Brookfield is on the brink of building a bridge to the past.
Perhaps not the 1978 state championship season — that will be played out come early December — but the Warriors’ football program is enjoying its best season in a generation.
The undefeated and state-ranked Warriors welcome Youngstown Christian School to Addison Field tonight at 7 p.m. in an Ohio HIgh School Athletic Association Week-9 showdown.
YCS Leavittsburg-LaBrae are Brookfield’s last roadblocks to the program’s 1st undefeated regular season since coach John Delserone’s Warriors went 9-0 en route to the Class AA Buckeye State crown 3èdecades ago.
And while it may be premature to predict a repeat of ’78, the days of Delserone resonate again.
(All games begin 7 p.m.)
Youngstown Christian (6-1) at Brookfield (8-0)
Brookfield is rated 1st in the OHSAA Division IV Region 13 poll (5th in the state). Coach Randy Clark’s club is coming off a 9-2 campaign in which the Warriors were ousted in the playoffs opening round by eventual titlist Norwayne (42-7) in Lodi. Now Brookfield is bent on hosting an opening-round tournament tilt.
“I knew we had something special,” Clark confided. “Eight or nine of these guys started as freshmen, so we’ve been waiting on this class and the class behind them to come all the way thorugh.”
Additionally, Clark is a link to Delserone’s legacy.
“My senior year (1981, 6-2-1) was (Delserone’s) last year of coaching, so a lot of ‘Coach Del’s’ philosophy are things we do on a daily basis,” Clark continued.
The historic, halcyon days are a reminder of what once were wonderful Warriors’ grid annals, and this could be Brookfield’s bounce-back era. According to available archives at The Herald, the decades since ’78 have been met with mixed results, including eight break-even 5-5 seasons — most recently in 2010.
During the decades of the 2000’s and 1990’s the Warriors went 31-69 and 46-56, respectively, with only 2 winning seasons. In ’94 the Warriors went 10-2 before bowing to Benedictine (26-6) in the regional finals, while the ’90 club ended 9-1.
The 1980’s were substantially more successful (54-42-2), including 9-1 slates in ’87 and ’85 (ironically, both clubs lost to Cortland-Lakeview). The ‘’87 squad shared the Trumbull County Class AA crown.
A triumph tonight could trend toward a return to those times.
YCS — 6th in D-VI, Region 21, according to Vindy.com — routed Sandy Valley (46-21) last week. The Eagles enter averaging 38.4 points per game, having humiliated Vienna-Mathews for 84. Youngstown Christian’s lone loss occurred to Sugarcreek-Garaway.
Ryan Grier (979 yards rushing, 13 TDs) and quarterback Emmet Underwood (931 yards passing, 13 TDs) are the YCS yeomen.
“Those two are scary, because either one can turn nothing into a huge play every time they touch the ball,” Clark told Vindy.com. “Defensively, KaeVon Green (who started as a freshman for Ursuline) is one of the better defensive ends we’ve seen in a long time.”
Clark compared YCS to Warren-John F. Kennedy, which his Warriors whipped (35-0) earlier this season. Clark, commenting to The Herald said, “They’re fast — like a good Farrell team, with four, five good athletes.”
In remarks to Vindy.com, Clark compared YCS to JFK, in that, “both teams are very athletic. They can strike quickly, and you can’t defend just one aspect of their offense ... but their defense might be a little better than JFK’s,” he told The Herald.
Brookfield has battered opponents, averaging 48 points and 419 total yards/game, led by running back Ryan Mosora (area-best 121 carries for 1,388 yards, 11.4 yards/carry, 16 TDs), quarterback Jeremy Quinlan (57 completions in 90 attempts, 63.4 percent, 715 yards, 10 TDs, 5 interceptions), and Collin Harkulich (16 catches, 263 yards, 16.4 yards/catch, 5 TDs).
The Warriors average 318 yards rushing/game, and Clark confided to The Herald, “another key is, we’ve been healthy.”
“These type of games are what high school football is all about,” Clark continued in remarks to Vindy.com. “We’re having a very good season, and so is Youngstown Christian. A lot of area fans will be focused in to see how this plays out, and that makes it fun for the players on both teams.”
It will be Senior Night for the Warriors, obviously none of whom can recall ’78, unless vicariously through their elders.
“A lot of reporters like to compare (2012 to 1978),” Clark commented to The Herald. “But it would take us fifteen games (to win an OSHAA championship); it took (the ’78 Warriors) eleven.
“It comes down to us taking care of the ball, executing, and making tackles,” concluded Clark, perhaps echoing his mentor, Delserone.
Reynolds (3-2, 5-2) at Greenville (3-2, 3-4)
Both teams need a win to maintain their postseason aspiriations behind the Hickory/Grove City/Wilmington logjam.
