Shots in the Darke
There’s a lot to cover from the weekend in sports as we await what might be the first “wintry mix” (seems a little early, hopefully the forecasters miss on this one) of the fall. College football entered the meat of league schedules around the country at the FBS level with four major undefeated teams suffering their first losses, a few of which warmed my heart!
TCU knocked off the Cowboys of Oklahoma State in overtime; Utah handled USC (I’m tired of Tommy Trojan and the fight song, reminds me of too many Big Ten defeats over the years in the Rose Bowl!) with a gutsy two-point conversion with seconds remaining to win 43-42; Tennessee outscored ‘Bama (as the Tide rolled out!); and even though it was to the school Up North, Penn State fell 41-17 (for some reason I’m not a Coach James Franklin fan). There’s quite a shakeup in this week’s Top Ten national rankings with Georgia, THE, and Tennessee holding down the top three spots followed by Michigan (there, I said it!) and Clemson.
Baseball playoffs have reached the League Championship Series level (I’m still hoping that Cleveland can knock out the Yankees as this is written!) with Houston taking three in a row from Seattle thanks to an 18th inning home run in a 1-0 win Saturday; the Phillies sending the defending champion Braves home; and the Padres dispatching the Dodgers, owners of a MLB best 111 wins during the regular season. This is the first time in NLCS history that will see two teams who won fewer than 90 games (the Phils and Padres) meet for the right to go to the World Series. Should be an interesting few weeks for even casual baseball fans!
How about a brief postmortem on the Reds season? Following a “fire sale” by management the team compiled only the second 100 loss season in team history (going back to 1869), the first since the forgettable 1982 campaign. The team did establish two records: 66 players suited up including 38 pitchers, an all-time high for the franchise; and the pitching staff set a new MLB high by hitting 109 opposing batters! I won’t even mention the lowest attendance in Great American Ball Park history nor the releasing of five members of the coaching staff (evidently the bullpen coach wasn’t getting the job done!)
Versailles’ football team suffered a tough 35-34 loss to Coldwater in MAC play Friday but will still make the playoffs and have a chance to defend last year’s state title. Ansonia scored late to defeat Preble Shawnee and give themselves a shot of at least a share of a WOAC championship if they defeat arch rival Mississinawa this Friday. Tri-Village continues to impress, shutting out Blanchester 43-0, setting up a huge game at home with National Trail and the possibility of WOAC laurels. It’s been quite the season for the three county schools as they have all been state-ranked throughout the year!
Greenville finishes with Senior Night at Harmon Field, hosting Tipp City Friday. The Red Devils are 7-1 in the MVL Miami division, 8-1 overall and need a win to claim honors over Piqua. In the Valley division, Xenia remains undefeated at 8-0, 9-0 overall and ranked fourth last week in state D-II polls. The Wave, at 2-7, will play for pride as the seniors suit up for a final time; the team has played tough football for 48 minutes a contest and had a good chance to win at least three other games with a play or two here or there. All home games can be viewed by going to YouTube and searching The Wave at GHS.
In other high school news, Preble Shawnee took WOAC volleyball honors with a perfect 11-0 league mark. T-V finished at 8-3, F-M and Arcanum at 7-4, Ansonia and M-V with 6-5 marks, and Bradford at 1-10. Versailles placed third in the MAC with a 6-2 record while Greenville posted an 8-10 finish in the MVL. All teams enter tournament action this week, with the Lady Wave facing Wayne Wednesday at Centerville High School.
Speaking of tournaments, cross country district meets take place this week—all county schools will participate in the different divisions at Cedarville University this Saturday.
Finally, how’s this for a daily double? Ansonia eighth grader Bennett Lehman quarterbacked his Tiger team to a 24-0 halftime lead Saturday morning versus Preble Shawnee in the Camden-Gratis area. He quickly changed into his running gear while being driven to Pleasant Hill by his parents Kyle and Libby, arriving 15 minutes before the WOAC cross country meet. Bennett proceeded to win the league Junior High championship with a two-mile time of 11:36, besting second-place finisher Dash Thacker (what a great name for a runner!) of Arcanum by 11 seconds and the other 48 contestants. Congratulations to Bennett (and his parents for not being picked up for speeding!)!
More next week about high school basketball divisional breakdowns and competitive balance. Stay active and healthy!!