Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Youngstown Ursuline wasn't ranked in final AP D-V poll

A question came up on Twitter this week about why Youngstown Ursuline wasn't ranked in the final Associated Press Division V poll.

With our 20/20 hindsight goggles, we know the Fighting Irish should have been third, with Kirtland and Coldwater set to decide Nos. 1 and 2 on Saturday. Not only should Ursuline have been third, you could have stopped the poll after that, because no one else is close.

Ursuline was 12th in the final poll, which was released after the end of the regular season. The simple answer for the Irish's final ranking is they were 10th after Week 9, and they lost in Week 10, making it easier to advance another team.

Let's look closer. After Week 6, Ursuline was 3-3 and on a three-game losing streak. Its three victories were over 2-4 Youngstown East, 2-4 East Tech and 3-3 Lake Catholic. A voter could reasonably argue that after going 4-6 in 2011, and with wins over teams that were a combined 7-11, Ursuline's resume was not that of a top-10 team. The three losses came to teams that were all undefeated, but the counter to that would be no matter how difficult the schedule is, you need to win one of those tough games at some point.

With their 3-3 record, the Irish were ranked 12th. In Week 7, they won at Steubenville, which was 5-1 at the time. As impressive as that win was, it didn't do much for Ursuline's poll standing. They moved up one spot to 11th, but they didn't gain any points -- they had 28 poll points after Week 6 and stayed at that number after Week 7.

In Weeks 8 and 9, Ursuline beat Erie (Pa.) Strong Vincent, which was 3-3 going into the game, and Cardinal Mooney, which was 3-4. The Irish were moved up one spot to 10th.

Then came a Week 10 loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary. This is where the politics of polls comes in. Voters will look at things like how good some wins are, quality losses and whether a team deserves to lose its spot in the poll. Unfortunately, the further you get away from "Which is the better team?" the less accurate your poll will be.

In the final poll, Ursuline lost 19 poll points and fell from 10th to 12th. The Irish were passed by Cincinnati Summit Country Day, which advanced from 13th to ninth. Curiously, Summit Country Day picked up 18 poll points in one week after beating New Miami, a Division VI school that was 5-4 heading into Week 10. That's a pretty big jump for beating a team from a lower division that was one game over .500.

Situations like this are why the OHSAA stopped using polls to determine state champions in 1972. It's good for competition, too. If the champion was still determined by a poll, Ursuline would probably replace some of its tougher opponents with cupcakes in order to build a more glamorous resume. Instead, the Irish play the best teams they can.

- Howard Primer

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week 13 football picks

Each week during the football season, Sports Editor Mark Podolski will pick NFL, college,and high school games.

A 2-3 week puts the season record at 28-31-1, so let's try to get back to .500.


D-V state final, Kirtland vs. Coldwater, Saturday: Last year, I predicted the Hornets to win by the exact score (28-7) in the state final. Let's go for two in a row. PICK: Kirtland, 31-21


MAC championship game, Kent State (6.5) vs. Northern Illinois, Friday: The Flashes need this win if they have any hopes of making an improbable push to a BCS bowl game. If Kent can get its running game rolling, look out. PICK: Kent, 34-31

SEC championship game, Alabama vs. Georiga (+7.5), Saturday: Alabama has injury issues, and Georgia seems to be flying under the radar. Upset alert for the Crimson Tide. PICK: Georgia, 21-17 


Browns (+1.5) at Raiders, Saturday: The Raiders have been bad, just like the Browns, but Oakland did beat the visiting Steelers earlier in the season. Cleveland always seems to struggle out west. PICK: Raiders, 27-23

Giants (+2.5) at Redskins, Monday: It's old (Eli Manning) vs. the new (Robert Griffin III), but the Giants always seem to kick into another gear late in the season. PICK: Giants, 34-27

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lots of work goes into doing our high school previews

