootstown on the board scoring five straight himself, including a three pointer. Kaut drove the ball well inside all game long, and played a fine game, but he had zero help from an offensive standpoint. It looked as if Rootstown had a lack of energy, but Coach Beshara described it a different way, saying

“I wouldn’t call it lack of energy, it was clearly nervous energy which isn’t very constructive. We’re playing a lot of young players now, and that nervous energy leads to a lot of turnovers.” I will not say Coach Beshara is wrong, I just felt that they looked sluggish with their decision making and movement on offense. Coach Beshara obviously knows his team better than I do, so I can’t say for sure whether it was a lack of energy or nervous energy, whatever it was it was bad. Two of Rootstown’s opening six turnovers were back court violations.

But, why keep focusing on the bad, right? Let’s get back to the good parts of the game.

Fabry scored off an easy steal while the Rovers were trying to simply inbound the ball at the beginning of the second, making the score 15-7. Rootstown made a little bit of a run after that, highlighted by a Kaut and-1 with 5:16 left to make the score 13-19, Red Devils. Kaut could not keep the Rovers in it himself for long though. Fabry hit one of his several threes with 2:23 left to extend the Red Devils score to ten, 27-17. The Red Devils went into the half leading 32-23.

It should be noted that there was a bit of a scary situation at the end of the first half when Krupp took a hard fall, smacking his face off the floor. He ran of the court immediately, and left a long trail of blood that took several minutes to clean up. Krupp came back out after half time and played well for his team. He was not nearly as effective, but did hit his only three and played good defense.

The second half was dedicated to one man, and one man only. Even though he’s only a high school kid I say a man because he played like it. Jordan Fabry scored 21 of his 35 points in the second half. His best shots of the night were when he would catch the ball along the side line with his back to the basket. Fabry would take two to three dribbles, backing down his man, and would whip his body around and shoot a soft fade. He made almost every fade on the block he took. Eventually he got to the point where he was firing up threes like it was nobodies business. But not only was he drilling threes, and fade away jumpers, he was crashing the boards regularly. He finished with 12 of them, a lot of them offensive boards.

“We know he’s capable of doing that any given night.” Coach Jakacki said of Fabry’s huge night, “He’s a special player. Teams know he’ll be our focal point, but you can’t sleep on our other guys. We’re really proud of his effort, he hit the boards well with 12, and played an amazing game.”

No doubt we will look forward to seeing what Fabry and Krupp do in the future. As for Rootstown the question is, can they can’t anyone to help out Kaut?

Field Vs. Coventry

The Field Falcons hosted the Coventry Comets in a game that many thought wouldn’t be competitive. I mean, let’s be honest, the Comets are on another level right now. With players like Dustin Burkhart (13 pts, 4 rbs, 4 stls), Conner Wess (14 pts, 8 rbs, 2 asts), and DuVale Patterson (6 pts, 3 rbs, 6 asts) roaming around the perimeter you know you’re set there. On top of that the Comets have an incredible big man in Bryce Hargrove (23 pts, 11 rbs, 1 blk) dominating the paint on a game to game basis. All of this is a recipe for disaster for opposing teams. That opponent on Tuesday was the Field Falcons. Coach Tyler Boyle and the Falcons were tasked with trying to defend all of these weapons, in addition to trying to score on them.

“They have a really good team, with a lot of really good players.” Coach Boyle said after the game, “Our plan was to try and take (Conner) Wess out of the game offensively and living with the outcome.”

The Falcons plan worked in the first half, although Coventry got out to a hot start. On the opening possession Dustin Burkhart stole the ball and took it down the court, scoring on a monster dunk with two Falcon defenders draped all over him. There was surprisingly no foul call on the play. I say that because the officials seemed to be jumpy with the whistle. Not saying that both teams didn’t play sloppy basketball at times, but there were 10 total fouls, five on each team, called in the first quarter alone. Thankfully that calmed down during the rest of the game, but it did hurt the overall product in the first.

Field failed to score on their next possession and Coventry took it back down the court. They set up in their half court offense and gave Hargrove the ball in the post. It should be noted that Falcon Center Garrett Moore played as good a defensive game against Hargrove all night, but it just wasn’t enough. Hargrove is on another level at this point in his high school basketball career. Hargrove backed him down and pump faked Moore into a foul. Hargrove finished nicely and got the and-one. He failed to make the free throw, but they still lead 4-0. Senior Guard Luke Petelin finally responded for the Falcons at the 5:36 mark with a deep bank three pointer from the top of the arc to make it 4-3 Coventry. Because of the foul calls and sloppy play by Coventry, Field was able to stay in the game early, but Coventry still lead 13-11 after one.

