POLAND vs. CANTON CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Where: Poland High Stadium.
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the two teams.
Poland (3-0) scouting report: Friday's match-up features the last two Division III state champions. Poland won in 1999. Central won last year, but now plays in Division IV. Poland's defense has yet to give up a point this year, beating Springfield 19-0, Jefferson 56-0 and Wilson 17-0. That streak will be tested this week. The Crusaders average 36 points a game and scored 508 in 15 games last season, shattering the previous school record of 286. Poland likes to run, and senior running back Lou Davanzo has been stellar, averaging 141 yards per game with six touchdowns. Junior quarterback Sean Clayton has completed 31-of-50 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Jim Mitolo has 223 yards in three games.
The coach says: "You don't get this kind of match-up very often -- 1999 and 2000 champions playing in 2001. It's just kind of fun. We're not afraid of them. We're just excited about the chance." On his team's offense, "We just need to become more focused and learn how to finish. We've been stressing that to our kids, and hopefully we'll get better at it." -- Paul Hulea.
Central Catholic (3-0) scouting report: Central avenged its only loss of 2000 by beating Massillon Perry last week, 27-14. The Crusaders have beaten three 2000 playoff teams so far: Carrollton (Div. III) 42-10, Dover (Div. II) 39-21 and Perry (Div. I), who went to the state semifinals. The Crusaders lost 15 of 22 starters from a year ago. Quarterback Vince Gliatta is a two-way threat, rushing for 143 yards and passing for 115 last week against the Panthers. Gliatta, who was second team all-state last season, also plays defensive back The Crusaders have been banged up. Gliatta has taken a beating through three games and has practiced sparingly, but is expected to play against Poland. Running back Marques Warner, the team's top running back, severely sprained his ankle in the game against Carrollton and is possible for Friday's game, said coach Lowell Klinefelter. Star linebacker Brandon Fairless has two torn tendons in his ankle and is doubtful.
The coach says: "We've been banged up. We got banged up early but that's part of the game and we don't complain about it. We've been very fortunate and our kids have played really well. If you had told me four weeks ago we'd be 3-0, I would have told you we could very easily be 0-3." On Gliatta, "Vince has been treating injuries and it seems like every week we just glue him together and hope he's ready to go. He's done a great job making big plays so far. A lot of people say that as Vince goes, Central goes. That's probably true." On the Bulldogs, "Poland is loaded. They've got a great defense. I've only seen them on film once and once in person, but it looks like they've got a very experienced defense, an excellent defense. They're very able on offense, they execute well and [Davanzo] is a good-looking running back. We look forward to the challenge." -- Klinefelter.
LEETONIA vs. CRESTVIEW
Where: Crestview High Stadium.
Last year: Crestview 17, Leetonia 14. The two teams were Tri-County League co-champions.
Leetonia (3-0) scouting report: Leetonia is coming off a 27-6 win over Jackson-Milton. The Bears had several outstanding performances, including one from freshman ILB Aaron Merrill who had 13 tackles and was named the team's defensive player of the game. Senior WR-DB J.C. McCoy was the team's offensive player of the game. Senior LB-OG Joe Bruderly was the Most Valuable Player. He had a 50-yard punting average and the highest grade for linebackers and defensive linemen. Junior Ryan Hiscox won the special teams award as a headhunter on the punting team, coming up with two knockdown blocks on the same play. Don Boyd won the practice player award. Nick Mango rushed for 122 yards.
The coach says: He [Merrill] is the first freshman I started in 23 years of coaching at Leetonia. He played an outstanding game for a freshman." -- Art Altomare.
Crestview (2-1) scouting report: Crestview is coming off a 56-0 romp past Ashtabula Sts. John & amp; Paul. Josh Louk led the win by rushing for 203 yards in 19 carries and three TDs. The Rebels also got strong defensive showings from tackle Nate Martin, OLB Joe Lesosky, and MLBs Chris Walton and Keith Baker. Martin, who was switched from defensive end, had five sacks, while Lesosky came up with three tackles for losses, and Walton and Baker also starred.
