For football junkies there is no offseason. While the Crestview Renegades and the Penn-Ohio game have helped to curb your appetite, the Junior World Football Championships may be enough to tide you over until the start of NFL training camps and local high school team's passing scrimmages start up.
Wednesday, there are four games on tap in this 19-and-under tournament, with the first one kicking off at 10 a.m. at Canton's Fawcett Stadium. That game matches New Zealand versus Sweden. At 1 p.m., France and Germany will square off, followed by Japan versus Canada at 4 p.m. The United States will take on Mexico at 7 p.m.
Highlighting the United States squad in this tournament are Ohio State recruits Storm Klein and Jack Mewhort. Most of the players on the United States squad have signed with the nation's elite programs. This is a good chance to see them up close and in person before you see them on television.
There is a local flavor to this eight-team tournament as United Local head coach Ed Ridgeway and long-time Columbiana assistant Larry Baughman are helping out behind the scenes.
Baughman, who has been so important to the continued success of the Penn-Ohio game over the years, is serving as the host for the Mexico team, while they are headquartered at Walsh University.
"You can't say enough about the good that Larry does for our local Quad County Coaches Association," said Ridgeway. "Larry is very organized and doesn't let things fall through the cracks. He's a go-getter."
For $10, a pigskin fan can watch football for close to 12 hours, as the last game should end about 10 p.m.
"Fans will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of football they will see from these other countries," said Ridgeway. "It's hard, aggressive football."
The tournament will conclude this weekend with three games on Saturday and the gold medal game on Sunday.
For more information on the tournament, fans can log on to www.jwcfootball.com.
Renegades head coach Corey Stevens was pressed into action Saturday night when the Renegades went on their first road trip of the season. A shortage of linemen, both offensive and defensive, forced the coach into the trenches at both center and defensive tackle as Crestview lost 16-12 to the Cuyahoga Valley Spartans. The Spartans have handed the Renegades their only two defeats of the season as the locals sport a 3-2 mark in the Grassroots Football League.
"We had two linemen who couldn't make it to the game due to work commitments," said Stevens. "Two other linemen got lost and didn't make it to the game. I have been working out on a regular basis, so I was in some kind of shape. However, by the time the game ended, I was pretty tired."
The Beaver Local boys basketball team has been busy this summer under the direction of head coach Jake Walgate. The Beavers recently took part in shootouts at Geneva College and Harrison Central High.
"We're starting to play well together," said Walgate, who will be entering his third year at the Beavers' helm. "Things went really well at Harrison Central. We went 3-1 down there. I was impressed with how well we played together."
Both the varsity the jayvee units took part in the Geneva shootout.
"We're working on things at open gym," said Walgate. "We're keeping busy."
The East Liverpool Potters have been equally busy under the direction of Matt Cashdollar.
"We're very careful about strictly adhering to the 10-day rule in regards to instruction and contact," said the veteran coach. "We had a five-day camp for our older players and then we went up to Pitt for their three-day shootout."
The Potters went looking for competition and they found it, according to the Potter coach. "Among the teams we played were Lower Merion (Kobe Bryant's high school in Philadelphia) and Northern from Maryland. As big as that Northern team was, they must have gone all over northern Maryland to find them," said Cashdollar with a laugh. "But, that's what we wanted: competition."
The Potters were slated to go to a two-day shootout at Wheeling Jesuit, but it was canceled. Cashdollar quickly lined up a scrimmage with Carrollton and also signed the Potters up for a one-day shootout at Muskingum.
"We did really well at Muskingum," said Cashdollar. "We got tired toward the end, but I thought we played well."
While the basketball instructional part of the summer is over for the Potters, Cashdollar is helping the Rebound Club with their fundraising efforts.
"We have a hot dog sale scheduled for in July and I have scheduled a bus trip to New York City to help raise money for the program. The Rebound Club does so much for our kids, that I feel that I should try to help them."