High School Football – Week One

I’m back. Don’t be shocked. Been sorta busy. On deadline for my untitled next book, more bizarre characters from 45 years of sports reporting. Want to get it done before they all get out of jail and come looking for me.  That’s a joke to keep you interested.

    Anyway, I’ll have a lot of softball in the next book, as well as stories about covering high school football on Friday nights for both The Plain Dealer and Fox 8. Do you realize that my career began and ended on the high school beat? Back in 1964 when I was a young reporter at The Plain Dealer, sports editor Hal Lebovitz put me on the high school beat with Dick Zunt. Over more than four decades in the business I did a lot of other things, but now at the end when I’m semi-retired I’m back on the high school beat, 11 Friday nights at Fox 8. It’s a great part time job, better than bagging at Giant Eagle and saying, “Paper or plastic?”

    By the way, here’s my review of our first “Friday Night Touchdown” show of the season — 30 games in 33 minutes.  It was spectacular. It was like election night with moving pictures, all put together in one chaotic hour. I had fears that it would blow up in our faces, that we would be standing in the studio with no scripts, no highlights and no scores. We had never tried to put that many games on the air before, nobody did. I don’t think ESPN ever did 30 games in one show. We had done about 15 games before. Thirty games was double what we had ever been attempted. Well, the producing and editing was virtually flawless. I don’t know how they did it in their maiden race.

    Some impressions of opening weekend. Look out for Glenville. They didn’t rebuild. They reloaded. Their roster Saturday night did not have heights or weights, but we speculated that the Tarblooders averaged well over 300 pounds across both lines. In the first half they pushed St. Ed’s around and held the Eagles to 43 yards of total offense. Here’s how underrated Glenville was — St. Ed’s was favored by 19 1/2 points.

    Bedford shocked Olmsted Falls. Somebody explain that.

    Mentor’s five wides are a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. 

    Here’s my high school football top ten after one week:

1. St. Eds

2. Glenville

3. Mentor

4. Solon

5. St. Ignatius

6. Elyria

7. Massillon

8. Avon

9. Brecksville

10 Ravenna

    That’s all for now. Stay tuned.

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