Pennsylvania (Week 7)
The reason the game was on Thursday, as I found out when confirming it was that the game date was a typo, so they would be playing it on Thursday rather than on the regular Friday night.
The Cochranton Cardinals came into the game 0-5. Erie Iroquois came in at 3-2. Cochranton is a very small public school. Their field is situated behind the high school. The stands are five rows of seats from the 20 to the 20. The visitors’ stand is five rows from the 20 closest to the school to the 30 of the other side.
The restrooms are inside the school, and the stadium’s pressbox is little more than a box built atop the back of the top row of seats on the home side similar in size to a king bed. Tickets were $3 (the cheapest I’ve ever seen) at the gate, and although you’re given a ticket from the ticket window (at a window at the back of the school), you forfeit it when you enter and are given a permanent green marker on the back of your hand. Which, after four showers, is still vaguely visible.
Cochranton came in wearing Arizona Cardinals styled uniforms. Red jerseys and pants, white helmet with the familiar cardinal head logo. Erie Iroquois wore black and gold similar to the Steelers with some type of arrow-like design on the black helmet in yellow. It seemed like a midget version of Super Bowl XLIII.
Being low level Class A teams, these schools made due with whatever players came out for the sport that year. Cochranton had some decent talent, but it wasn’t a lot. Iroquois had some speed, as evidenced by their longer runs.
Cochranton trailed 16-6, before forcing a safety in the far endzone to cut it to a one-score deficit. Iroquois tacked on another TD to make it 23-8 at the half. The second half saw a continued Cardinal effort as they marched down the field to score, along with a two-point conversion, to pull them within seven, 23-16. In the fourth quarter, with the ball, Cochranton played well, driving deep into the Iroquois red zone. An ill-conceived pass to a covered receiver rather than the wide open receiver in the endzone left them with a fourth down play that they couldn’t convert. Iroquois ran out the clock, including a fourth-down time wasting maneuver in the endzone to give up the safety as time expired, 23-18.
All in all, a fun night out to watch a small town come out and support their own against all odds. The 400 to 500 in attendance got to see a great game, you can’t ask for much more. The small town went home disappointed again, though, while Iroquois is now 4-2 and very much alive for the playoffs.
On Saturday, after seeing the Steubenville-Massillon game on Friday, I was back in Pennsylvania for a low-key affair between Kennedy Catholic of Hermitage, PA hosting Conneaut Valley of Conneautville, PA. Butala Stadium behind the Kennedy Catholic High School is a quintessential small stadium. Wood seating and walk ways, and only covering from the 30 to the 30 on the home side. To get to the visitor’s side requires walking around the track which gives a great view of the game for the game.
Kennedy Catholic had no ability in this game. Although it was close in the second quarter, Conneaut Valley ran away with it, 37-13. The game was horrid. KC had no ability to move the ball nor defend anything. It could’ve been much worse if not for the ineptness of Conneaut Valley to connect on the deep passes that were always open and were touchdowns waiting to happen. Throw in the fact there was not a cloud in the sky, an unrelenting sun, a boring one-sided game, and this wasn’t exactly a game I’ll remember well.
The other issue was that the game was advertised as a noon kickoff, but on arriving found out the game was changed to kick off at 2:30. No signs at the stadium, nor anybody from the school there to tell. Just another fan who had found out from their grandson who they had driven up from Pittsburgh to see play that the start time had been pushed back.
So, I drove over to see the start of the Westminster-Bethany college game at 1pm until halftime. It did cut in, as well, to seeing much of the Youngstown State game as the original 12pm start would’ve given me plenty of time to get to Youngstown for the 4pm kickoff at Stambaugh Stadium. I did get to see the last quarter there as YSU ran the whole gamut of emotions. Down eight, a touchdown to make it 28-26. A two pointer that failed after the receiver got knocked out of the back of the endzone making a leaping catch. A defensive stop to get the ball back. A quick drive to kick a long field goal to go up 29-28. And then a gut-wrenching long pass by North Dakota State to get the lead, and the victory, 34-29.
After the YSU game ended, I made it up to Mollenkopf Stadium in Warren to watch the last three quarters of the Warren JFK-Ashtabula Edgewood game. 15-12 at the half to the home side, and Edgewood didn’t stand a chance as they couldn’t do anything right. JFK tacked on two touchdowns to win easily in that one, 29-12.
Another fun weekend of high school football from around the country.