2021 Week 5 (Pennsylvania & New York)
As has become a custom, this week did not go as planned. The schedule mostly went as planned. But, Saturday night threw a monkey wrench into the plans. Cochranton was hosting Northwestern. Though I’d have seen both previously, and had been to Cochranton for a rare Thursday game years ago, it worked with a trip to Panama, New York and a short drive home Saturday night.
But, that wasn’t going to happen as Northwestern cancelled. Thursday, though, started without much in the way of options. I could’ve driven to Columbus or Western Ohio for a game. But, with a trip planned to New York, I was content to stay local. Which meant either another trip to Pittsburgh or another trip to Akron.
So, I chose to head to Pittsburgh for my first Pittsburgh City League game since 2019.
#29 – Allderdice v. USO
Cupples Stadium has undergone some touch ups since I was last year. The paint job really solidifies this as a stalwart of western PA football venues. If only the parking situation was better. But, the venue itself is top notch.
I took an unorthodox route to the stadium. Heading down from Boardman, I took route 14 into 51, and I-376. Then cutting down from behind the airport and down to the Ohio River Blvd. After that, I took I-279 and accidentally went into downtown instead of taking I-376 due to heavy traffic along the elevated portion of I-279 by the stadiums.
I arrived and got my stuff situated. And realized I had left my memory cards, which are in their own container, at home. Neither camera had a memory card. So, I walked to the two gas stations nearby, at the off chance one would have one. Arriving an hour early had helped. But, with no luck, I started to figure that I wouldn’t be shooting the game.
And, then I found my old, old camera, a point and shoot camera, in my other camera bag in my trunk. And though I didn’t have a spare memory card in the bag, I DID have a memory card in the camera. And was able to go ahead and photograph this one. Though, it wasn’t a high speed card. So, I would potentially be limited.
But, I was back into the game. And I was nice that the security had remembered me from two years ago.
Allderdice jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead. Thanks to two defensive touchdowns. But, the third quarter was all USO, with two touchdowns, and trailed 21-12 heading into the final frame.
USO kicked a field goal after recovering a botched punt snap. And then got the ball back on a pick. Had the ball at the 15, 4th and 4, and throws a quick slant that’s jumped by Terrell James of Allderdice, and races 87 yards for the clinching TD. A great game in the city. Allderdice, decked out in the all-green look, won a fun one, 27-15.
After the game, I drove up to the Liberty Bridge, and headed through downtown to I-579 and I-279, and past Wexford on I-79. Then my regular shunpike route home to US422 and home.
The next day, I had one game in mind. A road trip to North Central PA for a first time at Eisenhower. I met up with my friend, and we headed out along I-80 to Clarion and followed PA66 north through the Allegheny National Forest with a brief stop in Marienville for lunch.
The fish was good. The sweet tea was… pungent.
After that, we stopped at our hotel in Clarendon to check in. And then made the trip up through Warren to Russell, and Eisenhower High School.
Eisenhower, from Warren County, was hosting Cambridge Springs at their venerable Pasture of Pain. Also known as Riley Memorial Field, the field smells like a pasture. The farm, visible from the south endzone, making itself present. The field is grass, with a small home stand, with plenty of standing room around the cinder track. The visitor side is an array of portable bleachers assembled on the stepped hillside.
#30 – Eisenhower v. Cambridge Springs
Both teams were heavy run offenses. Eisenhower relying on a backup QB who was a little more athletic, and capable of throwing it a few times well. Cambridge Springs, though, was entirely dependent on the run.
The first score of the game was on a questionable pass by Spa, corraled by notable Knight Shawn Pascuzzi, returning a pick for the TD, late in the first half.
After that Spa just looked doomed. Their run game was sputtering, their pass game was impossible to get going. And then Eisenhower put them away with a 6 yard TD run with 7:26 left in the game. After that, the competitive portion of the contest was over. Eisenhower would secure the shutout, 14-0.
The next day, was an hour or so drive west to Panama, New York for another CSP game. We took a meandering route through the area, including a stop by Youngsville’s old, now unused, football stadium. And got into Panama about 40 minutes prior to kickoff. And stopped at the Panama Diner.
Had some really good breakfast casserole, with eggs and bacon. And then the quick drive the couple blocks over to the high school. Was running a bit late for the game. But, still arrived about 15 minutes to kickoff.
#31 – Clymer/Sherman/Panama v. Randolph
This was my third time in Panama for a game. Eleventh time seeing CSP play. And fourth time seeing Randolph play (also saw them as a co-op with Frewsburg once). This was projected to be a close game.
But, Randolph had other ideas. The Cardinals lines were fierce. Bottling up CSP’s offense, getting under their skin, and their running back, Xavier Hind, was more than capable of moving their offense.
As the game progressed, the matchup between NY Class D #1 v. #4 was becoming a mismatch. At halftime, CSP regrouped, and had a good drive down the field, probably the best of the day, but was ended with a pick into the endzone. Though there was a push by the defender on the receiver before it was caught. But, in the end, that one call was probably not going to be enough to make up for the fact Randolph was just exerting their will in this one. Randolph 22, CSP 0.
It was only the second time I saw CSP lose, and first via shutout.
Now, for the night game, we had planned a quick drive south to Cochranton. However, with that game cancelled, it looked like a long drive somewhere for a night game. Greensburg Central Catholic’s game at Bishop Canevin was already accounted for on PAFN, and a trip to Cuyahoga Heights was not going to be the best matchup.
But there was one game east. And as long as the CSP game was going to end at a decent time, the 3h20m drive was feasible before the 7pm kickoff in tiny Troy, Pennsylvania.
