PREP FOOTBALL A stormy start to the season
Thunderstorms postponed most of Friday's games.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
Severe thunderstorms that rolled across the Mahoning Valley on Friday evening created a whole lot of headaches for high school football fans.
Coaches, players and athletic directors weren't excluded from the frustration either, as lightning forced the postponement of most games on the season's opening night.
"It means one more night without sleep," said Ursuline's Dan Reardon, who was making his head-coaching debut against Boardman at Spartan Stadium. "It's been two or three nights since I've had a good night of sleep."
"It's an athletic director's nightmare," Boardman's Dave Smercansky added.
At Boardman, officials waited from 7:30 until 9:15 p.m. to postpone the game until 7 tonight.
"You try to hold off as long as possible, but you have to look at what's in the best interest of the athletes," Smercansky said.
The Boardman-Ursuline game held one of the best story lines as two first-year coaches -- Reardon and Boardman's D.J. Ogilvie -- were to go head-to-head.
"It was just emotional with the ups and downs [of the night]," said Ogilvie, a Boardman High graduate and former head coach at United. "You hear that fight song, and it gets your adrenaline flowing again."
Smercansky added, "Unfortunately you had two rookie coaches who were champing at the bit. They handled it very well. They worked with the officials to try and extend it as long as they could."
In Austintown, the Fitch-Chaney game held a similar scenario as officials waited until 9:45 p.m. -- with close to 1,000 fans still in attendance -- to postpone it until 10 this morning. Fans booed the decision.
There was some humor that came out of Falcon Stadium during the delay.
When asked what he preferred to do, one official responded, "Man, I just want to go eat."
Fitch coach Neal Kopp joked about himself and his history of coaching against Chaney. Kopp had to sit out last year's opener after the Falcons wore pads on a day of acclimation, violating an OHSAA rule.
"I don't want to see any stories about how Coach Kopp can't coach a game against Chaney," the coach said with a laugh.
Cardinal Mooney built a 14-0 halftime lead at East Liverpool before officials postponed the game at halftime. The second half will be completed today at 3 p.m. back in East Liverpool.
Senior fullback Mike Rich and senior quarterback Kyle McCarthy scored on 17- and 37-yard runs, respectively, late in the second quarter for the Cardinals, and junior Nate Burney kicked the extra points.
Meanwhile, Hubbard's season got a bit shorter Friday night -- at least for now -- as it will not make up its canceled game. Uniontown (Pa.) Albert Gallatin elected not to return to play at Hubbard after the foul weather struck.
It's about a three-hour drive between the schools.