This once was northern Mercer County’s most intense rivalry. However Greenville has dominated the series that began almost a half-century ago, particularly since ’96, having won 13 of the last 14 meetings. But the Raiders are enjoying the program’s best season since a PIAA Final Four berth in ’05 — the last time Reynolds recorded a win in the series.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN 96.7 (WLLF FM), with Ryan Briggs and Chris Burtch calling the action.
Lakeview (3-1, 5-2) at Sharpsville (4-1, 6-1)
The Black-’n-Blue Devils defeated Wilmington last week for area bragging rights. However since his squad’s lone setback at West Middlesex, Sharpsville skipper Paul Piccirilli pointed to this as a showdown for 2nd-place seeding for the upcoming playoffs.
Sailors’ speedster Blake Reddick roared past the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a 17-carry, 146-yard, 2-TD performance as Lakeview coasted past Cochranton (22-16) by scoring 22 unanswered points.
Lakeview’s last visit to The Pines — last year — resulted in a 52-6 setback, extending a losing skein to Sharpsville to 5 by a composite 188-52 differential. Lakeview last defeated the Blue Devils in ’06 (41-6) in Stoneboro.
The game will be broadcast on NewsTalk 790 (WPIC AM), with Mark Slezak and Bob Greenburg calling the action.
Conneaut (1-3, 4-3) at Farrell (2-2, 4-3)
Last week the Steelers suffered the program’s most-lopsided setback since being clobbered by Clairton (48-8) in the 2010 western regional championship game. The Steelers were shut out by Kennedy Catholic (41-0) in the ’06 regular-season finale.
The Eagles eased past Eisenhower (41-21) in a regional crossover contest last week, as Elijah Anderton (17-180, including a 76-yard TD) and Hunter Merritt (14-145) both surpassed the century mark on the ground, according to The (Meadville) Tribune.
Hickory (4-1, 6-1) at Saegertown (0-5, 1-6)
Saegertown was outscored 248-52 through the season’s first 6 weeks, before the Panthers pounced on Maplewood last week (26-7).
According to The (Meadville) Tribune, Saegertown scoring drives included 74, 99 and 80 yards. The Panthers produced 351 rushing yards, led by Kyle Wise (17-105, 20-yard TD) and Lance Neuscheler (9-95).
Hickory has won 4 consecutive contests (Grove City, Titusville, Sharon, Farrell) by a composite 178-19 margin.
Sharon (1-4, 1-6) at Wilmington (4-1, 5-2)
This side of Cathedral Prep and Strong Vincent, the Tigers have taken on the one of District 10’s tougher schedules. Of Sharon’s setbacks, 4 occurred to Farrell, Reynolds, Hickory and West Middlesex, teams with an aggregate 21-7 won-lost ledger. And beginning tonight, the Tigers take on a trio of 6-triumph teams to conclude the campaign.
Wilmington was approximately a yard shy at Sharpsville last week, losing a crossover contest (20-14), though the Greyhounds were without starting signal-caller Cody Llewellyn.
Kennedy Catholic (1-3, 1-6) at West Middlesex (4-0, 6-1)
The Big Reds are seeking their 7th straight success, and a West Middlesex win could earn at least a share of the Region 1-A crown.
Coach Jason McElhaney’s Middlesex minions are Mercer County’s only top-10 team — in either Class A or AA — according to Pennsylvania Football News.
Kennedy Catholic has not conquered Middlesex since the programs met in the ’05 D-10 tournament semifinals.
Titusville (1-4, 2-5) at Grove City (4-1, 6-1)
During last week’s rout of state-ranked Slippery Rock, Grove City’s ground game was so grueling (359 yards) the Eagles ended a 34-14 win without the need to attempt a pass — or punt.
That would not bode well for the Rockets, who permitted 237 (Reynolds), 171 (Sharon), 289 (Wilmington), 191 (Hickory), and 256 (Greenville) rushing yards to a handful of Mercer County clubs earlier this season.
Mercer (1-6) at Keystone (2-5)
The Mustangs are in the midst of the program’s worst skid since ’05 when those ’Steeds suffered a 5-game skein en route to a 2-7 season in mentor Pat McClearn’s initial season at the helm.
Keystone was KO’d by Allegheny-Clarion Valley (21-7) last week in a Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Small School Division contest. According to d9sports.com, Zack Stiglitz scored on a 40-yard sprint for Keystone’s lone TD.
Herald sports writer Rob Malsom contributed research for this preview.
Brookfield is on the brink of building a bridge to the past.
Herald-Tamie junior tourney set Thursday-Friday
THEY SAY THAT “The best things in life are free.” Well, one of those “best things” is the annual Herald-Tam O’Shanter Junior Golf Championships every summer.
The event, which has been free to boys and girls in the Shenango Valley since it’s inception in 1949, will be held Thursday and Friday at Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Hermitage.