It's that dreaded time of the year once again - high school previews for winter sports.
I say dreaded because a lot of work goes into those small capsules and watch list you see printed in the paper for all sports throughout spring, fall and winter.
Right now, I'm working on compiling the girls basketball previews which are going to run in Friday's paper.
The hardest part for me is tracking down a handful of previews from new coaches, coaches that may not have received the preview info or coaches who simply forgot.
A few weeks ago, we sent out a mass e-mail to all area athletic directors which included the preview forms for each winter sport attached. Athletic directors were asked to forward that information along to their respective coaches.
I also sent out an e-mail to all of the coaches in my list from last year just in case they didn't get the original e-mail from their respective athletic director. 
I'm always so excited when I receive a preview form that is completely filled out with first and last names, heights, years, positions and more valuable information. It's a bonus when coaches take the time to send you a roster and a schedule.
It's frustrating when coaches send incomplete information. That is just more work for the reporter in trying to track down a record from last year, projected starters, records and more.
I also use the preview information to update my coaches phone list which includes e-mail addresses and phone numbers. It's just a nice way of keeping in touch with coaches throughout the year.
Small schools, big schools, private schools and public schools are sent the same message from me. If you have girls you'd like to highlight throughout the year, notes or story ideas, please send them to me at
Some coaches take the time to update me on their team throughout the year. It's very helpful and I appreciate all of the hard work that goes into doing that.
I just wish more coaches would take me up on the offer.
Maybe, this year they will?
I just have to get through these previews first.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some nice early season games in college basketball

College basketball has its own bowl system, just like college football. It even has an ESPN-provided nickname: Feast Week.

It used to be that the big early season tournaments were highlighted by the likes of the Maui Invitational, the preseason NIT and the Great Alaska Shootout.

In recent years, though, Thanksgiving week has turned into a buffet of basketball, with tournaments in tourist-friendly locations including the Bahamas, Anaheim, Calif., Disney World and Puerto Rico. With many of them featuring eight-team fields, it’s resulted in some attractive matchups, including the Louisville-Duke final in the Battle 4 Atlantis.

The slate of big games continues this week with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Here are the most noteworthy:

Minnesota at Florida State, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2

North Carolina State at Michigan, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

North Carolina at Indiana, Tuesday, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

Ohio State at Duke, Wednesday, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

On a side note, if you’re a Duke hater, you might want to cover your eyes and close your ears, because you’ll be hearing a lot about the Blue Devils in the coming months. They are 6-0 with victories over Kentucky, Louisville, Minnesota and VCU. If they beat Ohio State, look out.

If Duke isn’t polarizing enough for you, Kentucky travels to Notre Dame on Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Alas, after this week, schools will start hitting the end of the first semester, and the menu will start featuring more cupcakes. That’s OK, though, because the beginning of the season has offered some pretty good dishes.

- Howard Primer

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Marion Local does it right

Looking at the state final pairings for next weekend in high school football, there's one team's entry that never ceases to impress me nearly every year.

It's not a school anywhere near this area, but if you know high school sports in Ohio, you know the name well.

Maria Stein Marion Local is back in the Division VI state final after a 34-28 win Friday over McComb and will take on Newark Catholic for the D-VI title next weekend.

Marion Local, merely as an observation from a distance, never seems to be mediocre at anything.

Football leads the way. The Flyers are making their 15th playoff appearance in school history and are - get this - 47-9 all-time in the playoffs. They have won five state championships, including three since 2006.

It's not just the gridiron. They're usually state-ranked at some point in boys basketball and girls basketball as well, and it's also never a shock to see state qualifiers across an array of other sports.

If you don't know Marion Local, it's a school tucked into the southeast corner of Mercer County, which is in west central Ohio along the Indiana border. Here's the school on Google Earth:

According to the OHSAA, Marion Local has an enrollment of only 108 boys and 104 girls in grades 10-12, yet they're seemingly regional- or state-caliber in virtually any sports endeavor.

I fully realize Maria Stein Marion Local is several hours from here, and it boasts a football team we'll probably only ever see on television.

With that kind of athletic track record, though, it's difficult not to be an admirer from afar.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Friday, November 23, 2012

College basketball video games have disappeared

I haven't played a video game in a few years. But after watching a few games of the Maui Invitational, the EA Sports logo at midcourt did its job, and I was intrigued about this year's edition of the NCAA March Madness video game.

Put the emphasis on was intrigued. There is no EA Sports college hoops video game this year. Neither is there one from another manufacturer. The most recent game available was released in 2009.

After snooping around online, it doesn't appear a new game is in sight. The Baltimore Sun and Forbes explained the situation. Here are the main reasons:

-- Demand. College football video games sell millions of copies. College basketball games sold hundreds of thousands.

-- Timing: College basketball is most popular in March, when people are paying off their holiday shopping debts instead of hitting the stores.

-- Quality of the games: Basketball is a sport of constant, fluid motion. That's not easy to capture in a video game. Also, players are identified by their positions and numbers instead of their names because of NCAA rules. That's a drawback for many game players.

