Game of the week: Mayfield at Kenston
7 p.m. Friday
With a share of the Western Reserve Conference title and a home playoff game on the line, Division III AP No. 7-ranked Kenston (8-1, 5-1) will host Division II AP No. 7-ranked Mayfield (9-0, 6-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in Bainbridge.
The host Bombers are coming off a 28-0 victory against Riverside (4-5, 3-3) in a game their defense allowed just 136 yards and eight first downs behind a pair of sacks each from senior linemen Tim Matty and Max Czech and 12 tackles from senior linebacker Logan Vargo.
Offensively, Kenston senior quarterback Jon Tomcufcik was zeroed in on 17-of-22 passing for 204 yards to four receivers – including six completions to sophomore JP Germano – yet it was only his fifth-best passing efficiency night of the 2019 seasons.
Mayfield, under fourth-year head coach Ross Bandiera, who owns a 24-17 record at the helm, needed an overtime to beat Riverside, 20-17, in week eight, before the Wildcats got back to business with 35-0 victory against Eastlake North (2-6, 1-5) last week.
Offensively, Mayfield had 161 yards rushing against North, with Wildcat 210-pound senior running back Joe Suchy as the lead carrier with 10 carries for 71 yards.
Meanwhile, Mayfield 5-foot-10 junior quarterback Michael Huss was 13-of-19 passing for 205 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Five of his completions went to 5-foot-9 senior receiver Ben Sherlock for 68 yards.
Defensively, Mayfield held North to 103 yards rushing and 39 yards passing, twice picking off Ranger junior quarterback Chris Molica.
It was Mayfield’s first shutout of the season, but the Wildcats are surrendering just 8.3 points per game in WRC play this year.
In 26 gridiron meetings between Kenston and Mayfield, the Wildcats own a 14-12 series advantage. But the Bombers were 42-28 victors in 2018.
TONY’S TAKE: Kenston wins, 22-21.
Solon at Elyria
The Solon gridders (7-2, 5-1) already have a postseason berth clinched but will have the possibility of a home playoff game on the line when they travel to take on league foe Elyria (1-8, 0-6) at 7 p.m. Friday at Ely Stadium.
Solon enters the game seeded No. 5 in the Division I, Region 1 computer rankings and could secure a first-round matchup against AP No. 10-ranked Canton McKinley (8-1) – a repeat of last year – but it’s too close to tell which team would host. Should McKinley upset Division II AP No. 1-ranked rival Massillon (9-0) on Friday, then the Comets would likely be on the road against Euclid in a playoff opener.
But none of that matters if Solon doesn’t take care of business against Elyria. The Comets haven’t won a week-10 game since 2016.
Solon is coming off a 33-22 win against Strongsville (5-4, 2-4) with a run defense that held Mustang star running back Garrett Clark to just 26 yards rushing in the second half to help close out the victory. Solon 205-pound senior linebacker RJ Howard landed 22 tackles.
Comet 205-pound junior running back Khalil Eichelberger, meanwhile, had himself a feast with 19 carries for 178 yards and a touchdown, as well as two catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Elyria, under first-year head coach Devlin Culliver, is coming off a 38-13 loss against Brunswick (6-3, 3-3) in a game the Pioneers trailed, 24-13, to open the fourth quarter. But Elyria’s defense couldn’t get off the field for the majority of the night, surrendering 401 yards to Brunswick, including 254 rushing.
Offensively, 185-pound junior Jaheim Atkinson led Elyria with 25 carries for 98 yards, while 6-foot-2 junior quarterback Daylan Sharlow scored on a 12-yard keeper and tossed a 15-yard touchdown to 5-foot-7 sophomore receiver Andrew Palos.
Solon owns an undefeated 6-0 mark against Elyria, including a 44-21 victory last year.
TONY’S TAKE: Solon wins 45-20.
Geneva at Chagrin Falls
The Chagrin Falls gridders (5-4, 4-2) will host the Division III Geneva Eagles (7-2, 5-1) in a Chagrin Valley Conference season finale at 7 p.m. Friday at C.S. Harris Stadium.
