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HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW Friday night football



Published: Thu, September 26, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



LOWELLVILLE (5-0, 2-0) vs. SOUTH RANGE (3-2, 1-1)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at South Range High Stadium.

Last meeting: South Range won 26-14 last year.

Notebook: State-ranked Lowellville begins a tough three-week stretch in the Inter-County League. The Rockets face South Range this week, Springfield the next and Mineral Ridge on Oct. 11. Lowellville coach John Protopapa, in his third year, is 0-4 against South Range and Springfield. Brothers Andy and Jeff Peterson lead the Lowellville rushing attack, along with QB Mike Palumbo. Andy Peterson was held out of last week's 41-6 win over Mathews due to a mild ankle injury. LB Anthony Donatelli had an interception, fumble recovery and three tackles for losses against Mathews. South Range, the defending ICL champion, lost a close game at Springfield, 33-28. The Raiders are young and inexperienced this season.

MINERAL RIDGE (4-1, 2-0) vs. SPRINGFIELD (3-2, 2-0)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Springfield High Stadium.

Last meeting: Springfield won 30-6 last year.

Notebook: These two teams, along with Lowellville and South Range, look to contend for Inter-County League title. Mineral Ridge, which has three seniors, fell one point short of being unbeaten through the first half of the season, losing 21-20 to United in Week 3. The Rams are averaging 28 points per game; they beat Western Reserve 34-18 last week. QB Chris Ault (50-of-75, 736 yards, 8 TDs) directs the offense, which also features WB Steve Velte (5 TDs), TB Greg Dominic and K Brian Palmer. The Rams' defense is getting good play from DE Nick Menichini (26 tackles, 7 sacks), LB Dave Cross (31 tackles) and LB Jon Austin (26 tackles, 6 sacks). Mineral Ridge must contend with the versatility of Springfield QB Dan Schuler. The Tigers also like to give the ball to RB Jon Vivo. Springfield has a three-game winning streak. After beating South Range 33-28 last week, the Tigers are one-third of the way through the league's contenders. They will face Lowellville next week.

Radio: WBBW-AM 1240, WBBG-FM 106.1.

HUBBARD (5-0, 2-0) vs.LAKEVIEW (2-3, 1-1)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Hubbard Stadium.

Last meeting: Hubbard beat Lakeview, 21-0, in 2001.

Notebook: Last week, Lakeview defeated LaBrae 48-13, using a balanced attack. Senior WR David Costas had two TD catches from QB Kevin Rigby. TBs Josh Province and Justin Rush, both juniors, ran well, averaging over 10 yards a carry. Last year at this time, Lakeview was 1-4. A Hubbard threesome the Bulldogs must contain are TE John Dominic, QB Gabe McKee and RB Shaun Lane. Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky said there's no mystery to Hubbard's success because they believe in what they're doing. Prior to the LaBrae game, Lakeview threw five interceptions and lost four fumbles in back-to-back losses to Girard and Howland. Last week, Hubbard had its closest game of the season when it beat Liberty, 21-14, in overtime. The Eagles rolled up 319 yards of total offense of which 301 was on the ground. Shaun Lane rushed for 269 yards. Coach Jeff Bayuk said the offensive line did a pretty good job. Senior G Brian Dell (6-foot-2, 235 pounds) and sophomore center Sam Gonder both blocked well. Junior inside linebacker John Dominic had a team-high 11 tackles.

GIRARD (4-1, 2-0) vs.NEWTON FALLS (4-1, 1-1).

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium, Girard.

Last meeting: Girard beat Newton Falls last year, 34-12.

Notebook: In a 35-26 win over Champion, Newton Falls fought off the opportunistic Golden Flashes who scored one of their touchdowns on a 90-yard kickoff return. Newton Falls coach Marc Bjelac is concerned with Girard's team speed and is urging his players to be mentally sharp and put themselves in a winning situation. QB Matt Zuppo, WR Dustin Helle and others are confident on offense and Girard's defense is formidable with nine starters back. Due to injuries, players stepping into starting roles last week included sophomore Chad Rankin at guard, junior Matt Whetzel at ILB and senior Sam Allen at OLB. In Girard's 48-6 win over Brookfield, the Indians attained a couple hundred yards apiece via the run and pass, with most of the ground yardage coming in the second half. In Girard's spread offense, Zuppo is averaging 200 yards passing per game and 40 rushing per game. TB Mark Grdinich has 250 rushing for the season. Grdinich also has five touchdowns. In the spread offense, Grdinich is the fullback. He's the tailback in the I package when the backfield also includes his twin brother, Adam, as fullback. Girard's defense is allowing 96 yards a game. Coach Bud McSuley noted that Newton Falls QB Tom Nemet runs the option well while HB Matt Gillespie runs well on the perimeter.

-- Vindicator staff reports




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