-- Popularity of the sport: Unlike football, which features a year-round cavalcade of hot air, college basketball season doesn't kick in for most fans until January. It doesn't hit the mainstream until late February. Then, five weeks later, the season over.

I would have thought March Madness is popular enough to make a video game from it every year, but apparently not anymore. Here's to hoping some company takes a shot making another one.

- Howard Primer

Podcast: A look back at Mentor's, Kirtland's memorable wins

News-Herald staff writers David S. Glasier and John Kampf relive Mentor's and Kirtland's memorable regional final football victories last week with Sports Editor Mark Podolski.

Click to stream this episode, or right-click to download

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Week 12 football picks

Each week during the football season, Sports Editor Mark Podolski will pick NFL, college,and high school games.

A perfect 5-0 week improves the season mark to 26-28-1. It's time get over .500. Here we go:


Liberty Union vs. Kirtland, Saturday: After last week's dramatic comeback win over Youngstown Ursuline, the defending Division V state champions won't be denied in a state semifinal game. PICK: Kirtland, 41-10.


Michigan (+4.5) at Ohio State, Saturday: Coach Urban Meyer says his offense will be wide-open against the Wolverines. If that happens, the Buckeyes will be on their way to a perfect 12-0 season. Still, this one will be really close. PICK: Ohio State, 38-34.

Notre Dame at USC (+6), Saturday: Because everyone has already put the Fighting Irish in the BCS National Championship game, let's take the Trojans - not just to cover, but to win outright. This is nothing more than a hunch. PICK: USC, 24-21.


Steelers at Browns (pick), Sunday: Sorry, I just can't pick the Browns, especially against the Steelers. PICK: Steelers, 16-10.

Packers at Giants (+1.5), Sunday: One thing I've learned over the years is don't bet against a home underdog team as good as the Giants. PICK: Giants, 31-28.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Local high school sports teams are lucky to have Charlie Malta covering them

Did you know Charlie Malta has been a U.S. Postal carrier in Willowick for the past 32 years?
Did you know he walks nine miles a day in the neighborhood he grew up in to deliver mail?
Did you know he married his high school sweetheart?
Neither did I.
There's a lot I didn't know about Charlie Malta until I interviewed him.
Usually, Malta is the one doing the interviews.
He's the host of "Monday's With Malta," a local high school sports talk radio show that airs live on WELW-AM 1330 from 7-9 p.m. September through April. It is also streamed live on
Malta has been doing the show for the past 10 years. In the first three years of its existence, he broadcast the show at WELW. But for the past seven years, he's been on location at various local restaurants and bars.
When he features North, he does his show at Captains Club. VASJ is Skinny's in Euclid. Wickliffe is Marino's. South is Panini's and Mayfield is Mill Tavern. When he does preview shows that bring a large crowd, he likes to go to Mama Roberto's in Mentor because it has an attached party room.
A few weeks ago on October 1, Malta hosted his biggest show to date.
Over 900 people attended the fifth annual cheerleading challenge show at  Dubrovnik Gardens Restaurant in Eastlake.
This Monday, Malta will be at Mama Roberto's previewing high school girls basketball. North, South, Gilmore, Mentor, Lake Catholic and VASJ will be represented.
"To put a microphone in front of kids helps their self esteem," said Malta, who hosts his show with Ray Milavec. "It helps the kids talk about themselves and their school.
"It's work, but it doesn't feel like it for me. I'm very fortunate. The show has lasted 10 years and it's a lot of fun."
The area is lucky to have a gem like Malta covering them. He cares about every individual high  from the bowlers to the football players and every sport in between.
If that isn't enough, Malta is a councilman in Ward 3 in Willowick. He's also the National Referee Director of the USFTL, the biggest flag football organization in the United States with over 10,000 players.
How does Malta do it all?
I don't know.
But I truly value everything he does.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tip of the cap to Chagrin

As we embark on a historic state semifinal week for The News-Herald coverage area in football with a pair of Lake County teams in the final four, let's take a moment to pay homage to an incredible run that came to an end Saturday.

There have been a lot of impressive numbers put up in our area the last four years statistically - individually and team-wise. But Chagrin Falls' four-year run of going 51-6 and making three straight state final four appearances has to rank somewhere toward the top of the list.

Participating in 17 playoff games - nearly two full extra seasons of football - since 2009 speaks so highly of that program. There are seniors on that football team who, until Saturday, had enjoyed such a run in their fall sport that they may not have literally ever seen a November practice for their winter sport.

This Chagrin campaign ended roughly Saturday at Solon with a 34-7 loss to an Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary squad that was outstanding in all respects, and tears flowed freely on that Chagrin sideline at Stewart Field afterward.

