2021 Week 6 (New York & Pennsylvania)

2021 Week 6 (New York & Pennsylvania)

If any week didn’t go as planned, it would be this one. It started out with plans to see a Thursday night game in New York, a Friday night contest in Smethport, and then back to New York for an afternoon game between St. Joseph’s and Erie, and head back to Erie for a night game at Mercyhurst Prep. All four games would’ve been new places for me.

But, then those preliminary plans started unraveling. First, the Thursday game was cancelled when Gowanda/Pine Valley was unable to complete their game with Fredonia the week prior. And took the forfeit against Southwestern for Thursday night. Continue reading “2021 Week 6 (New York & Pennsylvania)”

2021 Week 5 (Pennsylvania & New York)

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.

https://twitter.com/Sykotyk/status/1442218479118082049

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.

Economics

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

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 New York

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

2021 HSF Wk 5 West Virginia

Next 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.

Thursday
Salamanca v. Fredonia

Friday
Smethport v. Redbank Valley

Saturday
Buffalo St. Joseph v. Erie
Mercyhurst Prep v. North East

2021 Statistics

33 Games
64 Teams
25 Stadiums

6 States

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/

2021 Week 4 (Pennsylvania)

2021 Week 4 (Pennsylvania)

This week went a little off-kilter compared to the original plans. I had planned a Thursday night in Ohio. And my Saturday was a bit different. Schedule wise, things went a bit well after the initial upheaval. However, I did have some issues along the way. Mostly on Saturday. But, in the end, Pennsylvania was on tap for four games and a Browns game Sunday to cap the weekend.

My original plans were for a rare southeastern Ohio Thursday night game where Monroe Central, from Woodsfield, would host Buckeye Local. I had never been to Woodsfield, and had never seen Monroe Central play. They also play off campus at a city park: Monroe Park. As they’re the county seat of Monroe County. Buckeye Local, however, I had seen once before. Hosting Pittsburgh City League stalwart Westinghouse years ago on a Saturday night. Their World War II Memorial Stadium in Yorkville is a very stoic venue, replete with red brick facade facing the street. The still mill dominates the eastern endzone between the field and the river. And the Route 7 Highway to the west endzone.

However, that wouldn’t come to fruition as Monroe Central would cancel their matchup the day of the game. Or, at least, that’s when I learned of it. There were two other options nearby. And once my plans were modified, I decided to stick closer to home. No western Ohio trip for me. I could either go to Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh, where I’ve been many times. Or head north for an Iroquois Braves game being played at their home away from home while their turf was replaced. It was in Harborcreek, a stadium I had just seen for the first time in the 2020 playoffs. When the homestanding Harbor Creek Huskies played the Meadville Bulldogs.

So, Thursday afternoon, after a stop in Boardman, I headed north along route 11 to I-90 and then stopped for fried chicken at Maverick’s Bistro at the Truck World in Conneaut, Ohio. A friend recommended this place to me, and it’s my second chance to stop here. Crispy chicken, that’s not too greasy, but also not dry at all. Then left there, and headed east to Harborcreek.

#25 Erie Iroquois v. Kennedy Catholic

For the game itself, it wasn’t exactly the matchup I had wanted to see. The projection was close (a three point game), but it was a rough game for about 45 minutes. Penalties were the topic of the day. Turnovers the close second. Trading fumbles in the first minute, and Iroquois’ Michael Hoopsick made it 14-0, and it seemed like the Braves would run away with it.

But then things stalled. And a meandering mess of the middle half of the game saw it 14-0 after three. And late into the game. When finally, Kennedy Catholic, managed a score, a 27-yard pass and run. But the two-point run failed. After a stop, Kennedy Catholic had the ball again and moved swiftly with under a minute late. A 25 yard touchdown pass set up the potential game-tying two point try.

Which was no good. An unsuccessful onside kick ended the eventful portion of the game and Iroquois won, 14-12. Pretty close to the 3 point prediction from calpreps.

It was the second time I had seen Kennedy Catholic play this season. The first time I”ve seen more than once. Not really expecting to even be at this game, but with Covid, you do what you can do. I also plan to be back for an Iroquois home game later this year. But we know how firm those plans are.

After the game, it was a 104 mile jaunt back home. The next day, was a trip east to Strattanville, Pennsylvania. A few years ago, my wife, while pregnant, nixed a trip east to see Clarion-Limestone play a Thursday night game during the ALF weekend. Instead, we went to Medina Highland’s new stadium. This left Strattanville ominously missing from my city list.

