Local teams ready for Week 10


No more high school football.

Terrible words for any fan, for sure. But that will be the reality facing many around Champaign County next Friday.

The final week of the regular season is upon us, and only Mechanicsburg has officially secured a spot in the postseason.

Urbana (1-8) will host Graham (2-7) Friday night with nothing on the line except bragging rights. The rivalry has fallen off in recent years in terms of competitiveness, but not intensity. These two teams still love to beat one another, even if they’re now in different divisions of the CBC.

“The geography hasn’t changed. We’re still 10 minutes apart down (Route) 36,” Graham Coach A.J. Woods said. “Coming off a win helps. The kids are focused and this is our season. This is our favorite time of the year – rivalry week. Just looking for a win.”

Woods knows that the Hillclimbers’ record doesn’t reflect what a competitive team Urbana has, with UHS having lost a handful of close matchups including last week’s OT setback to Shawnee.

“They’re very physical. They’re hard hitters,” Woods said. “Both teams are going to go for it. We have to be able to answer that.”

At West Liberty-Salem (5-4), the Tigers are trying to claw their way into the playoffs with a win Friday night at Catholic Central (6-3). WL-S is currently in 13th place in the standings in Division VI, Region 24, with the top eight teams making the playoffs. The Tigers need a win Friday night and some help to secure a possible berth.

“We have talked about it in the sense that it’s a possibility, but it’s not something that we’re using to play harder or put in extra time. We’re going to do that anyway,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said.

The Irish have been a bit of a surprise this season, taking care of business with the few players they have.

“Two things stand out. The first thing is that the kids that have been taking their lumps are juniors or seniors now,” McGill said. “They might still be small in numbers, but they’ve got some good players. And Catholic Central continues to be one of the best-coached teams on our schedule.”

That coaching talent will keep McGill guessing and force him to be on top of his game plan.

At Triad (1-8), the Cardinals will be trying to salvage a bit of pride at Northeastern (4-5) Friday night. The Red Birds laid a goose egg in the win column at home this season, but a season-ending win at NE would go a long way toward cheering up the community in the offseason.

At Mechanicsburg (9-0), the train rolls on through Southeastern this week. The Trojans (3-6) are all that stands between Mechanicsburg and back-to-back perfect regular seasons.

M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest isn’t focused solely on this week. He wants something more concrete.

“The biggest goal that we want to accomplish this week is getting better fundamentally,” he said. “We have the physicality to beat anybody in our division and I believe we have the talent to beat anybody in our division.”

He explained that fundamental perfection combined with talent and physical mentality leads to championship caliber football.

“When you want to win the biggest games, you have to focus on the smallest of details,” he said.

The Indians have already secured a home game in the first round of the playoffs in Division VI, Region 24, with the team currently in second place in the region behind Marion Local.

“With a win this week, we will be no worse than third,” Forrest said.

There’s more.

The seniors would be the winningest class in school history with a victory.

“There’s a lot that could be accomplished this week,” Forrest said. Then, with a smile, he unveiled the biggest news of all.

After months of prayers, dedication, therapy, training and all the other hard work that goes into it, John Samples might again don the uniform and make an appearance for the Indians. He wouldn’t be tracking down ball carriers, though. He seems to have found a new potential role: kicking extra points for the Indians.

“That just goes back to the way John is,” Forrest said. “He’s the definition of a fighter and he worked his butt off to come back and contribute to his team in whatever way he could.”

Mechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero (pictured) has the Indians flying high heading into the postseason. The Indians have already secured a home game in the playoffs.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2016/10/web1_RomeroBRENDAFILE.jpgMechanicsburg’s Kaleb Romero (pictured) has the Indians flying high heading into the postseason. The Indians have already secured a home game in the playoffs.

By Justin Miller

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Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.

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