Saturday, September 27, 2008

D1 Football's "Damned Good Dozen"

While the predictability of most northeast Ohio news rag top "25" teams is very obvious, we look at football from some different angles. NO MEDIA DARLINGS HERE nor will our list be comprised exclusively of Division-I primadonna blow-hards.

We look deeper than that. We don't care about the name of your school. We want to see players with heart and passion for the game. Not a group of kids that think they deserve to be page one because they go to "St. Play Nobody." We're not aiming for the popular vote. We're giving you a reality check. We realize not many of you can handle reality, so here it is. Not everyone can be #1 boys!

Here's how we see them after week 6:

1. Strongsville (5-1) The beat goes on for the Mustangs and Mr. Football Ohio hopeful Kellen Pagel. Head coach Russ Jacques has his team primed for the home stretch. This is key as Brunswick and Solon still loom on the horizon for this young, hungry team.

2. Youngstown Ursuline (6-0) THESE Fighting Irish have taken on all comers and have disposed of them, including Lake Catholic and Massillon-Washington. Now they must shift into overdrive and not miss a beat because they finish the season with back to back match-ups with Mooney and Akron SVSM. This could be a wild ride.

3. Brunswick (6-0) The Blue Devils are once again on fire. They have their focus on one thing, a return to post season and an even deeper run. The next two weeks will be the tell tale as they take on Solon and Strongsville back to back in a true test of character. Head coach Rich Nowak has done wonders with this team after losing so much talent, but then again that's been his style ever since his first stint at Brunswick. Great man too.

4. Kirtland (6-0) Lake County is "buzzing" as the Hive is Alive in Kirtland once again and the Fighting Hornets are swarming to their goal to extend deep into the post season and bring home a title. Rossi Santo and company led by a dominating linemen who would take on ANYBODY are up to the task. Let there be no doubts.

5. St. Edward (5-1) The Eagles had a slight hiccup in a block-buster slugfest with Cincinnati Elder last week, but they rebound with a tremendous knockout of Benedictine to move up a notch.

6. Perry (5-1) The Pirates climb a few notches to number 6 and could continue to climb as the season goes on. "Air" Hokavar and company have been laying waste to their CVC counterparts on the schedule. There's no doubt that Matt Rosati's coaching style has paid off, now the Pirates need to stay healthy and keep some BIG bodies around Vinny on offense and let's sail into the playoffs.

7. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (5-1) The Cardinals are chomping at the bit and will get a shot at Ursuline in a few weeks after they tangle with Benedictine and Akron SVSM!

8. Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary (5-1) Walsh, Mooney and Ursuline among the remaining games for the Irish. If they keep it up they'll certainly be on the move to the top. Not just here, but in the playoffs!

9. Mayfield (5-1) The Wildcats are the latest entry to the rankings after a tremendous start that has been highlighted by wins over Bedford, Solon, Willoughby South and Garfield Heights...all quality wins. The Cats are back and led by a great head coach in Larry Pinto and talented players.

10. Mentor (4-2) The Cardinals breathe life back into their season with an upset over Euclid and have moved into 3rd place in computer points in D1 R1. Triv has the boys seeing things a little bit brighter and it's showing on the field.

11. Streetsboro (5-1) Stud QB Carrington Hanna is all that we said he would be and then some. Hey he has a great supporting cast and good coaches too. The Rockets are soaring their way in the direction of the playoffs!

12. Euclid (4-2) We don't anticipate the Panthers will remain here. They have too much talent in uniform and in coaching gear to falter in too bad of a way. An upset loss to Mentor hopefully will be only a minor setback. Either way it has added life to the battle in the LEL.

JUST MISSED: An idle week hurts Walsh as they slip just out of the rankings, but they still loom. Padua is definitely working their way back after a tough win over Lake Catholic. There may even be a surprise or two after next week. It's bound to happen as a lot of these teams on the list will face off within the next month.

ON THE HORIZON: St. Ignatius may one day grace the rankings, BUT not yet. They're still haunted by the "darling" syndrome and we need to see heart, soul and legitimacy. Here's a suggestion, play and all-Ohio schedule. We're still waiting for Solon to make their annual end of the season run as well. You can bet Jim McQuaide is getting them primed! Elsewhere the Tigers of Chagrin Falls have "quietly" been going about there seasonal business and THEY are on the DGD horizon too. D1 Football doesn't just "run with the pack" when it comes to looking at teams. We can smell heart and passion counties away! Finally we are keeping an eye on two Geauga County favorites, Chardon and NDCL, who are merely points out of the playoffs and still very much in the hunt. Also watch another CVC team making a charge...Aurora. The Greenmen are at it again. Let's see if they can seal the deal this year. The D-III race is tight and should go down to the wire. WOW are we in for a wild stretch run guys! Hang on and ride with D1 all the way to state.

Lake Catholic senior and D1 Charter Member Randy Greenwood caught up with us a recent game and gave us an update on his rehab stint for his ankle injury suffered before the season started. He's doing well, seemed positive and is now focused on preparing for college football at Division 1 Akron in the MAC. Akron coach J.D. Brookhart reconfirmed in a letter to us at D1 that the university will still honor Randy's existing scholarship offer. Great news! Good luck Randy.

D1 members and scholarship athletes Nick Viola (VASJ) and Mike Hounshell (NDCL) are now getting regular playing time at Lake Erie (NCAA D-II) and Viola has even secured a starting role at line backer. West Geauga grad Brigham VanEtten is now Gannon's go to receiver taking over that role after week two of the season. Great job guys!

For the latest updates jump HERE or the FORUMS

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