While the host Tigers’ playoff hopes were severely dampened in a 27-16 loss against West Geauga (5-4, 5-1) last week, they enter this week in the No. 11 spot of the Division IV, Region 13 computer rankings with an outside chance of a playoff berth with a win over Geneva.
If Girard (6-3) loses to Niles McKinley (6-3) or Struthers (6-3) loses to Poland Seminary (7-2), as well as a West G loss to undefeated Perry, Chagrin Falls would likely punch a playoff berth with a win against Geneva – still a tall order.
In Chagrin’s loss to West Geauga, the Tigers owned a 16-0 lead late in the third quarter, thanks to a razzle-dazzle touchdown toss by senior receiver Will Richmond to junior receiver Xavier Perez and a fumble recovery by Richmond that set up senior running back Will O’Brien’s 24-yard touchdown in the first half.
But the Tigers let two interceptions and too many explosive plays by West Geauga come back to bite them in the second half.
Geneva, under fifth-year head coach Chip Sorber, who owns a 19-29 record at the helm, had its first playoff hopes since 1989 squashed during a 36-7 loss against Division IV AP No. 3-ranked Perry (9-0, 6-0) last week. The Eagles are mathematically eliminated from the postseason among the brutal talent in Region 9. They are just one of two 7-2 programs in the state of Ohio already eliminated.
In Geneva’s loss to Perry, the Eagles gained 193 yards rushing, mostly by way of 190-pound senior halfback Blake Peet’s 16 carries for 65 yards and 240-pound junior fullback Charlie Taylor’s 14 carries for 98 yards. But Geneva struggled in its pass game, with 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior quarterback Ben Scibona going two-of-10 for 13 yards with two interceptions.
Defensively, Geneva surrendered 327 yards, 210 of which came by air.
In 2018, Geneva defeated Chagrin, 48-33.
TONY’S TAKE: Geneva wins, 35-20.
Perry at West Geauga
A share of the Chagrin Valley Conference title, as well as a playoff berth, will be on the line for the West Geauga gridders (5-4, 5-1) when they host Division IV AP No. 3-ranked Perry (9-0, 6-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Howell Field.
In the No. 9 spot of the Division IV, Region 13 computer rankings, the host Wolverines would likely clinch their first postseason berth since 2015 with an upset of Perry. The Pirates own the top spot in the region and already secured a home game in the first round.
The Wolverines are coming off a 27-16 rivalry win against Chagrin Falls in a game they trailed, 16-0, with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter.
But a pair of long touchdown runs by junior Peter Sanelli, a 53-yard pick-six by senior Levi Veverka, a 30-yard touchdown toss from senior Riley Huge to sophomore Michael Cavasinni and a fourth-and-1 stuffing by senior lineman Tyler Moriarty opened the door for a comeback the West G faithful won’t soon forget.
Perry, under 13th-year head coach Matt Rosati, who owns a 103-41 record at the helm, is coming off a 36-7 drubbing of Geneva (7-2, 5-1) in a game the Pirates owned a 29-0 lead at the half, mostly by way of three touchdowns by 6-foot-3 receiver Devon Holbert, including a 49-yard reception, a 65-yard fumble return and a 2-yard rush.
Defensively, Perry held Geneva to 37 yards passing with a pair of picks.
In 2018, Perry beat West Geauga, 56-21.
TONY’S TAKE: Perry wins, 42-20.
Harvey at Orange
The Orange gridders (3-6, 2-4) will conclude their 2019 campaign at home against the Division III Harvey Red Raiders (1-8, 0-6) in Chagrin Valley Conference play at 7 p.m. Friday at Lewis Black Stadium in Pepper Pike.
The host Lions are coming off a 36-6 victory against Lakeside (1-8, 1-5) in a game junior quarterback Zak Basharat tossed 152 yards, including four completions to senior Tre’von Davis for 102 yards with two touchdowns.