DuVale Patterson started the second quarter with a three pointer to give his team the 16-11 lead, but Field responded quickly with a three from the right corner by Colman Begue (7 pts, 4 rbs) making the score 16-14 Coventry. Later on in the second Trevon Ridgell (11 pts, 5 rbs, 4 asts) took a missed Coventry shot and called his own number on the fast break and scores on a good looking layup to take the 19-16 lead with 5:00 to go in the half. The Falcons rode that lead all the way to halftime where they lead 27-23. Coventry fans were in disbelief of how poorly their team was playing.

Coventry struggled with turnovers and settled for outside shots often. Those perimeter players mentioned earlier are great weapons to have, but in order to get good open looks you have to attack and use pick-and-rolls once in a while. They seemed to be content swinging the ball around the three point line and taking whatever shot got open the fastest instead of forcing the defense to move. Field took advantage of the Comets lazy play and forced a lot of tough shots.

“They played us in a junk defense.” Coach Wess said after the game “We needed to hit shots to get them out of that. Burkhart made a few shots, DuVale Patterson hit a few threes that really helped us. Once we got them to go man to man we knew we could pretty much take over.” The “junk” defense Coach Wess talked about was the 2-3 zone the Falcons played, they had to players guarding the top of the perimeter, one players in the paint and two on the corners. They also used a lot of double teams and traps. It worked well in the first half when the shots weren’t falling, but when the Comets were hitting perimeter shots with ease in the second half it became a lot harder to only have two players on the perimeter.

The Falcons moved the ball well in the half court offense early on in the second half. They worked the ball inside to Garrett Moore often and he would kick it out to his snipers, specifically Guard Curtis Cutlip (14 pts, 2 asts) who was on fire in the second half. He and Moore were the main reasons the Falcons stayed in the game as long as they did.

The Comets were able to ride Hargrove late in the third and for most of the fourth, winning 69-52.

One last moment I enjoyed from the game was something that happened in the third quarter. Two players, a Falcon player and a Comet player, got into a small skirmish while fighting for a loose ball. The situation would normally warrant double ejections and the game would move on, but the situation would be very tense. The head referee took another course of action. Instead of doing what ever other ref would do throughout all three levels, from pros, to college, to other high school refs, he waited a few seconds and brought the two players face to face. He took a moment to speak to the two kids and had them shake hands before moving on with the game, and waved off the play. Many parents and die hard fans were unimpressed and booed, but as a neutral observer I enjoyed the teaching moment. Instead of punishing the kids the ref taught them that it’s ok to show passion, but at the end of the day you have to shake hands and move on.

Ravenna Vs. Woodridge

A bewildered Coach Gopp (Ravens, 0-2) looked at me after the game. The game had long ended, the opposition had filed out and his team had scattered itself. I had asked the first year Ravens head coach about what his vision for the team was, what his game plan was, and how he felt his team accomplished its goals. He looked as if he was about to answer, then paused, before saying “I don’t feel like we come in ready to play, it’s unfortunate because we work, and work, and work, on things and nobody knows what they’re doing, except for a few.” Coach Gopp could not be more right than that. His team simply did not come out ready to play against the Bulldogs. They looked like a rusty JV team going against a Varsity team that was clicking all night.

The Ravens were beat in almost every possible way. Whether it was on the glass, passing the ball, in the turnover game, and in the end it was on the score board. Woodridge wound up beating the Ravens 62-40 in a game that got out of hand just minutes in. The Bulldogs shot out to an 11-0 run to start the game, lead by starting Point Guard Preston Clark who had three assists and a bucket early (6 pts 2 rbs 3 ast). The Ravens first bucket came on a three point shot by Forward Brady Starkey at the 5:58 mark to make it 3-11. The Bulldogs marched to the free throw line during the first quarter, going 6-8 at the line. The Ravens committed many unnecessary, and, to be quite honest, dumb fouls. A huge part of the Bulldogs early offense was Guard Keaon Potts (9 pts 2 rbs 2 ast) who did most of his damage in the first. The Bulldogs wound up closing out the first quarter with a big lead, 24-9, and never looked back.


