The Ohio Department of Health reported 4,600 new COVID-19 cases last week, the most since January.
With the Delta variant making its presence felt in every corner of the state, some of those positive cases have, for the second year in a row, trickled down to high school football programs.
Since the 2021 season began on Aug. 20, some teams have been forced to postpone or outright cancel contests due to quarantines. In Northeast Ohio, five were canceled ahead of kickoff on Aug. 27, including Beachwood-John Marshall, Streetsboro-West Geauga and Keystone-Lodi Cloverleaf.
In the West Life coverage area, Brookside’s road trip to non-conference opponent Cuyahoga Heights was canceled hours beforehand due to COVID concerns and will not be made up.
In anticipation of another virus surge, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced after its board of directors meeting on Aug. 26 that it was changing its standards for playoff qualification from the usual eight games down to five.
Traditionally, teams play 10 regular season games, but the OHSAA allowed all participating schools into the playoffs in 2020 amid major schedule changes, which included a condensed regular season.
North Ridgeville 21, Valley Forge 20
Quarterback Jacob Madis’ 4-yard touchdown run forced a 20-all tie with 59 seconds left in regulation, and junior kicker Bella Antonio’s go-ahead extra point led the Rangers to a 21-20 win at home over Valley Forge.
Kaleb Malone halted the Patriots’ final drive with an interception, helping head coach Bryan Morgan to his first victory at the school.
The Rangers (1-1) led 14-6 at halftime, but a Patriots (1-1) score with 6:22 remaining in the fourth quarter tied it. They went on to miss the extra point.
Madis rushed for two touchdowns and threw another to senior co-captain Kosta Thrasivoulou.
North Ridgeville will travel to Byers Field in Parma on Saturday at 7 p.m. to face Normandy (1-1) a 33-14 winner over Cuyahoga Falls.
Medina 34, Avon 17
Host Medina proved too much in the final quarter, ending a 25-game regular season winning streak by the Eagles. Gavin Ehardt led the Eagles with 101 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Avon (1-1) will play its home opener against Glenville (0-2), a 7-6 loser to Olentangy Liberty, on Friday at 7 p.m.
Avon Lake 41, Brecksville-Broadview Heights 14
The Shoremen (2-0) took a 20-0 lead after one quarter and didn’t look back. They went up 35-0 by halftime and increased it to 41-0 before the Bees (0-2) scored twice in the fourth to avoid the shutout.
Shoremen running back Jason Krukowski scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first frame, followed by quarterback Jeremy Dzik’s one-yard sneak. Dzik aided in the rout by throwing touchdown passes to Matthew Stuewe and Isaac Richardson in the second.
Next, they’ll travel to Tiffin Columbian (1-1), a 56-0 winner over Southview.
James Rhodes 30, Westlake 7
Matthew Porcelli reached the end zone on a 47-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but James Rhodes (1-1) spoiled the Demons’ home debut. Westlake (0-2) will travel to Warrensville Heights (1-1) Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Green 43, North Olmsted 14
Visiting Green (2-0) jumped out to a 41-14 halftime lead before coasting to a win over North Olmsted (1-1). Jared Kelley and Eric Wasen scored rushing touchdowns for the Eagles, who piled up 199 yards on the ground.
Green quarterback Trevor Van Horn completed 18-of-29 passes for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns, four of which went to wideout Trey Martin (11 catches, 250 yards).
The Eagles will host Amherst (0-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.
Parma 13, Fairview 8
A 55-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, coupled with a successful 2-point conversion, put the Warriors (0-2) ahead 8-0, but it would prove to be the last time they’d reach the end zone.
Parma (2-0) engineered a scoring drive with 50 seconds left in the half, with Cam Yon’s five-yard touchdown pulling it to 8-7. Yon’s four-yard rushing touchdown with 1:38 left in regulation put the Redmen ahead 13-8. They are 2-0 for the first time since 2010.
Fairview will travel to Lakewood (2-0), which beat Bay 29-10.
Kirtland 47, Lutheran West 0
Defending Division V state champion Kirtland (2-0) upped its ongoing winning streak – the fourth-longest in the country – to 43 games as its high-power offense rolled past the Longhorns (1-1). The visitors jumped out to a 40-0 halftime lead before cruising to the win. The Longhorns will face another 2-0 opponent in Lutheran East, a 56-12 victor over Oberlin, on Friday at 7 p.m.