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Deja vu for Beaver

Beaver Local’s football team could not have had a first-round playoff opponent more emblematic of the COVID era than the one it got.

Technically Friday’s Div. IV, Region 13 game with Cleveland Glenville will be a new opponent for the Beavers, but there will be several key contributors on the Tarblooders who were a part of a victory over Beaver Local in the playoffs last season.

How can that be?

Well, it all starts with Cleveland City Schools opting not to have fall sports in 2020. That of course meant the storied Glenville program was also shut down, so longtime Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. scrambled to place some of his players in other programs not affected by the Cleveland City Schools decision not to play in fall.

Several of those players landed on East Cleveland Shaw which operates as a separate school district from Cleveland.

In the second round of last season’s playoffs the Beavers lost to Shaw 35-0 at Euclid High School.

Players like Raphael Williams, Sir’Sean Ingram, Joseph Larkin and Da’Shuan Whatley all were a part of the Shaw program that went 5-3 last season.

With Glenville back in business this season, those players returned to Ginn Sr.’s program.

Ginn Sr. is a member of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame having started his head coaching career at Glenville in 1997. A bout with cancer interrupted his time on the sidelines for a bit, but Ginn Sr. has been one of the most successful Ohio high school coaches when it comes to molding elite NFL and college talent.

Among those that Ginn Sr. has coached include New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the famed speedster Ted Ginn Jr., NFL strong safety Donte Whitner and Ohio State national champion quarterback Cardale Jones.

Ginn Sr.’s influence even stretched into this area as he took in former Mineral Ridge running back Devine Redding for his senior year before landing him a spot at Indiana University in 2014.

Big draw

Salem and West Branch left it all on the field in Saturday’s 43-42 overtime victory for the Warriors at Sebo Stadium in front of 2,854 paying customers and this might be a time when playing an overtime game against your rival in the final week might lead to a possible letdown in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s also a short week for both teams as those playoff games are set for Friday night.

The Warriors (10-0) will host Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (5-5), which it lost to in a 55-53 shootout in a regular-season game last year. Salem (7-3) will host Peninsula Woodridge (6-4).

The Quakers probably would like an extra chance at closing out the game against the Warriors. A Jackson Johnson 44-yard touchdown run and an extra point put the Quakers up 35-27 with 2:05 left in that one.

If Salem, then leading 28-27, does not score there and maintains possession (even without completely running out the clock), the Warriors’ chances of winning would have diminished significantly.

When the Ohio High School Athletic Association made the decision to go to a 16-team per region playoff model, it also decided to layer first-round football playoff games over the top of soccer and volleyball district finals and cross country regionals.

Traditionally, district finals for those sports would be held before the start of the high school playoffs. But the prep football season started a week earlier this season.

Crestview will have quite a pickle with this new arrangement on Saturday. The Rebel boys soccer team will play its Div. III district final against Cardinal Mooney at 11 a.m. at Niles. The Rebel volleyball team will play its Div. III district final volleyball match at 1 p.m. at Grand Valley High School in Orwell.

The Rebel football team will play its Div. V first round football game at Bellaire at 1:30 p.m. since Nelson Field does not have lights.

Needless to say, none of the Crestview sports will have the full complement of Rebel fans behind them on Saturday.

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