I can't tell you how many times in recent years the opening night of the high school football season has been adversely affected by the weather. Al Gore is right. The weather is changing.
This past Friday night lightning created havoc with our coverage at Fox 8, which we promoted all week. Our schedule of 17 games was carefully laid out. Tony Rizzo, John Telich, Dan Jovic and yours truly, along with seven photographers, were already in place at our games when lightning flashed across the sky. Game after game was postponed until the next day.
Back at the home office, sports producer Katie Rossborough got her schedule and maps out and salvaged the ten o'clock show. She called audibles at the line of scrimmage, finding games that actually were being played and sending our crews there. When the show hit the air, you would think we planned it that way.
And by the way, that new-fangled method of transmitting moving pictures over the internet from laptops worked. This new technology never ceases to amaze me. I don't pretend to understand it, however. Forty years ago when I was covering high schools for The Plain Dealer, we had to race back to the paper to write our stories on clackety-clack Underwoods. I also did radio reports on Friday nights for radio station WIXY 1260 (Ask your grandfather about WIXY.) On the way back to the paper I had to pop into gas stations and bars to use the pay phones to go on the radio. My tools were a notebook, a pen and a pocket full of dimes. There were exasperating moments, such as, "What do you mean, the phone's out of order??!!!
Anyway, several of you requested my weekly top ten, so here it is.
1. ST. IGNATIUS by virtue of a fourth and nine touchdown pass with two minutes left against Glenville.
2. GLENVILLE might have been able to protect its 13-7 lead if its punter had not been hurt at the end of the game. A shanked punt off the foot of the backup kicker gave Ignatius the ball on the Glenville 17-yard line and the result was inevitable. Glenville's offense is highly-touted but puzzling. Four different kids took snaps at quarterback, including speed merchants Latwan Anderson and Shane Wynn. The Tarblooders did not score an offensive touchdown.
3. MAPLE HEIGHTS, whose junior quarterback Shaquille Washington threw four touchdown passes, scored a shocking 28-16 upset of Avon Lake AT Avon Lake. Maple's overall team speed was dazzling. Shame on those of us who thought Maple's magic carpet ride would end when coach Jeff Rotsky left. I'm checking out a report that quarterback Washington is a transfer from Glenville. What a twist that is!
4. MENTOR benefited from six St. Edward turnovers, including a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown that was the difference in the game. St. Ed's was going in for a touchdown so it became a 14-point swing. Mentor also returned a punt for a touchdown. The Cardinals' offense scored only two touchdowns.They'd do that in a quarter in recent seasons.
5. ST. EDWARD will be fine with new head coach Rick Finotti and offensive coordinator Joe Perella. The Eagles outgained Mentor by more than 200 yards and their opening defensive series could be a preview of coming attractions. Mentor went three and out like this: tackled in the backfield for a six-yard loss, stuffed for no gain, quarterback sacked and fumbled out of bounds on the five.
6. EUCLID's 21-14 win over Strongsville was impressive, mainly because any win over Strongsville will get your attention.
7. MAYFIELD on the road blanked Bedford, 34-0. It looks as though Mayfield's defensive tradition continues.
8. SOLON handled Shaker Heights, 19-0, as expected, but we don't know what kind of measuring stick it is. Shaker has been down for the last couple of years.
9. WADSWORTH is a perennial power in the Suburban League and opened with a nice 21-7 win at home over Stow.
10. NORTH ROYALTON went over to Brecksville and spanked the Bees, 41-13. This does not look like one of Brecksville's greatest teams, mind you, but doing it on the road adds cachet to the win.
You're on the ball to ask about Brunswick. Where are the Blue Devils? And you can mix in Twinsburg, Aurora, Nordonia, Walsh and SVSM. My old friends in Stark County will bring up North Canton Hoover, Canton McKinley, Louisville, Canal Fulton Northwest, and Massillon. There are nine weeks left to get this sorted out and get it right. Stay with me. Keep clicking in.