And with the co-op with Clarion, I was insistent on getting one game in here. Of which only two were scheduled this season. Homecoming night and Senior night. The other home games for the newly formed Central Clarion Wildcats were to be played at Clarion University’s Memorial Stadium.

The other option for the night was Moniteau hosting Karns City. I was determined to get at least one District 9 game in at this point. In the end, the game didn’t matter. As both would be a bit of a blowout.

#26 – Central Clarion v. Brookville

Central Clarion, a co-op of three schools (Clarion, Clarion-Limestone, and North Clarion), would struggle early. But keep it competitive. Giving up a single score in the first frame. And gave up a 2 yard run in the second. Before a rather nasty injury that delayed the game for about 45 minutes. The Wildcat plays laid on the field for quite a while awaiting another ambulance, rather than being taken by the one already on site. I’m not sure the reasoning or methodology behind that decision, but that’s what the long delay was from. The crowd roared when the injured player shot his arm upward, folded first and thumb high in the air as he was wheeled off the grass field.

After that, though, between missing players and the additional injury, Central Clarion came out flat and Brookville ran away with it. A 30 yard TD run was followed by a ridiculously long 1st and 41 attempt for the Wildcats. The 2nd and 41 pass attempt was intercepted and returned four yards for the score. Giving the Raiders a quick 26-0 lead after the injury. But that wasn’t it. Brookville would tack on one more score. A 52 yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in the long first half. And Central Clarion going to go quietly, as they scored on a 16 yard TD pass on the final play, to make it 33-7. At halftime. It was already two hours in, and the long halftime for homecoming was still progressing. Unable to convert the extended delay into a shortened halftime break for the festivities.

The second half did move quickly. Brookville scored on a long TD pass to their prime target Brayden Kunselman. And in the fourth quarter, Central Clarion scored on a 33 yard TD pass in the fourth quarter. That, however was it, as the final 5:50 wound off without incident. Brookville 40, Central Clarion 14.

It was my first time seeing Central Clarion as a co-op, which was my 1,322nd team. Clarion-Limestone Stadium was also my 426th different stadium.

I drove home without incident, and finished up my photos. Knowing I’d have a long Saturday. Which turned out much longer than I figured.

Around 9am, I left home for a long drive north to Erie. This time taking I-80 to I-79, and following it just past I-90 to the exit for the Mill Creek Mall. Following an array of roads west, I arrived at McDowell High School. Though I’ve seen the Trojans a few times in the past, it was never at home. The game originally had been listed at 7pm. Which had set me up to see Sheffield at 1:30pm, and make the short drive west. But, with the game inexplicably moving up (there was a band competition held later in the day that I think may have been the culprit), it meant my Saturday night had altered. Luckily so, I guess.

#27 – Erie McDowell v. Butler

Now, there’s going to be someone who questions why I label them “Erie McDowell”. And truthfully, I label every school in the OHSAA fashion. (Zip Code City Name) (School Name). If they’re the same, it’s just one name. So, Erie is just Erie, for instance. Central Clarion, listed as being based in Clarion, in my records, are listed as Clarion Central Clarion.

It may be a bit clunky, but with about 17,000 high school football teams and a menagerie of co-ops created and dissolved each year. Keeping track of them takes a bit more than ‘memory’. Now, most schools, when I tweet about their games or even write about them here, just get the school name, or whatever the chosen co-op name. Major cities, because my audience extends well beyond Pennsylvania, and includes Ohio and Texas which favor this convention, will be listed by the zip code of the major city they are lassoed to by the Post Office.

And Millcreek Township, lacking their own postal code and city name, get the Erie designation. In my tweets, however, space constraints rule the day and I tend to shorten it except for the quarterly updates where I tend to be more formal. Similar to how CSP gets “CSP” for score updated but “Clymer/Sherman/Panama” for quarter updates. Ease of use, primarily.

Just as I will always list Lincoln High School in Ellwood City as Ellwood City Lincoln, even though the team has long since gone by Ellwood City alone. Or old Greenville Trojans games were actually Penn High School. In Pennsylvania, where things like Union and Union Area result in a team taking a bus to the wrong school, I tend to try and differentiate which school is where (usually with the initial tweet that I’m at the game, or during the updates throughout the game).

Either way. It’s my convention and I mostly follow it for twitter’s sake. Though my records will have archaic things like “New Wilmington Wilmington”. There’s no exceptions. EXCEPT, spacing and hyphens. Harbor Creek is Harbor Creek, not Harborcreek Harbor Creek, and Trotwood-Madison is not Trotwood Trotwood-Madison. For example. A lack or inclusion of a space in the name doesn’t delineate an entirely new name. As for hyphens, that’s generally a prerequisite with consolidations. Where if the host town is also the first name of the school hyphenated, then it is included in the name already. No need to repeat. Alexandria-Monroe in Indiana is another example.

