Massillon native John McVay, the San Francisco 49ers director of football operations, will never forget Youngstown's East High School.
Many years ago, McVay was the football coach at Canton Central Catholic. The Crusaders were scheduled to play East early in the season, but a teacher's strike canceled the game.
The Crusaders went 9-0, so McVay called the East coach and asked him to reschedule the game lost to the strike.
"The East coach asked me, 'Are you crazy? You're unbeaten -- why risk it?' " McVay said during a lunch break at the 49ers' complex at Santa Clara, Calif., during last weekend's NFL draft.
"I told him, 'So what! Let's play," McVay said. "Our kids wanted to play.
"Wouldn't you know that East beat us to ruin our perfect season," McVay said with a laugh.
Somehow you just knew that something was going to happen to bring the Pirates back to reality.
After surprising everyone with a 12-5 start despite a very anemic offense, two of the Bucs' better players are battling injuries.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has been serving a seven-game suspension while his sore ankle heals. Wednesday, the Bucs put second baseman Pokey Reese on the 15-day disabled list because of a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, fans have taken a wait-and-see approach during the current homestand at PNC Park as the weeknight games have been sparsely attended.
When is a Division I school not a Div. I school?
When the season changes.
During basketball season, Canfield High was considered Div. I for Pat Pavlansky's girls team.
That's because the school's female enrollment was 389 when the Ohio High School Athletic Association tabulated all state schools and set the division numbers for the 2001-02 school year.
When the OHSAA released its final figures, Canfield, which was the Div. II state runner-up a year ago, had to move up to Div. I because the cutoff number was 388.
Last fall, Ronie Haurin's volleyball team remained at Div. I because the cutoff number between divisions I and II for that sport was 389.
Do the math -- Canfield was the Div. I school with the smallest enrollment in both of those sports.
This spring, the shoe is on the other foot for Canfield's softball team.
Because the cutoff number is 390 for softball, Fred Mayhew's Cardinals are the Div. II school with the largest enrollment.
Hubbard High School again will host one of our area's Div. II softball tournaments, and the lineup looks to be one of the strongest.
Reid Lamport's Poland Bulldogs should be voted top seed when the brackets are picked Tuesday. The race for the second and third slots will be interesting.
Among the contenders are Howland, Hubbard and Canfield. The Eagles have just two losses, to Poland and Lakeview.
Wednesday, Howland (11-3) defeated Poland in an extra-inning game and has two one-run wins against Metro Athletic Conference rival Canfield.
Canfield's record is a very deceptive 5-8. Four of those losses came on a season-opening trip to Virginia Beach (out-of-state opponents are considered Div. I by the OHSAA). The other Cards' defeats were against top-ranked Boardman, Poland and Howland twice by a combined seven runs.
Saturday, Canfield and Hubbard are scheduled to play a doubleheader. A Hubbard sweep would clinch a higher seed for the Eagles.
But if Canfield wins both, the Cards could be above .500 when the drawing is held.
Prediction: 1. Poland. 2. Howland. 3. Hubbard. 4. Canfield.
Wouldn't it be great if the Hubbard district survivor again qualifies for state?
XTom Williams is a sportswriter for The Vindicator. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.