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Fitch challenged by Massillon on Friday



Published: Tue, September 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Unbeaten Boardman is on the road, while Howland and Canfield battle in the MAC opener.

VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT

After Saturday's win over Canton GlenOak, one of the Fitch High football players shouted, "That's what Youngstown football is all about!"

So far this season, the Fitch High football team is 2-0 against Stark County teams. The Falcons (3-1) get their biggest challenge of the season when Massillon Washington (3-1) visits on Friday.

"We've gotten better and better, but we have a tough opponent this week," Fitch coach Carl Pelini said.

The Tigers beat the Falcons 54-14 last season. Fitch has lost nine straight games to the Tigers, including four by a touchdown or less. The Falcons last beat Massillon 14-0 in 1992.

Fitch has a three-game winning streak thanks to a solid ground game, led by quarterback Jason Aikens and running backs Mark Matzye and Davanzo Tate.

The secret to Fitch's success isn't creativity -- the Falcons have just controlled the line of scrimmage during the streak.

"I'm not a very creative person," Pelini said. "But even though it looks like we're doing the same thing, we're constantly making adjustments."

Boardman (4-0) will travel to play future Federal League rival Massillon Jackson (3-1). Spartans kicker Andy Good hit a 31-yard field goal to beat the Polar Bears 22-19 last season.

"It's going to be a tough game," Boardman coach Garry Smith said. "We've never won at their place and they've never won at our place."

Jackson lost to Fitch in the second week of the season.

In other Steel Valley Conference games, Mooney (2-2) will try to shake off a 42-0 loss to Warren Harding when the Cardinals visit Painesville Riverside. Burlington Assumption Catholic will travel from Canada to play Ursuline (2-2) and Harding (4-0) will play host to Toledo Whitmer.

SVC teams are 13-3 in non-league games so far this season.

Metro Athletic Conference

The Metro Athletic Conference will open league play with arguably the area's best game when Howland (4-0) travels to Canfield (4-0). Howland made the playoffs last season and both teams will look to compete with Poland (4-0) for the league title.

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Division III poll, will play host to Niles (1-3). Poland will have a rematch with Chaney, who beat the Bulldogs last season, next week before entering the heart of its MAC schedule.

Salem (2-2) is looking for its first league win since 1998 when it plays host to Struthers (1-3).

Other top games

Chaney (2-2) will begin defending its City Series title against Wilson (0-4) at 1 p.m. in the first game of a doubleheader at YSU on Saturday. Canton Timken (1-3) will play Rayen (2-2) at 3.

Four unbeaten Inter-County League teams remain, but at least one will get its first loss when Springfield (2-2, 1-0) visits rival South Range (3-1, 1-0). The Raiders routed the Tigers 41-0 last season.

Lowellville (4-0, 1-0) will play Mathews (1-3) and Mineral Ridge (3-1, 1-0) will battle Western Reserve (2-2) as both teams try to stay undefeated in the league.

The Trumbull Athletic Conference features two games with unbeaten teams: Girard (3-1, 1-0) at Brookfield (3-1, 1-0) and Hubbard (4-0, 1-0) at Liberty (3-1, 1-0).

In the Tri-County League, Lisbon (3-1, 1-0) will travel to Columbiana (3-1, 0-1), East Palestine (3-1, 1-0) will play host to Sebring (0-4, 0-1), Leetonia (3-1, 1-0) will play host to United (3-1, 0-1) and Southern (2-2, 1-0) will visit Crestview (0-4, 0-1).




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