Anyways, back to the game.

My tablet decided to conk out and I had to rely on my phone for updates. It seemed to work well enough, but was much slower than my new tablet had been. Artis Simmons would score four touchdowns on the day. And though Butler managed to come back from a 17-0 deficit to a 17-14 narrow deficit, McDowell would pull away. Winning 38-21.

During the third quarter, I did get my tablet working. But then it didn’t want to be connected to the internet. And it took until the fourth quarter for me to figure out why. Somehow, the network time had defaulted to 1/1/21 and that fouled the connection’s ability to communicate between the tower. Once I turned off and back on network time, it instantly found the internet and started working normally. So, though I had done a few tweets with the tablet, none of them went through until after the game when I had resubmitted them from my drafts folder.

But that was the least of my issues on Saturday.

My daughter was spending the day with my parents. And I was going to get her after the night game. I stopped for a late lunch at Texas Roadhouse in Erie, before making the drive south to Greenville.

Though I’ve been to Greenville many, many times in the past. It worked out well with my daughter that I would be right there and would get her after she spent the afternoon there. But, then my car decided to have fits.

It started overheating. Which is not an unusual problem. This car is my beater car, and I’m currently awaiting delivery of my new truck. Which is currently projected to be sometime in November. And I’m just trying to push this one through the finish line. It has some major and minor issues. And total cost to fix is going to be considerably more than the 19 yard old hunk of rust is currently worth. I have no working heat or AC (the blower works, though), no interior lights, no working odometer, a cracked head gasket, and a partially dead cylinder, and a slipping transmission.

In short, my car is Frankenstein’s monster and refuses to die. And as long as it wants to live, I’ll keep driving it. And being mechanically inclined, I’m not too afraid to drive it around the country. As many of these issues have been present for a while and have workable solutions. Several seasons. Though the overheating just started last fall.

The problem is the cracked head gasket which started last fall. So, keeping the coolant topped off is a regular thing to check. Though on longer trips, I just rely on the temp gauge. If it’s reading a line above normal, I add some coolant. I also drive with the reservoir cap off, so that the pressure is less to lose less coolant. I know this isn’t a long term solution, but it’s not like I’m intending to keep this car long term, either. I don’t call it quits on a car until it’s on a hook going to a junk yard.

But, this time, just south of I-79, just adding some coolant wasn’t the issue. I carry about 7 gallons of water in the car at the moment, and a few gallons of coolant. I added about a gallon, and the temp gauge had returned to normal. And I got it south of Edinboro when it started to head toward the redline. I stopped, let it settle, topped it off again, though it didn’t take much, and continued. But this is where it got fun. I had wasted almost an hour at this point.

So, I realized the problem was probably the thermostat was sticking closed. So, if I powered it up to 70-75mph, I could then get it to a hill and coast it as long as possible with the engine off. That cooled it enough that around 45mph, I could started it on the run, get it back up to 75mph, and do it all over again. This actually worked to the Cochranton exit.

And I then headed to my parents, as I had a scant amount of time to fix the problem. Pulled into my parents driveway, got my dad’s tools and mine, and sprayed down the radiator and front of the block to cool the engine. I had managed to coast the final three miles thanks to well positioned hills. Which helped. Never did redline it, though the engine did get nice and toasty.

The 3.8L V6 in a Buick is a beast of an engine. And one that’s really tough to kill. Got the gooseneck off, the thermostat was clearly stuck thanks to gunk that had circulated through the system. Removed the O-ring, and put it back together sans thermostat. I then added water and coolant, was just about to leave. When my daughter who had been outside with me having fun with the garden hose, insisted on going to the game with me.

So, I had to not only clean myself up enough to go, I had to get her ready for a night game. Which put me a few minutes late getting to the high school. We were parked and walking toward the gate just as Wilmington scored their first touchdown. I wasn’t too concerned as Shane and Bruce were there writing and videoing the game, and I was just adding photography.

#28 – Greenville v. Wilmington

To start the game, my daughter and I just sat in the stands. This was her 11th game with me this season. First in Pennsylvania after 9 games in Georgia and one game in Ohio. And with Greenville’s narrow sidelines, I wasn’t anticipating having her down there with me. So, I was content to stay for the first half watching and photographing from the stands.

Snyder-Stone Stadium (also called Stewart Field as well), is a rather dim stadium. Though there’s plenty of lighting spaced in four standards on each side of the field, it’s old lighting and not that adequate. It also angles down as Greenville lacks a track and is very tight bleacher to bleacher. So, sitting in even the top row of seats was a good view for photos. Even if a bit distant.

