Halfway through.

Kinda hard to believe right? The high school football regular season is roaring past Week 5 faster than a Wyatt Connor touchdown run [We will have more on him momentarily.] New Philadelphia dominates, West Holmes and Dover get back in the win column and a monumental matchup awaits Ridgewood and Indian Valley. Won’t you join us on this wild ride?

As always, our weekly roundup is brought to you by the Pretorius Insurance Agency. 

Nick McWilliams reporting:

Dover 59, Bishop Timon-St. Jude 7

History was made in Crater Stadium Friday night in grand form.

Written into the OHSAA record books for the rest on eternity, the Tornadoes became the ninth-school in state history to account for 700 wins. On top of that, Dover is now the second school ever to earn 700 football wins, 1,400 basketball victories and 1,000 baseball triumphs, along with Steubenville. That’s some elite company.

Quarterback Aiden Hall was near picture-perfect, going 13-for-14 for 286 yards and five touchdowns, most of which came in the first half. Receiver Nathan Ravine was equally as electric, hauling in six passes — four for touchdowns — with 127 yards. Forget about that bad taste in the mouth after a loss last Friday. The Tornadoes are still very much for real.

New Philadelphia 36, Canton Central Catholic 7

The Quaker Train keeps on rolling right along.

Few things have shown New Philadelphia as a team with weaknesses, Sure, there are a few miscues here and there, such as a touchdown allowed right before halftime which got under the skin of coach Matt Dennison. However, this was a dominant showing overall, with the Quakers accounting for 227 yards in the first half and holding the Crusaders to just 87 over the same span.

Side note, senior wide receiver Sam Zemis became New Philadelphia’s all-time receiving leader Friday night, with five more games to go this year. On top of that, quarterback Baron May now has 5,000 yards for his career, notching 269 and four touchdowns Friday. Zemis accounted for 167 and three touchdowns as well In as cliche a form as possible, the Quakers will go as far as they allow themselves, and a Week 6 tilt against a middle-of-the-road Garfield Heights team could be another chance to shine. 

If you need further proof of how on May and Zemis were with each other, reference Exhibit A.

Indian Valley 34, Buckeye Trail 15

A somewhat rocky start did not deter the Braves. 

Buckeye Trail started the night off with a defensive stop and a sustained drive resulting in quarterback Isaac Hickman connecting from 33 yards away with Trey McGlinton. That was essentially the last time the Warriors made much noise until they found the end zone near the end with the game well in hand. Shane Thorton was a blur again, going for 17 carries for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Other than a Cole Lancaster touchdown run, Thorton was the entire offense Friday night for Indian Valley.

Buckeye Trail actually outgained their counterpart 285 to 223. But a key turnover and opportunistic offense were all Matt Lancaster and company needed. Now the real test awaits, against undefeated powerhouse Ridgewood in Week 6. Prepare yourselves Braves fans, Kelly Field might implode.


Garaway 28, East Canton 8

The arm of Garrett Newsome might be the most prized possession in all of Sugarcreek.

Newsome continues to amaze, week-in and week-out. He threw for 374 yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing 64 percent of his passes, throwing one interception. That’s all but 27 of the Pirates’ yards. 

Matthew Mullin had a slow night on the ground but made up for it with six receptions, 145 yards and a score. 

East Canton quarterback Nathan Suntheimer went 10-for-20 passing, only accounting for 58 yards and 60 yards on the ground on 21 carries with a score.  That was far from enough to match Garaway’s intensity. An interesting nugget is the third-down conversion rate of the Pirates, who failed in eight tries to convert. Strange for a team that picked up 20 first downs overall Friday. Next up is Claymont in a week’s time. 

Newcomerstown 34, Strasburg 13

Can we coin the phrase Trojans Rising?

Newcomerstown has all the reasons in the world to smile about their performance this season. A 3-2 record is crazy following 24-straight losses. Strasburg was outgained 323 to 166, with Wyatt Conner gained 220 yards on 21 total touches along with three touchdowns. Both teams earned 11 first downs, but the big-play ability of Conner paired with a tenacious defense gave Newcomerstown the edge. 

The Tigers have hit an impasse with their offense, finding themselves unable to find the end zone in crunch time. Coach Curtis Metzger has playmakers at his disposal that will make a difference again, but it’ll just take time and some adjustments.

