ITCL lower tier teams throw weight around

As this weekend’s games came to a close there was plenty of good news for the Inter-Tri County League lower tier.

The ITCL lower tier completed the non-league portion of the schedule with an impressive 19-5 record and went 6-1 against playoff teams from a year ago.

Granted three of those wins against playoff teams came from Western Reserve (which by far had the most difficult out of league schedule), but it was difinitive progress for a league who has two new members in Mineral Ridge and Jackson-Milton this time around.

With the addition of a seventh division, the ITCL lower tier should be in position to get a few years in the new watered-down version of the playoffs.

But don’t look too glowingly at that 19-5 mark. The ITCL lower tier out-of-league opponent’s combined record was 27-45.

Upper tier roundup

The ITCL upper tier had balanced results in its non-league slate. Crestview and South Range, which meet this Friday in the league opener at the old South Range High School, are both undefeated after playing challenging opponents.

The Rebels ripped off wins against new Division IV members West Branch and Beaver Local before dispatching new Division V member Youngstown Liberty on Friday. Crestview coach Paul Cusick called Liberty a “big school” after the win on Friday, but the Leopards are in the same division as the Rebels this season. Oh how times have changed.

The Raiders, a new member of Division VI this season, knocked off Division VII’s Warren JFK, DivisionV’s Campbell Memorial and Div. VII’s Garfield Heights Trinity in their non-league affairs. If the Raiders upset Crestview on Friday, the reward – outside of the inside track in the league race – will be a great deal of computer points. The Rebels won’t benefit nearly as much with a win coupled with their Division V status.

As for the ITCL upper tier as a whole, the league was 11-13. East Palestine and Columbiana going winless will hurt as far as the playoffs are concerned as will United, Southern and Lisbon’s one-win performances. If 2-1 Springfield can stay consistent, the Tigers will be able to challenge for the league title as well as a playoff spot in Division VI.

Overall, the upper tier was 4-3 against playoff teams from a year ago, but the stat that jumps out is the 43-29 record of the upper tier’s out-of-league opponents.

NBC goes 16-8

It’s a mixed bag for the area’s Northeastern Buckeye Conference teams. Salem, West Branch and Minerva reside in Division IV, Region 11 this season.

The state’s addition of a seventh division will allow greater room for error as far as the playoffs are concerned, but this will definitely be a one- week-at-a-time league slate for the 2-1 Quakers and Lions going forward as the league was a combined 16-8 in its non-league performances.