2020 Week 8 (Ohio & Pennsylvania)

2020 Week 8 (Ohio & Pennsylvania)

Things had gotten a little more relaxed this week. For one, Pennsylvania had relaxed their stringent restrictions on attendance. Which made the old 250 limit no more. It was nice being at a game in PA with what could be called a ‘crowd’ for a game. But, with all the restrictions, I didn’t look for much of the Pennsylvania games earlier in the week.

Over a week ago, I contacted Waterloo in Ohio regarding their non-playoff Thursday night game against Windham. They were playing a true ‘home game’where last year they had hosted their games at Marlington. I had done two of their games last year. One home at Marlington, and a road game at Western Reserve. This year, I was at their game against Lowellville hosted in Struthers. Other than the local paper, I was the only other media there. The stadium at Waterloo is a makeshift venture this season. The original home stands were demolished, and the only seating available was a small visitor stand and plenty of standing room and ‘bring your own chair’ space around the field. Lacking a press box, they improvized.

#27 Waterloo v. Windham

In Ohio, Week 7 was the first weekend of the playoffs. However, teams could opt out if they didn’t want to participate. Which is what happened with these two. In their place, they could still play up to four more regular season games. So, the winless Waterloo Vikings scheduled a home game this week. I’ve seen some question the logic behind a winless team playing a ‘meaningless’ game. But, I can assure you, there was nothing meaningless about this game.

Waterloo was playing to win. One more day out there on the field. Windham, too, was not out there to go through the motions. They wanted the win just as much as the host. Waterloo would take a 6-0 lead after 1, and then score twice more in the second. One included a one-handed snag of a two-point conversion pass.

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

In the third quarter, Windham had the ball and had an injury followed quickly by a fourth down stop. The coaches agreed to switch to a running clock after that. Waterloo quickly scored their final TD of the game, a 63 yard run. Windham would get one TD to break the goose egg late in the game.

The game was done in just under two hours thanks to the running clock. Making for an early night.

For the game, Waterloo was wearing the National Guard jerseys that I had seen previously. They’re identical to the ones that Briggs had been wearing on their Thursday night home game against Africentric earlier this year. The uniforms are camoflage, black numbers, with US and Ohio state flags on the shoulders. They’re not the best uniforms to view given the fact the numbers are very difficult to read.

But, Waterloo were gracious hosts, and it was good to see them finally get that first victory. Having seen many Consolation Games over the years in New York and Pennsylvania, people sometimes question my interest in them. And why I think they’re a good thing. Well, Thursday night was a perfect example of why they should exist. Waterloo worked hard all year. And finally got a win. That’s why.

For my Friday game, I had a lot of options. I mostly looked at WPIAL matchups. And one stood out to me. I had wanted to see a game at Yough for a while. They also were hosting Southmoreland, a team I had never seen. Being the southeast side of Pittsburgh was primarily the reason. Of the games around Pennsylvania within an easy drive, Yough was the only one I had never been two that was featuring two teams I hadn’t seen. So, of course, I went to Yough.

#28 Yough v. Southmoreland

It was Homecoming for Yough, with the pageantry you’d expect despite everything affected by Covid.

The first quarter saw Yough hanging on. Keeping Southmoreland scoreless, but unable to take advantage themselves. Struggling to move the ball consistently. The second quarter, though, saw Southmoreland break it open. Two touchdown passes, one from 56 yards and another from 27 yards made it 14-0. And with 1:23 left in the half, Southmoreland tacked on a 26 yard FG. Despite their issues in that twelve minute span, the homestanding Cougars were able to keep Southmoreland in check defensively. Except one slip-up. a 50 yard TD run by the Scotties early in the fourth quarter. After that, though, Yough just could not move the ball in consistent spurts to score. Ending with the shutout loss on homecoming at the hands of Southmoreland. Southmoreland 24, Yough 0.

It was a long drive home. I drove the free route through Pittsburgh. Stopped for a hoagie, and then went home. I had a long ride in the morning to Steubenville.

