2023 Week 3 (Tri-State)
Week 2 melted into Week 3. With my sister home, plans changed for the following weekend. Primarily, I was going to be taking her back to the airport Saturday afternoon. The only real option for Saturday afternoon had been the Kennedy Catholic game.
Originally, this weekend was a compromise for the Delaware trip the week prior. Missing the CSP-Southwestern game, I opted to see CSP play at Randolph this Friday. It would be my first time seeing a game at Randolph. Though I had toured their stadium once when I was in the area. Either heading to Salamanca or Franklinville. Saturday was to be Kennedy Catholic early, and then Wilmington-Mercer at night.
That was, until Greenville’s game with Slippery Rock was bumped from Friday night. That made up my mind for me on Saturday. Thursday, though, was still open. And there weren’t a lot of choices. Originally, I was planning for two days in New York. First to see Gowanda/Pine Valley host Cattaraugus-Little Valley, and then the Friday game at Randolph.
But, with my sister home, that changed. And I needed something local. And settled on the 8-man game between Sebring McKinley and Valley Christian.
My sister opted to stay in Erie. My daughter’s school was closed for two days for the heat. So, we stayed with her in Erie before returning home Wednesday night.
On Thursday, then, it was the short 44 mile trip to Sebring. I had been to Sebring once before. In 2017, I saw the Sebring McKinley Trojans host the Lowellville Rockets. It was one of those rare games that Lowellville, at the time, was going to be competitive or have a chance to win.
In the years since, Sebring’s struggles amplified. And this year, they’ve joined the other northern Ohio schools in the Northern 8 Conference. A conference dedicated to playing 8-man football. Because of travel considerations, Sebring’s first year in 8-man has some quirky scheduling.
Primarily, the use of interclass games. Where one school’s varsity will play non-varsity of another. This is pretty common out west, but you don’t see it that often in Ohio.
I got into Sebring about a half hour before game time. And with the rain threatening, hand considered only taking in my zoom lense. Though the rain totals were expected to be minimal. So, i went in with both and a cover for each.
#28 – Sebring McKinley v. Valley Christian
This was a fun game. Small crowd being a Thursday night. And the threats of rain. Sebring is such a small town. And district. Landlocked by Beloit’s much larger West Branch that encircles the town.
Sebring started strong, on the legs of Joel Seals. Who scored the first three touchdowns of the game. Caiden Miller would add the 4th, and it looked destined for a running clock. And then Valley Christian responded. Returning the kickoff for a TD, and a two point pass, to trail 28-8. Getting a turnover, set up a 50-yard TD pass on the final play of the first half. Cutting the Sebring lead to 28-14.
In the third quarter, Caiden Miller would snag his second straight score for the Trojans, on a 33 yard run. To extend the Sebring lead to 34-14. He’s match Joel Seals with three scores apiece, on a 5-yard run late in the third to go up 40-14. But we wouldn’t see a running clock. As Sebring would go scoreless through the fourth quarter. Winning comfortably, at home, 40-14.
It was at home that I found out there was another option for Thursday night. Aside from Sharpsville hosting Reynolds and Harbor Creek hosting Conneaut, there was also Southington Chalker hosting Ashtabula St. john. Chalker is playing, officially, as a club team this year. However, they are supported by the school district. After a few years with no football, the Wildcats were trying to make a comeback. Though they were playing 11-man this season. Their only 8-man games were the two against Sebring McKinley.
I hadn’t known, since the team’s schedule wasn’t widely known, was Thursday night.
I definitely would’ve made the trip to Southington had I known.
The next day, Friday, I picked up my daughter from school and we drove north to Erie. Stopping to visit my mom and sister, before I headed east for the evening to New York.
Randolph has a great stadium. The school sits atop a hill northeast of town. And the field sits in a depression surrounded by low-sloped hills. The field and stadium are bathed in red accents. The two squads were playing just their second game of the season. As CSP was looking for retribution for last season’s loss in the playoffs.