The numbers, however, are pretty darn impressive. All-time, Chagrin is now 17-10 in 10 playoff appearances. Of those 17 wins, 11 have come in the last four years.

There are some programs putting together great football in our area - including two of Lake County's finest, of course, in Mentor and Kirtland that will carry the area banner into Week 14. When that discussion is taking place of which programs are performing the best, Chagrin Falls deserves its spot in the discussion as well - 51-6, after all, speaks effectively for itself.

- Chris Lillstrung

Friday, November 16, 2012

Is going to a Browns game worth it?

I haven't attended a Browns game since 1999. I'm not in a rush to get to one, either. Not when the climate-controlled home viewing experience works just fine.

My lack of interest in getting tickets is also because it seems as if a blog or story pops up every week with discussions about if seeing a game in person is worth the expense and hassle. Here are two examples, one local from WEWS-TV 5, and one national from ESPN.

Fair or not, the perception is that unless you're in a club seat or a luxury box, the NFL experience will involve paying through the nose to park, not being able to see as well as you would on TV, not being as connected to other action if you're a fantasy football player, and, in the worst cases, having to sit next to someone who has too much to drink and stands the whole game.

The instance of a drunk fan shouting down every one else for not being "a real Browns fan" because they're not standing along with him could be fewer and farther between than is portrayed. Obviously, I wouldn't know because it's been so long since I went to a game.

I do know that I have no interest in going to a game if that's what it's like. Why would I pay all that money for parking and tickets when I can get a perfect view of the game on my TV and walk 10 feet to the kitchen or bathroom whenever I want?

This would also be the case if the Browns were good and the weather was nice. The Browns aren't good, and we're just about done with nice-weather days this season.

For those who do go to the games, I'm interested to know -- is attending an NFL game similar to how it's portrayed? Should people who aren't interested in drinking and standing stay home? Or are those descriptions inaccurate or overblown?

- Howard Primer

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week 11 football picks

Each week during the football season, Sports Editor Mark Podolski will pick NFL, college,and high school games.

A 2-3 weeks puts the season mark at 21-28-1, so let's go:


Mentor vs. St. Ignatius, Saturday: Conventional wisdom says whatever goes up (Mentor's stock can't be higher than it is right now), must go down ... unless that team has the best player in the state in QB Mitch Trubisky. Somehow, the Cardinals find a way to get it done the second week in a row. PICK: Mentor, 38-35.


Ohio State (+3) at Wisconsin, Saturday: The fact that the game is being played at Camp Randall Stadium has to be the only reason why the Badgers are favored in this one. Buckeyes roll here. PICK: Ohio State, 31-17.

USC at UCLA (+4), Saturday: Have you seen the Trojans' defense this season? Still in rivalry games, anything can happen. The Bruins win ... barely. Take USC and the points. PICK: UCLA, 41-38.


Browns (+7.5) at Cowboys, Sunday: This is the spot where most are saying the Browns don't have a shot. We'll go the other way, at least for a cover. PICK: Cowboys, 24-21.

Ravens (+3.5) at Steelers, Sunday: It will be tough for Pittsburgh without its leader and QB Ben Roethlisberger. PICK: Ravens, 23-14.

- Mark Podolski | @MPodo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beaumont's run to the DII state volleyball championship was magical

When I drove down to Dayton on Thursday to cover the 38th annual state girls volleyball tournament, I had no idea I would come back with a championship.
Not me personally, but Beaumont in the Division II finals.
In their first trip to the championship, the Blue Streaks defeated Norwalk, 25-18, 18-25, 25-15, 16-25, 15-8. The match was intense as you can imagine.
The emotion was high for both teams (the Truckers were also making their first appearance in the state finals).
In the end, the Blue Streaks limited their errors and went on a 4-0 run to clinch the win. During the run, Loyola of Maryland recruit Lauren Youngblood had two kills. Division I recruit Molly Davet had one of her own and the Truckers had a bad set.
It was thrilling to watch.
What I especially enjoyed was the pure sense of joy after the Blue Streaks won the title. They piled on top of one another in the middle of the court and cheered wildly. Thirteen-year head coach Pat Royer shook his head in disbelief.
After a season of many highs and lows, the Blue Streaks achieved their ultimate goal.
"When we started off the season, we had this goal in mind in our first open gym," senior libero Marin Jerse said. "We definitely went through a lot as a team this season. We had a lot of injuries and had some games we should have won and lost because of injuries.
"We really came together as a team. We fought through every downfall we had. We kept our goal. We never let our goal get out of sight. The fact that we were able to do this is just unreal. It's a dream."
The Blue Streaks finished the year 22-7. Their losses included two to North Coast League opponent Parma Padua Franciscan (which Norwalk defeated in the regional final to advance to state).
I think the difference this year was the Blue Streaks knew what to expect. Last year when they made it to state for the first time in school history and lost in the state semifinals, the Blue Streaks were overwhelmed by the entire experience.
This year, they knew what to expect.
They were ready for the bright lights, big gym and the locker room.
When they took the court, they were confident, and it showed.
I was so excited to be a part of it. It was an honor to be in Dayton to cover them.
Thanks for the ride Blue Streaks.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Breaking down the seeds