My Saturday was a bit convoluted. Originally, I had planned to take in a Saturday night game in the Buckeye State. But, that was cancelled by Covid-19. Buckeye Trail was to host Mt. Gilead in Lore City. With that, it was based on one of the only afternoon games. Steubenville Catholic Central had a home game at 1pm at what was their practice field. With the night game cancelled, there wasn’t much to move around. Luckily, Franklin was a go for Saturday night. Which meant the drive between games was almost two hours.

There was a schedule change where East Palestine was playing at Ashtabula St. John at the Spire Institute in Geneva. That game was slated for 2pm. But, i never found another game closer in District 10 for Saturday night. Ideally, the Girard game would have worked.

But, with everything going on, I decided to chance it that Steubenville would work out. I was, also, meeting my friend there where he’d write the game and I could concentrate just on the photography side of things.

When I learned the game was at 1pm, I thought it was a msitake until I learned the game was at Catholic Central. It was their first ever home varisty game at their school. Having lived in Steubenville for several years, it was my first time back for a game. And to see a new venue is always high on my list.

The only real problem was that we hadn’t heard confirmation for SCC about covering their game for PA Football News. However, in Ohio the media aren’t counted toward the 15% total and therefore, ADs don’t really care much about who shows up as there isn’t space limitations as there is in Pennsylvania.

#29 Steubenville Catholic Central v. Bridgeport

Catholic Central is in the same boat as Waterloo. A winless team struggling to be competitive this year. Throw in the lack of servicable scrimmages, the issues with roster issues due to players being held out due to Covid, or in a private school issue, parents opting to send their kids to public school if only because online learning might just be easier or cheaper with a public school education.

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

Either way, Catholic Central had a year to forget. But, their first ever home game at their high school was a day to remember. Leo Buffone Field lacks lights. Or accessible locker rooms. But, it makes up for in charm. This is a great venue for a high school game. The ‘stadium’ side is to the west, abutting the parking lot.

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

The east side of the field is a large hillside. Running the length of the field and then curving around the southern endzone and tapering off to the southwest corner. The hillside worked many ways. Fans could sit on the slope itself. Parking along the top. or, setup tents, chairs, and tailgate right at the precipice. One of the best views of the field, I found.

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

It also gave a cool view from field level that reminded me of Interstellar’s final scenes at “Cooper Station” with the curved fields.

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

We got into the game without issue. The sideline on the ‘stadium’ side is incredibly cramped. Only a few feet from the fence to the sideline. Akin to Catholic Central’s regular home field at Harding Stadium. The far side, with the scant press box constructed on its slope, has plenty of space. The field could be shifted quite a bit further away from the stands.

As for the game, Catholic Central made good on their decision to opt out of the playoffs. Moving up to a 31-0 lead and a running clock before Bridgeport finally got on the board themselves. As with Friday night, a scoring barrage happened in the second quarter with Catholic Central scoring three times. A 19 yard pass, 7 yard run, and a long 90 yard interception return. The third quarter added a 14 yard run. And the fourth quarter was a 28 yard FG to start the running clock. Bridgeport got on the board with just 1:01 left in the abbreviated fourth quarter thanks to a 29 yard TD pass.

Leo Buffone Field is a great venue. There’s two more games for Catholic Central scheduled there this season. Next week against Bishop Rosecrans at 4pm, then hosting Buckeye Local at 1pm the following week. The PA announcer emphasized the historical nature of the game upon completion. And gave the impression that Catholic Central may be playing more games there in the future. Not just in a covid-19 season. It is a definite venue that elicits what fall and football combine together perfectly.

With my Saturday night game at Buckeye Trail cancelled, my other option was Franklin. It was one of the only western PA games not accounted for by PAFN. So, with the running clock ending things early, it was on to Franklin. Leaving Steubenville, I took a little drive through town. Other than route 7, I hadn’t been in Steubenville in years. Other than the old McDonald’s by Harding Stadium being torn down, I didn’t notice much different. There’s a lot of changes around Franciscan University. But the whole stretch there has been growing since the school started gobbling up properties along the old Business 22 stretch. And of course, the big interchange at 22 and 7 and University Blvd had been redone. But, I had seen that many times before already.