#29 – Randolph v. Clymer/Sherman/Panama
The game started with a Tate Catanese run for 41 yards and TD. The PAT would give CSP a 7-0 lead after 1. But Randolph would answer in the second, on a 13 yard run of their own. However, the kick was blocked. Keeping the Wolfpack in front, 7-6. Not long after, Bryce Hinsdale would be credited with a TD on a 6 yard pass play. He fumbled going into the endzone, but was ruled in. CSP would lead, 14-6 at the break.
In the second half, it was a back-and-forth type game, but Randolph could never crack the defense. While CSP would get the insurance TD, on a 1 yard run by Bryce Posker halfway through the fourth quarter. Giving CSP an exciting 21-6 victory over the Randolph Cardinals.
New York was my 8th different state already in 2023. Raymond Van Wie Stadium was my 476th different stadium to see a high school football game.
After the game, I drove over to Erie to spend the night at the hotel. Get photos finished. And then head out in the morning. First, stopping to see mom, and then driving to Pittsburgh.
Stopping for lunch at one of my favorite spots: Sushi Bomb in Robinson Twp.
After lunch, I dropped my sister off at the airport. And made the drive north to Greenville. A drive I know all-to-well. We got into Greenville late, having to take the I-376 toll road to Sharon. And then Route 18 home. I don’t usually take my daughter to games with me when I plan to be on the sideline. A few schools have never had an issue. She’s even been allowed on the sideline at all the Corky Kell Classic games in Georgia for two years.
But, Greenville is one of the school I haven’t had an issue at. Having her with me when previously. Back in 2021 when Greenville hosted Wilmington on a Saturday night. Though the sideline area is small, I wasn’t planning to move back and forth. This would limit my focal range. But, would be decent.
I parked where I usually do, under the trees near the field house. And went down to the gate. My daughter does think it’s cool that we can just walk in, without going through the ticket booth. I bought her a tee shirt from the team shed, and a roster card.
#30 – Greenville v. Slippery Rock
Greenville has had some struggles this year. After a big loss to Hubbard to open the year, Greenville’s been in some close games. Even when they weren’t expected to be. Tonight, they were a slim underdog. But they held it together under first year coach Michael Menould, and would take the lead late in the first half. A 15 yard TD pass with 1:15 left.
And immediately lost the lead. Slippery Rock would storm down the field, and connect on a 2 yard TD pass to Sam Schwartz. The PAT would tie it. With just two seconds left.
The third quarter would go scoreless. And in the fourth, Greenville would be moving the ball before a devastating pick six by none other than Sam Schwartz. Giving Slippery Rock a 14-7 lead. At the end of the game, Greenville would drive deep into Rocket territory. A 4th and 4 at the Slippery Rock 10 yard line. Just 1:50 left to go. And would throw incomplete. Leading to a situation where Slippery Rock could run out the clock after a harrowing fumble recovered by the running back.
Slippery Rock, 14-7 over Greenville.
After the game, I drove back to my parents in Greenville. And then headed out for home.
There was a lot of unintended driving this weekend. Though, I did save some by only heading back to Erie from Randolph. But, on Saturday, the trip down to the Airport and back from Greenville is counted. For a total of 593 miles.
Total cost was $131. $80 of which was dinner at Sushi Bomb. On Thursday, was $14 at Burger King and $12 at KFC. Spent just $6 at McDonalds on Friday. As my sister bought pizza. Spent $5 at the game for a Shaved Ice for my daughter and a sprite for myself. And $8 miscellaneous food at Dollar General for the road. Non-food, was $5 at the Sebring McKinley game for a program. And $7 at Greenville for the shirt and roster card.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
31 New Teams
8 New Stadiums
1,524 different teams
476 different stadiums
1,404 total games
Heading out on the road to Wyoming. I was was planning to see a game in Ohio. Then Ohio or Indiana before heading out. And then, Saturday, is very sparse. So, maybe Illinois for an afternoon game. Just depends. No real set plans.
For photos from this game, and others this weekend, click HERE.
For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/