We made a bee line to I-86 and headed east to Corning and US15. Along the way stopping in Salamanca for gas and Burger King. Then south to US6 in Mansfield, and headed east to Troy. We arrived about 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
#32 – Troy v. Wellsboro
This was a great game and glad we picked it. Troy plays at the county fairgrounds. The grandstand is covered, though the visitor side is small stands assembled on the grass on the far side of the field. Despite the distance from the field, the field is incredibly bright. A byproduct of it being a fair grandstand and not just a high school stadium.
The matchup was pretty close to accurate for the projection. The two teams were scrappy, and seemed to have a grudge. Players battling well past the whistle regularly. Including the official giving them a stern warning.
Troy would win, 21-0, but the game was the most round about way to get to 21 points. A first quarter TD, a field goal, a 53 yard TD run with a missed PAT. A safety. And one last field goal for good measure.
The game moved quickly, and we stopped to meet with @CircleWSports. But, then had a 4.5 hour drive home for me. Heading west on US6 to US15 to Williamsport. A nice freeway built through the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Then, onto US220, which is slowly being upgraded to the future I-99. Then, a straight shot west on I-80 to Ohio.
The next morning, was a drive to Cleveland. With the RTA train not running, my daughter didn’t want to go and walk. Plus, for her, riding the train was a big part of her interest anyways. The RTA is expected to be running again starting on 10/2. But not soon enough.
So, I headed into town and found that the last street parking spot was taken by someone directly in front of me. Though, the Indians also playing probably played a big part in that. So, instead, I spent $30 for parking at Tower City. And then walked the 0.8 miles to the stadium.
I had put my three seats up for sale on Saturday night. But ,the hadn’t sold and I figured if they did sell, I would just either return home or find a sports bar. But, immediately after seeing they were sold for over double their original price, I looked and found someone had posted a single ticket for well below the going rate. So, I bought it and had a ticket just for me. It was on the south side, in the top row. Which was fine, though the sun would shine through the chainlink backing behind the section. Whereas my north side seats are in the shade all game.
NFL – Cleveland Browns v. Chicago Bears
It was throwback day at the stadium. With the scoreboards regularly returning to ‘old style’ displays to go along with the 1946 style uniforms on the field.
For the game, the Browns offense struggled early. The left side of the line had issues, which were troublesome on the two failed fourth down plays. The Bears, despite only getting 37 yards in the first half, had managed two field goals on short fields and a long interference call. But, it was the Browns defense that won the game. Garrett had 4.5 sacks, a team record, and Clowney had 2. Nine sacks overall.
And at the end of the day, Only 1 passing yard given up.
The next day, I would’ve liked to have gone up to Port Allegany for their 6pm game against Coudersport. However, I had plans for the day.
First, dinner, at Nahla’s in New Castle. A mediterranean restaurant. I prefer Elham’s, but they weren’t open yet.
And then a trip to the airport to drop off my sister.
Picked up a couple of Steak & Ranch Hoagies from Cardello Pizza in Moon Twp. It’s not a big place, and it’s primarily carryout or delivery. But, their hoagies are great. Especially the Steak & Ranch. Has fries on it. Which is a Pittsburgh prerequesite.
Had one Tuesday for lunch. And then got ready to head out for a rare Tuesday night game. Madonna, in Weirton, West Virginia was hosting Cameron.
I had seen both teams previously, and had also been to Jimmy Carey Stadium previously. But, it was a chance for another game.
The game was scheduled for 8pm, thanks to a Weir High soccer game already scheduled for the stadium.
I headed south through Boardman to North Lima off I-680, and then cut over to OH11. Followed that around East Liverpool, and US30 across the river into West Virginia and up the hill to WV8, and then to New Cumberland. Following WV2, and then climbing up the very windy roads to the hilltops east of downtown Weirton to the high school.
#33 – Weirton Madonna v. Cameron
After seeing three straight shutouts, seeing a fourth straight game with at least one of the two teams going scoreless through one wasn’t promising. Madonna scored first, an official score as Cameron had two TDs called back. And then Cameron took the lead on a TD and a two-point conversion.
The second half, though, saw a lot of scoring. Isaac Ball was the workhorse for Cameron. Two second half touchdowns essentially clinched it for the visitors. A 38-17 projection finished 38-20 for Cameron.
It was my sixth state of the year. After Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Indiana. And first time in West Virginia since before the pandemic.
For the weekend, I drove three different vehicles a total of 975 miles. Total cost was $178. $36 for the share of the hotel, $33 toward gas, and the rest in gas. I did not include the Sunday costs. This was just for the high school games.
Photos of the Week
I plan for a trip back District 9 territory. This time seeing a D9 game. Friday will be Smethport hosting Redbank Valley. Saturday will be an afternoon game in one of three places. Preferring a trip up to Buffalo for the St. Joseph game against Erie. And then a drive to Erie for Mercyhurst Prep’s game against North East. All six of the teams I’ve seen previously.
The other options for Saturday afternoon would be a trip to Allegany, New York for Allegany-Limestone hosting Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Maple Grove, or a return trip Sheffield for their game against Keystone.
Thursday was, originally, going to be a game at Gowanda, where the host Gowanda/Pine Valley was hosting Southwestern. Though that game has been cancelled due to covid. So, instead, the other southern NY Thursday game will fit the schedule. Salamanca hosting Fredonia. And I hope it doesn’t snow.
Salamanca v. Fredonia
Smethport v. Redbank Valley
Buffalo St. Joseph v. Erie
Mercyhurst Prep v. North East
28 New Teams
13 New Stadiums
1,325 different teams
429 different stadiums
1,203 total games
For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.
For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/