VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
A few weeks back, we printed a high school football readers survey, asking Mahoning Valley readers 10 questions.
More than 60 of you responded and after sorting through the answers, a few things became clear.
U Many of you like WBBW-AM 1240's John Caparanis but you're not too sure how to spell his name. (A few examples: Caperanis, Capporanis, Campanaris and Capparllis.) One person even voted for Jim Camprianis, which sort of what happens when you shove Cappy's name together with Jim Campbell's.
USome of you really, really don't like parochial schools, especially if you think they recruit.
U Some of you would like to see Boardman and Fitch rejoin the Steel Valley Conference or, at the very least, see the SVC expand in football.
UAll of you really like high school football.
A few notes about the survey. Some of you gave more than one answer to a question. If it was two answers, we counted each as half. If you gave three, we didn't count any. (This may seem harsh, but we weren't about to start tabulating one-third of a vote.)
Some of you also left questions blank. When that happened, we just added our own votes. (Just kidding.)
Also, as much as we like Don Bucci and Paul Hulea, they're not current coaches. So those votes don't count.
We also like Bob Hannon and Dana Balash, but since they don't do play-by-play for high school football, they don't count either. (We're tough but fair.)
OK, enough explanations. On to the results.
How you voted
Question 1: Best place to watch a game?
Youngstown State's Stambaugh Stadium was the clear winner, garnering 21 of the 58 votes. Fitch was second with 10 votes.
Question 2: Best area rivalry?
No contest. Mooney-Ursuline got 31 of the 60 votes. Campbell-Struthers was second with 41/2 votes.
Question 3: Best current area coach?
We picked "current" head coach because former Mooney coach Don Bucci would have dominated a vote for best coach in the area's history.
Warren Harding's Thom McDaniels, who led Canton McKinley to a state title in 1997, was first with 91/2 votes out of 52.
Mooney's P.J. Fecko, who led the Cardinals to last year's Division IV state title, was second with six votes.
Overall, 19 area coaches got at least one vote, including two offensive coordinators: Hubbard's Gary Zetts (a longtime head coach at Struthers) and Girard's Nick Cochran (the mastermind behind the area's most potent offense).
Question 4: Best player in Valley's history?
Again, no contest. Former Mooney running back Ted Bell grabbed 22 of the 59 votes. Bell, who still holds season and career rushing records at Mooney, led the Cardinals to the 1973 state championship over defending champion Warren Western Reserve.
Two Warren Harding standouts, wide receiver Paul Warfield and running back Maurice Clarett, tied for second with seven votes. Both played at Ohio State and both made it to the NFL. Clarett will be hard pressed to match Warfield's career, which includes NFL titles with the Browns and Dolphins and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Question 5: Best team in the Valley's history?
Here's where it gets muddy. We wanted a specific team (for example, Mooney's 1987 team), but that wasn't clear in the question. Some readers voted for specific teams and some just voted for general programs. (Mooney, which has five state titles, was the clear choice for best program.)
Ursuline's 2000 team, which included standouts such as Josh Swogger (Washington State), Delbert Ferguson (Cincinnati), Louis Irizarry (Ohio State) and Jimmy Riley (Louisville), edged Mooney's 1973 team (which had the aforementioned Bell) five votes to four.
In all, 27 teams received at least one vote but only two got more than two.
Question 6: Biggest change you'd like to see?
The main topic was the SVC. Readers would like to see Fitch and Boardman rejoin or, at the very least, see the conference expand.
Many readers would also like to see the OHSAA move parochial schools into separate divisions or move them up to higher divisions. (One reader, when listing why there should be separate divisions, wrote this: "Mooney [6-4] vs. Garrettsville Garfield [9-1]. Score: 35-0 after the first quarter.")
There were also calls for schools to stop recruiting and calls for rule changes such as adding two-minute warnings; moving back to the 30-yard-line for overtime; and making pass interference a spot foul (like the NFL) rather than a 15-yard penalty.
Other notable ideas:
U A later start to the season.
U Build a central stadium for Youngstown schools.
U More interstate games (Pa.-Ohio).
ULive televised games on Friday and Saturday.
Then again, maybe nothing should be changed. As one reader wrote, "Things seem to be working."
What's the best thing?
Question 7: Best thing about high school football?
Common answers included the Friday night experience, the local rivalries, kids playing for the love of the game, the intense competition, the sportsmanship and the unpredictability of the games.
Question 8: Favorite area radio play-by-play announcer?
Question 9: Should the OHSAA move the state championships to Columbus or keep them in Canton/Massillon?
Keep them in Canton/Massillon.
Question 10: Should there be separate divisions for public and private schools?
Easily the most divided question on the list. In the end, 30 voted no and 29 voted yes. The debate rages on.