I stopped in Cranberry for something to eat. And then up 79 to 80 to Barkeyville exit and Route 8. Which was, according to Google Maps, closed. It was not. But, the construction project had an odd way to reroute traffic. The southbound side was closed. While northbound was shunted onto the closed southbound lanes. The entire northbound carriageway was under reconstruction. The southbound traffic had to use the old route 8. Which, was on my way home, the first time I had ever taken that route.

For the uninitiated, route 8 is an oddly placed freeway that runs from just north of I-80 to just south of Franklin. Ending shortly before the high school in Franklin. Which is located up on the hill southwest of town.

The entire length of route 8 is a major north/south route from Wilkinsburg, just east of Pittsburgh toward Erie, running further east of US 19. It runs up through Butler and north of Franklin, extends towards Titusville via a long route through Oil City, and then cuts hard left to Erie. It’s a relic of a time before interstate highways.

I got to the stadium a little later than I had planned. I’ve previously seen both teams four times. Conneaut was 2-2 in games I’ve attended. Losses to Meadville (at Greenville) and Mercyhurst Prep (at Erie) in the playoffs. And victories over Franklin in the playoffs (at Edinboro) and a home victory against Meadville in 2018. Interestingly, their victory over Franklin was a 60-13 final.

For Franklin, it was three regular season losses at Greenville years ago, and the playoff loss to Conneaut.

This was, however, my first game at Franklin. And finished up the second of two active stadiums in Venango County for me.

#30 Franklin v. Conneaut

Conneaut started fast, with two touchdowns. The second after Franklin fumbled on their first play of their drive. Franklin answered with a TD to be down 13-7. But Conneaut had the answer. A kickoff return for a TD. Conneaut added three more touchdowns in the second quarter. The running clock started in the third with three more touchdowns. Franklin did score one themselves. The fourth quarter moved quickly, before Franklin scored one last touchdown. An improbable riccochet pass off the receiver and defender, falling perfectly to #4 Tyler Brandon. Who took it and ran the rest of the way on a 59 yard TD pass. Conneaut 60, Franklin 21.

After the game, it was a meandering drive home down the old route 8 to I-80. A stop at Speedway for something to drink. And then on to Ohio.

For the week, it was 544 miles for the four games. Only $104 spent. Almost all on food and drinks. The only souvenir was a $5 program at Catholic Central. As far as I knew, no programs were on sale at the other three games.

Photos of the Week

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

2020 HSF Wk 8 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 8 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 8 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

2020 HSF Wk 8 Ohio

2020 HSF Wk 08 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 08 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 08 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 08 Pennsylvania

2020 HSF Wk 08 Pennsylvania

Next Week

My current plans have Thursday and Saturday night set. Still fluid for Saturday afternoon. And Friday night is way too early to tell.

Thursday – Bentworth v. Avella

This would be my first time seeing Bentworth. And my first time at their stadium. I had seen Avella play at Riverview a few years ago. It is a 6pm game on a Thursday. Which at least makes it for an earlier night despite the long drive to I-70 south of Pittsburgh.

Friday – Hopewell v. Avonworth

This would be my first time at Hopwell. I’ve seen the two teams previously.

Saturday afternoon – Linsly v. Allderdice

Linsly is a private school in Wheeling, West Virginia. They originally had scheduled a home game against Kiski School. But, that game was cancelled. They do have a game scheduled instead for Allderdice from the Pittsburgh City League. Assuming that works out. If not, there’s an afternoon game at Bellaire. Their playoff game is against Lutheran East at 130pm.

Saturday night – Carmichaels v. California

This would be my first time seeing either team. Another south of Pittsburgh game. Coaches Field in Carmichaels is one that I really want to see and have confirmation for that game already. The Mighty Mikes have one great small school stadium and I can’t wait to see it in person for a game.

2020 Season

30 Games
58 Teams
30 Stadiums
6 States

29 New Teams (Week 8: Yough & Southmoreland)
25 New Stadiums (Week 8: All 4)

1,193 different teams
361 different stadiums

1,068 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this week, click HERE.

For photos from previous weekends and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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