The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


November 23, 2013

A Vince Peluso column: No shame in this one

MENTOR — All good things must come to an end.

The Madison Blue Streaks football team learned that the hard way Friday night when they ran into a Cleveland Glenville team in a Division II, Region 3 final that had too much size and speed for them to handle

The result — Tarblooders 40, Blue Streaks 7.

It was an abrupt and disappointing end to an otherwise historic season.

You didn’t need to see a Madison game or know much about football to know what coach Tim Willis’ group accomplished.

After a Week 7 loss at South, the Blue Streaks rattled off three consecutive shutouts to close out the season and take a share of the Premier Athletic Conference title.

Madison went back to South in the first round of the Division II state playoffs and stunned the Rebels, 42-14.

The Blue Streaks followed that with a thrilling upset of Brecksville-Broadview Heights, 21-20.

Five straight wins, a ticket to a regional final, one of only eight teams left standing in the state, the claim as the best team in school history; not too hard to realize the significance of those accomplishments.

“It’s been fun, it’s been great for Madison, it’s been great for our community,” Willis said. “They’re great kids. They’ll do anything for you. It’s always hard when it finally ends and I don’t think these kids wanted it to end tonight. It just happens.

“Some team’s gotta win, some team’s gotta lose.”

But, in a day and age when modern football has gone from a simple game to a complex one with playbooks as thick as dictionaries and play names so long and confusing everyone on the field needs a wrist band to remember it, Madison showed you can win by playing simple, fundamental football.

This, perhaps, might be the Blue Streaks’ most impressive accomplishment.

Willis admitted he felt his team out-thought itself in its loss to South. It lost its identity and tried to be something it wasn’t.

Not after that, though.

No one on Madison wears a quarterback wrist band.

While the Blue Streaks effectively used the wildcat formation during their run, they didn’t overcomplicate it.

For the most part, it was Brandon Davis off right tackle, Brandon Davis off left tackle.

Essentially, the Blue Streaks told teams, “We’re running — try and stop us.”

For five straight weeks, no one could.

In a game that’s dominated by the spread formation, thousands of different plays, smoke and mirrors and flinging the ball over the field, Madison methodically moved down the field on offense.

The trickiest thing it often did was a counter trap play to Ricky Simcic after faking a toss to Davis.

Anybody remember the counter trap? Not sure if that play is in any playbook on Madden 2014 for XBox, which sadly is the basis of knowledge of football for many in the 21st century.

Content to consistently run the ball for 3 to 5 yards per play, the Blue Streaks didn’t look to score in seconds, but rather minutes.

The PAC co-champs realized the key to a great defense is keeping the other team’s offense off the field.

In its purest form, football is running and tackling.

At a time when that concept seems to be forgotten, the 2013 Blue Streaks reminded us all of it.

There was no scheme that was going to defeat Glenville on Friday night.

At the end of the day, football is largely about matchups.

Glenville is an awful matchup for Madison.

When a team’s identity is power football and it’s up against a team with more size and power, well the results are what happened Friday night at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium in Mentor.

“Size was definitely… They were bigger than us on both sides of the line,” Willis said. “On defense, our biggest guy weighs 190 pounds. You saw what they have. I don’t have to tell you.”

What Glenville has is a team littered with Division I college prospects.

All good things must come to an end.

Still, anyone who got a chance to go on this ride with Madison should be happy to see a team in the modern age of football win playing with a simple, fundamentally sound style.

What a novel idea.

Peluso a sports writer for the Star Beacon. Reach him at

Text Only
  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • valor A valiant effort

    Paralympians from all over the United States experienced three days of competition, education and fun during the Valor Games Gold Medal Camp at Spire this weekend.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video