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DON McCORMACK

The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Paying a Monday-morning visit to the variety store...



Second season

According to Ohio high school football computer-points wizard Joe Eitel, two of the area’s 12 teams are sitting in playoff positions headed into their respective regular-season finales.

Eitel had the Perry Pirates already clinching a playoff spot before coach Matt Rosati’s squad absorbed its first loss of the season at the hands of Rosati’s former team — West Geauga — on Friday night at Alumni Stadium.

Headed into this week’s game at Chagrin Falls, Eitel says the Pirates (8-1) are fifth in Division IV, Region 13, meaning if the playoffs were to start this week, Perry would play at undefeated Steubenville (9-0).

Eitel says the Madison Blue Streaks control their own destiny this week, meaning if coach Tim Willis’ 7-2 squad can prevail at Riverside on Friday night at Riverside Stadium it’s in the playoffs.

Madison is seventh in the Division II, Region 5 ratings, according to Eitel. If the playoffs kicked off this week, it would set up a rematch of the season-opening bout between Madison at Normandy, which is rated second. Normandy (8-1), whose only loss this season is a 42-34 blemish at Brunswick, invaded Blue Stream Memorial Stadium in Week 1 and laid claim to a 34-17 win. If the two teams hook up again, it will be at Normandy.

Here’s how Eitel has all 12 area teams rated going into Week 10:

n Division I, Region 1 (29 teams) — 10, Riverside (6-3).

n Division II, Region 5 (31 teams) — 7, Madison (7-2); 18, Geneva (4-5); 25, Lakeside (2-7).

n Division III, Region 9 (30 teams) — 19, Harvey (4-5); 25, Jefferson (2-7); 26, Edgewood (2-7); 30, Conneaut (1-8).

n Division IV, Region 13 (30 teams) — 5, Perry (8-1).

n Division V, Region 17 (31 teams) — 14, Pymatuning Valley (8-1); T30, Grand Valley (0-9), with Rittman.

n Division VI, Region 21 (31 teams) — 31, SS. John and Paul (0-9). The Heralds have concluded their 2007 season.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s weekly computer ratings will be released on Tuesday and appear in our Wednesday edition. The top eight teams in each of Ohio’s six divisions, encompassing 24 regions, qualify for the playoffs. In the first round, the higher-seeded team earns a home game. After the first round, the OHSAA assigns the contests to neutral-site facilities.

Our own resident expert, Slingin’ Steve Goldman, will present his weekly take on the playoff chase as it relates to the area’s teams in Friday’s edition.

To access all of Eitel’s comprehensive information, visit his Web site at www.joeeitel.com.



PV pride

Though it appears it will take an awful lot for coach Jason Root’s Pymatuning Valley Lakers to extend their season into Week 11, they can put a bow on their great season — and have a huge affect on the Division V, Region 17 playoff chase in the process — with a win against visiting Mathews on Friday night at Laker Stadium.

The Lakers (8-1), who are just a 20-19 season-opening loss to Berkshire on Aug. 24 from being a perfect 9-0, host the undefeated Mustangs (9-0) in a battle for the undisputed East Suburban Conference championship.

However, there is more at stake. Consider:

n According to Eitel, Mathews needs a win to wrap up a spot in the D-V, Region 17 playoffs.

n A win would give the Lakers nine victories on the season, which would be the most since coach Ken Parise led PV to a 9-1 campaign in 1989, which just happened to be Root’s senior season as a standout for the Lakers.

n Winning the ESC championship would mark PV’s first title on the gridiron since the aforementioned 1989 team shared the ESC title with Berkshire.

n The undisputed ESC crown would be the first for the Lakers since Parise’s squad went a perfect 10-0 en route to winning the Grand River Conference championship in 1985, Parise’s first season as a head coach.



Oh, deer!

Rivalries are rivalries, but this is taking it to a bit of an extreme.

A high school volleyball team in the San Antonio area was shocked to find a bloody deer carcass on its bus after a recent match against a rival, according to a wire story.

Members of the Comfort High School team came across the remains of a dead deer after playing a match against rival Blanco High School.

A sister of a Comfort High School student said she believes students from Blanco High School placed the carcass on the bus as a prank.

“That is very inappropriate, I just couldn’t believe it,” Laura Lozano said. “(My sister) was just so surprised that they would do something like that.”

Lozano said the rivalry between the two schools is heated.

“We had actually beat them last year at their homecoming, so I guess that's where a lot of the rivalry really kicked in,” she said.

A letter of apology was sent to Comfort High School immediately following the incident. The principal of Blanco High School said he’s disappointed and made it clear to students that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated.

Why, of all things, leave the carcass of a deer, you’re asking?

Comfort’s school mascot — whitetail deer.



McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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