WTAM 1100 ranks the top high school football teams in Northeast Ohio regardless of division. Be sure to check back throughout the week for our projections for the “Games of the Week” and also various features and game stories from the newest member of our team; award winning author and sportswriter David Lee Morgan Jr.
1. St. Edward Eagles: The Eagles were idle last week but still stay atop the WTAM Power 11 Rankings for the eighth-straight week. Head coach Rick Finotti’s squad has outscored their opponents on a very difficult schedule 297-60 so far and this team only seems to be getting better week after week. If St. Edward does not end up with the top overall seed in the brand new looking Division I Region I, they should still earn a first round home game at Lakewood Stadium. The question now is: Can the Eagles finish the 2013 regular season unbeaten? Upcoming match ups with longtime rival No. 9 St. Ignatius, as well as perennial powerhouses Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller and Eastern Christian Academy (MD) could still prevent that from happening. Week 8 vs. #9 St. Ignatius 10/19.
2. St. Vincent – St. Mary Fighting Irish: It should come as no surprise that head coach Dan Boarman’s squad is still undefeated and that they now sit atop the unofficial OHSAA computer point standings in Division III Region VII. The Fighting Irish throttled Dayton Thurgood Marshall on Saturday 41-12 in a game not even as close as that lopsided final score might indicate. Right now it’s safe to say that St. Vincent – St. Mary is the favorite to take home the Division III state title and it might not be that far-fetched to think that this team would be able to challenge teams in Division I eyeing a state championship crown in the big school division. Week 8 vs. Barberton 10/18.
3. Avon Eagles: Head coach Mike Elder’s squad did three things this past week: they throttled North Ridgeville on Friday night 31-7, they stayed locked in at No. 3 in the WTAM Power 11 Rankings, but most importantly they shifted up atop the unofficial OHSAA computer point standings in Division II Region IV. If the OHSAA Playoffs started today the Eagles would own the top overall seed but their first round home game would be against perennial Ohio powerhouse Massillon Washington…that can obviously change with three weeks to go. An easy regular season schedule the rest of the way should set Avon up for a deep run through the postseason. The Eagles have continually improved week after week on both sides of the football. Week 8 vs. Rocky River 10/18.
4. Hudson Explorers: The Explorers are back atop the unofficial OHSAA computer point standings in the new-looking Division I Region I and they probably should be. While top-ranked St. Edward had the week off, head coach Ron Wright’s squad embarrassed Solon 42-14 notching another impressive victory in their undefeated 2013 season. Hudson is led by junior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni, a talented group of playmakers and big boys in the trenches and they only seem to get better with each passing week. In two weeks the Explorers travel to No. 6 Mentor to battle the Cardinals which should provide us not only with a nice measuring stick to see just how good this team is, but also loads of OHSAA computer points for the winner. Week 8 vs. Strongsville 10/18.
5. Glenville Tarblooders: The Tarblooders continued to roll through their easy Senate Athletic League schedule on Saturday afternoon dismantling Cleveland John Marshall 56-0, while also staying atop the unofficial OHSAA computer point standings in Division II Region III. Glenville should roll through the rest of their regular season schedule quite easily and host a first round home playoff game when the postseason begins. Similar to No. 3 Avon, the Tarblooders final three regular season games are pretty easy which should allow them to prepare for a deep postseason run. As long as Glenville does not beat themselves with penalties and mental mistakes, they could very well be the favorite to take home the state title in Division II this season. This is certainly a Division I-type team playing in a smaller-type school division. Week 8 vs. Collinwood 10/18.
6. Mentor Cardinals: We won’t claim to be Nostradamus just yet…but after Mentor’s Week 2 loss to St. Ignatius we did predict that head coach Steve Trivisonno’s squad would only get better and they certainly have. The Cardinals throttled Brunswick 45-3 on Friday night at Jerome T. Osborne Sr. Stadium racking up loads of OHSAA computer points in Division I Region I and improving to 6-1 on the season. If the OHSAA Playoffs began today the Cardinals would host a first round home game and they can continue to climb those computer point rankings with upcoming games (potential wins) with Solon, No. 4 Hudson and Strongsville. Defensively Mentor has only gotten better week after week and with playmakers like Conner Krizancic, Brandon Fritts and Eddie Daugherty on the offensive side of the football people are starting to understand why this seemingly-forgotten team can make a very deep run through the playoffs. Week 8 vs. Solon 10/18.
