Warren John F. Kennedy will celebrate his homecoming this week when it hosts Rootstown.
It has been a difficult task for the Eagles to find a home this season.
Due to the ongoing construction work at Mollenkopf Stadium, Kennedy was forced to schedule home games elsewhere. The school originally had an agreement to play its home games at Howland. However, a scheduling conflict forced JFK to seek an alternate venue for his September 9 home game against Sandusky Perkins. Originally this game was going to be moved to Mineral Ridge, but the competition ended up taking place in Austintown Fitch.
Now, further scheduling conflicts with Howland have forced JFK to once again seek another “Hometown.” JFK officials announced Monday that the Eagles’ final three home games of the regular season and all playoff home games will be played at Leopard Stadium in Liberty.
In addition to this week’s game, Kennedy has home games scheduled against Cleveland Central Catholic (October 14) and Ravenna Southeast (October 21).
Liberty plays nightly on the street where Kennedy uses Leopard Stadium.
Six weeks into the season, Canfield (5-1) tops the Division III, Region 9 computer rankings. Just behind the Cardinals is Chardon (5-1), the two-time defending DIII state champion.
The Cardinals and Hilltoppers, who met in the playoffs in both 2020 and 2021, are separated by less than a tenth of a point in the rankings.
Ironically, both schools will not be playing this weekend as the high school football season enters its seventh week of the season.
Canfield originally listed Cleveland Rhodes as his week seven opponent. The listing was based on a verbal agreement between the two schools last summer. However, last week officials at Cleveland City Schools told Canfield the game would not go ahead. Without a contract, Rhodes (2-4) opted not to play a game this week.
“I’m really sorry for our kids who work so hard all year long and deserve to play ten games,” said Canfield coach Mike Pavlansky. “(Canfield Athletic Director) Mike Cochran was working like crazy trying to find a substitute game but there just weren’t a lot of options, not this late in the season.
Unlike Canfield, Chardon’s open house was actually built into his schedule.
“Chardon would absolutely have been an option for us, but Chardon made a conscious decision to have a bye week and I fully respect that decision.” said Pavlanski. “This team played sixteen games last year to reach the title game, which is too many games for a high school team.”
“They lived the grind. They were physically battered and mentally tired. They expect a similar run this year so I respect the decision to regroup at this point in the season.”
Pavlansky noted that he and his staff will spend Friday night scouting out upcoming opponents. Canfield’s next two opponents are Youngstown East and Howland. These two teams meet on Friday. Canfield’s Week 10 opponent – Boardman – welcomes Warren G. Harding.
Canfield last saw a bye week in 2020, when higher-seeded teams sat out the first round of the playoffs. The Cardinals returned from the break to defeat Kenston 28-10 in a second round game.
“We’ll be following pretty much the same game plan as we did back then,” said Pavlanski. “We treat this week like any other training week, giving the kids the weekend off and then preparing for the rest of the season.”
AFTER WEEK 10
The high school football regular season ends the weekend of October 21st. Barring the COVID-shortened 2020 season, this is the earliest ending of a regular season in Ohio history.
With the extended playoffs, 63 percent of all teams in Ohio are now playing at least an eleventh game. The other 37 percent of schools that do not qualify for the tournament will complete their season with plenty of October left on the calendar.
Can schools that don’t make the playoffs schedule a regular season game after week 10?
Only if they haven’t played a 10-game plan, according to Ohio High School Athletic Association director Beau Rugg.
“Our member schools believe ten regular season games is enough,” said Rug. “Right now, our regulations, which are enacted by the member schools, allow no more than ten regular season games.”
Rugg pointed out that prior to 2020, schools were not allowed to schedule any additional games beyond the scheduled end of the regular season. However, due to the shortened six-game schedule in 2020, schools were allowed to resume their regular seasons even after being eliminated from the playoffs.
That’s how it was last year. At Mineral Ridge, for example, two regular-season games were canceled due to COVID. The Rams’ last regular game was on October 15. On November 5th they played Waterloo.
South Range’s 26-game regular-season winning streak is the third-longest current streak in Ohio. Wyoming currently has the longest winning streak at 63 games. The Cowboys have not lost a regular season game since October 23, 2015. Kirtland has a 51-game winning streak… West Branch has scored 20 or more points in 36 straight games, state leader… Leetonia has outscored it in first six games by 270-13 points… Lowellville is averaging 51.1 points per game . His 308 points total is the second-highest in the state behind Caldwell, which has bested its opponents 311-22… Lowellville is one of 12 schools in the area that average at least 35 points per game.