Howland won its fourth straight while Salem and Niles lost.
By CHAD KRISPINSKY
STRUTHERS -- Going into Friday night's high school football game between Rayen and Struthers, it was understandably difficult for some of the players to get ready to play.
But it didn't take Struthers (2-2) long to get back into the football spirit in its home opener, posting a 27-12 victory over Rayen (0-4).
"I thought we might not even play," Struthers senior tailback Jim Tabak said. "But our coach [Gary Zetts] talked to us. He got our minds set on football and also on the tragedy, so we could bring that out here."
To honor the victims, fans took part in a candle-lit moment of silence prior to kickoff, to honor the victims and their families.
"The important thing is all those lives that were lost," Zetts said. "But the kids come and still want to play football, and you just think about the sport at the time, and then when you get away from the sport, you again start thinking about that tragedy."
Both offenses were far from silent, racking up more than 700 yards combined. Struthers got on the board in the first quarter, driving 89 yards on just five plays in a little more than two minutes, capped off by a 13-yard scamper by Tabak. Tabak was the workhorse in the Wildcats backfield, racking up 150 yards on 22 carries and the touchdown. He also caught a touchdown pass.
"Jim is our go-to person," Zetts said. "He's just had a great year for us. He worked all winter and into spring to get himself into this position."
A Leiter moment: Quarterback Nick Leiter got into a groove of his own beginning in the second quarter, completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Tabak.
Leiter completed 10-of-17 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. Zetts thinks he is coming into his own as the signal-caller.
"Nick is playing out of position. He really wants to be a defensive back or receiver," Zetts said. "We've got him at quarterback, and tonight he did a lot better than he has in the past. I think he's starting to get a little more confident."
Leiter later tossed a 45-yard strike to Jason Mitchell to put the Wildcats up 21-0.
The Tigers failed to give in down 21-0, quickly scoring twice to end the third quarter, 21-12. Quarterback Ron Lampkin put Rayen on the board with a 5-yard scoring run. Following a Wildcat fumble, Jamal Moore sprinted 57 yards for the second Tigers tally in less than 30 seconds.
Moore was impressive, rushing for 157 yards on 17 carries. Lampkin ran for 67 yards, but threw two interceptions, none more costly than the one that came in the final quarter.
Jason Mitchell returned it 39 yards into the end zone, preserving the second win of the season for Struthers.
Howland 27, Lorain Southview 9: LORAIN -- Mark Rek and Rick Clark each scored two touchdowns as Howland stretched its undefeated streak to four games with a win over Lorain Southview. Rek, who carried 18 times for 172 yards, scored from 66 yards away, but the Tigers (4-0) led just 7-3 at the break.
Clark, who scored two short touchdowns, gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead in the third, but a Southview touchdown narrowed the gap to 14-9.
Rek then returned the kickoff for an 85-yard touchdown and a 21-9 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Howland's Brian Spence added 94 yards on 18 rushes.
Indian Creek 21, Salem 8: WINTERSVILLE -- Indian Creek built a 21-0 lead, then held off a mild rally by Salem to prevail. Aaron Bane, who rushed for 158 yards on 32 carries, scored twice for the Redskins (3-1) on runs of 10 and 4 yards.
The Quakers (1-3) got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Garrett Sevek caught a 8-yard touchdown strike from Landen Heath.
Steubenville 37, Niles 22: Details of the game were not reported.