As the 2021 regular-season draws down, the annual District 10 playoffs are approaching. Several Mercer County contingents are vying for berths.
District 10 Chairman Pete Iacino said, “No clarification yet, except in both cases (Regions 1 and 3, which include county clubs) a maximum of eight teams may be invited – that’s assuming there are eight reasonable and available teams.
“The football committee will meet Sunday for selection and seeding. The brackets will be released sometime Sunday,” Iacino added.
Interestingly, there are numerous inter-region contests on tonight’s slate, most of which are in Erie County.
Grove City (6-2) at
Mercyhurst Prep (3-3)
In last week’s Region 3 showdown the Eagles edged Hickory (20-7). Led by Curtis Hovis (24-97) and Anthony Nemec (22-95) Grove City’s ground game out-gained Hickory, 224-50. Hovis tallied twice and Hunter Hohman hurled a 19-yard scoring strike to Zack Rodgers for 4th-quarter insurance. Defensively, the Eagles coerced 4 interceptions.
During its current 4-game win skein Grove City has outscored Fairview, Sharon, Titusville and Hickory by a composite 135-34 differential and claimed 13 opponents’ miscues.
The Lakers lost last week to Fairview (38-14). Prep was pounded on the ground (313-151; 435-330 in total yards). David Bahm paced Prep, passing for 179 yards (18 of 34 attempts), including an 11-yard TD toss to Sam Gonzalez. He spread the ball to Ja’Son Ellman (6 catches 58 yards), Dewey Byrd (6 for 63) and Gonzalez (4 for 35). Bahm also rushed for 55 yards, including a 12-yard score, and Aronde Bridgett added 51 yards on 7 totes.
Greenville (5-3) at
Harbor Creek (3-5)
Trojans’ taskmaster Brian Herrick has his club playing its best at the most opportune time of the season. Greenville has garnered 4 consecutive wins for the first time since 2017 when the Trojans triumphed in their first 5 games en route to a 9-3 record and District 10 Class 2A championship game berth.
Greenville garnered a 49-35 non-conference win at McDonald, Ohio last week. Levi Swartz (257 yards, including scoring sprints of 64 and 53, plus 4- and 9-yarders) and Malachi Hyde (13-133, including 30-, 14- and 27-yard TDs) led Greenville’s ground game to 462 yards. However, while Greenville gained 471 total yards it gave up 434, including 347 rushing.
Last week, Harbor Creek humbled Conneaut (42-8).
Coach Troy Budziszewski’s Huskies have averaged 179.8 yards rushing and 19.6 points per game; however Harbor Creek has surrendered 299.3 yards (193 rushing) and 24.1 ppg.
Matt Cassidy (104-680, 6.5 per-carry, 6 TDs), Cameron Williams (67-534, 8 per-carry, 5 TDs) and Toby Charlton (49-117, 2.4, 1 TD) lead Harbor Creek’s run game. When the Huskies do throw – averaging only 26.1 yards/game – it has been Charlton (16 of 33, 135 yards). His top target has been Gavin Ennis (14 catches, 86 yards, 6.1 per-catch, 2 TDs).
Sharon (5-3) at
North East (2-5)
The Tigers took a 21-14 lead last week into intermission at Slippery Rock, but suffered a 35-33 setback. With Jayveerh White running for 99 yards and 2 TDs and Mikey Rodriques rifling for 249 passing yards and another score, the Tigers totaled 441. However, they allowed 382.
Sharon’s 3 losses have occurred to University Prep (2-4), Grove City (6-2) and Slippery Rock (5-1) – teams with an aggregate 13-7 won-lost ledger.
North East has been outscored (32.9 to 21.0) and out-gained (294.9 to 210.7) by opponents, though the Grapepickers produced a 36-23 win over Girard last week.
Casey Burch (95-514, 6.1, 5 TDs) and Tyler Wittman (99-491, 4.9, 5 TDs) pace the ‘Pickers on the ground. Jackson Humes (41 of 70, 487 yards, 2 TDs, 9 interceptions) and Zane Strong (22 receptions, 270 yards, 12.3 per-catch, 2 TDs) lead the limited Grapepickers’ pass game.
Hickory (5-3) at Corry (0-5)
Corry is coming off a 55-14 loss to Fort LeBoeuf. The Beavers were out-gained 441-286 (420-121 on the ground). Nathan Lesher completed 13 of 18 pass attempts for 128 yards, including a 4-yard TD toss to Ethyn Allen (3 catches, 41 yards). Also, Hunter Savitz and Nolan Carey collected 49 and 43 yards rushing, respectively. Carey contributed a 28-yard TD run.
At Forker Field last week Hickory had its 4-game win skein snapped by Grove City. The Hornets’ 179 total yards was their lowest output since a season-opening setback to Ursuline (154), and its 4 turnovers tied a season-high.
In their handful of wins the Hornets have scored 214 points, but just 21 in their trio of losses. Those 3 opponents – Sharon, Slippery Rock and Grove City – are a combined 16-6.
