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.
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
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.
Allderdice v. USO (@ Pittsburgh)
Eisenhower v. Cambridge Springs (@ Russell)
Clymer/Sherman/Panama v. Randolph (@ Panama, NY)
Cochranton v. Northwestern (@ Cochranton)
Browns v. Bears (@ Cleveland, Ohio)
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/