2023 Week 10 (Tri-State)
Week 10 started on a somber note. And I hadn’t really planned to do anything on Tuesday. However, there was a rare game scheduled in West Virginia. And with everything going on, I just wanted to get away.
So, on Tuesday afternoon, I headed east on US422 to I-79. And took that through Washington toward Waynesburg. Passing by West Greene High School on my way along the southern reaches of PA18 into the Mountaineer State.
The game resulted from Trinity Christian canceling their season. Tygarts Valley was scheduled to play them the weekend before this game, while Hundred was scheduled to play them the week after. In order to fill in this missing game for both teams, they schedule a game between them on Tuesday. Enough time after Hundred’s Friday game and enough time before Tygarts Valley would need to play their next game.
For me, it would be two new teams and a new place. Hundred wasn’t that far away. Their district borders Pennsylvania and West Greene. The town is along US250 at the junction with WV69.
I had left late, so had no time to stop along the way. The last bit of driving the last few miles of Pennsylvania and all the few miles of West Virginia were quite curvy and mountainous. The football field sits north of town along WV69.
The game was scheduled for 6:30pm. But when I called Tygarts Valley, as them traveling many miles, and hours, to Hundred would provide proof the game was still set to go on. Was told it was starting at 7pm. And I was looking at a 6:12pm arrival time in Hundred. And then traffic and the slower estimated driving got me into the stadium at 6:18pm.
There wasn’t much room to park, and I was given a patch of the parking behind the field’s concession, lockers, and restrooms that blocked in other cars. I wasn’t the first to do this and I guess it’s just a regular occurence. There’s a small bridge from the road to the field that also acts as the chokepoint for tickets to be sold to those arriving.
#47 – Hundred v. Tygarts Valley
With the game starting a half hour earlier than planned, but with the time available to get there, I was on the field about 5 minutes before kickoff. Just after Hundred had done there run through, and in time to have Tygarts Valley do theirs.
The northeast endzone buts right up against the concession line. Only a few feet of space between the block wall and the endline.
The entire stadium sits in a stark valley, that already had completely blocked the sun and just a lit sky remained even if not for the late season night kickoff.
Cosgray Field is setup for football and baseball. Though it appears the baseball usage has either been stopped or they simply wait until spring to get an infield. The field runs from the fences and dugouts in the southwestern endzone corner, along the third base line toward the bridge and concessions. Lights are positioned far apart, near the 10 yard lines. And I had no cell service. So, I documented the game and saved the pending tweets.
Hundred Hornets were head-to-toe in navy. While Ty Valley, a regular nickname for the team, was in red and white. The Bulldogs. Fans sat on the home side stands, or the small visitor bleacher. While many stood around the field either by the concessions or the visitor sideline fences. Some sat along the hillside behind the home side. And others stood along the edge of the road. Where they also parked. Which created a bottleneck of tanker trucks coming down the hill into town.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, where Tygarts Valley would finally score with 56 seconds left in the half. A simple 7-0 lead. They would double it in the third quarter.
And the fourth quarter would extend the game a lot longer than I would have liked. Ty Valley would score 3 scores, while Hundred would score twice. Though the outcome wasn’t really in doubt. The small contingent of Bulldogs fans were excited. While Hundred fans were still enthusiastic for their team’s final home game of the season.
After the game, I reversed course. And drove back up WV69 to PA18 at a slower pace. Passing at least 7 deer before reaching Waynesburg. I stopped at the McDonald’s and got something to drink. And sent out the game tweets. One at a time. And then planned to get something to eat other than McDonald’s.
There’s a sandwich that many pizza shops around Pittsburgh have, that’s usually just called a Steak & Ranch Hoagie. Shaved steak, provolone, french fries, and some ranch. On a long hoagie roll and baked. It’s incredibly good. Usually on a Friday or Saturday, it’s not hard to find a shop open after a game. On a Tuesday, they all close earlier. On the west side of Pittsburgh, my usual places would be Cardello’s, Pizza Milano, or Peppercini’s. Tonight, I had to head downtown to find a place that not only had them but was open: Pizza Parma.
