HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW Friday night football
HOWLAND vs. SALEM
Where: Reilly Stadium, Salem.
Howland (5-0, 1-0 Metro Athletic Conference) scouting report: The Tigers are No. 1 in the Division II, Region 5 computer ratings, and ranked fourth in the A.P. poll. Last week, the Tigers needed overtime to edge Canfield, 14-13, in their MAC opener that was delayed almost 90 minutes because of lightning. In overtime, Howland sophomore lineman Tony Davis tipped Canfield's extra-point attempt to hold the Cardinals' lead at 13-7. The Tigers tied the game on QB Rick Clark's 1-yard run and won it when Steve Airhardt converted the extra point. In the first half of the season, the Tigers have out-scored their opponents, 132-35.
The coach says: "Winning our first five games tells us we are a good football team. The key is for us to take the next step and keep it going in the second half of the season." About last week's game: "When you have to come from behind to beat a good football team, the result is added confidence. We needed a game like that to bolster our confidence. About the Quakers, first-year coach Doug Phillips "is doing a good job using a lot of formations to spread the ball." -- Dick Angle.
Salem (1-4, 0-1) scouting report: Since upsetting Beaver Local in the second game, the Quakers have scored just 16 points in three games. After losing 42-8 to Div. II power East Liverpool and 21-8 to Indian Creek, the Quakers were blanked 27-0 by Struthers in their MAC opener. At the halfway point, the Quakers have been out-scored 130-43.
The coach says: "Both [Howland and East Liverpool] have great offensive and defensive lines thanks to their great size. They average more than 250 pounds on both sides of the line, and they use their tight ends well. Howland is just like an old-time Steel Valley Conference team -- you know they are going to pound it and pound it and pound it at you. They don't have to throw the football, not when they are getting 4-to-5 yards a crack. I don't think they care if they don't score quickly -- I think they prefer to wear you down and win 12-0. The only thing you can do is to put as many players in the box as possible because you've got to stop the run. The key is to not allow them to create a lot of movement up front. They have a great tailback in Mark Rek. He has great speed. On film, he runs away from everyone. He's a great inside-outside threat." -- Doug Phillips.
Radio: WSOM-AM 600.
SOUTH RANGE vs. SPRINGFIELD
Where: South Range High Stadium.
Springfield (2-3, 2-0 Inter-County League) scouting report: After opening the season with non-league losses to Poland (19-0), Columbiana (10-6) and East Palestine (24-22), the Tigers have rebounded against ICL rivals Jackson-Milton (47-7) and Mathews (45-0), extending their streak against league opponents to 16 straight wins over three years. HB Dan Zitkovic, QB Pat Birch and junior T Tim Kawecki are the returning starters from a season ago. The backfield consists of Birch, Zitkovic and two others rotating at the other HB position: sophomore Mike Paes and Jon Vivo, a junior who played as a freshman. Birch has thrown for over 600 yards and Zitkovic has rushed for over 500 yards.
The coach says: "We put things together the last two weeks and it's kind of what I expected from our kids from the beginning. The first three weeks, we didn't play well special teams wise. South Range is a very big, physical team. With a team like this, you've got to play flawless special teams and not turn the over ball. The roles have kind of reversed: South Range is undefeated and expected to win and Springfield is just a team that hasn't gotten much respect all year and people are going to expect people to beat us up. So it's a lot less pressure on our shoulders. It's kind of nice not being expected to win." -- John Smith.
South Range (5-0, 2-0 ICL) scouting report: The Raiders have out-scored their opponents, 236-19. The backfield consists of QB Jim Sanders, HB Brad Johnson, FB Jeff Johnston and WB Jason King. Johnston has nearly 400 yards rushing. King is multi-purpose, but has 125 yards receiving. SEs Tom Kimmel and Ryan Maxwell have 100 yards apiece in receptions. The remainder of the offense is TE Brad Vizi, T Lee Everett, T Gary Snyder and T Justin Colburn; G Cody White and G Chad Manchester and C Ryan Zwingler. Zwingler is also tackle and Vizi an end on defense.
The coach says: "Springfield lost a lot from last year, but Coach Smith has brought in a new offense and new defense. Springfield still knows how to win and play hard. We'll have to play our best game against them. The key will be to stop Zitkovic who has been running hard. Birch is doing a great job running a new offense and they have a couple talented receivers. We've got to be able to defend everything." -- Dan Yeagley.
HUBBARD vs. LAKEVIEW
Where: Lakeview High Stadium.
Hubbard (5-0, 2-0 Trumbull Athletic Conference) scouting report: The Eagles are second in the Div. III, Region 9 computer ratings and seventh in the A.P. poll. After defeating Newton Falls 26-12 and Liberty 28-6, the Eagles share the top of the TAC standings with Girard. RBs Anthony Smith and Antonio Owens each scored touchdowns in last week's win over the Leopards. Smith gained 136 yards on 18 carries and has scored 12 touchdowns in five games. The offensive line (C Ryan Fakner, Gs Michael Smida and Chris Sikora, Ts Brian Dell and Michael Havalo, and TEs John Dominic and Dean Marshall have been credited by the coaches for the team's offensive success. Hubbard is 5-0 for the first time since 1943.
The coach says: "The attitude now is that they are expected to go out and do well. Our kids have pressure to live up to the teams before them. That's tough, but it's also a good thing." Lakeview "is a tough place to play on the road. It doesn't matter what the records are when we play. We have a lot of respect for their lines and we have to be prepared for quarterback Kevin Rigby, one of best players in our league." -- Jeff Bayuk.
Lakeview (1-4, 1-1) scouting report: A playoff team last year, the Bulldogs were out-scored 73-35 in their first four games (losses to Northwest, Niles, Howland and Girard) before rebounding with a 41-0 victory over LaBrae last Friday. Rigby has rushed 51 times for 173 yards and four touchdowns. He's also completed 21-of-54 passes for 337 yards and two scores. Pete Brister has rushed 60 times for 292 yards and two touchdowns.
The coach says: "Hubbard has great athletes and Anthony Smith is a difference maker. Their whole backfield is the best we've seen so far. And with Jerard Jordan and Antonio Owens, they're deep, too. Smith is an exceptional player, not only on defense, but on special teams, too. You have to know where he is at all times. He's the best defensive player we've seen since I can remember. On offense or defense, it's best to contain him and keep him away from the football." -- Tom Pavlansky.
--Vindicator staff report