After going down 13-0, Greenville did make it momentarily interesting with a 74 yard TD pass. But Wilmington answered with a kickoff return for a touchdown to make it 21-7. At halftime, my daughter and I went down for pizza and something to drink. Sitting at the picnic tables between the field house and endzone. I was a bit disappointed with the crowd. I knew the game would be one-sided, but with the Saturday night kickoff (despite the Penn State game) I felt there’d be more fans there, even neutral fans. But Greenville’s crowds had been declining for a long time. My last game in 2016 at the stadium wasn’t that much better.

After that, though, my daughter and I went to the Wilmington sideline and met with @TheSportsBoard as well as Shane and Bruce from PAFN, got some sideline shots while my daughter watched videos on her tablet behind me along the fence line.

Mercilessly, the game moved quickly, and Greenville’s lone second half score ended the scoreline for the night: Wilmington 42, Greenville 15.

We made a stop at McDonald’s after the game for a promised milkshake, and then back to my parents before heading home. I did photos that night from the two games, but didn’t have time to post them. The next morning, my wife and I went to Cleveland with my daughter. It was my first game back at the stadium since the St. Edward at St. Ignatius game last fall, and my first Browns game since the 2019 season. Opting to skip trying to acquire the limited number of available tickets to games last year when they were offered.

My normal routine for Browns games had been to drive to one of the park-n-rides on either the blue or green lines, and then take the RTA train to the stadium. It’s only $5 round trip per person. And it puts you right at the stadium. So, As usual, we drove to one of our regular RTA stations to find it desecrated by construction equipment. Yet, still ‘open’. But clearly not operational. I looked online to find that the Blue and Green lines weren’t running east of Tower City. So, we decided to head to Tower City in downtown.

We cut through Woodland by the post office and toward Progressive Field. Then back around to Tower City and to a side street, and found, surprisingly, a single on-street parking spot open. With Sunday parking free, I managed to squeeze into it between a small car and lifted full size pickup that apparently gave other drives pause.

We then went through Tower City after buying our RTA passes online, to find out, after using our passes, that there were no trains running to the stadium. Not even the shuttle. Pissed that we were lied to by both the online website and the gate attendant at Tower City who then annoyingly said there’s no refunds, fully knowing we were heading to the stadium, we walked the 0.8 miles to the stadium. Which wasn’t a bad walk. But just unexpected. And one I was concerned for my daughter having to walk that. But she’s a trooper and we made it into the stadium about 20 minutes prior to kickoff.

NFL – Cleveland Browns v. Houston Texans

Even with the escalators, it’s still a long, arduous walk to my seats. Having given them up for a few years, when I renewed before 2019, three seats were only available in the second to last row. Which, honestly for me, is fine as it’s under the overhang. Which means shade even in the middle of the day. Another reason I won’t opt to relocated further down. It does make it a bit breezy. Which isn’t great in the winter. But is wonderful on a sunny September afternoon.

With the lake right behind you, as well.

For the game, the air was let out of the stadium after the interception where Baker Mayfield went for the tackle and was then helped off the field. It was elated when he returned. Despite how horrible the injury appeared to be when he wasn’t moving his arm in the slightest.

It was a strange game in that it never really felt like the Browns were in danger of losing. Even when it was 7-7. There was a sense of expectation that you usually don’t see too much at Browns games. No doom and gloom when Landry went out. And the chants for Nick Chubb were deafening.

After the game, the crowd was eerily calm. A win was expected. It wasn’t a cause to celebrate. There were no screams of anger after a loss. It wasn’t the loud boisterous excitement after an unexpected win. It was just peaceful.

As we meandered down West 3rd back to Tower City. The crowd thinned. Until there weren’t many fans still walking. The street was now open by Tower City and the sidewalk was now like any other time in Cleveland. People. But not packed.

After getting into our boiling hot car, which wouldn’t remote start for some reason, we headed east to our usual post-game dinner spot: Texas de Brazil.

I’m a little miffed that Texas de Brazil still hasn’t returned Lamb Chops back to their regular menu. Instead, including them as an add-on. I’m already paying $45 for dinner. I’m not paying another $10 for 4 lamb chops when I can get unlimited steak, such as Picanha, Flank, or Filet without extras. Just one of those little issues that bugs me. Every other Brazilian steakhouse I’ve been to that serves lamb has had no issue with lamb chops being in their regular menu. And Texas de Brazil still has Leg of Lamb included. Just not lamb chops.

