Undefeated Canfield pushing toward playoffs
For the unbeaten Canfield Cardinals, it’s all about getting ready for week seven.
The Cardinals (4-0) aren’t fighting for a playoff berth (everyone can opt in) and they aren’t playing for a league title (they are an independent).
However, they are looking to improve each week, with the goal of peaking at tournament time, which begins two weeks from today.
“Our goal has always been to compete every Friday night, to put ourselves in the best possible position to win, and to get better each time we take the field,” Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky said. “We’re happy to be 4-0. At the same time, we better improve on what we’ve done or we won’t be happy in October.”
“We’re a good team. Our goal is to work toward being a great team.”
Tonight, the Cardinals look to maintain their perfect record when they play host to Chaney (1-3). The Cowboys picked up their first win of the season last Saturday with a convincing 30-0 victory over Cardinal Mooney.
“Chaney could very easily be 3-1 right now,” Pavlansky said. “They are going to be a huge challenge. “They bring more team speed and more Division I athletes than any team we’ve faced to this point.”
Pavlansky said that the next two weeks will go a long way in determining the Cardinals’ playoff fate.
“We need to put ourselves in the best position possible for week seven,” Pavlansky said. “With the playoff seeding process, every team is jockeying for a favorable spot.”
Canfield is one of six Mahoning County teams which have yet to suffer a loss. Austintown Fitch (4-0) will get tested when it visits Benedictine (2-2). The Bengals have wins over Warren G. Harding and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. Their losses were to Akron Hoban and Massillon.
Jackson-Milton (4-0, 4-0) and Springfield (4-0, 4-0) both hope to remain perfect prior to their week six showdown, which could determine the Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference Scarlet Tier championship. Tonight, the Blue Jays play host to Mineral Ridge (1-3, 1-3) while Springfield welcomes Waterloo (0-4, 0-4).
Despite being the smallest school in the Northeast-8 Conference, South Range (4-0, 4-0) continues to be a force against league foes. The Raiders, averaging 41.8 points per game, play at home against Struthers (2-2, 2-2).
West Branch (4-0) is off to its best start since 2007 when it went 9-3 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Warriors will look to go to 5-0 for the first time in more than 20 years when they play host to East Liverpool (2-2).
Columbiana County boasts a pair of undefeated teams in Leetonia and United. The two are set to square off a week from today in Hanoverton. In the meantime, Leetonia (4-0) is home against East Palestine (0-4) while United (4-0) visits Southern (3-1).
Hubbard (4-0, 4-0) is Trumbull County’s lone undefeated team. After recording four victories against opponents with a combined record of 3-13, the Eagles should face their toughest foe to date when they travel to Poland (3-1). Next week, Hubbard will return home to play South Range.
Garfield (4-0) went 9-1 during the regular season last year, with the lone loss being a 39-21 setback at the hands of Mogadore. Tonight, the G-Men will again put their perfect record to the test against the Wildcats (3-1). This is the third consecutive week Garfield will face an undefeated opponent.
Pymatuning Valley (4-0, 3-0) has been completely dominant in its four wins, outscoring opponents 196-7. The Lakers will play host to Mathews (3-1) tonight, then play a yet-to-be-determined Northeastern Athletic Conference foe next week before heading into the playoffs.
The playoffs will be a six-week process in Division I. The remaining six divisions will play a seven-week tournament.