Dom Iarocci wants to make one thing perfectly clear — his Edgewood Warriors — who host Cleveland JFK on Friday night at Corlew Stadium in the first matchup between the schools — are still in the hunt to lay claim to the first trip to the football playoffs in school history.
“Teams 8 through 13 in Division 4 Region 13 are only 1.4 points separating the 8th team from 13th team,” the third-year coach said. “The possibility exists that us playing Cleveland JFK, a Division I opponent who has 5 wins, we could still mathematically win the game, get some help and get the 8th position.
“Which at Edgewood, is a very big deal and a topic of conversation with not only the football team, but with the Buckeye nation. Here we are in Week 10, still with a chance to get into the playoffs and that's a pretty big thing.”
Coming off a 27-21 win at archrival Conneaut last week, the Warriors (6-3) will go into the game against the Eagles (5-4) on a roll.
“It was a hard-fought, tough rivalry game,” Iarroci said of the win at Conneaut. “I thought our offense completely dominated the game. We gave up some scores, some of which were very questionable. They converted on three fourth-down plays for touchdowns, two of which were very questionable calls by officials.
“I felt the score should have been, at worst, 27-6. I thought our team, especially our offense, responded very well. We had two drives over eight minutes and one drive over seven minutes. I would say our ball-control offense dominated the game. We also had five 15-yard defensive penalties. Some were questionable... all hurt us.”
In the Eagles from the Senate League, not only are the Warriors facing a Division I opponent this week, they are also facing a program that went 9-1 and reach the big-school playoffs last season.
“They run a spread offense. They have two very skilled running backs, a decent quarterback, a very big line and some good receivers,” Iarocci said. “They have five wins and they're a Division I opponent, which will make our task very difficult.
“On defense, they like to run a 4-3-4. I was able to see them live last Thursday versus John Adams, so I know the difficulty that we are going to have stopping their high-octane offense.”
Iarocci said the Warriors, who will get speedster Riis Smith back this week after sitting out the win at Conneaut last week because of a sore neck, must be on their toes when the Eagles come calling.
“(A key will be) recognizing the various formations they run,” he said. “(And) dealing with their speed and us continuing what we do, controlling the ball on offense.”
Having won two straight and five of their last six games, the Warriors have a chance to reach seven wins — something that has been done only once in the last 16 seasons since Hall of Fame coach Dave Melaragno led the 1997 Warriors to an 8-2 finish.
Senior running back Dylan McCaleb needs 120 yards Friday night to reach 1,000 for the season.
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