2018 Week 10 (New York & Pennsylvania)

2018 Week 10 (New York & Pennsylvania)

New York has a rather intriguing post-season structure. After a seven-game regular season, a three round playoff starts. For most classes. Class AA and D only play a two-round playoff, because of how few teams are in each. So, they get an extra regular season game. Then, those that don’t qualify can play in the “Funke Bowl”, which is a two-round playoff in each class. Again, except for Class D, since there’s only four teams.

However, teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs, or lose in the Funke Bowl, can play consolation games. Some only play one additional game. However, they can play up to three. One of those, is Springville Griffith. Who plays Tonawanda in the first post season week. And then plays East Aurora/Holland in the second week. Both games on a Wednesday. And one more week, next week, on a Tuesday at Alden. Finishing at 0-7, they’re desperate to get their first victory. Last week, losing, 14-7 to the Tonawanda Warriors.

The Funke Bowl games tend to be scheduled for Thursday. Unless there’s an unlit field and they’ll play on Saturday afternoon. The match game tend to be played on Wednesday or Thursday. Though, again, sometimes on Saturday.

Two games were scheduled for this past week. The early game, a 4pm game on Wednesday, was between JFK and Iroquois. JFK lost in the first round of the Class C Funke Bowl. While Iroquois lost in the first round of the Class B Funke Bowl. JFK’s field doesn’t have lights. But, rather than try to schedule it on Saturday, it was attempted to be played Wednesday afternoon. Before sunset.

The game was set for 4pm, however once the teams arrived and were set, kickoff took place at 3:45pm. Before 30 fans. Though more showed up closer to the original kickoff and throughout the game. Maybe 200-300 there at most. However, late in the first quarter, a long injury timeout delayed the game nearly a half hour. Without an ambulance on site, we had to wait for one to arrive, and then safely remove him on a stretcher. The injury didn’t appear life-threatening. The coaches, trainers, and other officials all seemed rather relaxed while they handled it. But, it was an injury that didn’t want to move a big lineman and try to limp him anywhere.

Iroquois’ big early lead, and apparent domination, withered, until it was 20-20 at the half. With the long delay and trying to beat nightfall, the halftime was shortened to 7 minutes, and the second half was played with a running clock. After a single TD by JFK in the third frame, the fourth quarter exploded with points.

Iroquois with a 5 yard TD run, which JFK matched with a 20 yard TD run. Maintaining their lead. Iroquois scored again, two minutes later to tie it. Looking like overtime was inevitable. JFK was forced to punt. And in less than a minute, with a running clock and no time outs, the Iroquois Braves stormed down the field to score on a 1-yard TD run with 17 seconds left. JFK only managed one play before time expired. Iroquois won, 42-36 to close out their respective seasons.

A 4pm start, kicked off at 3:45, including the long injury delay, finished off at 6:07 in the twilight. The only other game taking place Wednesday was less than a half hour away. East Aurora/Holland was hosting Springville Griffith. Springville’s second ‘match game’ of the season. Sitting at 0-8. The East Aurora Blue Devils had just renovated their EA Stadium, and installed new field turf. An outbuilding isn’t finished, so the restrooms were portapotties.

The game kicked off on time, and was a slug fest between two rather evenly matched teams. East Aurora struck first, on a 28-yard pass in the second quarter. However, Springville had a tremendous drive to finish out the second quarter, converting on two fourth down plays. Including the 23-yard TD pass on 4th down to tie it, 7-7.

The third quarter was scoreless, but it was clear East Aurora was the better team. Moving the ball while Springville seemed content to hold on for the uncertainty of overtime. The Blue Devils finally scored three minutes into the final frame, on a 1-yard run. After that, Springville wasn’t able to get anything going and the magic of the last few minutes of the first half didn’t rekindle.

For the second straight week, Springville, winless, lost 14-7 in a game they had a legitimate chance to win.

After that, it was a long drive home from the Buffalo area. And Thursday, a two hour drive to Uhrichsville. My first chance to see a game at Claymont Stadium in Uhrichsville. A regular occurrence, to play on Thursday to avoid competing with the attention and attendance of the New Philadelphia-Dover game.

