Things are a bit different this Sunday morning. Usually, we bring you the top plays, the top players, and a little recap of what happened on Friday night, but this Friday was special. This was the last week of the regular season, there was a lot on the line, and so with that we want to bring you a playoff preview. Today, we give you which teams are going where, whose playing who, what seed they are, and where they are playing. And if you specifically come here for the top play of the week, and the gif, no worries, we have our top plays of the PTC season alongside some of the best GIF's of the past week. There were a lot.
First of all, the first part of the video is our panel of PortageTrailCentral.com reporters picking their top players in the PTC including their overall conference MVP. That's for those that are interested. Here it is.
For those of you that are interested, the second part of that clip is great. In 2-minutes, it describes everything that this show was about. There was some great moments, there were some really funny moments, and there were some moments that looked absolutely terrible. That's ok with me. We tried things, we made mistakes, and most importantly we learned. We started this site just a year ago, and now we have incredible content (that is not always the best, I won't lie) and a brand new football show on some wonderful athletes, teams and communities. Sometimes at TV2 and PortageTrailCentral.com we forget that we are just students, and the most important thing as that we grow, because no matter what, we have to continually get better at what we're doing before we step into the professional world.
The scary thing about this site, about this show, and about the station is that we are officially professionals the second we start working here, because we go live to Portage County and elsewhere. Yes, this entire thing is on the internet. Have we recieved negative complaints about things we've done on the show? Yes, have we gotten better this entire semester? I would say so. I hope that anyone that's reading this realizes that this show, that has officially ended on-air for the season, is the start of something big and I'm glad I got to be apart of this and help start it.
It's great to thank people behind the scenes, in private, but sometimes people need to know who does the work. So, to all my reporters, to the tech crew, to anyone that helped on Triple F Life, to anyone that watched and liked the show (or hated it, whatever), and to those of you that are reading this because you simply care about the PTC and wanted score updates, I want to say thank you. I hope that you've enjoyed these seven shows as much as I have, and don't worry, there's more great things to come.
One last thing: Be about that life.
Special Thanks To:
Doug Rogers, Jon Jankowski, Jasen Sokol, Cory York, Spiro Tempellis, Michelle Hennon, Courtney Citro, Sean Barie, Sean Eiler, Sawyer White, John Huntsman, Kyle Vertoch, Ashley Crosby, Halie Baker, Krandall Brantley, Jon Reisdorf, Ryan Hale, Robert Bond, Jeremy McCumbers, Jeremy George, Jim Piascik Heather Miller, Jed Thorn, Jake Corcoran, Ty Sugick, Casey Braun, Kyle Hentzleman, Rich Pierce, Brenna Frattaroli, Raven Brinson, Katy Coduto, Audrey Young, Brian Presley, Bill Hughes, Zach Harley, Danielle Slack, Nick Shook, Sawyer White, Lauren O'Kane, Gabe Kramer, Adam Brokaw, Nick Shook, and of course Glenn Bolich and Jason Kostura.
The Norton Panthers dropped quickly over the last couple weeks, when they really got into the meat of their schedule, but with one game remaining in their season, they still wanted to go out with a 'W' on senior night. The Coventry Comets had a similar story this year, as they looked really nice in their first couple of games. As the season went on, both teams hit rough patches, but with one last game remaining, all players were ready for this one.
This is it. It's week 10. It's the final week in the Portage Trail Conference regular season, and there so much in store. Obviously, there's the games, with one in particular standing out. Before we get to that game, here's a preview of all the things that we're going to cover on the site this week. I hope you guys are ready, because I know we certainly are.
Mogadore's Magical Run
The Mogadore Wildcats have a history of great football teams, including a state title just a decade ago. This year, the Wildcats have been the most dominating team in the conference, in either division and they have earned the #1 ranking in Division VI, and already clinched the County Division conference crown. We're heading out to Mogadore this week to talk to Gary "Bubba" Strain, Coach Matt Adorini and the rest of the Wildcats to see what this season has been like, what it means to go perfect, and what they're expecting to do in the playoffs. Stay tuned for that.
Dorian's Chance For 2,000 Yards
This season some wonderful individuals have really stood out across the conference, but no one stood out more than Dorian Williams. Just last week, he piled up over 250 yards against Ravenna, and that put his season total at 1,871. That means with even a mediocre game by Dorian's standards, he will eclipse the 2,000 yard mark. Only 3, maybe 4, other backs in the state can claim that right, and it's been a pleasure to watch Dorian run all year long.
