Ursuline HC Reardon hits milestone win
From a team perspective, Ursuline’s 34-20 win over Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary last Friday was significant in a number of ways. The victory kept Ursuline’s perfect record (7-0) intact, and it kept the Irish far atop the Division III, Region 9 rankings.
Ursuline locked in the right to host playoff games in the first two rounds of the tournament. The victory also snapped a 10-game losing streak to St. V’s dating back to 2011.
The win also provided Ursuline coach Dan Reardon with a personal milestone — his 150th win as a head coach.
Reardon owns a lifetime coaching record of 150-80. His resume includes four straight trips to the Division V state championship game and three straight state titles (2008, 2009, 2010).
So, how did Reardon celebrate the occasion?
“I drove home and went straight to bed,” Reardon said with a laugh. “Our staff usually goes out for pizza after games, but we had a long drive home from Akron and by the time we got settled in, it was late and I went to bed.
“Honestly, we had a quick cheer right after the game, I received a lot of texts which was really nice, but the biggest thing for all of us was beating a really good St. V’s team that we hadn’t beaten in a long time.”
Reardon’s 150th win was in fact less eventful than his first-ever win as a coach. Reardon began his coaching career on Aug. 26, 2004 at Boardman – sort of.
“We were just getting ready to take the field and a thunderstorm hit the area, and the game ended up being pushed back a day,” Reardon said. “So here I am, unable to sleep all night Thursday night worried about the game. Then I toss and turn all night Friday.”
Ursuline returned to Boardman the following day to record a 34-7 win over the Spartans. Reardon pointed out that current Ursuline offensive coordinator John DeSantis was a senior on the ’04 team.
Rather than bask in the glory of his own 150 wins, Reardon used the occasion to reflect on the accomplishments of some of his counterparts.
“You know, if you took my wins, doubled them, then added one-hundred more, you still wouldn’t reach (Steubenville coach) Reno (Saccoccia),” Reardon said. “That’s just insane. You look at the wins that guys like Jim France (Akron Manchester) and Bill Bohren put up, and it really puts things in perspective.”
So, does Reardon have his eyes set on 300 or even 400 wins?
“Absolutely not. I just can’t imagine coaching long enough to get that number of wins. I’ll enjoy this while I can then let others have their turns,” Reardon said.
Ursuline closes the regular season with three straight home games, including Friday’s game against Villa Angela-St. Joseph.
For the first time in quite awhile, Austintown Fitch coach T.J. Parker spent a Friday night in September away from the football field.
The Falcons were unable to find a week seven opponent, forcing them to sit idle while other teams throughout the Mahoning Valley took the field.
“I spent a whole lot of time with the family, and yes I did take an occasional peek at the games throughout the night,” Parker said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking having to sit out without the opportunity to gain computer points in a region as strong as ours.”
Fitch (4-2) is currently ranked ninth in Division II, Region 5. While it does appear the Falcons will advance to the playoffs, they are fighting for a top eight finish in the region, which would assure a first-round home game.
Parker noted that his biggest challenge was how to handle two weeks of practice without a game.
“It was very different,” Parker said. “We started things that first week slower than normal, then as the week went on we got more physical and we incorporated a lot of intrasquad competition that we might not do in a typical week leading up to a game.”
“We got back to focusing on the fundamentals, something you might not otherwise do when you’re preparing for an opponent. And we were able to get our players into the youth program and work with those kids, which was nice.”
With the expansion of the playoffs and with a six-week tournament, some coaches have welcomed a bye week into their schedule. Such wasn’t the case with Fitch.
“We contacted Canfield (which also had an open date) probably 100 times,” Parker said. “We were actively seeking to find an opponent up until about three weeks ago. At that point we had to begin preparing how we would approach and handle the two-week layoff.”
Fitch is coming off a loss to Ursuline. It returns to action Friday with a home game against Massillon (7-0).
“In the end, it may have worked out for the best for us, but at the same time you only play 10 regular season games,” Parker said. “You never want to cheat your kids out of an opportunity. Who knows, this might have been the week a kid does something special that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.”
That being said, Parker believes it might be in the best interest to mandate a bye week for all teams in Ohio.
“If an open week was implemented for all schools statewide, it would alleviate some of the scheduling headaches, and it would also ease some of the weekly grind that these kids face from August on,” Parker said.
Following its game against Massillon, Fitch closes its regular season with games against Boardman and Warren G. Harding.
Garrettsville Garfield and Ursuline remained undefeated with wins over the weekend. The G-Men and Irish are two of 49 schools statewide which enter the eighth week of the season without a loss. … Salem, East Palestine and Champion all picked up their first win of the season on Friday. Leetonia and Howland are now the only 0-7 teams in the area. … South Range continues its dominance over Northeast-8 opponents. The Raiders have now won 28 consecutive league games dating back to Oct. 4, 2019, when they lost at Niles. South Range visits Niles on Friday. … The West Branch football program notched its 400th win Friday in the Warriors’ 56-0 win over Marlington. West Branch has now recorded shutouts in three straight games, outscoring opponents during the stretch by a score of 175-0. In those three games, kicker Eliza Hirst has now made 28-of-28 PAT attempts.