PREP FOOTBALL Coaches don't dwell on void
Weather-related cancellations will have some bearing on the postseason.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
When Hubbard High football coach Jeff Bayuk was younger, he learned an important lesson from his father.
"He always told me, 'You can't worry about the things you can't control,' " he said.
It was a good lesson for Bayuk on Friday, as lightning cost the Eagles their opener against Uniontown (Pa.) Albert Gallatin. But it didn't cost them their season. No matter what some people say.
"Some people have already told the kids that there's no way we can make the playoffs," Bayuk said. "That's just total baloney."
The cancellation may or may not hurt Hubbard's playoff chances. Playoff points are computed based on the number of games a team plays, so a loss actually hurts more than a cancellation. Problem is, Gallatin is a Division I-sized school, which would have given the Eagles a lot of points had they won.
Hubbard has played Bedford Chanel and Parma Holy Name in the past two openers, but neither school wanted to renew. Since WPIAL schools were allowed to begin a week early this season, several of them contacted the Eagles about the opening.
Gallatin had to travel about three hours one way to get to Friday's game and it cost about $1,500, Bayuk said. The cost -- and the travel time -- made a Saturday game impossible.
The teams waited until about 9 p.m. before calling the game.
Playing time crucial
"It was kind of disheartening, but I understand things from their standpoint," Bayuk said. "Our biggest concern isn't about computer points or winning or losing. It's that we didn't get to play a game.
"That first game helps you get in game shape and other teams are going to be a game ahead."
Lisbon, West Branch and Southeast can sympathize. The Blue Devils' game against Martins Ferry was canceled, as was the Warriors' game against the Pirates.
"We can't worry about that stuff," Bayuk said. "We just have to go out and have a good week of practice and take each game one at a time. We'll see what happens."
Chaney is another team looking to forget about last weekend after losing to Fitch 40-7 on Saturday. The Cowboys, who have been to the playoffs the past four years, won nine straight last season after losing to the Falcons in the opener.
They'll travel to Canal Fulton Northwest on Friday. The Indians, who pounded Wooster Triway 30-12 in their opener, are expected to be a playoff team this year.
"We're going right back into the frying pan," said Chaney coach Ron Berdis. "Northwest is a real good football team."
It will be one of three straight road games for Chaney, who play on the road six of the first seven weeks.
"We took a step backward [against Fitch] after two good scrimmages," Berdis said. "We're just going to try to get better."
Fitch, on the other hand, couldn't have looked much better than it did against Chaney. The Falcons will play host to Erie Cathedral Prep on Friday looking to keep the momentum going.
"We've got to focus quickly and shift to Cathedral Prep," Fitch coach Neal Kopp said after Saturday's game. "They're a physical team with good skill players and we have a great challenge ahead of us."
Clash at Stambaugh
Ursuline, which beat Boardman on Saturday, gets a chance to avenge last year's loss to Steubenville when the Irish play host to Big Red at Stambaugh Stadium on Friday.
"Steubenville is always well-coached," said Ursuline coach Dan Reardon. "They have tough kids and, if nothing else, you know they're going to fight you."
Other top games include Crestview at South Range (both teams are expected to contend for league titles) and talent-rich Cleveland Glenville at Warren Harding.
And in the first Metro Athletic Conference game of the season, Alliance will travel to play Poland, which is looking to rebound from a opening loss at Louisville.