When I lived in Mount Lebanon, there was a place called Pizza Monza. You could get a 8″ hoagie for $4.99 or a 16″ hoagie for $7.99. It was nearly twenty years ago now. And I was hooked on that sandwich. No photos, unfortunately. Pizza Parma has a 12 and 24″ option. The 24″ hoagie was $24. But well worth it. Ate half, and took the other half home for Wednesday’s lunch. Weirdly, Pizza Parma adds lettuce and tomato, which I had to order without.
The rest of the drive was uneventful. I-79 to US422 to home.
Wednesday had the option of a game in New York. The closest being a game in Angola featuring Lake Shore Eagles. Though I had seen them previously and a game at their stadium on a Thursday night game years ago.
So, I just spent the day with my family. Though, on Thursday, was another oddly scheduled game. Union was scheduled to take on Summit Academy at 1230pm. Usually, this would be their kickoff on a Saturday. But the game was showing up as Thursday. I saw it on Union’s site. And without Summit Academy having lights, thought it may have been a typo. But it wasn’t a typo. Both schools confirmed.
So, Thursday morning, I headed east on US422 to Butler. Just past Butler is Bonniebrook Rd, which takes you south into the small village of Herman. The site of Summit Academy. I had been here twice before. And had seen Summit Academy play three times, as well. Once on the road at Northgate.
Union, the defending state runner-up, I had seen four times previously. In the WPIAL and PIAA championship games, as well as a home game against Cornell and a road game at rival Shenango.
Summit Academy’s field had a new name. Or, rather, a name. Previously, I had just marked them as “Herman Field” as it’s literally just a field. There are no permanent stands, at all. It sits across the street from the school, down several stepped inclines and looks out over a small pond barely visible through trees. It has a sign, now, stating that it is Stephen J. Sherer Field. Not aware if that has always been its name, or a new honor.
They setup a small bleacher for visiting fans, as well as an array of folding chairs on the northern end of the field. There’s parking by the school and church, and along the small roadway leading down to what is the infield of a baseball field. There are no home stands, just a large multi-story pressbox structure. A scoreboard has been added next to it, though hard to see from the home sideline. It replaced the one on the south end of the field.
#48 – Summit Academy v. Union
This game wasn’t expected to be close, and it wasn’t. Summit Academy gave it the ol’ college try, however. And scored early to make it interesting. Though, Union would run it out to a 49-14 halftime lead. Choosing to expedite the game with shortened 8-minute quarters in addition to the running clock. Union would win, 49-22.
After the game, I went to get my daughter from school. And then to the store and found this:
Mexican Sprite is far superior to any made in the U.S. First, it’s still using cane sugar. And it’s in a glass bottle, which definitely works better to keep it cool than plastic ever will. Though it’s $1.99 a bottle in Ohio. Which is cheap as when I travel I find it many times for nearly $3 a bottle.
Friday morning, I went and voted early. Ran some errands, and then picked up my daughter early from school. And then headed to get my sister to drive her to the airport. On the way, we stopped for dinner before she left.
It’s definitely worth stopping for all-you-can-eat sushi.
Sushi Bomb opens for dinner at 4:30, and had my sister to the airport about an hour before her flight. Plenty of time to make it to a night game. I had only a few options for a new location, and even rarer for a new team. McGuffey would’ve been a new team. But, I had originally planned to attend South Side v. Rochester. Though, I held an informal poll among PA Football News and was suggested I cover the South Fayette game instead.
It was raining, so I wasn’t planning to take in my wide angle lens. Instead, just taking in my zoom lens and camera. And making sure I was situated for the rain. With my daughter in tow, I had to make sure it was okay she was with me. We arrived early, and made our way through the crowded parking to the gate. Got in and then the rosters. Bought my daughter a South Fayette hair ribbon for $3, and then made our way down the seating to the steps to the field. And got situated along the far side track to get photos back at the home stands.
