HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW | Friday football
CHANEY (0-0) vs. FITCH (0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Fitch High Falcon Stadium.Last meeting: Fitch won 27-14 last year.Notebook: Arguably the best game of the week. Fitch returns 19 lettermen from last year's team, which went 6-4 and just missed a playoff berth. Quarterback John Mang (636 yards passing) and running back Mike Eliseo (588 yards rushing) return to anchor a formidable Fitch offense. Linebacker Frank Cardon (8 1/2 sacks) and Eliseo (three interceptions) lead the defense. For Chaney, senior quarterback Rick Hlinka will try to replace standout Justin Hood. Dan Balog and Lamar Sykes will be the main ground threats. Two-year lettermen Ira Gaines, Ron Palowitz and Mike Rosa give the Cowboys strength up front.TV/Radio: WKBN-AM (570), WBBW-AM (1240).
URSULINE (0-0) vs. BOARDMAN (0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.Last meeting: Boardman won 35-28 in 2002.Notebook: This old Steel Valley Conference rivalry pits first-year head coaches. Ursuline's Dan Reardon, a former assistant at Warren Harding, and D.J. Ogilvie, former head coach at United, go head-to-head in the season opener. Watch for a trio of Ursuline seniors in receiver Derrick Stewart, running back Alex Allen and lineman Corey Maizel. Boardman lineman Levi George is one of the top juniors in the state.TV/radio: 1390-AM (WNIO).
CARDINAL MOONEY (0-0) vs. EAST LIVERPOOL 0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at East Liverpool High Potter Stadium.Last meeting: Mooney won 40-0 last year.Notebook: The Cardinals bound with optimism following their 2003 playoff season and look to get things started again along the Ohio River. Keep an eye on Mooney's offense, led by senior Kyle McCarthy, a first-year starter at quarterback. The defense returns experience but only three starters, so it'll be interesting to see how it fares against the Potters' offense. Mooney senior lineman Mike Philibin is drawing attention from college scouts.
LIBERTY (0-0) vs. STRUTHERS (0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Struthers High Wildcat Stadium.Last meeting: Struthers won 20-16 last year.Notebook: This game marks the coaching debut of Struthers' Pete Pirone Jr., an assistant with the Wildcats for the past four years. He'll lead his team against the defending Trumbull Athletic Conference champions. Even after losing a strong senior class, the Leopards, led by Boston College recruit Marcellus Bowman (WR/LB), have plenty of talent returning. Struthers senior receiver/defensive back Ty Campana was an anchor on the Wildcats' state championship 4x100-meter relay.
SOUTH RANGE (0-0)vs. EAST PALESTINE (0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at East Palestine High Reid Stadium.Last meeting: South Range won 48-8 last year.Notebook: The defending Inter-County League champions have 22 lettermen returning from last year's team, which went 11-1 and lost in the regional semifinal. Ben Johnston and Tony Darkadakis anchor the Raiders' backfield and they'll join linebacker Brandan Bierdeman on what should be another good South Range defense. For East Palestine, two-year letterman Brett Young leads a speedy, albeit young, backfield for the Bulldogs. East Palestine returns 24 lettermen from last year's team, which went 2-8 in head coach John Protopapa's first season. Expect the Bulldogs to be stronger than last year.
NEWTON FALLS (0-0)vs. WARREN JFK (0-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Mollenkopf Stadium.Last meeting: JFK won 24-14 last year.Notebook: The Eagles lost several standouts to graduation from last year's state semifinal team, but have good talent returning among their 15 lettermen. Tailback Anthony Elzy, a member of JFK's state championship 4x200 relay, ran for 757 yards last season and will help carry the load on offense and defense. Rocco Bello, A.J. Seifert and Steve Telego are strong up front. For Newton Falls, 19 lettermen return, including two-year lettermen Ben Parker (fullback), Troy Balint (wideout, 12 catches, 145 yards, three TDs) and Ryan Spencer (safety 83 tackles). The Tigers will be strong in the trenches with returning lettermen Tim Clonch, Chad Rankin, Jeremy McCourt and Ryan Williams.
-- Vindicator staff reports