With the 24 regional football finals set across Ohio in all divisions, perhaps it might be interesting to see how well seeds held through a breakdown of those teams still fighting for a state title.

To no one's surprise, the highest number of seeds still alive are No. 1s, which are still going in 16 of the 24 regions across Ohio. Interestingly, though, the bracket only "holds" with a 1-2 matchup for a state final four berth in five regions: 2 (Massillon-Toledo Whitmer), 10 (Napoleon-Bellevue), 13 (Brookfield-Creston Norwayne), 14 (Bishop Hartley-Ottawa Glandorf) and 23 (Danville-Newark Catholic).

Two seeds do not have a representative remaining: No. 8s - not an enormous surprise there - and, oddly, No. 5s.

The highest number of seeds alive beyond 1s are No. 2s and No. 4s, each with eight, followed by No. 3s with seven and No. 6s with five.

There are still four No. 7s going strong across the state: Hilliard Davidson (Region 3), Milton-Union (Region 16), Youngstown Ursuline (Region 17) and Patrick Henry (Region 18).

The News-Herald area representation in Week 13 is comprised of a pair of top seeds, Chagrin Falls in Region 9 and Kirtland in Region 17, and a pair of No. 4s in Mentor (Region 1) and Chardon (Region 5).

A statistical analysis isn't going to win any football games next weekend, of course. It just seemed like something worth noting.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Friday, November 9, 2012

College basketball magazine predictions for the Big Ten, MAC and Horizon League

College basketball season always seems to pop up out of nowhere. Maybe it's because we're in the single digits of November, and Thanksgiving is almost two weeks away.

But like stuffing on Turkey Day, there's always room for more college basketball. As an appetizer, here are a few magazines' picks for conferences of interest in Northeast Ohio:

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook: 1. Indiana; 2. Michigan; 3. Michigan State; 4. Ohio State; 5. Wisconsin; 6. Minnesota; 7. Northwestern; 8. Iowa; 9. Purdue; 10. Illinois; 11. Penn State; 12. Nebraska
Lindy's: 1. Indiana; 2. Michigan; 3. Ohio State; 4. Michigan State; 5. Wisconsin; 6. Minnesota; 7. Purdue; 8. Northwestern; 9. Iowa; 10. Illinois; 11. Penn State; 12. Nebraska
Athlon: 1. Indiana; 2. Ohio State; 3. Michigan; 4. Michigan State; 5. Minnesota; 6. Wisconsin; 7. Iowa; 8. Illinois; 9. Purdue; 10. Northwestern; 11. Penn State; 12.Nebraska

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook:1. Akron; 2. Ohio; 3. Kent State; 4. Buffalo; 5. Bowling Green; 6. Miami (Ohio)
Lindy's: 1. Akron; 2. Ohio; 3. Buffalo; 4. Kent State; 5. Miami (Ohio); 6. Bowling Green
Athlon: 1. Ohio; 2. Akron; 3. Kent State; 4. Bowling Green; 5. Buffalo; 6. Miami (Ohio)

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook:1. Toledo; 2. Eastern Michigan; 3. Western Michigan; 4. Ball State; 5. Central Michigan; 6. Northern Illinois
Lindy's Sports: 1. Eastern Michigan; 2. Toledo; 3. Western Michigan; 4. Ball State; 5. Central Michigan; 6. Northern Illinois
Athlon: 1. Toledo; 2. Eastern Michigan; 3. Western Michigan; 4. Ball State; 5. Northern Illinois; 6. Central Michigan.

Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook:1. Valparaiso; 2. Detroit; 3. Green Bay; 4. Milwaukee; 5. Youngstown State; 6. Loyola (Ill.); 7. Cleveland State; 8. Illinois-Chicago; 9. Wright State
Lindy's: 1. Detroit; 2. Valparaiso; 3. Green Bay; 4. Milwaukee; 5. Cleveland State; 6. Wright State; 7. Youngstown State; 8. Illinois-Chicago; 9. Loyola (Ill.)
Athlon: 1. Valoparaiso; 2. Detroit; 3. Green Bay; 4. Cleveland State; 5. Milwaukee; 6. Youngstown State; 7. Wright State; 8. Illinois-Chicago; 9. Loyola (Ill.)

- Howard Primer

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Week 11 football picks

Each week during the football season, Sports Editor Mark Podolski will pick NFL, college,and high school games.

After two straight 4-1 weeks, it's back to the dumps with a 2-3 mark last week. The season mark stands at 21-28-1. Here we go:


Mentor vs. St. Edward, Saturday: The last time the Cardinals faced off against a Catholic school power, St. Ignatius easily handled them. That was back in Week 3, so this is a different Mentor team, but so are the Eagles, who appear determined to win the big-school state title. PICK: St. Edward 38, Mentor 21


Texas A&M (+16) at Alabama, Saturday: The Crimson Tide are coming off an emotional, hard-fought win at LSU, but don't expect too much of a letdown against the Aggies. PICK: Alabama, 27-10

Kansas State at TCU (pick): The big question is will K-State QB Collin Klein play. The guess is he does, and if that's the case, take the Wildcats. PICK: Kansas State, 31-24


Indianapolis at Jacksonville (pick), Thursday: The Jaguars' only win of the season was against the Colts, who are a surprising 5-3 this season. With QB Andrew Luck, expect Indy to improve to 6-3. PICK:  Colts, 24-17

Houston at Chicago (pick), Sunday: Both teams are 7-1, but the Bears defense has been simply awesome this season. Go with the home team. PICK: Bears, 23-10

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A giant game for Geauga

A quick thought as we proceed into Week 12 during the high school football playoffs:

With Kenston's upset of top-seeded Tallmadge last week, and Chardon taking care of Warren Howland to set up an all-News-Herald area Division II, Region 5 semifinal Friday at Mentor, could this perhaps be the biggest football game involving two Geauga County schools in history?

Not a game involving ONE Geauga school, mind you. We're talking about a game in which BOTH schools are within the Geauga limits.

Given the playoffs are involved, and a trip to a regional final is on the line, it could very well be the case.

This marks just the second time in area history that two schools located in Geauga County have met in the playoffs, the last being West Geauga's 20-13 victory over Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in 2003 in a Division III regional quarterfinal.

It's likely some of the old-school folks out there might beg to differ on the classification of this Chardon-Kenston game as the biggest ever. Perhaps there's a regular-season game in a great Geauga rivalry such as Berkshire-Cardinal or a league game with huge implication from days gone by for any of the proud programs down there.

Still, the case is there.

When Chardon and Kenston meet Friday, there is a great deal at stake, and the stakes have perhaps never been higher for a game with two schools both located in Geauga County on opposite sidelines.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Week 10 football picks

Each week during the football season, Sports Editor Mark Podolski will pick NFL, college and high school games.

Last week produced another solid 4-1 week to put the season mark at 19-25-1. This week includes two tough college games to call:


Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at NDCL: The Lions are hosting their first-ever playoff game, but this one won't be easy. The Irish are the No. 7 seed, NDCL No. 2. The Lions are on a roll, winning eight straight, and have just enough playmakers to knock off LeBron James' alma mater. PICK: NDCL, 17-14


Alabama at LSU (+9): The Tigers are getting points at night, and in Death Valley? Not sure LSU wins this one, but nine points is too much. The Tide wins, but doesn't cover. PICK: Alabama 20, LSU 12

Oregon at USC (+8): Another tough one to call here as the Trojans seem dangerous as a home underdog that can score points in bunches. The Ducks defense has been stout this year, but hasn't faced an offense like USC. However, it's the Trojans' defense that's the problem. PICK: Oregon, 42-30


Ravens at Browns (+3): Haven't had much luck picking the Browns this season. That luck has to turn eventually, right? PICK: Browns 24-23

Steelers (+3) at Giants: I'll take Eli Manning over Ben Roethlisberger. PICK: Giants, 27-21

- Mark Podolski | @mpodo

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ugliest football uniforms yet

You think some of the alternate jerseys college football teams have worn this season are ugly? Check out these high schoolers' uniforms in Florida:

- Howard Primer