South Fayette’s stadium sits along a hillside behind the school complex, where you enter from the top row. And the bottom row is a full story higher than the field. The field is a customary size with full track done in black. Behind the far sideline, there’s more slope going down into a clearing and then the backyards of homes in a development.
#49 – South Fayette v. Upper St. Clair
With the ran, I didn’t do much pregame. And only had the zoom. So, took a few of the student section dressed in halloween costumes for the Upper St. Clair side. The weather was decent for a spell. But then had its moments.
South Fayette came out with some vigor, matching Upper St. Clair’s offense. Though a pick six in the third quarter would take a comfortable, though tenuous, 20-7 halftime lead into a 34-7 lead going into the 4th. Though South Fayette would score twice in the fourth quarter, and give hints of a major comeback. A funny circumstance was, down 34-7, the South Fayette student section started the “I Believe That We Will Win” chant, and on the very next play scored a TD on a long pass. And then quickly scored another. And the sliver of doubt of Upper St. Clair’s lead crept it. But, with USC holding the ball late in the game, a first down essentially iced the possibility of a comeback. Upper St. Clair 34, South Fayette 21.
After the game, I drove back through the way I had come toward US22, and then followed that to I-376 to PA51. I shunpiked the toll portion of the Beaver Valley Expressway by heading into Ohio and what becomes OH14 and then northwest from East Palestine to I-680 and snaked my way through Youngstown home. It was the first time I had taken this specific route in a while. Though PA51/OH14 is an easy route from Boardman, I usually take I-79 to US422 simply due to its familiarity. And I live not far from US422.
In the morning, I dropped my daughter off with her mother’s office, and made a bee line south, taking the aforementioned toll road. I was running late for my afternoon game. With Ohio hosting their playoffs only on Fridays, I had limited options for Saturday. Though I did have a game I was interested in for the night.
For the afternoon, there was games at Western Beaver, Riverview, and the Pittsburgh City League Championship at Cupples. But, my night game was going to be at 5:30pm in Ohio, so I had to be close. So, Western Beaver quickly settled as my choice.
#50 – Western Beaver v. Beaver Falls
I had been here before. This was my 5th time at Western Beaver Stadium. The Purple and Gold clad team has a co-op with Lincoln Park, which gives the LP easter egg inside the WB helmet logo.
I arrived just before kickoff, and made my way to the field. Passing the many that had parked in the grass just off the road or across the street. I made my way around the school to the field to find plenty of on-grass parking southeast of the field. And got into the stadium just as Beaver Falls was making their entrance to the field.
Western Beaver Stadium is another, as was the case Friday night, a stadium with seating on one side of the field only. The small stadium split in half essentially for the home and visitor fans and bands.
The Golden Beavers scored twice, very quickly, aided by a Beaver Falls turnover. And then held Beaver Falls scoreless save for a slight mishap before halftime. A 15 yard TD pass cut the lead to 26-6. And the second half would stay scoreless under the overcast afternoon.
After the game, I left the school turning right. In the past, I had always headed back to town and either toward Beaver and Pittsburgh or toward Steubenville or Wheeling areas. I zigged and zagged through some small towns of Pennsylvania and entered Ohio near Rogers.
I stopped at Horst Sub & Deli, an amish run kitchen that has many different items, but has fresh hoagies along with meats and cheeses available by the pound. As well as ice cream and other items such as pizzas available. And many baked goods. Pretty cheap, too. I bought a zucchini bread loaf for $2.99 and a bag of chocolate covered pretzels for the same.
I had a small pizza melt sandwich and a large roast beef and turkey hoagie with mustard. The pizza melt was on a very soft pretzel bun. While the other was on toasted white hoagie roll. Both were good. But the total cost was almost $30 for everything.