Newcomerstown meets Tusky Valley on October 4th, while Strasburg draws a physical Buckeye Trail unit.


Malvern 34, Tusky Valley 24

The sting of the Hornets is harsh.

Tusky Valley has shown the flashes fans hoped for. But stringing those flashes together has been the hardest part. Malvern quarterback Derk Hutchinson played out of his mind, gaining 195 by air and 175 on the ground, paired with five total touchdowns. 

Tanner Phillips just missed 100 yards passing, while Noah Love ate up the yards, grinding out 240 on 32 carries with three touchdowns. But three turnovers make things very difficult for a team to find a way to win.

Limiting mistakes is the key much like any other team, although an overall solid night against a tough Malvern team is a reason to feel optimistic heading into a showdown with Newcomerstown.

Sandy Valley 50, Claymont 13

When you play inspired, you play well.

The Sandy Valley community came into Friday with a heavy heart as Strength Coach Corinne Haney passed after a hard-fought battle with breast cancer.

It was a piece of news that was delivered to the Cardinals hours before kickoff. That’s one of the toughest pills for anyone to swallow, let alone kids 18-and under. But Sandy Valley balled out for their late teacher and coach.

Cameron Blair is a stud around the Tuscarawas Valley, picking up 357 total yards and five touchdowns. It was a much more on-par performance after being shut down against Indian Valley last week. Quarterback Kaden Prusetti had one of his best games to date with 193 yards passing and 74 yards rushing, with a score in each category. Defensively though, the Mustangs floundered, even with two forced turnovers. The narrative all year for Claymont has been growth and grit. That has shown with a team that refuses to quit,  but the Mustangs are still looking for win No. 1, and the road to that victory is still bumpy at best with Garaway up next.

Sandy Valley, meanwhile, has the elite-passing of Tuscarawas Central Catholic next.

Ridgewood 61, TCC 21

The Saints went marching in but had to turn right around when they met the Generals.

All kidding aside, TCC did not play awful by any means. Quarterback Alex Price was under 50 percent completion but still connected on 13 passes with two touchdowns. It was an interesting test for Ridgewood, who has not seen an offense that throws it early and often. The Generals, however, had their own gunslinger in Gabe Tingle, who seems to have made big games a habit with three passing touchdowns and two rushing scores. 

Once again, Ridgewood could trot out their second-team for plenty of playing time. Coach John Slusser wants his team to play a full game, and TCC hung around int he first, before the Generals hung 26 points in the second. For a team that loves to pass, 354 yards on the ground as a unit is, quite frankly, pretty good. 

TCC faces another brutal test against Sandy Valley, while the potential game-of-the-year is next for Ridgewood against Indian Valley.

Still, the Saints have a passing attack that makes plays like this one effortless:

Marlington 28, Carrollton 14

The offense is still a mystery down in Carrollton country.

The Warriors trailed a solid Dukes team 14-6 at halftime and continued to apply pressure, but a late Anthony Sabatino touchdown run by Marlington signaled the end of this one. Carrollton quarterback Austin Colletti connected on some long plays for 136 yards and two touchdowns, but he went just 4-for-17. The Warriors held the ball for 13 minutes, compared to the Dukes 35. Ball control is an issue for a team that depends on its offense to grind out yardage.

Make no mistake, Marlington is a more than capable team that pushed New Philadelphia early on in their tilt. But Carrollton is still searching for answers.

Following a pair of home games, the Warriors now hit the road to take on 0-5 West Branch, which could be the best chance over the next few weeks for coach Jim Tsilimos to earn his first win with Carrollton.

West Holmes 52, Madison Comprehensive 7

The Knights did their best impression of Conquerers Friday.

It’s a feel-good story to round out the Week 5 edition. West Holmes has been toyed with during a span where they lost more than a few key players and struggled to find a rhythm with their new quarterback, sophomore Noah Clark.

They found it against Madison Comprehensive.

Clark just missed 200 yards passing with two scores and an interception, adding a rushing touchdown. But the night belonged to running back Hayden Baker. The senior went for 295 yards on 17 carries for three touchdowns, with three runs over 40 yards. 

The rams were kept in check, accounting for 184 yards on 62 plays. Would you believe it was 17-7 at halftime? Coach Zach Gardner turned up the heat after the break, noting that multiple players were up in the locker room and trying to draw some fire out of their teammates, a welcome sign for Knights fans. West Holmes is back home against Wooster next week. 

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