URSULINE (2-0) vs. FITCH (2-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fitch High Falcon StadiumLast meeting: Ursuline won 35-3 in 2002Notebook: Fitch's defense has allowed opponents 71 rushing yards in 55 plays and 200 passing yards on 21 of 53 completions through two games. "We're playing really well defensively," said Fitch coach Neal Kopp, who said Ursuline is similar to Buchtel in size and speed. Fitch's offense has FB J.J. Pankewicz and Keane Boyd, who have scored three TDs apiece. Pankewicz gained 105 yards on 20 carries against Buchtel. Junior Jon Stockman (5-11, 190) will become more involved in the offense, both running and throwing. "Our continued improvement on the offensive line is imperative," Kopp said of the area of least experience going into the season. "Obviously, we played better against Buchtel than week one against Chaney. We'll need that same improvement against Ursuline." The interior linemen are center D.J. Moss (5-10, 230 So.), guards Matt Kuti (6-0, 215 Sr.) and Nick Carrabbia (5-11, 211 Jr.) and tackles Dom Adams (6-3, 307 Jr.) and Josh Smail (63, 256 Sr.). Ursuline has defeated East Liverpool (54-13) and Wilson (43-16), but have yet to be tested. "We're where we want to be record-wise," Ursuline coach Dan Reardon said. "In general, the kids have worked hard trying to improve, especially since our preseason scrimmages. We're pleased. We think the kids are hungry. Fitch plays a very physical style and runs the ball effectively. Their kids are assignment-sound." Ursuline runs a two-back offense with TB Matt Yarab (6-0, 224 Sr.) the Irish workhorse so far with over 300 yards rushing. Sharing time in the backfield are FBs Maurice Jones (6-0, 216 Sr.) and Nick DeMario (5-9, 205 Sr.) and TBs Darrell Mason (6-1, 208 So.) and Ryan Curry (5-10, 197 Sr.). Getting acclimated at QB are Dan Turner (6-1, 173 Jr.) and Jimmy Mazanski (5-7, 183 So). Defensively, OLB Nick McGahagan, LB Nick DeMario and DB Ross Revella have played well.
CHANEY (0-2) vs. BOARDMAN (1-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Boardman Spartan StadiumLast meeting: Chaney won 25-0 last yearNotebook: Due to a lack of size up front and depth issues, Chaney has become more of a pass-heavy team this season. QB Victor Toney has completed 26-of-57 passes for 314 yards and a TD, while Terrelle Tomlin (six catches, 104 yards; 19 carries, 89 yards) has been the main running and receiving threat. In their two losses, the Cowboys have given up an average of 350 yards per game. Boardman coach D.J. Ogilvie earned his second victory in three seasons last week as the Spartans dominated Washington (D.C.) Roosevelt, 49-0. Damian Jerrett gained a team-high 104 yards on the ground for Boardman, which narrowly lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius 8-6 in the opener. Mike Popio, replacing Joe Bako at QB, threw just three times in the win. The Spartans held Roosevelt to 0 rushing yards.
AKRON HOBAN (1-1) vs. MOONEY (2-0)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at YSULast meeting: First meetingNotebook: Hoban junior RB Steve Yoak (6-1, 215), who rushed for 1,688 yards last season, was lost for a month due to a hairline fracture in his leg that he suffered during last week's loss to Walsh Jesuit. (D.J. Johnson rushed for 60 yards as his replacement.) Hoban's defense, led by linebackers Dan Dario and Anthony Congeni, is strong, but the Knights will have to play awfully well to pull the upset. Mooney QB Dan McCarthy completed his first passes of the season last week, going 4-for-8 for 117 yards and two TDs. RB Brandon Beachum, who scored his first TD of the season last week, will split time with FBs Mike Zordich and Mike Cylar and RB Jamel Bowers. McCarthy is also a threat to run. Mooney's defense is probably the best in the area.
MINERAL RIDGE (2-0) vs. McDONALD (1-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. Friday at McDonald High stadiumLast meeting: Mineral Ridge won 48-7 last yearNotebook: McDonald lost to Windham 28-20 in two overtimes last week. QB Matt Krumpak threw for 168 yards and three TDs. RB Matt Firment, who had two touchdowns in an opening win over Southington, is the main running threat. A.J. Zitello rushed for 191 yards and scored three touchdowns for Mineral Ridge in last week's 33-13 win over Grand Valley. The Rams have been one of the area's big surprises; after losing several top players to graduation, they've reloaded and so far look to be one of the contenders for the league crown.
WARREN JFK (2-0) vs. GIRARD (1-1)
Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Girard's Arrowhead StadiumLast meeting: Girard won 33-29 last yearNotebook: Despite losing standout RB Anthony Elzy to graduation, the Eagles have had no problem moving the ball. Eric McBride (28 carries, 212 yards) and Jared Province (14 carries, 115 yards) share the load in the backfield, while QB J.J. Townsend (20 of 29, 303 yards, 2 TDs) has looked good. WR Desmar Jackson (five catches, 127 yards) is a threat every time he touches the ball. JFK's defense, which is giving up just 138 yards per game, will get a big test this week against one of the area's top offenses. Girard QB Scooter Hargate is a threat to run or pass. He threw for 246 yards and ran for another 75 in last week's double-overtime win over Campbell. His main target is Jimmy Petrella. The Indians have been a little mistake-prone in their first two games and will need to play sharper against the Eagles.
Vindicator staff reports