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Notebook: Canfield gets bye week after scheduling snafu

Six weeks into the season, Canfield (5-1) sits atop the Division III, region 9 computer rankings. Right behind the Cardinals is Chardon (5-1), the two-time defending DIII state champions.

The Cardinals and Hilltoppers – who met in the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021 – are separated by less than one-tenth of a point in the rankings.

Ironically, both schools will not be playing this weekend as the high school football season heads into the seventh week of the season.

Canfield originally listed Cleveland Rhodes as its week seven opponent. The listing was based on a verbal agreement made between the two schools this past summer. However, last week Cleveland City Schools officials informed Canfield that the game would not take place. Without a contract, Rhodes (2-4) opted to not play a game this week.

“I feel really bad for our kids who work so hard all year long and who deserve to play ten games,” said Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky. “(Canfield athletic director) Mike Cochran worked like crazy to try to find a replacement game, but there just weren’t many options, not this late in the season.

Unlike Canfield, Chardon’s open week was actually worked into its schedule.

“Chardon absolutely would have been an option for us, but Chardon made a conscious decision to go with a bye week and I completely respect that decision,” Pavlansky said. “That team played sixteen games last year to get to the title game, which is too many games for a high school team.”

“They lived the grind. They were physically beat up and mentally tired. They expect to make a similar run this year, so I respect the decision to regroup at this point of the season.”

Pavlansky noted that he and his staff will spend Friday night scouting upcoming opponents. Canfield’s next two opponents are Youngstown East and Howland. Those two teams meet on Friday. Canfield’s week 10 opponent – Boardman – hosts Warren G. Harding.

Canfield last experienced a bye-week in 2020 when higher seeded teams sat out the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals returned from the break to defeat Kenston 28-10 in a second-round game.

“We’ll pretty much follow the same game plan as we did then,” Pavlansky said. “We’ll treat this week like any other practice week, give the kids the weekend off, then gear up for the remainder of the season.”

KENNEDY’S NEW HOME

Warren John F. Kennedy will celebrate its Homecoming this week when it hosts Rootstown.

Finding a place to call home this season has been a difficult task for the Eagles.

Because of ongoing construction at Mollenkopf Stadium, Kennedy has been forced to schedule home games elsewhere. The school originally had an agreement to play its home games at Howland. However, a scheduling conflict forced JFK to seek out an alternate location for its Sept. 9 home game against Sandusky Perkins. Originally that game was going to be moved to Mineral Ridge, but ultimately the contest was held at Austintown Fitch.

Now, further scheduling conflicts with Howland has forced JFK to again seek another “home.” JFK school officials announced on Monday that the Eagles’ final three regular season home games and any home playoff games will be played at Leopard Stadium in Liberty.

In addition to this week’s game, Kennedy has home games scheduled against Cleveland Central Catholic (Oct. 14) and Ravenna Southeast (Oct. 21).

Liberty plays on the road each night that Kennedy will utilize Leopard Stadium.

BEYOND WEEK 10

The high school football regular season ends the weekend of Oct. 21. With the exception of the 2020 COVID-shortened season, this marks the earliest ending to a regular season in Ohio history.

With the expanded playoffs, 63 percent of all teams in Ohio now play at least an eleventh game. The other 37 percent of schools which do not qualify for the tournament will have their seasons end with plenty of October still left on the calendar.

So, can schools which don’t advance to the playoffs schedule a regular-season game beyond week 10?

Only if they haven’t played a 10-game schedule, according to Ohio High School Athletic Association director of officiating and sports management Beau Rugg.

“Our member schools are of the belief that ten regular season games is plenty,” Rugg said. “Right now our regulations, which are put in place by member schools, allow for no more than ten regular season games.”

Rugg noted that prior to 2020 schools were not permitted to schedule any additional games beyond the scheduled end of the regular season. However, because of the shortened six-game schedule in 2020, schools were permitted to resume their regular seasons even after they were eliminated from the playoffs.

The same was true last year. Mineral Ridge, for instance, had two regular season games canceled due to COVID. The Rams’ final regularly-scheduled game was played on Oct. 15. They then played Waterloo on Nov. 5.

SIDELINE NOTES

South Range’s 26-game regular season winning streak is the third longest current streak in Ohio. Wyoming currently owns the longest winning streak at 63 games. The Cowboys haven’t lost a regular season game since Oct. 23, 2015. Kirtland owns a 51-game winning streak…..West Branch has scored 20 or more points in 36 consecutive games, tops in the state…..Leetonia has been outscored 270-13 through its first six games…..Lowellville is averaging 51.1 points per game. Its 308 points scored is second in the state behind Caldwell, which has outscored opponents 311-22…..Lowellville is one of 12 area schools which are averaging at least 35 points per game.

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