The second quarter was more of the same. The Bulldogs had more fight in them, and as coach Gopp said afterwards the Ravens didn’t come ready to play. At the 6:47 mark Forward Marlon King scored on an and-one after snagging an offensive rebound. He missed the free throw, but at that point it didn’t matter. It was clearly visible that the Ravens patience was wearing thin. Their teamwork broke down on offense, their defensive rotations got lazy, and they committed a lot of sloppy fouls. The Bulldogs took a 39-16 lead into the locker room.

Some interesting half time stats were:

Mason Lydic (15 pts 7 rbs 2 ast) was a force for the Bulldogs, especially on the glass. Three of his seven rebounds on the game were offensive.

Woodridge pounded Ravenna on the glass in the first half. They had a 26-14 advantage at the mid-way mark. Winning the rebounding battle by 12 at the end of a game is a huge feat, but beating a team by 12 at the half? That is what you would call domination.

Ravenna lead the game in turnovers in the first half with 13 to the Bulldogs 8. Double digit turnovers in a half makes it extremely difficult on any team to stay in it.

There weren’t many highlight plays in the second half. Mason Lydic started the third off with a three pointer making the score 42-16. Woodridge continued to play passing lanes, crash the boards, and get solid shots up, while on the other side the Ravens looked like a lost team at times.

I must give some credit to the Ravens. Even though they had abandoned their team efforts for a time, they were able to spark themselves while playing “Stats ball” towards the end of the third and start of the fourth. Kevin Jenkins played a good ball game, scoring 13 points along with 3 boards and 2 assists.

The Bulldogs coasted to victory in the fourth quarter and wound up beating the Ravens 62-40. After the game Coach Blevins talked about his Bulldogs, saying “We’re trying to limit our mistakes, trying to execute.” Coach Blevins talked about how it was nice to be able to play certain players that he wouldn’t have normally played “It’s tough being the 11th or 12th guy on the bench. You do the same amount of work as everyone else with a lot less reward. When you have nights like tonight and you can get guys some extra playing time it’s nice.” Coach also talked about his top scorer, Mason Lydic, saying “He’s a solid guy. I know a lot of people would never be able to say he’s a Sophomore. He’s a very instinctive player, probably the most instinctive player I’ve seen in a while.”

Meanwhile, across the way Coach Gopp was singing a different tune. Instead of praising his team he had a question for them “I asked everyone on the team: Who wants to be here? It’s simple, we are not working hard enough in practice, it’s showing during the game, and we are not even working hard during the games.” That will be a point we will certainly have to pay attention to as the season goes on: Who really wants it in Ravenna?

Upcoming Basketball Season

Well PTC fans, basketball season is upon us, and what a season we have to look forward to! So many questions will be answered this season:

Will the Mogadore Wildcats be able to sustain their dominant athletic run?

Will Coventry be able to keep up their progress and challenge a team like Mogadore?

How will the Ravenna Ravens react to having a new head coach? Will they be able to make progress, or will they struggle more?

We are excited to see the answers to questions like these, and many more that will be asked this season, and we are excited to be able to figure it out with you!

For this first week I will be at Ravenna for when the Ravens take on the Bulldogs.

Week 9 Crestwood Vs. Southeast

Well PTC fans, our football season is drawing to a close. And as it does so we look ahead eagerly to the upcoming playoffs. The race is heating up, with Crestwood right on the tail of Mogadore. With last nights win over Southeast (2-7(2-2)), Crestwood (7-2(3-1)) greatly helps out their chances of making the playoffs, although, as Coach Pete Thompson clearly stated, the playoffs are not his teams focus “We don’t talk…about the playoffs at all. We’re not a perennial playoff team. All 715 teams in Ohio say they want to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but if you talk about it too much you could lose sight of what it takes on a week to week bases to be successful.”

Everything that Coach Thompson said is true. In order to be a solid team you have to be able to remain focused week to week. When you only have ten games a year to make an impact it certainly ups the intensity you need to have each week. You see this in professional sports. In pro football each game means more than in pro basketball, and where the certainly mean more than any single pro baseball game.

