HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW Weekend football
SOUTH RANGE vs. CRESTVIEW
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
South Range (1-0) outlook: Brad Johnson ran for 106 yards and had two interceptions in the Raiders' 34-6 win over East Palestine. QB Jim Sanders was 5-of-9 for 68 yards, Tom Kimmel had a pair of catches for 28 yards and one TD and senior DT Ryan Swingler recovered a fumble. Brian Novak scored once while gaining 98 yards on eight carries. Johnson, a senior, moved from HB to FB during Jeff Johnston's absence. Johnston, South Range's leading rusher last season, was sitting out the game to fulfill disciplinary requirements. He should play tonight. Senior DE Brad Vizi was the leading tackler against East Palestine. One of South Range's two losses in 2000 was 28-18 to Crestview.
The coach says: "The next couple weeks against Crestview and Columbiana will be tough. Our league is important, but the non-league games are more and more difficult because of the caliber of these teams. Crestview is big up front. Their 15 seniors are all getting in the game and playing a lot. They have a lot of weapons." -- Dan Yeagley.
Crestview (1-0) outlook: The Rebels defeated Lowellville in their opener, 17-6, getting a big boost from Matt Thompson's 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. Wil Franklin was the leading rusher with 60 yards while Brian Steele and Josh Louk added 49 and 47 yards, respectively. Thompson was the special teams player of the game while G Chris Walton was top offensive player for Crestview. Steele was also a player of the game for his defensive end performance. The Rebels' backfield will include senior QB Seth Antram, FBs Franklin and Steele and RBs Louk, Matt Thompson and Keith Baker. Thompson, a senior, is also a SE/utility man.
The coach says: "I don't think Lowellville out-played us because they only had 71 total yards of offense. We were out-playing them, but we were not able to finish it by putting the ball in the end zone. That was our major problem. We're still kind of green at quarterback where Antram has to get used to the speed of the game. But our biggest problem is that we're not sticking it in the end zone when we get the chance. We lost 2,500 yards of offense to graduation, so we've got a bunch of new kids who are playing new positions. We've got to get that taken care of. If we want to beat South Range, we've got to make plays. They're going to have a little bit of the revenge factor because we may have surprised them last year. That won't be the case this time. To beat them, we're going to have to be at the top of our game." -- Paul Cusick.
BOARDMAN vs.CLEVELAND ST. IGNATIUS
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Lakewood Stadium.
Last meeting: St. Ignatius won 26-7 last year.
Boardman (1-0) scouting report: Boardman looked good in Friday's 35-8 win over Wilson, but will face their toughest challenge of their annually brutal season schedule. The Spartans have nine offensive starters back from last year's co-SVC championship team (5-5, 3-1). Only one defensive starter returns. In the win over Wilson, senior running back Evan Beard had 22 carries for 190 yards and three touchdowns, Brian Wiser scored on a 35-yard interception return and Jay Upthegrove added an 83-yard kickoff return for a score. The Spartans have a strong offensive line with center Kevin Tuminello, guards Dave Sypert and Jason Mechling and tackles Steve Vallos and John Greco. The defense, led by linebackers Brian Fee and Beard, pitched a shutout Friday with Wilson's lone score coming on an interception return.
The coach says: "We're happy with the win, especially because the offensive line is starting to come together." On the Wildcats, "Ignatius is Cleveland St. Ignatius. I always call this game the litmus test, it shows what you have to do to get into the upper echelon in Ohio high school football. It's a big game for our kids and we've always played them well over the years. It's a game we always look forward to because of the prestige." On what the Spartans need to do, "We have to play a complete football game with no mistakes on offense or defense, and be strong on special teams. There's not weak aspects of any Ignatius team. We're concentrating on keeping everyone healthy [in practice this week]. On the Wildcat's strengths, "They're very aggressive on defense, very quick, and they run to the ball very well. They're running the ball more this year. In the past, they were wide-open throwing on almost every down. We'll find out Saturday night if that was a situation where they took what was given to them. It's hart to tell after only one game, we'll have a better gauge when we see them. It's going to be a good test." -- Garry Smith.
