Brock Netter, Staff Writer
In a way, I have to thank Governor Mike DeWine. Despite his tugging on our heart strings and toying with our emotions all summer, he allowed fall sports to happen.
And rightfully so.
Otherwise, we wouldn’t have witnessed one of the craziest opening weeks in recent memory.
Despite heavy rain and lightning delays across Southern Ohio, many games were still played on Friday night, with a select few opting to Saturday.
Along that line, major credit goes to Oak Hill for making a three-hour bus ride to St. Clairsville, followed by a four-hour delay, before finishing the game at 1:18 in the morning. Though the Oaks suffered a loss, they were determined to play no matter how long the wait was and stayed ready for the moment.
We’re introducing a new column this season that we believe you’ll enjoy, and one that creates a little more conversation as well.
Welcome to SOSA’s Power Rankings:
1. Jackson (1-0)
Although it was just one game, any and all questions about Jackson can officially be put to bed. The Ironmen are still as good as they were last season, and as they have been in the other 11 years under Andy Hall … maybe even better. Jacob Winters was as good as advertised, throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for two more scores. Also, Tristan Prater continued to be a wide receiver highlight. Did you see that catch? Pure concentration and instincts.
2. Waverly (1-0)
Knowing how good they could be, the Tigers challenged themselves and showed how gritty they really are. Down 35-23 with five minutes left in the fourth, Haydn’ Shanks threw from 276 yards and two touchdowns, and scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, the final one capped by a kick from Ben Flanders for the win with just over 10 seconds left. Grit. Determination. Resilience. Heart. All those words sum up this Waverly team.
3. Wheelersburg (1-0)
Despite some unknowns surrounding Wheelersburg, the Pirates wasted no time showing that … well … they’re still Wheelersburg. The defense came ready to play, pitching a shutout against Chillicothe and holding the Cavaliers to just 120 total offensive yards. Meanwhile, on the offensive side, Jake Gregg did whatever he wanted, finishing with 193 passing yards and three touchdowns. The train rolls right along.
4. Adena (1-0)
At the current moment, Adena possesses the top scoring offense in the coverage area after putting up a 50-piece on Paint Valley. Making an early Player of the Year case, Preston Sykes was a one-man wrecking crew, tallying up 117 passing yards, 160 rushing yards and six total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing, and a 43-yard interception return). It’s possible the Warriors have more firepower than imagined. Good luck, SVC.
5. Unioto (1-0)
47 yards at the buzzer. You couldn’t have written a better script for Matt Hoops’ first win as Unioto’s head football coach. Dynamic offense, a defense that came up with a big stop in crunch time and one big-time play. Aside from showing off the arm, Isaac Little carried running duties to the tune of 184 yards and three touchdowns. First play, final play, it doesn’t matter how the win came, it’s still a win.
6. Minford (1-0)
The Falcons lost a lot of talent from last season, but still have Elijah Vogelsong and Matthew Risner, which was enough on Friday. The senior quarterback-receiver duo hooked up 10 times for 243 yards and all four touchdowns in the team’s one-point victory over Washington. In total, Vogelsong threw for 326 yards. Similar numbers will need to be posted if the Falcons plan to take down Wheelersburg in Week 2.
7. Valley (1-0)
If this was a normal 10-game season, Valley quite possibly could have won seven games. It has talent across the board, beginning with quarterback Andrew Andronis. He threw for 119 yards and ran for 94 more, totaling two touchdowns in last week’s 28-6 win over Northwest. Running back George Arnett ran for 104 yards and a score while receiver Ty Perkins had 88 yards and a score. This team is coming right along.
8. Westfall (1-0)
This team is more than just quarterback Marcus Whaley, but he was all they needed on Saturday. He scored three rushing touchdowns to lead the Mustangs. However, let’s shine a light on the Mustangs’ defense, pitching just their third shutout in the last 11 seasons (2009 vs. Huntington, 2018 vs. Circleville). It has a chance to do so again next week against Zane Trace.
9. Piketon (0-1)
Heartbreak City. There’s something about Unioto in the final seconds against Piketon that the Redstreaks just can’t solve … see 2016 for reference. But even in a loss, the Redstreaks still showed how much talent they have. Levi Gullion threw for 312 yards, ran for 83 more and totaled six touchdowns (three passing and three rushing). He threw touchdowns to three different receivers. They still have a chance to claim a share of the SVC, but will have to run the table.
10. Washington (0-1)
The Blue Lions trailed 20-7 at halftime, and made a furious rally only to come up short. They didn’t rely much on the passing game, but gashed Minford for over 400 yards of total offense, 300 of which came on the ground. This is a talented team with a multitude of weapons in its arsenal. Expect those weapons to be on full display against Chillicothe.