Monday, July 16, 2018 Medina 75°
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High School Football

Rick Noland: Football, football, football

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This is one of my favorite (work) nights of the year, so let's Rick-o-chet around Medina County sports, high school football style:

My crystal ball shows four county teams - Buckeye, Highland, Black River and Wadsworth - qualifying for the playoffs. ...

The Bucks have the best shot at going undefeated in the regular season and, if they get a good first-round draw, could win the first postseason game in program history. ...

Speaking of the postseason, the Ohio High School Athletic Association made a very wise move: Until the state finals, all playoff games, regardless of division, will be played on Friday. ...

Mark this down: Cloverleaf, which has lost 37 of its last 38 games, is going to win at least twice - and maybe more - this season. ...

The Colts will also get their first league win in a long, long time. To learn exactly how long it's been, see the "By the Numbers" information on Cloverleaf's team preview page located in our (outstanding, if I say so myself) "2017 Gazette Football Preview" section in today's paper. ...

That Cloverleaf stat, by the way, was dug up by old-school coworker Albert Grindle, who either has the greatest memory ever when it comes to local sports history or just makes stuff up and hopes no one calls him on it. ...

I'm putting the over-under at three games when it comes to the first time endearing, quote-machine Black River coach Al Young uses the phrase "that was probably without a doubt." ...

I generally stink at predictions (and transitions), but it's not exactly going out on a limb to say the Pirates will lead the county in rushing (and special teams adventures) this season. ...

Equally safe prediction: Among Gazette reporters covering games, I will be a runaway winner when it comes to most (free) food consumed in the press box. ...

By the way, each year the trek to those press boxes gets a little more difficult (and takes a little longer), especially at Brunswick Auto Mart Stadium, where I have an even bigger appetite once I (finally) get there (slightly winded). ...

Sobering, how-time-flies fact: Virtually all the players I covered in my first football season at this paper (1984) are now in their 50s. ...

From the Kids (Still) Say the Darnedest Things Department: A young man whose team was scrimmaging at Cloverleaf, which has FieldTurf, came to the sideline with a gleam in his eye and excitedly told his head coach, "That's the best-cut grass I've ever seen." ...

If you're looking for someone capable of making a scintillating play, keep an eye on Wadsworth's Joey Baughman, Buckeye's Justin Canedy, Medina's Dylan Fultz and Brunswick's Cole Zamiska. ...

My apologies in advance to any Highland players I may misidentify this season. My (aging) eyes aren't the greatest to begin with, and dark green numbers on black jerseys don't exactly make it easier. ...

The task of correctly identifying Hornets players is compounded by the fact they have an abundance of them at the skill positions. ...

I'm not always the only one who doesn't immediately know who did what, which leads to this memo to the (fantastic) public address announcers at Medina and Highland: The phrase "tackled by a swarm of Bees (or Hornets)" has run its course. ...

So, too, has this Rick-o-chet installment. It's time to get ready for the opening kickoff.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.



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