By Tom Williams
The Austintown Fitch and Niles high school football teams suffered their first losses of the season last Friday.
Their disappointment in losing the dream of a perfect season was reflected in Monday’s Associated Press poll of Ohio’s top teams.
The Falcons, 6-1 after losing 34-14 to Massillon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, dropped from fifth to ninth in the poll of Division I teams from across the state. Broadcasters and sportswriters weigh in with the votes.
The eight teams ranked ahead of Fitch are unbeaten. Once again, Cleveland St. Ignatius leads the list. Following the Wildcats are Cincinnati Colerain and Lakewood St. Edward, which pummeled Cardinal Mooney, 54-14, at Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium.
Like Fitch, St. Ignatius and St. Edward are in Region 1 for the playoff pairings.
In Div. III, Niles (6-1) fell to Hubbard, 43-14 and dropped to 11th in the poll. Last week, the Red Dragons were seventh. This Friday, Niles travels to Howland to play the 6-1 Tigers.
Not all the news in the poll was disappointing. Brookfield (7-0) remains the number-five team in Div. IV. The Warriors are coming off a 49-13 romp over Ashtabula Edgewood.
Making an appearance in the poll for the first time this season is Liberty (6-1). The Leopards defeated Girard, 35-21, and earned votes to rank 12th in Div. IV.
In Div. V, Crestview moved up from fifth to fourth after a 63-14 triumph over United.
Ursuline’s 31-7 victory at Steubenville moved the Irish up to number 11, one spot higher than last week. The Irish (5-2) will host Erie Strong Vincent (3-3) on Friday at Stambaugh Stadium, then will get ready for their annual showdown against Mooney (2-4) on Oct. 19.
In Div. VI, Warren JFK (6-1) dropped from 12th to 13th despite Saturday’s 31-14 win over Parma Heights Holy Name. Youngstown Christian (5-1) was idle last week and dropped enough votes to not make this week’s list of teams getting at least 12 votes. Last week, the Eagles had 18 votes.