Salem to host another playoff game
The South Range football juggernaut is headed to a Division V regional final.
A day after dispatching Akron Manchester for the second time this season, the Raiders (12-0) learned that they will be facing Sullivan Black River (10-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Canal Fulton Northwest High School.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association released the official pairings and game sites on Saturday breaking from the tradition of doing it on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s nice because you don’t have to sit around until Sunday afternoon wondering where you’re going to be playing at,” South Range coach Dan Yeagley. “As soon as we found out where we going, we were already making plans for the bus and all of the other stuff that goes with it.”
South Range last faced Sullivan Black River in 1999 in a Division V regional semifinal. Black River won that game 41-20.
“It was 18 years ago, but they still have the same coach,” Yeagley said. “(Al Young) is very good man and I know him well. He runs a very disciplined program.”
Like the Raiders, the Pirates were ranked in the final Division V state media poll. The Raiders were second, while the Pirates were 11th.
Northwest’s Dr. Martin Smilek Stadium seats 3,500 and is located on the campus of the Stark County high school.
“When it gets to this point it doesn’t really matter where you play,” Yeagley said. “I hear it is a beautiful stadium with new turf though.”
Salem’s Reilly Stadium is going to be busy again as Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Canfield will clash there at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in a Division III regional final.
Second-ranked Canfield (12-0) is coming off a 22-7 win over Notre Dame Cathedral Latin on Friday. The Irish (9-3) dispatched Tallmadge, 28-7, Friday.
The three opponents Akron St. V-M lost to have a total of three losses. All of those teams are still alive in the playoffs.
In Division IV, top-ranked Steubenville Big Red (12-0) will take on third-ranked Perry (12-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Niles’ Bo Rein Stadium.
Big Red narrowly escaped Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, 19-14, on Friday in a playoff game at Reilly Stadium.
¯ Northwest High School was a member of the Northeastern Buckeye Conference from 1989 to 2011, but the Indians were forced to abandon the league due to levy failures. Salem took the school’s place in the league.
¯ Sullivan Black River’s school is located in Ashland County, but most of the students are from Medina County.