The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

September 12, 2013

The most ancient of rivals

Geneva, Conneaut will square off for the 110th time Friday night

Football has been played at the high school level since the late 19th century.

And during those almost-120 years, no two Ashtabula County squads have matched up more often than Geneva and Conneaut.

The two ancient rivals will meet for the 110th time Friday night at Conneaut Stadium. Geneva broke a tie in the all-time series last fall with a 69-0 walkover at Spire Stadium, giving the Eagles a 52-51 lead, with six games having ended in a deadlock.

Both teams come into this one at 1-1 and coming off losses.

Coach Tony Hassett’s Eagles lost a hard-fought 34-27 verdict to visiting Perry at Spire Stadium, while coach Rocco Dobran’s Spartans took one on the chin at Champion, 36-19.

Geneva did everything but win last week, rushing for more yards (266-204), passing for more yards (139-43) and was even in the turnover ratio against Perry. But Pirate Kyle Beyer set the tone by running the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

“We played a heck of a ballgame,” Hassett said. “They made some big plays and that was the difference. The kick return to start the game was huge.  I will take the blame for that because with just four coaches, we have not practiced it enough. We will be better at that special-team phase this week.

“We just made key mistakes that they capitalized on.  I really do not know. We need to sure some things up on our defense and we will be fine.”

When asked if his Eagles let a winnable game get away, Hassett didn’t hesitate.

“Most definitely,” he said. “But in the same breath, we must move on. We cannot dwell on what should have happened.  

“We must get ready for Conneaut.”

Meanwhile, Conneaut was right there at Champion last week, trailing only 14-13 at halftime after Alex Gerdes hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Troy Colucci.

However, the Spartans were outscored in the second half, 22-6, as the Golden Flashes pulled away.

“We did some good things and we saw a lot of areas that we need to improve,” Dobran said. “We threw the ball well when we had protection. Because of that, we were able to stick with the game plan and take what they were giving us.”

Colucci completed 14 of 25 passes for 260 yards, the majority of which went to Gerdes, a sophomore, who had 9 catches for 189 of those yards.

Problem is, Gerdes (concussion)

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