- High School
From Week Eight
Week Eight is great. Don't let anyone fool you. Many people believe that the ninth -- and final -- week of the regular season is the best. Their argument holds some weight..
* Sure, it's typically a rivalry week.
* Sure, it's typically a week that determines who jumps aboard the Highway to Heinz and who is on the outside looking in.
* Sure, it is the week that determines pivotal playoff seeding and home field advantage.
* Sure, it's usually the week where your conference champion is crowned.
Yes, these are all great arguments why Week Nine is great and perhaps the best week of the high school football season.
However, my personal favorite week of the season is Week Eight? Why? Well, without Week Eight, there simply would be no Week Nine. Week Eight is the table-setter. Week Eight is the point guard who dishes the ball out and sets up your shooting guard for the game-winning shot. Week Eight is the Wild Card, the Monkey Wrench, if you will.
I love crazy scenarios. I love on-field drama. I love high stakes and pressure-packed games where every play matters. Yes, those things exist in Week Nine. But, Week Eight makes all of this possible. In some, way, shape or form, almost ALL teams are directly or INDIRECTLY affected by what happens in Week Eight whether it's good or bad. It seems to be the upset-special week. It brings team from the brink of elimination to the brink of a home playoff game.
Week Eight is the week that makes that math teacher from New Castle -- Gardner, I think his name is -- so relevant...and prevalent.
So are you with me now? If not, I'll provide you with more examples -- The Great Week Eight, Plays of the Week.
Ellwood City: 31
Beaver Falls: 28
What a year it's been for the Wolverines. A tremendous resurgence has created a log jam in the MAC. Ellwood City fell down to the Tigers early and trailed 14-9 at the half. This happened despite EC scoring first. However, 22 third quarter points -- and three Kyle Crawford touchdowns - proved to be what Ellwood City needed to improve their record n the MAC to 5-2, which ties them with Beaver Falls.
IT'LL TAKE A CENTURY TO FIGURE OUT...
Keystone Oaks: 35
Quaker Valley: 18
Steel Valley: 14
Everyone is beating everyone in the AA-Century Conference this year. While it's top-heavy with the Seton-LaSalle Rebels and Washington Little Prexies as your top clubs, the rest of the conference, well -- good luck. Quaker Valley threw a bit of a wrench into things with an unexpected win over the Steel Valley Ironmen, while Keystone Oaks continued their Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde type play rebounding from a tough loss the previous week to take down Burgettstown.
Seneca Valley: 21
North Hills: 14
The year of the Raiders continues, while the year of the Indians is, well, over. Hard to imagine that North Hills won't be playing a meaningful Week Nine game, but, for the first time since the Clinton administration, the Indians won't be on "The Highway." If there's any bitter feelings to be had, North Hills will more than likely have them towards SV's David Hall. His 19-yard touchdown run was the season-killer. It broke a 14-14 tie in the fourth quarter and sent the Raiders cruising to a 6-2, 3-2 mark, while North Hills went to 2-3 in the conference.
DEVOUT PASSING ATTACK:
North Catholic: 27
North Catholic was able to throw a monkey wrench into the playoff scenario in the Class-A Eastern Conference thanks to the arm of Jon Girvan. He was able to lead the Trojans to a dramatic one-point win thanks to 13 fourth quarter points along with a 325-yard passing effort where he was responsible for delivering all (four) of North Catholic's scoring plays to the end zone. Because of this epic performance, Northgate and NC are tied for the fourth playoff spot, setting up a wild Week Nine for both teams.