HOWLAND (4-0) VS. CANFIELD (4-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Canfield High School.
Last meeting: Howland won 14-13 in overtime last year.
Notebook: In the second week of the season, Canfield passed its first major test with a 25-13 win at West Branch. The key for the Cardinals offense has been balance. QB Leo Sorice can throw or pass and Tim Dewberry, Tom Rogers and Bill DeCola lead the running game. Canfield's defense has also been strong. Linebacker Chad Carerra had two sacks against Wilson and defensive end Dave Olsavsky had one sack. Both players were starters last year. Canfield, which returns 22 letterwinners and 17 starters from last season, must control the line of scrimmage against Howland, which loves to run the ball. The Tigers, coached by Dick Angle, haven't always been pretty, but they've been effective. Howland beat Girard in the second week of the season to pass its biggest test so far. The Tigers have one of the area's best backfield duos in Maurice Smith and James Justice. Smith scored two touchdowns in last week's 23-0 win over Brooke (W.Va.) as the Tigers rolled up 389 yards on the ground. This will be the Metro Athletic Conference opener for both teams. Howland is second in Division II, Region 5 of the playoff computer rankings; Canfield, coached by Mike Pavlansky, is third.
SOUTH RANGE (3-1, 1-0) VS. SPRINGFIELD (2-2, 1-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Springfield High School.
Last meeting: South Range won 41-0 last year.
Notebook: Something has got to give. Both teams enter this Inter-County League rivalry on a winning streak. Springfield has won its last two -- over East Palestine and Mathews -- by shutout. The Tigers, coached by John Smith, beat East Palestine 16-0, while South Range lost to the same opponent 37-13 in the season opener. A sign of things to come Friday? ... QB Dan Schuler is Springfield's catalyst. In a 41-0 victory over Mathews last week, he passed for two TDs, ran for another, kicked three PATs and added a conversion pass. RB Jon Vivo ran for 169 yards and TDs of 77 and 2 yards. South Range, coached by Dan Yeagley, is also coming off a victory rout, beating Western Reserve 41-7. The Raiders established the run from the start. QB Ryan Maxwell passed for two TDs and ran for another. South Range is sixth in Division V, Region 17 of the playoff computer rankings. Bet that Springfield will enter this game with last year's rout in the back of its mind.
Radio: WBBW-AM (1240).
LISBON (3-1, 1-0) VS. COLUMBIANA (3-1, 0-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Firestone Park, Columbiana.
Last meeting: Columbiana won 22-13 last year.
Notebook: After starting the season with three straight wins, Columbiana is in danger of falling to 0-2 in the Tri-County League. The Clippers couldn't hold a 17-16 lead and lost 21-17 to Leetonia last week. They must now find a way to stop Lisbon, winner of three straight games. The Blue Devils took command against United when Frank Gallo scored on two short runs. The defense then held United to 25 rushing yards in a 28-14 victory. QB Jay Yorty passed for 102 yards and ran for 55 more. Columbiana, coached by Bob Spaite, is seventh in Division V, Region 17 of the playoff computer rankings; Lisbon, coached by Jim Tsilimos, is eighth.
-- Vindicator staff report