Defensively, senior Brian Pernell shined with a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
Harvey, under third-year head coach Dan Cvelbar, who owns a 4-25 record at the helm, is coming off a 32-26 loss against Edgewood (3-6, 1-5).
Harvey’s main offensive threat is 220-pound senior running back Gil Hammond.
Defensively, the Raiders haven’t had much luck stropping the run this year, or any sort of offense for that matter – Harvey is giving up 40.7 points per game.
In 2018, Orange beat Harvey, 61-26.
TONY’S TAKE: Orange wins, 49-14.
East Technical at University School
University School (5-4) will wrap up its 2019 campaign with a home affair against the Division III Cleveland East Technical Scarabs (1-8) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Scovil Field.
The host Preppers are coming off a 30-14 loss against Youngstown East (4-5) that ended any sort of playoff hopes. University surrendered just 148 yards in that game, but four interceptions, one of which went for a 38-yard score, and an 84-yard kickoff return to the house was too much to overcome.
East Tech is coming off a 28-0 loss against Cleveland Rhodes (4-5) in the Scarabs’ third shutout defeat of the season.
East Tech’s main threat is 5-foot-11, 175-pound sophomore running back and special-teams returner Jordon Huff.
The Scarabs’ lone win came by way of a 42-12 thumping of Lincoln West (0-8) in week eight. Before that, the Scarabs had put up no more than 12 points in any given game.
University and East Tech are new opponents this year.
TONY’S TAKE: University wins, 56-13
Hawken at Beachwood
Hawken School (3-6, 1-4) will conclude its 2019 campaign on the road against the Division V Beachwood Bison (7-2, 4-1) in Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division play at 7 p.m. Friday at McCullough Field.
The visiting Hawks are coming off a 45-0 loss against Division V AP No. 1-ranked Kirtland (9-0, 5-0), but Beachwood didn’t have much luck against Kirtland either, losing a 49-14 affair against the Hornets the previous week.
Beachwood, under fifth-year head coach Damion Creel, who owns a 19-30 record at the helm, is coming off a 43-13 victory against Berkshire in a game that the Bison sprinted out to a 26-7 lead at the quarter mark.
Offensively, Beachwood gained 349 yards rushing, mainly behind 190-pound junior running back Dewann Gray’s 11 carries for 133 yards and 180-pound senior Latraize Walker’s six carries for 85 yards.
Defensively, Beachwood held Berkshire standout senior running back Ryan Pennypacker to 19 carries for 55 yards. Pennypacker had 248 yards rushing against Hawken.
In 2018, Beachwood beat Hawken, 52-14.
TONY’S TAKE: Beachwood wins, 49-14.
Gilmour Academy at Lutheran East
In just a five-day turnaround, Gilmour Academy (4-5) will conclude its 2019 season on the road against the Division V Lutheran East Falcons (6-2) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Euclid High School.
The visiting Lancers are coming off a 23-14 loss against Villa Angela-St. Joseph (6-3) on Saturday afternoon, in a game that Gilmour senior Connor Krebs scored on a 45-yard touchdown toss from junior quarterback Michael Snelling to cut their deficit, 16-14, with 5:43 to go in the third quarter.
Lutheran East, under fifth-year head coach Adam Bickel, who owns a 28-19 record at the helm, is coming off what was originally ruled a win by forfeit against Vienna Mathews but was later ruled a no contest by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
In the No. 8 spot of the Region 18 computer rankings, Lutheran East is chasing its first playoff berth since 2001.
A couple marquee victories for the Falcons this season include a 22-20 triple-overtime win against Youngstown East (4-5) in week five and a 26-21 triumph against VASJ in week seven.
In Lutheran East’s win against VASJ, the Falcons forced four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions collected by junior defensive back Thomas Pondexter.
Offensively, Lutheran East is motored by the run game of 170-pound senior TJ Blevins and 195-pound senior running back Andre Parker.
In 2018, Gilmour defeated Lutheran East, 35-12.
TONY’S TAKE: Lutheran East wins, 28-20.