The Irish will meet David Douglas High Thursday at Mineral Ridge.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jim Maughan is the athletic director at Ursuline High. This week, he's also a travel agent.
Maughan and his staff have been preparing for the Irish's second game of the 2002 football season. Their opponent, David Douglas High, arrives today from Portland, Ore.
"They called in January looking for a team," Maughan said. "It's a cultural trip that their coach wants to start every year."
Making it possible
The Scots, coached by Dan Wood, were originally scheduled to play St. Thomas Aquinas High in Stark County, but when that game fell through, Ursuline (0-1) stepped forward. The teams will play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Mineral Ridge High.
"They wanted to play us or Canton Central Catholic," said St. Thomas Aquinas athletic director and football coach Tim Tyrrell, a former Ursuline High and Youngstown State standout.
"We ended up filling the schedule [with Bedford Chanel], so we told them about Ursuline being open the second week."
David Douglas' intentions were to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and play a team in the Canton area. Youngstown was the next-best option.
"It's just unfortunate that the same night we're playing, YSU is opening up," said Maughan , of the Penguins' game against Clarion at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Ursuline-David Douglas game was originally scheduled for Friday, but the Labor Day holiday resulted in airfare rising significantly.
"Due to the fact that plane tickets changed, it made it impossible [to play Friday]," Maughan said. "The kids were all fired up about it, and we were for them coming."
David Douglas will practice and eat at Ursuline tonight before visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame, part of their Northeast Ohio cultural experience, Wednesday morning.
Following a workout Wednesday at Cafaro Field, the Scots will dine at Kahunaville in Niles and see a movie that evening before Thursday's game.
Filling the schedule
Ursuline's game against David Douglas signifies a trend in high school football -- more Ohio teams playing out-of-state opponents.
"This is something that will be much more common in the future," Maughan said. "Canfield brought in a team from Washington D.C.; Warren brings in teams; we've been to Buffalo.
"It's good in a way that you get publicity or a taste of playing people from different states," he added. "The hard part becomes travel and expenses."
Because some schools have difficulty scheduling in their respective areas, they might feel inclined to take out-of-state games.
In addition, Ohio teams may benefit from playing out-of-state schools by increasing their playoff chances. The Ohio High School Athletic Association says that its member schools would gain points comparable to Ohio opponents with the same enrollment.
For example, Ursuline would gain Division I points for beating David Douglas, which has over 2,000 students in its high school.