7. Nordonia Knights: The Knights stayed undefeated in Week 7 drubbing Tallmadge 48-14 not only keeping themselves ranked No. 7 in the WTAM Power 11 Rankings, but also staying near the top of the unofficial computer point standings in Division II Region IV. After this week’s showdown with lowly Revere, the Knights welcome in No. 8 Medina Highland to Boliantz Stadium next week for a tremendous regular season match up which will provide the winner with loads of OHSAA computer points and viewers with a potential preview of the Regional Championship. The Knights are balanced, boast playmakers, have speed and are also a fundamentally sound group. That combination will likely land them a first round home game for the OHSAA Playoffs and perhaps a deep run through that postseason. Week 8 vs. Revere 10/18.
8. Medina Highland Hornets: The Hornets made their debut in the WTAM Power 11 Rankings last week and now they’re already moving up in the poll following a 35-0 victory over Revere. Medina Highland is still undefeated at 7-0 and we expect them to stay that way prior to next week’s big showdown with No. 7 Nordonia…a match up with serious playoff implications and loads of computer points. Regardless of next week’s outcome this team has impressed all season long and should still host a first round game when the postseason finally rolls around. With playmakers on both sides of the football this team’s defense is just as impressive as the offense and that is a lethal combination come playoff time. Week 8 vs. Green 10/18.
9. St. Ignatius Wildcats: Head coach Chuck Kyle’s squad is playing tough competition each week, they’ve been plagued with injuries, but they continue to fall in the WTAM Power 11 Rankings and more importantly the unofficial OHSAA computer point standings in Division I Region I. Unless the Wildcats upset top-ranked St. Edward this week at Lakewood Stadium, they probably will start the postseason on the road which is something that has not happened since back in 2006. St. Ignatius fell to 4-3 on the season Saturday afternoon falling to Eastern Christian Academy (MD) 32-29, losing on the final drive of the game. After this week’s rivalry showdown with No. 1 St. Edward the Wildcats still play Cincinnati St. Xavier…which means this team needs to find a way to win one of those or they could even be in danger of missing the postseason. Week 8 vs. #1 St. Edward 10/19.
10. Kirtland Hornets: The Hornets are undefeated at 7-0 on the season following yet another impressive victory…this time a 66-0 rout of winless Fairport Harding. It’s safe to say that Kirtland is the favorite to win the Division VI state title, but it would be fun locally to see them match up with undefeated Villa Angela – St. Joseph in the OHSAA Playoffs in the upcoming weeks. Head coach Tiger LaVerde’s squad is balanced on both sides of the football, boast playmakers, are big in the trenches and also fundamentally sound…that equation typically leads to winning football, which is something the Kirtland program has established over the past several seasons. Similar to some teams in the WTAM Power 11 Rankings the Hornets have an easy regular season schedule the remainder of the way, which should prepare them nicely for a deep run to what they hope is a third-straight trip to the State Championship game. Week 8 vs. Berkshire 10/18.
11. Bedford Bearcats: Welcome to the WTAM Power 11 Rankings Bedford! The Bearcats make their first-ever appearance in this poll following yet another impressive victory…this time a 71-14 rout over Shaw. Head coach Sean Williams has built up this program over the last several seasons and it’s time that people start noticing. Bedford is now 6-1 on the 2013 season, their lone loss coming to Cleveland Heights, but since then all they’ve done is improve and win football games. If the OHSAA Playoffs began today the Bearcats would not only be in, they would be hosting a first round home game in Division II Region III, the same region featuring No. 5 Glenville, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Willoughby South. Bedford boasts speed, athleticism and is balanced on both sides of the football. Being featured in these rankings might be the first step to people finally understanding what Williams and his coaching staff are building off of Northfield Road. We not only expect a postseason berth, but a deep run to a regional championship is not out of the question with this group. Week 8 vs. Warrensville Heights 10/18.
Other teams to watch for: Akron Ellet Orangemen, Cleveland Heights Tigers, Willoughby South Rebels, Villa Angela – St. Joseph Vikings, West Geauga Wolverines, Cleveland John Hay Hornets and Brecksville-Broadview Heights Bees.
- Nick Camino