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The ‘P’ word is here

September 30, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports edior ( , The Herald-Star

Week 6 begins tonight and the "P" word - playoffs - is right around the corner.

It is a time to watch what your team does, but also check the weekly scores to see what your opponents have done.

Steubenville Big Red is coming off a huge win over three-time defending Division V state champion Youngstown Ursuline and will host East Liverpool at 7 p.m. at Harding Stadium.

Big Red is No. 1 in the Division III ranks, leading the Region 11 standings over Thornville Sheridan, Minerva and Canal Fulton Northwest.

Ursuline is 1-4, but the teams on its schedule are 25-4 thus far, and the Irish take on Lakewood St. Edward tonight.

If the Irish make the playoffs at 4-6 the rest of the state better watch out because there will be no team in the state more battle tested than they are.

Big Red will get to play a lot of players tonight, which is always a good thing down the final stretch of the regular season.

Oak Glen at

Weir, 7 p.m.

The Red Riders visit War Memorial Field for the final time as both teams are scheduled to play in on-campus facilities next year, if the work ever starts.

Weir High is coming off the mandated bye week, giving first-year head coach Jason Kekseo a chance to get back to fundamentals and get senior quarterback Harley Mills more comfortable in his surroundings.

After a lackluster performance in a 34-7 loss to a solid Indian Creek squad in Week 3, Oak Glen is No. 7 in the West Virginia Class AA ranks and a win this week gets them closer to a home playoff game.

St. John Central at Toronto, 7 p.m.

The Red Knights will celebrate homecoming in a good way as a struggling Irish squad visits Clarke Hinkle Stadium.

Toronto has pounded the ball with Aaron Thompson, Ralph King and Shane Mosti lately and this week should be no different. The Red Knights are 11th in the Division VI, Region 21 standings.

Expect coach Eric Meek's squad not to be looking forward to next week's road game at Beallsville.

Buckeye Local at Martins Ferry, 7 p.m.

The Panthers and Purple Riders are one play away from being undefeated. But, they enter the week 4-1 with a huge Buckeye 8 game before them.

Buckeye Local took a 21-20 loss last week at Edison, while Martins Ferry lost to Ridgewood on the final play of the game thanks to a field goal.

The Panthers match up well with the Purple Riders and this meeting is no different. Josten Dear, Jordan Piregallini and Co. must control the ball to keep Martins Ferry's offense on the sidelines to win this one.

Madonna at Bridgeport, 7 p.m.

The Blue Dons look to improve their No. 13 placement in the West Virginia Class A rankings. Madonna must do a great job containing Bulldogs quarterback Cole Smelley and keep the mistakes at a minimum.

Madonna's running attack of Christian Roe, Nick Ossman and Ross Comis can take this game over. Its schedule does not get any easier.

Indian Creek at Union Local, 7 p.m.

The Redskins' defense was brilliant last week in a shutout of Bellaire and must do the same this week to make sure the winless Jets don't get any ideas.

Indian Creek's running game found a good groove a week ago and more of that will be good medicine en route to its fourth win in six games. Coach Andrew Connor will make sure his squad's main focus is on Union Local and not next week's meeting with Martins Ferry.

Dayton Dunbar at Brooke, 7 p.m.

The Bruins are 1-4 and this is a a big game for them to make a playoff run in West Virginia Class AAA.

Dayton Dunbar is fast, but Brooke can counteract that with its toughness in the trenches. If the Bruins can play their brand of football, they will be 2-4 with a bye next week and then a date with Parkersburg South.

Edison at Harrison Central, 7:30 p.m.

The Wildcats moved into the No. 9 slot in the Division IV, Region 15 standings and a win over the Huskies will keep Edison in the hunt for a playoff spot.

The Wildcats had a great win last week over Buckeye Local and must be ready to stop both sides of Harrison Central's offense with quarterback David Miser and running back Maurtice Hython.

The Huskies have had a brutal start to Buckeye 8 play with games at Martins Ferry and St. Clairsville. Expect this game to go down to the wire.


Catholic Central at Conotton Valley, 1:30 p.m.

The Crusaders are not where they expected to be, but a solid second half of the season is well within reach and that good start begins Saturday on the road.

The Rockets' lone win is against winless St. John Central. Look for the Crusaders' offensive line to step up, keep its quarterback upright so Brenton Colabella is able to whip it all over the field.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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