Bizarre prep football year made it fun

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The postseason is here and so are the awards. All that means is another high school football season is in the books.

And what a bizarre season it was.

Injuries played a big part in the success of a lot of teams. South Point had three or more starters out each week for most of the season. Rock Hill lost its number one threat Josh Moore for four weeks and the Redmen, not so coincidently, went into a tailspin.

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Ironton had an unusual amount of ankle injuries, but there might have been a bad omen to tip off the Fighting Tigers. Offensive line coach Joe Rowe was the first victim when he suffered a broken ankle in the preseason.

Another area that affects all games is turnovers. In the NFL, 97 percent of the time, a team that wins the turnover stat usually wins the game.

That is true at most levels including high school.

The biggest example is the South Point-Coal Grove game. The Hornets had nearly 100 more yards of total offense but lost 41-15 to South Point due to 11 turnovers.

Playoff shortage

For the first time since the playoffs expanded to eight teams in 1999, only one team from Lawrence County made the playoffs and no teams from Scioto County.

Ironton, 6-4 in the regular season, qualified in Region 15 of Division IV for their 25th postseason appearance, second most behind Newark Catholic.

Young guns

The Ohio Valley Conference was full of young players who could make for a competitive future.

There were three freshmen who made an impact.

Coal Grove got big production from Frank Delawder down the stretch, Fairland Matt Bloomfield had big-play capabilities, and South Point’s Todd Mayo ended as his team’s leading rusher.

Fairland was loaded with young players. Quarterback Cole Hatfield led the area in passing yards and his two favorite targets were sophomores Jake Lucas and Michael Lamb.

Chesapeake also had some young players led by quarterback Aaron Donohoe.

And, Symmes Valley is in the same situation. The Vikings should return almost their entire starting lineup and they will still be just sophomores and juniors.

A lot of sophomores will probably be forced to fill holes in starting lineups next season.

Looking ahead

With young players in mind, a look toward next season gets fans excited all over again.

Ironton loses a lot of seniors and it will be a rebuilding year. Only a handful of part-time starters return.

Chesapeake, Coal Grove and Fairland may be the frontrunners in the OVC, but young talent at Rock Hill and South Point could make for a league race that is even more competitive next season than the one just completed.

Can we fast-forward to August?

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.