By Greg Gulas
Last weekend was a sports director’s dream.
WFMJ-TV’s Dana Balash is hoping this weekend is even better.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly luncheon at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, the Mahoning Valley’s dean of television sportscasters is ecstatic that there are four area playoff teams remaining.
He also said YSU’s victory over top-ranked North Dakota State in football, the Penguins’ victory over Samford in men’s basketball and the 91 points its women’s team registered versus IPFW — all on the road — might be a sign that fortunes for its three revenue-producing teams is on the upswing.
“Our teams represent four of the six divisions and that speaks volumes as to the excellent brand of scholastic football that is played here in the Valley,” he said.
“All eyes will be on Cardinal Mooney, Crestview, Girard and Berlin Center Western Reserve. I cannot remember when four area teams advanced this deep into the play-offs and were competing for a shot to advance to the state semi-finals,” Balash said.
The Penguin football team has struggled on the road under second-year coach Eric Wolford, failing to win a game away from home last season. After going 3-8 in his initial campaign at the helm, they are 6-4 this year and have two road wins, including Saturday’s victory over No. 1-ranked North Dakota State.
“I feel that win will get them back into the playoff conversation and while they will still need some help, they musn’t forget that they still need to take care of business this weekend in their regular season home finale against Missouri State.,” he said. “His system is now in place and their overall record tells you that the team is buying into it. I felt that it would take some time and he’s on track sooner than even I expected.
“He’s the right guy for the job but like most coaches, I am sure that he is impatient and wants things to happen right now.”
Next week, Major League Baseball umpire Wally Bell will serve as guest speaker.