It has been the premier youth tournament for decades and some of the top players ever to come out of this area have participated. But you don’t have to be a great young golfer to take part. It’s a wonderful opportunity for every youngster to get a free round of golf on a great course, which is in immaculate shape this season.
Hickory lists 2013 scholar-athlete award winners
Hickory High Athletic Director Barb Dzuricsko recently announced that a total of 213 students (grades 9-12) earned Don McKay Scholar-Athlete awards.
To be eligible, students must maintain an A (93 percent or higher) grade-point-average through the academic year’s third 9-week grading period and compete in a PIAA-sponsored sport.
A total of 375 students competed in athletics this past year, Dzuricsko noted, meaning almost 57 percent qualified for the McKay Scholar-Athlete Award. Since the award’s inception, this is the highest total number of students to earn the honors, she reported.
SCHOLASTIC NOTEBOOK: Hearns to continue golf career in college; Petty to be honored
RECENT HICKORY High alumna Rosy Hearns will continue her education and golf careers at the State University of New York-Albany. Hickory links coach Craig Antush said Hearns recently signed a letter-of-intent.
Hearns’ Hickory career concluded as one of the finest on the links — male or female — in Mercer County annals.
Bowlers compete in Senior Games
The bowling portion of the annual Mercer County Senior Games was held Wednesday at Grove City Bowlodrome. That followed horseshoes and shuffleboard competitions earlier in the week.
Following is the rest of the schedule:
COLLEGIATE NOTEBOOK: Ex-Hickory great Richards has great spring track season
FORMER HICKORY HIGH standout Morgan Richards enjoyed a successful spring season for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte track & field team. The female 49ters won the Atlantic 10 Conference outdoor track & field team title.
“Morgan kept her stride as she transitioned into the outdoor season, running top times in several events among (Atlantic 10) freshmen and on Charlotte’s all-time top 10 lists,” assistant coch Edwin T. Schlichter wrote in a recent e-mail to The Herald. “Morgan finished just one spot (9th) out of scoring at the 2013 A-10 Championships in the 3000-meter steeplechase, despite this being her first year ever attempting the event, and running 11:02.22 which was 2nd among all freshmen in the A-10 and 5th all-time for UNC-Charlotte.”
SPORTVIEW: Hickory tri-athletes deserve special recognition
EVERY YEAR we receive a photo from the Hermitage School District of a group of student-athletes that I am thrilled to receive and run in the paper.
The photo is of Hickory High School “tri-athletes,” boys and girls who participate in sports during each of the fall, winter and spring seasons. But there is more to it than that. Each of these athletes also must maintain an 85 percent B average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the year.
TIDBITS: Scurpas make college choices; Matthews, Norris, Bonner part of great Clarion recruiting class; Lewis earns national medal
SHARPSVILLE HIGH volleyball standouts Kristen and Paige Scurpa, who are cousins, will continue their education and athletic careers at California University of Pa. and Penn State-Behrend, respectively.
The duo, both of whom were named to the All-State team in Class A by the Pa. Volleyball Coaches Association, led the Blue Darlings to the District 10 title game in November. Sharpsville, Region 1 champs the past 4 years, suffered a 3-1 loss to Cochranton in that match and finished the season 16-4.
Sharpsville falls in D-10 title game
SLIPPERY ROCK — Monday was a pretty good day for Saegertown High School.
Just mere hours after the Lady Panthers won the District 10 Class A softball championship, the Saegertown baseball team (19-2) captured its third straight D-10 Class AA title with a convincing 10-3 victory over Sharpsville (15-6) at Slippery Rock University’s Jack Critchfield Park.
“We knew going into the game that Saegertown’s a pretty good team and they’ve been a pretty good team for the past few years,” Blue Devils coach Mike Sikorski said. “I think they’ve been in the District 10 Championship the past four years. They’re a solid team, a very good team. They’re very patient at the plate and when they get their pitches, they hit them.”
STATE TRACK NOTEBOOK: WM seniors leave legacy of greatness
WEST MIDDLESEX High always has had a proud athletic heritage, and this past weekend’s PIAA Class AA Track & Field championship will only add lustre to that legacy.
According to available archives at The Herald, only the 1954 boys’ basketball team and Coach Bob Morris’ boys’ cross country team from earlier this decade previously had won commonwealth crowns.
Allen wins 4 gold medals to lead WM to PIAA team title
SHIPPENSBURG — Clay Allen said he had to explode out of the starting blocks for his 100-meter dash showdown with Hickory’s DeShawn Coleman. But Allen — all afternoon — was getting the jump on his competitors during the annual PIAA Track & Field Championships.
By approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Shippensburg University, Allen annexed 4 gold medals — 100- and 200-meter dashes, long jump, and as part of the sprint-relay. The workload West Middlesex High’s senior exhibited enabled the Big Reds to record the Class AA commonwealth crown.
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