St. Ignatius (1-0) scouting report: The eight-time state champs are loaded again and are among the preseason favorites to win this year's championship. Ranked 20th in USA Today's Super 25 football rankings, the highest for an Ohio school. Won state championship in 1999. Went 11-1 last year, losing to Solon in the regional finals. Last year was the first year in the last decade that St. Ignatius, or the team that beat St. Ignatius, did not win the state title. Upper Arlington won it in 2000. Running back John Van der Oord had 269 yards and three touchdowns in last week's win. He and wideout Tony Gonzalez were members of the Wildcats' 2001 Division I state championship track team. Defense anchored by middle linebacker John Kerr, who is an absolute terror. The 6-1, 232 pound senior has more than 260 tackles and 16 sacks in his career. Coach Chuck Kyle is 189-30-1 in 19 seasons at Ignatius.
The coach says: "The ending score [42-7 last week against Toledo St. John's] was fine, but I thought first half was sloppy. Obviously, it was just the first game and there's some fundamental things we need to improve on." On the Wildcats' offense, "We haven't changed any philosophy with this team. What we do depends on what's going in the game. We like to throw the ball and our quarterback, Nathan Szepp, has a nice strong arm. We lost last year's starter, Brian Panteck, who was first team All-Ohio. But Nathan got some very good experience and we feel he'll do fine." On Boardman, "They changed their offense from the past. It's more of a spread offense with some Northwestern and Purdue influence. The spread offense can create some one-on-one matchups and they're going to make plays. We just don't want it to be a big, big play. They can run and their quarterback [Tom Zetts] has a nice arm, so they can mix it up. Their offensive line is huge and they play good, hard-nosed defense. It's always a good football game." -- Chuck Kyle.
CINCINNATI MOELLERvs. WARREN HARDING
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Mollenkopf Stadium
Last meeting: Warren lost 42-0 last year.
Warren Harding (1-0) scouting report: The Raiders have lost to Moeller by a combined score of 61-0 over the last two years. Don't expect Warren to be held scoreless this week. Senior running back Maurice Clarett ran six times for 221 yards and four touchdowns to earn Steel Valley Conference player of the week honors. He also had two punt returns for touchdowns. Rob Massucci scored on a 31-yard punt return and a 47-yard run; Germaine Fowlus scored on a 31-yard interception return. Harding out-rushed South 431 to minus-45 yards.
The coach says: "We played with a lot of intensity [against South]. We didn't have great opposition, but we're not responsible for opposition." On Moeller, "They're what we call a tough preparation. On offense, they played really open in the first half with an up-tempo, no-huddle, empty backfield set, throwing frequently. Then late in the second quarter, they went to an unbalanced, power-I running game. Those are diversely different offensive schemes. Their quarterback [Tony Cunningham] is a very capable scrambler. He's the key to the offense. He plays like a veteran, with lots of confidence and a lot of awareness." -- Thom McDaniels.
Moeller (0-1) scouting report: Moeller fired 19-year head coach Steve Klonne (169-48, five state title appearances, two titles) last spring. Former Crusader standout Bob Crable, 41, was hired after serving as assistant coach for eight seasons. Crable was an All-American linebacker at Notre Dame and a seven-year veteran with the New York Jets. Moeller lost to Fairfield 30-27 last week. Cunningham (6-0, 170) threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 46 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Junior tailback/wideout Eric Thatcher and sophomore wideout Blake Carter each caught a touchdown pass. Carter, a 6-2, 180 pound sophomore, is the son of former Toronto Raptors' coach Butch Carter. Senior safety Nick Brune (6-2, 200), junior safety Reed Hamilton (6-0, 180) and senior defensive end (5-11, 185) key the defense.
-- Vindicator staff