Oh well. And for the next section, I didn’t include the Sunday costs.

Economics

For the four high school football games, I drove a total of 579 miles and spent a total of $156.20. $59.20 was for gas, $97 was for food. No other costs for the weekend. Most of that was for Texas Roadhouse Saturday afternoon. I didn’t spend anything on the car.

Photos of the Week

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

2021 HSF Wk 4 Pennsylvania

Next Week

My Friday and Saturday have been set since the schedules first trickled out. However, my Thursday game has been up for debate. There just isn’t a lot of options. So, I’m sticking close to home and doing my first game in the Pittsburgh City League since the 2019 season. With Covid restrictions last year, I left the PCL games up to the locals in Pittsburgh to cover and found other games regularly elsewhere. Twice in Columbus, once at Beaver Local, a few times odd games in PA or New York.

Friday will be a trip to Eisenhower’s Pasture of Pain for a game against Cambridge Springs. If that game falls through, I do have a few backups. I’ll be spending the night and then heading over to Panama, New York for the CSP game against Randolph. Both teams are 3-0, and it looks to be one great afternoon of football at the little stadium on the hill. After that game, which kicks at 12:30pm, I’ll be driving southwest to Cochranton for their Saturday night game against Northwestern. Again, both teams are undefeated. And my second Cardinals team on the day. Then it’s a short drive home. And another Browns game on Sunday. This time hopefully a lot easier getting to the stadium than last week.

Thursday
Allderdice v. USO (@ Pittsburgh)

Friday
Eisenhower v. Cambridge Springs (@ Russell)

Saturday
Clymer/Sherman/Panama v. Randolph (@ Panama, NY)
Cochranton v. Northwestern (@ Cochranton)

Sunday
Browns v. Bears (@ Cleveland, Ohio)

2021 Statistics

28 Games
55 Teams
20 Stadiums

5 States

25 New Teams
11 New Stadiums

1,322 different teams
427 different stadiums

1,198 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/

2021 Week 1 (Ohio & Pennsylvania)

2021 Week 1 (Ohio & Pennsylvania)

This week was supposed to be much different than what it turned out. I had planned a weekend in New Jersey for the 11-game Battle at the Beach in Ocean City. I had arrangements made a few months in advance and had a great rate for a hotel to make it worthwhile. However, while in Georgia, the hotel cancelled my reservation. Hotels.com was useless as they claimed since I wasn’t charged anything for the room, there’s nothing wrong with them cancelling. However, they didn’t cancel due to overbooking or a clerical issue. It was because with the COVID-19 protocols loosening in the Garden State, that they could now charge more. Much more. Almost four times more than I had originally booked. And with last minute rates ridiculously high, I made the decision to not make the trip to New Jersey.
Continue reading “2021 Week 1 (Ohio & Pennsylvania)”

2020 Week S6 (Pennsylvania)

2020 Week S6 (Pennsylvania)

Though my plans showed last week that I would be in Philadelphia once again. That was not the initial plans. I wasn’t even planning to be in Pennsylvania. I had planned four games in New York. However, one big caveat was thrown in: Spring Break. With many schools in NY operating with spring break even if they were ‘open’, meant that many schools were a bit tougher to get ahold of. And that wasn’t to mention even more schedule changes. Continue reading “2020 Week S6 (Pennsylvania)”

2020 Week S4 (Pennsylvania)

2020 Week S4 (Pennsylvania)

This was my second straight weekend just in Pennsylvania. And unlike Week S3, there were a lot of changes and more changes up until the day of the trip.

Started at home, as most of these weekends do, and took I-80 to I-476. Though, I missed my exit, and instead had to backtrack on routes 115 and 903 back to I-476. I had intended to stop for food and gas at the Wawa, and my little faux pas had put me too far behind to backtrack along I-80. So, I stopped at the service plaza on I-476. There was a sign for a Quiznos. There was no Quiznos open. There also was a bus that had just stopped, making a huge backlog at the Burger King. So, Auntie Anne’s it was, for lunch. Continue reading “2020 Week S4 (Pennsylvania)”

2020 Week S3 (Pennsylvania)

2020 Week S3 (Pennsylvania)

This was the first weekend of the spring season where everything went as planned. With no changes to the original schedule. Although there was an added game. Originally, there was no Saturday night game in Pennsylvania.

Friday morning, I was up and early and heading out by 7:30am. I followed I-80 east to I-476. Stopped at the Wawa stuck in limbo between the two interstates. Got gas and a hoagie. Then headed south to I-276 and east to US1. And followed that to George Washington High School. Continue reading “2020 Week S3 (Pennsylvania)”