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 look into the players and coaches. We look at what they've done to get where they are. We actually watch them on and off of the field. We look at the kids that bust their asses out there and give 110%!
WE'RE GIVING YOU A REALITY CHECK! We realize not many of you can handle reality, but here it is. Not everyone can be #1 boys!
God this is a great game!!! After week 8 here's how we see it with two weeks of regular season chaos to go:
1.Strongsville (7-1) The very big, solid, hard-earned win over Brunswick catapults the Mustangs past Ursuline this week to the top spot. Kellen Pagel has got to be a solid contender for the Mr. Football Ohio Award. This kid has poise, a great arm and leadership. They need to keep it all rolling into the playoffs and keep their focus.
2. Youngstown Ursuline (8-0) Bottom line is that this team FEARS NO ONE. They never complain. They are disciplined, tremendous athletes that are well coached and they go out each week and take on WHOEVER STANDS IN THE WAY. You can say, "oh they're Division-5", but right now, this team could wipe Ohio with any team from any division, no questions asked! Prove us wrong.
3. Mayfield (7-1) It's simple. 5 straight shutouts for the Wildcats, the latest a 35-0 route of Cuyahoga Falls on Friday. Tim Wetzel has established himself among the elite on offense and defense and is the current front-runner for the "Northeast Ohio High School Player of the Year".
4. Kirtland (8-0) We've caught a little flack for this one, but prove us wrong! Prove them wrong! The Hive is Alive and the Hornets are stinging the competition enroute to the post-season and, like Ursuline, is D-5 and they don't care who they line up against. Rossi Santo sky rocketed himself back onto the scene of the elite with a tremendous 6 touchdown performance Friday as the Hornets tore through Berkshire 56-6 to remain the ONLY unbeaten team in Lake County.
5. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (7-1) "Not in our house!" was the cry heard when the Irish of St. Vincent/St. Mary came in Saturday night. The Cardinals imposed their will from the outset and should climb past SVSM in points as they did in this list. Great win and 2 more big ones to go including the big match-up with Ursuline next week.
6. Brunswick (7-1) You had to wonder who, let alone when this team would lose to and Friday night we watched as Kellen Pagel and the Strongsville Mustangs dismantled the Blue Devil defense in a thriller 25-20. We don't expect them to be down for long though.
7. St. Ignatius (7-1) Well here they come. The other Wildcats got a little revenge for the north by stomping Cincinnati LaSalle 50-0 in a blowout of epic proportions. They need to keep momentum now headed into the playoffs.
8. Mentor (6-2) Steve Trivisonno does not let his team give up. An up and down season until a couple weeks ago has turned into a repeat of the last two with the Cardinals steam rolling teams enroute to the post-season. The road seems a bit tougher this year.
9. Euclid (6-2) This was a tough call for us to make, but considering the way the Irish lost to Mooney it took a little pressure off. Great defense has been getting it done for the Panthers and head coach Tom Gibbons. Great, great overall team play. They may yet get another shot at Mentor.
10. Akron St. Vincent/St. Mary (6-2) What should have been a great game to watch turned into a bore-fest in the first half as Mooney exploded early and never looked back. The Irish were just off and they need to shape up quick because their schedule doesn't get too much lighter with University and the finale with Ursuline.
11. St. Edward (6-2) Tumbling all the way to number 11 is rough, but the utter letdown they allowed against St. X is just sad. C'mon Eagles!!! You're a better team than this and you better start proving it.
12. Aurora (6-2) Looky looky here at who bumped Perry out of the rankings, for this week at least. The Greenmen might have gotten it together in time for a late run to the top of OHSAA points in time for the playoffs as they trounced Chagrin Falls in what SOME people may have categorized as a big game in the CVC......we'll give you props just the same...for now.
OH SO CLOSE....
Perry remains in the thick of it at 7-1 and will still have to finish strong and stay healthy for the post-season. Padua is close to a return to the list too after destroying VASJ 35-7 Saturday night. Bruin QB Andrew Dziak did everything he could to make the Vikings defense look "lost." Streetsboro got back in the win column and hold solid at 6-2. Our boys at Walsh took it to another favorite of ours when they topple Benedictine this week. It look like playoffs might be an afterthought now for the Bengals. NDCL...WOW...the Lions are in the very think of the playoff hunt and despite their record, could garner a spot on our list based on work ethic alone. Speaking of work ethic...Willoughby South has been among those making waves this season quietly hitting their playoff stride too.
All in all we are totally jacked up to see the end of the regular season unfold. It's also about time area media get their heads on straight and give up the media darling crap and give Strongsville QB Kellen Pagel some credit in his bid for Mr. Football Ohio. Get over the crap guys and watch REAL football!
D1 Football will be watching!
Don't forget to jump on the SCOREBOARD for the latest, most accurate updates and give us your opinion in the FORUMS.
It's coming down to the wire for the "Northeast Ohio High School Player of the Year"(in it's second trademarked year) too and Mayfield's Tim Wetzel, Pagel and Kirtland's Ben Madden lead in the field surveys, e-mails and polls thus far.