By Mr. Eddie Dwyer, Copyright Credit October 2016
Cleveland, Ohio - Here we go again!
The record 11-time State Champion Saint Ignatius Football Wildcats, with a 27th OHSAA Division I playoff appearance on the table, will take on longtime West Side rival St. Edward on Saturday at 6 PM in the Browns' FirstEnergy Stadium.
In what will be the 54th meeting on the gridiron between the two state and nationally recognized Catholic School powers, St. Edward, the two-time defending big-school state champion, is 7-1 and has already wrapped up a playoff spot in Division I, Region 1.
Saint Ignatius, standing 8-1 and riding a five-game winning streak, "controls its own destiny" as its pursues one of the top eight OHSAA playoff-qualifying spots in Region 1. The Cats are currently in the seventh spot as per the ratings by playoff guru Joe Eitel,
The Eagles have won the last two meetings in a series that began in 1952 with Saint Ignatius winning, 41-12. The series, which the Wildcats lead, 28-24-1, ended after 1957 before resuming again in 1971.
No, as this old-timer reported when it was officially announced that this year's game was being played at FirstEnergy Stadium, Saturday's encounter will not mark the first time the Cats-Eagles football rivalry was played on the home field of the Cleveland Browns.
On October 11, 1980, Saint Ignatius and St. Edward met in old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Grand Lady on The Lake and the Browns' home field for decades and decades, with the Eagles winning, 11-0. Showing the way on what was a less than desirable night weather wise was St. Edward's standout running back Kevin Graven, who rushed for 151 yards on 19 carries, including an 86-yard touchdown run on the wet and muddy grass surface of Municipal Stadium.
That is just an appetite teaser as yours truly will be previewing the 2016 edition of the Cats-Eagles gridiron lore later this week. This corner has already assisted cleveland.com by giving reporter Matt Goul my memories of 10 great Saint Ignatius-St. Edward football games and will also include a taste of that in my preview.
COACH DR. MIKE GALLAGHER'S DEFENDING AND FOUR-TIME STATE CHAMPION CROSS COUNTRY PROGRAM will take another step in its pursuit of back-to-back state championships when its races on the demanding course at the Boardman Regional on Saturday. Coach Gallagher lists the starting time as 12:30 PM.
The Cat Pack, behind a first-place performance by senior standout C.J. Ambrosio, is coming off a dominant effort at the Medina District (see Coach Gallagher's weekly Sunday night report on the corner).
Saint Ignatius' savvy harriers will be looking for more of that on Saturday, the final competition before the 88th annual OHSAA State Championships on November 5 at the National Trail Raceway Course in Hebron, Ohio.
THE RECORD SEVEN-TIME AND TWO-TIME DEFENDING OHSAA STATE CHAMPION SOCCER CATS, RANKED NO. 1 IN OHIO BY THE COACHES ASSOCIATION AND THE NATION BY USA TODAY, will continue their pursuit of what would be a record three consecutive OHSAA Boys State Soccer Championships when they host a Division I District Semifinal on Wednesday at 7 PM on Wasmer Field.
The 15-0-2 Soccer Cats, who now carry an unbeaten streak of 53 consecutive matches, will face the winner of today's 4 PM Sectional Final between the Rhodes Rams and the Garfield Heights Bulldogs, which is being played on the new pitch at Rhodes, the pride of Old Brooklyn.
If successful on Wednesday night, the Soccer Cats of nationally acclaimed Head Coach Mike McLaughlin '85 will advance to Saturday's 2 PM District Championship Game at Padua Franciscan High School, where they will face the winner of Wednesday night's other District Semifinal between the North Royalton Bears and the Valley Forge Patriots. The Bears and the Patriots will go at it on the pitch at North Royalton.
AND LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, the Saint Ignatius-St. Edward football week begins on Thursday night with a Freshmen Football matchup with the Eagles at 6 PM on Wasmer Field and continues on Friday night with a 6 bells Junior Varsity encounter with St. Edward, also on Wasmer Field. Ah, the restaurants and watering holes in Ohio City couldn't be happier.
WE WILL SEE YOU AT WASMER FELD STARTING ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. HAVE A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK WEEKEND.