The Playoff Race
As of this week, 5 teams in the conference have a spot in the state playoffs. For those teams, it's simple, win and your in (unless you're Mogadore, then it really doesn't matter.) But there are those that are still sitting on the outside looking in, and some even have a chance to make the playoffs. We'll give you one last look at each teams best case scenario, even for those that can't qualify for a spot in the playoffs.
Dorian isn't the only one chasing down greatness this season, Tra Chapman is about to break his own passing records at Roosevelt, Dillon Headrick at Coventry is making his way into the school record books on both sides of the ball, Bubba Strain is piling up stats at Mogadore and deserves some recognition, Joey Simpson, Sean McCoy, and plenty of other studs across the conference have all been doing great in their own right. We'll have a complete statistical break down heading into Week 10.
All week long we will have everything you need to know on Kent and Ravenna. The history. The Captains lunch. The burning of the mascot. TV2 Coverage. Plus Intimate Moments with Jermaine Justice and Trei Thomas. All this and so much more, right here on PortageTrailCentral.com.
Starting Saturday, we'll have all your playoff coverage, who plays who, and our predictions for each team in the playoffs.
It's a huge week for the PTC, stay tuned for everything.
Welcome to Sunday Morning Superstar. This section is dedicated to a recap of the wild Friday nights, what they meant, who shined, and what's coming up this week. Why Sunday you ask? Because Saturday is just too soon to comprehend what took place and we need sometime to let everything settle in. Every week, a "Play Of The Week" will be awarded, along with a "Player Of The Week" and our upcoming "Game Of The Week" will be announced or nominated. Stop in every Sunday morning to find out what you missed from the past weekend.
Spellman is royal as Ravenna blows out Norton 39-6
By Jim Piascik
RAVENNA - Ravenna senior quarterback Kyle Spellman returned from a broken wrist and was named homecoming king as he led his team to a 39-6 win over the Norton Panthers Friday night.
Spellman threw one touchdown pass on the night and completed 8-of-16 passes for 74 yards. He added 11 carries, 65 yards, and two touchdowns on the ground and was simply overcome with emotion after winning the game and the crown.
"It gives us a sense of relief, a sense of confidence," Ravenna coach Jim Lunardi said of his quarterback, who made his first appearance since the season opener. "There's a great command that he demands in the huddle. He's a very quiet kid, but his presence says a lot."
The Ravens broke the Panthers' will early in the game, taking advantage of a critical Norton mistake. Just over three minutes into the game, a Norton snap on a punt short-hopped the punter, leading to a punt that resembled a groundball. Ravenna senior Tavaris Wilmington was able to pick up the bouncing ball at the Norton 10-yard line and return it for a touchdown.
Ravenna then converted a two-point conversion on a fake field goal, with senior Josiah Coman completing a pass to Spellman to make it 8-0 Ravens.
Norton head coach John Tanksley said that playing on turf for the first time this season contributed to the snapping woes and adjustment problems that put his team down early.
"Our kids have never been on turf," Tanksley said. "When you come over here once every two years and you play on turf, you're not used to it. We skipped the ball off the bat on the first snap to the punter. It slid on the ground a little bit and they ended up scoring right off our punt."
On the ensuing kickoff, Spellman was able to reverse the two-point conversion play and connect with Coman on an onside kick. Spellman lofted the kick just behind the first line of Norton blockers and Coman was able to run down the field and catch the kick.
The Ravens quickly drove down the field following the onside kick, going 34 yards in five plays for another touchdown, putting Ravenna up 15-0 halfway through the first quarter.
"The speed of the game is different," Tanksley said of how the turf affected his team's perspective of Ravenna players. "They're faster than you think they are, than they would be on grass."
The Norton offense struggled all night, only gaining 128 yards on 45 plays. Senior quarterback Colton Costanzo, who left last week's game with a concussion, rebounded well with 116 yards on 6-of-17 passing. Costanzo would have completed more passes, but numerous passes were dropped by the Norton wide receivers.
Sophomore running back Jon Cheatham was the leading rusher for the Panthers with 40 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.
Ravenna sophomore running back Warren Bradley led the way for the Ravens with 99 yards on six carries, while junior running back Demetrius Fear did the heavy lifting, gaining 65 yards on 11 carries.
The Ravens turned the ball over three times, but senior defensive back Kyle Kornbau intercepted two passes to stop Norton drives. Kornbau also added four receptions, 43 yards, and a receiving touchdown on the offensive side of the ball.
Ravenna (6-2, 5-0) will travel to Streetsboro next week as it looks to stay perfect in conference play, while Norton (5-3, 3-2) will host Kent Roosevelt in a game it must win to keep its conference title hopes alive.
