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Big games, big gambles, big surprises on the gridiron

By izzy Published: October 11, 2009

What a week that was and what a game coming up. As you read my thoughts, remember this - to reach the football playoffs, eight teams in each of the four regions in each division get their ticket punched. The top four teams host first round home games.,

Let's go:

Roll 7, please!

I have beeen watching high school sports longer than some of my colleagues have been alive. So when I tell you that Ravenna coach Jim Lunerdi took one of the biggest gambles I've ever seen in defeating bitter rival Kent Roosevelt, 29-28 in overtime, I believe that is a big statement.

Here was the situation - Kent had just scored the go ahead touchdown in the OT to go ahead 28-21. Ravenna quarterback Zach Thomas, who wears No. 7, then counters with a 6-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 28-27. Conventional wisdom is to kick to the extra point and play another overtime.

Instead, the Ravens come out from a time-out and Lunerdi, convinced by his assistant coaches, go for the 2-point conversion. Thomas barely falls over the goal-line and Ravenna wins 29-28.

What was on the line? The Ravens came in 3-0 in the Metro Division of the Portage Trail Conference and Kent was 2-1, and both teams desperately needed playoff points. Ravenna and Kent now are 13th and 14th in Division II, Region 5 and now must win out for a hope of getting to the post season in this brutal division, one of the best in the state.

Surprising Spartans

Springfield's 5-2 season now becomes the focus for both Ravenna and Kent. Kent hosts the Spartans this week, which is No. 12 in Division III, Region 13. so the winner's chances of the post season improves.

Two of Ravenna's last three games are against the Spartans and Field, which is 6-1 and also 4-0 in the division and No. 4 in Division III, Region 9. The  Falcons have already defeated the Rough Riders, so the Oct. 23 game at Ravenna could be for both the division and a playoff berth.

The big game

As each week as passed, it became apparent that Week 8 would gives football fans a big game in the River Division of the Northeast Ohio Conference. As  Twinsburg plays at Hudson Friday night, the stakes could not be bigger.

Face it - in an otherwise weak division, the winner will bring home the division crown. The winner also grabs a huge number of critical playoff points, which neither can get in the remaining two weeks of the schedule. It appears Twinsburg is the No. 4 team in Division I, Region 5, Hudson is No. 8. The Explorers obviously need this game more.

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