Slippery Rock (5-1)
at Girard (0-6)
Last week the Rockets erased a 21-14 halftime deficit by erupting for 21 second-half points en route to a 35-33 rally over Sharon. Backup QB Eli Anderson aced 8 of 9 pass attempts, including an 8-yard score to John Sabo, and also ran 9 yards for a 2nd-half score. Also, Maddox Allen added a career-best 18-carry, 182-yard rushing performance, highlighted by 68- and 53-yard scores – the latter during the final frame for the eventual go-ahead TD.
Sharpsville (3-2, 5-3) at
Reynolds (3-2, 4-3)
Sharpsville shut out Mercer (46-0) for the Blue Devils’ 2nd straight win. Chris Roth ran for 75 yards and 2 TDs and Caullin Summers passed for 139 yards and a pair of 6-yard scores to Garen Levis. Zack Tedrow (2 receptions, 74 yards, plus a trio of 2-point PATs) and Levis (4 catches, 59 yards) were Summers’ go-to guys. While the offense mounted 330 balanced yards (191 rushing, 139 passing) the Blue Devils’ defense surrendered just 7 total yards (minus-25 rushing).
Jalen Wagner went for a career-high 291 yards rushing and a trio of TDs – including 84- and 70-yard scoring sprints – in Reynolds’ 47-27 shootout win over Lakeview. Haydin McLaughlin mustered an additional 106 yards rushing, including 55- and 41-yard TDs, and also hauled in a 31-yard scoring strike from Brayden McCloskey as the Raiders rolled to a 34-0 lead into the 4th frame. McCloskey completed 6 passes for 145 yards on only 11 attempts. He and Ashton Small also collaborated on a 39-yard TD.
Kennedy Catholic (1-5, 1-6)
at Farrell (5-0, 5-0)
During the pandemic-plagued 2020 season the Steelers played only 8 games. Thus far they’ve lost 3 games from their schedule – 2 to COVID concerns. Ironically, their originally-scheduled opponent, University Prep, already had cancelled last week’s contest. On the field the Steelers have outscored 5 foes by a composite 276-6 margin.
Steelers’ skipper Amp Pegues has termed his club “good to go ... everyone was back (practice earlier this week).”
Kennedy Catholic can boast some of the area’s best athletes, including Rayvion Wilbon-Venable. Last week in New Wilmington Wilbon-Venable ran 54 yards for one score and passed 35 yards to Jermaine Dunlap for another. The frosh phenom also intercepted a pass and returned a kickoff 46 yards. Dunlap – who spelled Simeir Wade as Wilbon-Venable’s go-to guy through the air – hauled in handful of receptions.
Wilmington (5-1, 5-2) at
Mercer (2-4, 3-4)
Led by Luke Edwards – 5 TDs in 3 varieties – Wilmington KO’d Kennedy Catholic (55-14) last week. The Greyhounds’ ground game gained 245 yards (Edwards 5 carries, 112 yards), with Edwards (3), Tyler Mikulin (2) and Aiden Gardner (1) tallying rushing TDs. Also, Tuff McConahy collaborated with Edwards on a 51-yard scoring strike, and Edwards and Cole McCallister pilfered passes – Edwards’ a 51-yard Pick-Six.
The Mustangs were blanked by the Blue Devils at Sharpsville’s McCracken Field last week. Mercer has alternated wins with losses this season. In a trio of wins the ‘Steads have scored 66 points; in their 4 losses the Mustangs have mustered just 14 markers and surrendered 166 points.
With a win Mercer and mentor Jeff Lockard could surpass last season’s total. Mercer last won as many as 4 games in a season in 2018 (4-5).
Brookfield (3-2, 5-3) at
Champion (2-4, 2-7)
Coach Randy Clark’s Warriors are alive in a bid for the OHSAA playoffs. Brookfield has been beaten by a trio of teams – Garrettsville-Garfield (9-0), Springfield Local (8-1) and LaBrae (8-1) – which are a combined 25-2 (LaBrae lost to Garfield), and all are ranked in the top 10 of their respective classification (V or VI).
According to WKBN TV 27, official OHSSA playoff pairings will be released Sunday, when 448 schools (top 16 in each region) will qualify. Brookfield is ranked 9th in Division VI , Region 21.
According to MaxPreps, Champion has been led offensively by Joey Fell (84 completions in 154 attempts, 1,141 yards, 7 TDs, 3 interceptions; 141 attempts, 743 yards rushing, 5.3 per-carry, 8 TDs). When going to the air waves Fell’s top targets have been Nicholas Vesey (24 catches, 309 yards, 12.9, 2 TDs), Keegan McDermott (14-263, 18.8, 4 TDs), Mason Sabo (14-168, 12 yards-catch) and Jack O’Shaughnessy (11-148, 13.5). McDermott (76-564, 7.4 per-carry, 10 TDs) has been the team’s 2nd-leading rusher.
Note: Erie County teams’ statistics courtesy of The (Erie) Times-News website. ... Earlier this week one of the Shenango Valley’s best sports fans, “Tiger Mike,” passed away. Michael Morford, 67, was a lifelong Sharon resident. Sharon High AD Zack Matusak noted, “Tiger Mike is a 1971 Sharon graduate, and has been a monumental figure and fan of the Sharon Tigers.” The Herald expresses condolences to the family of “Tiger Mike.”