Streetsboro and Dorian Williams dominate on ground, run over Norton 14-7
NORTON - With Streetsboro Rockets' senior running back Dorian Williams running for 248 yards on 28 carries in the Rockets' 14-7 victory over the Norton Panthers Friday night, two things should be clear to the rest of the Portage Trail Conference: the Streetsboro offense runs through Williams and there is no defense that can stop him.
Williams accounted for 70% of the Rockets' offensive yards and gave credit to his blockers after the game.
"I think our line does a great job," Williams said. "And our fullback, Brandon Gency, does a great job blocking, as well as our wide receivers. They do a great job. We're small, but like they always say, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."
The game was scoreless until Williams ran the ball 83 yards up the middle for a touchdown with one minute left in the first half. Williams took the snap directly from the quarterback position and easily broke through the Norton defense.
"I feel like it's just more open," Williams said of taking snaps as the quarterback. "I'm able to see more, I don't have to worry about having to grab the ball from a quarterback. It's just in my hands, read, and then go."
That Williams touchdown turned out to be a real momentum-changer for the Rockets, as they really struggled with turnovers in the first half. With just under four minutes left in the first half, Streetsboro attempted a deep pass to try to break the scoreless tie. Senior quarterback Brandon Gency's pass to senior wide receiver John Kelly was short, allowing Norton defensive back Andy Simons to tip the pass.
The tipped pass ended up in the hands of defensive back Brandon Cuda, who held on for the interception. That turnover was the Rockets' third of the first half, following fumbles by Gency and senior wide receiver Devon Burton earlier in the quarter.
Streetsboro head coach John Arlesic was not happy with the turnovers after the game, but he was pleased with how his defense responded.
"We were playing great defense; football's not only offense," Arlesic said. "We were throwing up goose eggs on the scoreboard; if the team don't score, you can't lose. So just because we're not scoring points doesn't mean we're playing bad. The turnovers aren't good, but we're moving the football and we're keeping them out of the end zone."
After stopping Norton to open the second half, Streetsboro marched down the field on their first drive of the second half. The Rockets went 51 yards in six plays to make it 14-0. Williams got 37 of those yards on that drive on three rushes, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
For Norton, Friday night was a game of missed chances. Midway through the first quarter, sophomore kicker Sean Rutherford missed a 32-yard field goal wide right, costing Norton a chance to score first in the game.
Later in the first quarter, Norton nearly got on the board after a fake punt. Senior Colton Costanzo, who is the Panthers' punter in addition to being their quarterback, completed a 24-yard pass to senior Andy Simons on fourth-and-8 to get the Panthers to the Streetsboro 13.
After the fake punt, the Streetsboro defense managed to hold strong and stop Norton's drive on a fourth-and-4 from the 7-yard line, keeping the score tied at 0-0.
Norton head coach John Tanksley thought his team did a good job staying in the game but could not finish when it mattered most.
"We got the turnovers, but we didn't execute," Tanksley said. "We just needed the right play at the right time. We executed real well, we just didn't finish plays when we needed to the first half."
The Panthers struggled offensively for most of the night. Sophomore running back Jon Cheatham was the team's leading rusher, gaining 65 yards on 18 carries, but 50 of those came on one run. Costanzo was only 3-for-10 passing in the first half for 52 yards, but he would have completed more passes if not for the Panthers' problems with drops.
In the second half, Norton turned to Cuda at the quarterback position after Costanzo suffered a concussion. Cuda took some time adjusting to the position, but he managed to lead the Panthers down the field with his legs and his arm with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Cuda ran for 33 yards on three carries and completed two passes for 25 yards, with the drive ending on a 10-yard Cuda touchdown run. The touchdown made the score at 14-7 Streetsboro with 3:32 left in the game.
With only one half as the quarterback, Cuda went 2-for-7 for 25 yards but added 32 yards on nine carries on the ground. Tanksley had nothing but praise for Cuda's offensive and defensive performance.
"Cuda did a great job," Tanksley said. "I think that's his seventh or eighth interception. He just plays hard. He's one of those athletes that one way or another is going to make plays."
Norton may have been able to score more in the second half, but Streetsboro's defense simply overpowered them. The Rockets' blitz resulted in three sacks in the third quarter at the hands of sophomore linebacker Josh Reyes, junior defensive lineman Jacob Armbrecht, and linebacker Gency.
Streetsboro and Norton are now tied with a 5-2 record, though Norton's conference record (3-1) remains ahead of Streetsboro's (2-2). The Rockets will host the Coventry Comets for homecoming next week, while Norton will take to the road to face the Ravenna Ravens.