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
  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area High School Softball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Brittany Baitt    Riverside    .645    .667    .806    31    11    20    3    1    0    8    0
    Cassidy DiFranco    Riverside    .588    .632    .647    17    7    10    1    0    0    0    0
    Alyssa Chadwick    Conneaut    .563    .630    .625    32    12    18    2    1    0    6    5
    Alyssa Irons    Jefferson    .526    .526    .632    19    5    10    0    1    0    9    2

    April 23, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Niles McKinley at Lakeside (4:30)
    Bloomfield at Conneaut (4:30)
    Maplewood at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Riverside at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Mathews (4:30)
    Orange at Perry (4:30)

    April 23, 2014

  • Tribe Royals crown Wahoos to split first two games

    The concerns about Indians starter Danny Salazar continue to grow.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edgewood SB Warriors whack Struthers

    Edgewood softball coach Steve Cunha’s main focus for the season centers on his team playing well in the All-American conference. In their inaugural season as part of the AAC, the Warriors continued their strong start by defeating visiting Struthers, 8-2, on Monday afternoon.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Falcons go the extra Niles

    Jefferson coach Scott Barber knows good things usually happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense.

    April 22, 2014

  • Emotional rescue

    Three Ashtabula area runners joined 36,000 of their closest friends Monday during the 118th rendition of the Boston Marathon.

    April 22, 2014

  • Spartans stymied

    Ursuline pitcher Makayla Shore freely admitted she didn’t quite have her best stuff against Conneaut on Monday at Skippon Park. Despite that fact, the hurler tossed a no-hitter to beat the Spartans, 10-0.

    April 22, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video