I did not take a photo of the sandwich as the mustard had decided to spread everywhere in the few seconds from the till to the table inside the paper wrapping.
From Horst, I headed west on OH558 toward Salem. Taking OH45 around the southwestern bypass of Salem to US62, and west toward Alliance. I hadn’t been over this way in quite a while. I think the last time was when we traded in our old car to the dealership in Alliance. However, I didn’t pass through Sebring.
This was, I realized, the first time I had actually entered Sebring from the south. I had always cut through country roads to the northeast corner and quickly over to the school. Bypassing what most would consider the heart of the town.
There’s a real nice sign off US62 for the town and another for the school. For a small school landlocked by West Branch, it’s a nice ode to their school pride.
Sebring McKinley has had better days on the gridiron. Their football team has regularly struggled to just win a game, let alone have a winning season. This year, they had opted to joined the Northern 8 Conference. A league mostly made up of Toledo area schools that have switched to 8-man football. Though 8-man is allowed by the state, they do not have any formal structure of threshold to play 8-man. So far, it has been entirely by the school’s choice. And other than some small attempts at 8-man in eastern Ohio from St. John, Mathews, or Bishop Rosecrans, this was the first real conversion to 8-man. This wasn’t a one-year plan. This wasn’t a ‘we’re trying to rebuild numbers’ argument other schools have tried to make.
And as someone who has seen many non 11-man games over the years, I full support 8-man football and the inroads it is making in Ohio. Some may say consolidation is needed. And they may be right. But as long as the school exists and struggles to field a competitive, and safely play as, an 11-man team, the option for 8-man should be available. With a true state structure with season and playoffs.
It was funny that this was my second time at Sebring this season. I had been here for their game against Valley Christian on a Thursday night in an interclass game. I later found that night there was another game much closer to home I could’ve covered that no one had since it was a schedule change that was never updated on the PFN site.
#51 – Sebring McKinley v. Stryker
Now, I had made the mistake of calling this a playoff game. Of the Northern 8 teams playing, their scheduled showed that this weekend was their semifinal round of their self-administered playoffs. So, when Sebring showed a scheduled game this weekend, I had just made the assumption it was one of the playoffs. I later learned, during the game, that this was a consolation game of the two teams that didn’t qualify for the league’s semifinals.
I had seen Stryker before at their 8-man game at St. Mary’s Central Catholic at Sandusky Perkins’ stadium near Sandusky.
This was a raucous back-and-forth game. Sebring’s Joel Seals, their do-everything quarterback, kept Sebring punch-for-punch with Stryker. A few conversion attempts failed, that gave Stryker an alternating 4-point lead. Until late in the game they took a 30-28 lead in the third quarter. Sebring took the lead, and honestly took the momentum, with a long pass that was quickly flipped as a lateral to Wyatt Sheen who raced up the near sideline for an unexpected touchdown. A two point try gave Sebring McKinley a 36-30 lead.
For the first time in the game, Sebring would go up by two scores, 42-30 with a 1 yard run by Seals. Stryker started to list. Struggling to compete now staring down a two-score deficit. They found the endzone with 3:58 left in the game, on a 21 yard pass to Gavin LeBo, but could never make enough progress later to get themselves with the ball into Sebring territory to do anything. And Sebring would win their final game of the season, their third on the season, 42-38.
After the game, I headed my familiar route home. Cutting east and north through a rural network of grid roads to US62 north of Salem. And then followed that through Canfield into Boardman for gas at Sheetz. And then home through Youngstown.
Overall, it was a fun, if hectic, week given the circumstances. I know this is being posted late. As I hope to find time to catch up on everything. This year has taken a lot out of me. And my post season won’t be as spectacular as I have done in the past. Though, I still expect a lot of games in December. November will be much more muted.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
53 New Teams
23 New Stadiums
1,546 different teams
491 different stadiums
1,425 total games
I’ll be home. And I’ve got some 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/