The coach says: "It's going to be a rivalry. I was head coach previously at Leetonia. The last two years have been good games, so it matured into a rivalry." -- Paul Cusick, who has guided Crestview to two straight wins over Leetonia since shifting from the Bears' job. "He [Louk] has been banged up a little bit. We were trying to get him back in shape. He injured an ankle during baseball season this summer. This was probably the first week that he was 100 percent.
"Our whole offensive line blocked well. We made some changes in the line. We moved guard Steve Martin to tight end, and that gave us a bigger kid playing tight end. We took a defensive tackle, Evan Scheel, and moved him to Martin's place at guard. I think [the moves] gave us more experience up front."
HUBBARD vs. NEWTON FALLS
Where: Newton Falls High stadium.
Hubbard (3-0) outlook: Trounced Cleveland John Hay in opener, 47-22, then beat Cleveland East, 21-6, and Struthers, 34-0. The latest win represented the Eagles' first at home and third overall in the Struthers series during Jeff Bayuk's 10-year coaching tenure at Hubbard. Against Newton Falls, the Eagles will try to utilize more players in the offense, including QB Gabe McKee and some wide receivers. Backing up TB Anthony Smith is Scott Watkins, while Antonio Owens is FB Jerad Jordan's backup. Owens gained over 100 yards for an injured Jordan in last year's game against Newton Falls. Backup QB Matt Smith is a starting cornerback. He is a cousin to Anthony Smith and DT Donnie Smith. ILB Matt Clark has had 25 tackles in the first three games, while Donnie Smith had 11 tackles against Struthers and was Hubbard's defensive player of the week.
The coach says: "This is a big league game right off the bat. Newton Falls is much bigger than us. This is one of our smallest teams since I've been here. I hope they don't come out and streamroll us. We'll have our work cut out in that respect. We'll have to do something to neutralize their offensive line and we're going to have to tackle well because Hutchinson is a very punishing runner. He gets a lot of momentum when he gets going. The key for us is to not put the ball on the ground. We fumbled three times against Struthers. We're doing the best we can to utilize as many different offensive weapons as we can so they can't gang up on Anthony." -- Bayuk.
Newton Falls (2-1) outlook: The Tigers barely lost their opener, 20-18, to Warren JFK when the Eagles scored with 59 seconds remaining, then went ahead on a two-point conversion. Newton Falls then beat Jackson-Milton, 42-7, and Grand Valley, 25-2. TB Marty Hutchinson (6-5, 195) is averaging 150 yards a game rushing. QB Tom Nemet is getting yardage running the option while rotating FBs Scott Wilson and Jason Spahlinger are adding yardage or blocking. Backup TB is Matt Gillespie. The Tigers are a power-running team operating from the I-formation. The tailback-oriented Tigers can switch over and the run option, too. Key linemen are three-year starter G Tim Beckner (6-2, 285) and T Tim Frey (6-3, 300 Jr.) on the TE side and Mike Sole (6-2, 255 Jr.) and Quick T Jared Loar (5-10, 245) on the SE side. Center is Ryan Clonch (6-1, 205). Wideouts are Eric Lance (6-3) & amp; Darren Brounce (5-8).
The coach says: "Our offense is usually a little more multiple, but this year, we're able to muscle the ball. We're blessed with decent size and better foot speed than a year ago. We had great senior linemen last year when we were 2-8, but, when we were down, we lacked speed up front when needed. Several of this year's seniors were sophomore starters on our 1999 team that made the playoffs. Hubbard is our biggest game to date. They are the team to beat in the TAC-8. We're only two boys from being Div. V and Hubbard is a large III. They also two-platoon in a lot of areas. They're looking toward the playoffs. They have a 1-2 punch in Anthony Smith and Jerad Jordan. Smith's asset is re-direction. They have a mobile QB in Gabe McKee. Hubbard hangs its hat on defense and tries to shut people down. Jordan is their drive-guy and Smith is their big-play man." -- Marc Bjelac.
Note: Hubbard won last year's meeting on the ninth date, 36-0. It was the game Coach Bayuk had to sit out because of his first-ever ejection from the previous week. Due to the inclusion of Girard in the TAC-8 rotation, the Hubbard-Newton Falls game is earlier this season. Newton Falls has dubbed itself "The Untouchables" this season.
-- Vindicator staff reports