Crestwood kicked off to start the game, but Southeast couldn’t do anything with the ball. They missed on three passes and wound up having to punt the ball. The Red Devils Aaron Czerny returned the punt 46 yards for the touchdown. Czerny broke three tackles, including two nasty spin moves, en route to scoring.

Once the Pirates got the ball back it was more of the same. Their starting quarterback struggled to place the ball in areas where his receivers could make clean catches. His arm was weak, and his passes highly inaccurate. He did throw several decent, catchable, passes, but his receivers dropped every one. To be honest, the best receiver through three-quarters of the game was the starting quarterback Billy Rose (2/12 34-yds, 1- cth 10 yds) who logged in a catch early to get his team a first down. Rose connected with receiver Dominic Nicolino on a 30-yard pass. The Pirates drive would then stall, and they would be forced to give it back to the Red Devils.

The Red Devils struck early on the ground. Senior running back Aaron Czerny rushed for an explosive 45-yard touchdown with 3:43 to go in the first, giving his team the 14-0 lead. Czerny helped lead his team on the ground, rushing for 170 yards on 16 carries and scoring three total touchdowns (1 punt return, 1 rush, and 1 receiving).

The Red Devils made a quick stop on defense and got the ball back inside their own ten yard line with just over a minute left in the first. Yet again, though, the Red Devils struck gold with a big play. Junior quarterback Jordan Fabry connected with fellow Junior Logan Thut for a 70-yard touchdown pass. Crestwood fans were on their feet in excitement as their team quickly jumped out to a 20 point lead. The Pirates blocked the point after attempt, but as was said, the Red Devils lead 20-0 at the end of the first.

The second didn’t see much action. Southeast continued to struggle moving the ball, and Crestwood continued to pound the rock. Crestwood pushed their way all the way down to the three yard line of Southeast when Fabry connected with Czerny for a 3-yard touchdown. Czerny got great position on the outside of the defender, and Fabry threw a pass with the most touch he’d thrown all evening in the right corner of the end zone. Neither team would score after that, and both teams headed to the locker room with very different emotions. Crestwood lead Southeast 28-0 at the half.

The Red Devils got the ball first in the second half. The went on a slow, methodical drive that ate up a lot of time off the clock, eventually scoring on a 7-yard pass from Fabry to Thut with 5:47 to go. Southeast was trying to throw everything they had, and push every button they could, to try and find a way to move the ball. They wound up benching Rose in favor of Sophomore QB Dylan Rogers.

The Red Devils scored one last time to end the third, on an 18-yard run by Thut, making the score 41-0 going into the fourth.

Rogers wound up playing the game of his life so far for Southeast, albeit in garbage time. But, in defence of Rogers, for a player like Rogers who doesn’t have much experience at all, any experience he gets is vital to him. Judging by how he played, the differences between his game and Rose’s game (Or should I say improvements), shows me that Rogers will be something special for the Pirates in the future. The kid went out and showed me he had arm strength, accuracy (Especially on the deep ball), and that he can step up in pressure and deliver.

The first of Rogers two scores came on a 63-yards connection with Senior Reed Myers. The Red Devils sent a blitz after Rogers, but a stepped up in the pocket and fit the ball between three defenders to find his man. Myers then did the rest, using his blazing speed to burn past the defenders for the score. The second of his scores came when the Pirates went on a long drive. The drive ate up more time than usual since the running clock rule came into effect. Rogers lead his team down the field, and eventually found his other Senior receiver Dominic Nicolino for the 7-yard score.

It should be noted that Thut rushed for a 93-yard touchdown on a simple rush to the left with 1:12 left in the game, on a play that was only supposed to burn the clock. It appeared, during the first ten yards of the run, that Thut kept waiting for a defender to hit him, but once he realized that there was not a defender close to him he turned on the jets and burned the Pirates for the score. The Red Devils missed the PAT, but it didn’t matter. Crestwood beat Southeast 47-14.

As Crestwood comes into the final week of the regular season I’m sure they can’t help but wonder what the future has in store for them. Mogadore faces an underwhelming Rootstown team that started the year hotter than any team in the league, while Crestwood finishes against an abysmal Waterloo team that is limping to the finish line.

As for Southeast this next week should be about the future. Rose has already proven that he cannot handle the pressure. I would put the ball in the hands of the Sophomore and see what the kid can do. If you’re Southeast you have nothing to lose here, you aren’t making the playoffs, so why not see what you have there?