CHANEY VS. CANFIELD
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Canfield High Stadium.
Last year: On its way to a 10-0 regular season, Chaney prevailed 14-7.
Chaney (1-0) scouting report: The Cowboys are getting accustomed to big games. After losing last year's first-round playoff game to Niles in overtime, they went to overtime in their 2001 opener against Austintown Fitch. Chaney prevailed on the road 20-14 when junior Ed McElroy ran 20 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Senior Juan Serrano made his first start at quarterback, stepping into the shoes filled previously by Brad Smith. Serrano, a wide receiver during his sophomore and junior seasons, came through with a 45-yard fourth-quarter run that put Chaney ahead 14-6. Senior inside linebacker D.J. Fahndrich was impressive defensively, showing off his leadership skills while going "all out" the whole game.
The coach says: "We talked about it before we went on the field [against Fitch]. The two main ingredients in that game were 'team' and 'toughness.' How much more can they demonstrate hanging together and taking turns stepping up and making plays? They [Fitch] kept coming at us in waves, and our kids stayed strong." On Serrano running the offense, "[Fitch] came at us and stuffed us a lot, but he handled the ball well." On Canfield, "They're a similar team [to Fitch]. They've got a good tailback in [Tim] Dewberry and a solid fullback in [Mike] Turjanica. The quarterback [Leo Sorice] runs the offense well. They're young, but [Coach Mike Pavlansky] has them going in the right direction." -- Ron Berdis.
Canfield (1-0) scouting report: Mike Pavlansky's head coaching debut was successful, albeit shorter than expected. Because of an electrical problem with Canfield High's stadium lights, the Cardinals' game against Ballou (Washington D.C.) ended in a 6-0 victory after the first half. The difference in the game was junior quarterback Leo Sorice's 1-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Dan Leonard with nine seconds remaining. Sophomore left guard Jarek Esarco, a first-time starter, was impressive, as was junior cornerback Tom Rogers. The Cardinals are coming off an 8-4 season in which they lost in a regional semifinal to Millersburg West Holmes. From that team, they return just three players on offense -- junior Tim Dewberry (TB), Leonard and Sorice -- and two on defense -- seniors Tom Banna (LB) and Gavin DiRusso (CB).
The coach says: "We saw a lot of improvement from the Fitch scrimmage [the week prior to Ballou]. As a young team, you have to continue to grow in your technique and assignments." On winning the first game, which lasted one half, "You're never disappointed in a win, no matter how it comes. As a young team, we'll take wins any way we can get them." On the shortened game's effect on this week, "No doubt, it could be a factor, not having four quarters under your belt just so the kids know what the duration of the game is like. None of our linemen have ever played four quarters of varsity football." On Chaney, "The first thing that impresses you is their size. We need to find some way to control the line of scrimmage. Another cause for concern is their quarterback [Serrano] and tailback [McElroy], and their kicker [Charlie Jaminet] is one of the best in the area." -- Pavlansky.
NILES VS. LAKEVIEW
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lakeview High School.
Last meeting: Lakeview won 41-28 in 1995.
Niles (0-1) scouting report: The Dragons dropped a heart-breaker to Girard last week, 28-21, after failing to score on a fourth and inches in overtime. Niles had six turnovers, including two third-quarter fumbles that led to the Indians' 21-7 lead. Junior running back Matt White had 17 carries for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Niles likes to run the ball, and quarterback Eric Ashburn is a threat to run or pass. Kicker Bill Sullivan is one of the best in the area.
The coach says: "We didn't take care of the ball [against Girard]. We were very happy with how we played, but we had six turnovers and that hurt us. Our kids have been in the program for three or four years and they know to take care of the ball." On avoiding turnovers, "Our kids understand it and the kids who fumbled know they have to hang on to the ball. We've emphasized fundamentals." On Friday's game, "Lakeview's always gonna be tough. They've had a good football team over the years and you don't make a living playing Lakeview. We know we have our hands full; we have to come back hard. They need a win just like we do." On Lakeview's offense, "They're a more conservative-type football team. They got an excellent quarterback [Kevin Rigby], a nice running back in [Pete] Brister and a good wideout [Asher Falatic]. They're a ball-control type team. We have to stop long drives and move the ball against a pretty good defense." -Bill Bohren.
Lakeview (0-1) scouting report: The Bulldogs' 20-14 loss to Canal Fulton Northwest was similar to Niles in one area: turnovers. Lakeview lost a fumble on their own 36-yard line in the fourth quarter, allowing Northwest to score the game-winning touchdown. After taking a 14-6 lead, the Bulldogs surrendered 14 points in the final seven minutes. Quarterback Kevin Rigby ran for one touchdown and hit wideout Asher Falatic for another.
The coach says: "We've got to improve. We have to play better. In the game last week, we needed to do a couple more little things right." On what needs improvement, "We have to tackle better, protect the football better and eliminate penalties. I think that's the typical description of any team that loses." On Friday, "We know for sure that against Niles, we have to come pretty close to perfect in all categories just be in the ballgame with them. We've got our work cut out for us." On the Bulldogs' offense, "They have an outstanding running game. [White] is very impressive so we can't let him get going. The [Lou] Viglio kid and the [Eric] Ashburn kid are very good." Keys to the game: "There's a premium on tackling. Up front, Niles is not as big as the past but they come off the ball hard and they're well-coached." On Niles' turnovers, "That happens to a Niles team once every three or four seasons. Not to take anything from Girard, but they very easily could have also won that game. But I like our kids. They're working hard and good things happen when you work hard, even though it may not show up on scoreboard." - Tom Pavlansky.
-- Vindicator staff