BEAVER TOWNSHIP — South Range coach Dan Yeagley has been here before. In 28 years at the helm of the Raiders program, this season saw South Range make the state semifinals for the third time.
The Raiders are trying to get through the semifinals for the first time and crack the state title.
your opponent? The Liberty Center Tigers, another program with a solid playoff pedigree. In fact, they compare pretty well to the Raiders.
“Obviously they are good. They’re very well trained and it’s a great program,” said South Range coach Dan Yeagley. “Traditionally always good and they have some players. They like to run the ball so we’re thankful tomorrow will be nice. They are aggressive up front and our offensive and defensive lines are both pretty good.”
“You can sometimes compare them to a Mooney, you could sometimes compare them to a Jefferson or even Hubbard last year with some of the things that they did. They are very similar to us. The scary thing is that they are very similar to what we do offensively and defensively.”
Although they’ve prepared for what Liberty Center could potentially throw at them, the only thing that matters at this point is to be the best possible version of your own team, the best you can.
“I’ve learned that it’s more about your team,” Yeagley said. “You can’t worry too much about the other team because you don’t know that much about them. They don’t know what adjustments they’re going to make or what they’re going to do differently, so we have South Range to worry about. That’s what we’ve done over the past few years: let’s make South Range better with every single practice and we’ll get better ourselves, and whatever they throw at us, we’ll be prepared because we’re better.
The starting time for the Raiders is set for 7pm at Bob Bishop Stadium in Clyde.
Thanksgiving is a day for football. On TV and on the South Range, Canfield and Kennedy practice fields. The three schools won’t worry about which games will be televised, instead focusing on their respective matchups this weekend and a chance to snag their respective state final tickets.
South Range had its weekly team meal on Wednesday evenings as opposed to the normal Thursday. It’s safe to say they had a traditional holiday meal.
“We had Chick-Fil-A, Arby’s and Mac and Cheese,” said Raiders lineman Chris Colucci.
Other than that, it was just ordinary training for the Raiders.
“Today is a normal Thursday,” Yeagley said. “(Then) go home and spend time with your family.”
Kennedy is no stranger to Thanksgiving practices. Given their postseason success, Thanksgiving practice has become something of a tradition for the Eagles.
“First of all, we always talk here about tradition in the history of our program and how children from before, players from before always want to stay in touch and know how we are doing. Thanksgiving Day, our kids get to experience it firsthand. I bet we had 15 to 18 ex-players — we even had guys my age,” Kennedy coach Dom Prologo said. “But we’ve had a lot of kids from the last 5-6 years that (Thursday) showed up to practice, talked to our kids and walked around here. It was nice because they know how important it is because we had the opportunity to do this a couple of times. I think this is my fifth or sixth Thanksgiving that I’ve practiced.”
“But we learned a long time ago that you have to try to make this a workday. The kids need to understand that even though it’s Thanksgiving and a holiday, we have to put in three hours of work when they go out onto the field so we’re ready to play on Saturday.”
Cardinals coach Mike Pavlansky mentioned that if you can practice on Thanksgiving, something always goes right in your season.
“I think it’s something special, there’s no doubt about that,” Pavlansky said on Wednesday. “It’s tidy business for our children and tidy business for us. We’re going to have some former players come back and talk to our boys. When you play that deep into November, you know you have a special season.”
Canfield meets Parma Heights Holy Name at 7 p.m. tonight at Euclid Community Stadium. Kennedy meets Newark Catholic at Red Rider Stadium in Orrville at 7 p.m. Saturday.
As an extra treat, there are two high schools in the state of Ohio nicknamed “Green Wave”. Both happen to play in the Mahoning Valley schools, the aforementioned Holy Name Green Wave and the Newark Catholic Green Wave.
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