Claymont Stadium is a unique, old concrete stadium. With a short row of stands running nearly the length of the field on each side. Grass field with a track. A student and band section in the northwest endzone. Interestingly, the press box is on the visiting side of the field.

Unfortunately, it couldn’t be a great game. Claymont came into the game 1-8, while Indian Valley was 8-1. A year after both teams were 9-0 coming into their rivalry game. There were other games around Ohio. And many looking to be better matchups. But, Claymont Stadium was on my list to see for a long time.

Calpreps had the game predicted at 58-6. The final was 52-6. And, honestly would’ve had it since Indian Valley had the ball deep in mustangs territory and purposefully relinquished it without scoring.

Friday night was my first playoff game thanks to District 10’s odd scheduling choices. There were three choices. And one of those was a rematch I had seen earlier this year. Reynolds had hosted Maplewood earlier this season during the infamous ‘bad weather weekend’. The game had kicked off at 5:30, but was delayed for great lengths due to lightning. A game Maplewood had won.

Another game with some rain. Another week. After 2017 having such great weather, 2018 was definitely the year with the rain. The District 10 Class 1A Quarterfinal was taking place at Meadville’s Bender Field. A field squished beside a road, that means very small sidelines, and no fencing around the ends of the field.

The game went much better for the Raiders this time around. Maplewood’s QB was injured, and Reynolds’ run game was strong throughout.

After an early safety in the fourth quarter, Reynolds scored two quick touchdowns and the game devolved into chaos. Reynolds held on to the shutout victory and a date with #1 Farrell the next Friday.

Saturday was a long drive to the Johnstown suburb of Ferndale. My Saturday plans were upended, again, because of the rain. My plan was a single game near home, and a Halloween parade and trick-or-treating with my daughter. But, rain cancelled those plans for us. And instead, settled on an indoor Halloween party on Thursday instead which left my Saturday open.

And, until late Friday night, I had anticipated a trip to Beloit, Ohio for their rivalry game with Salem. The big question was the early game. Warren JFK, Northgate, Imani Christian, Akron Buchtel, and a few others were options. But, then I stumbled on PIAA District 6. I remembered that in 2016 they started a “Crossover” weekend between the Heritage Conference and WestPAC. The same team in league standing would play eachother. #1 vs. #1, #2 vs. #2, etc. The ‘top game’ would be called the Appalachian Bowl and was being played on Saturday night. At Windber Stadium in Windber. Oddly, a place I had wanted to see a game for a long time.

And there were two afternoon games. Ferndale hosting Purchase Line or Connemaugh Valley hosting Marion Center. Both were places I had never been. But, I chose the school on Johnstown’s southside. Ferndale Yellow Jackets hosting the Purchase Line Red Dragons at Ferndale Stadium.

With Ferndale at 1-8 and Purchase Line at 2-7, I wasn’t expecting a great game. But, I was expecting a competitive game. I didn’t get that. What I got was one of the best mud games I’ve attended. And something that’s becoming more and more rare with the switch to field turf.

But, the photos were amazing. (More found HERE)

The game itself was a running clock and an endless parade of clean uniforms were cycled through to get their chance in the mud. Despite the score, the players were having fun for their final game on Ferndale’s side.

After that, it was a mere 9 miles to Windber Stadium. Dinner and a long wait in the rain before the night game started. The Appalachian Bowl between the Shade Panthers and Ligonier Valley Rams. Windber Stadium was recently renovated, with field turf, new stands, and field house.

The early drizzle had increased to a steady rain for most of the night game. The game itself wasn’t really projected to be close. But, it got out of hand as Ligonier Valley’s offense could move the ball, and Shade’s couldn’t. With another running clock, the second half was fairly quick and by the book.

Shade did manage their first TD of the game when it was already well out of hand.

After that, it was a 2.5 hour drive home. Another long weekend of games. Only the third weekend driving over 1,000 miles for games. 1,032 to be precise.

I’m creeping closer to two milestones. 1,000 different teams and 900 games.

2018 Season
33 New Stadiums
56 New Teams

99 Different Teams
46 Different Stadiums
45 Different Cities

57 Games

994 Different Teams
295 Different Stadiums
265 Different Cities

880 Games

For photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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