It has become a cliché, but there is some truth to what they say.
The most progress a football team will see during a season is between Week 1 and Week 2.
The anxiety and excitement of a new season has passed. Once school starts, routines become more routine. The younger players have adjusted to the speed and strength that comes with playing on Friday nights instead of Saturday mornings. Older players are placed.
Scrimmages are good, but they are dress rehearsals. They are not held in front of large crowds and surrounded by the playing of a real game. The coaches shared the film and the players could see what they did right and what they did wrong.
In short, everyone has gotten a feel for the rhythms of a work week and endured everything that goes into a Friday night.
It’s a learning process and the learning curve accelerates through the first two weeks of the football season.
We are entering the second week, so we should see better football.
Here’s a look at Week 2’s area high school football schedule and Rob McCurdy’s picks for those games:
≫ Ashland at Marion Harding: The Erie Bell Trophy is swept this week in a series dominated by the Presidents. Harding owns a 14-1-1 advantage over Ashland. The only win for the Arrows came in 1994, when the game was revived after being dormant since the 1959 season. It is the first time they have played since 2002. Harding is young and suffered some key injuries in the first week. They also seemed to tire in the second half and overtime against Mount Vernon. Ashland had the worst first half in the state, failing to make three tackles and seeing two passes intercepted for touchdowns in a loss to Division V Norwayne. The Arrows showed a potent offense in the opener and one that will constantly pressure Harding’s passing defense. Also, don’t expect Ashland to make those kinds of mistakes in Week 2. Pick: Ashland.
≫ River Valley at Madison Comprehensive: This is a different Madison team than RV has beaten in the past, as it showed going into Shelby’s emotional last game at Skiles Field and falling 10-7 on a last-second field goal. The Rams have a sophomore quarterback who is getting used to running coach Scott Valentine’s version of the spread offense, and their defense definitely has a pulse in holding the Whippets to 10 points and 342 yards of total offense. The Vikings need a cleaner approach in Week 2, and as a veteran team with an All-Ohio QB, expect that to be the case. Choice: River Valley.
≫ Wynford to Pleasant: From the mid-90s to the late 2010s, this would have been an odd matchup in the state. These are two-story programs with a lot of heart and even more tradition. Wynford played well enough to beat a regional power in Otsego, but couldn’t hang on late in the game. Pleasant played one of the best teams in Region 18 of Division V and struggled against North Union. Choice: Wynford.
≫ Cardington to Elgin: Last year, the two former Mid Ohio Athletic Conference rivals played a thrilling game with Cardington coming away with a 20-16 victory. These are two completely different teams in 2022, and both are coming off lopsided Week 1 losses. Flip a coin. Pirates are heads, comets are tails. So I did. Choice: Cardington.
≫ Ridgedale at Vanlue, Saturday: This has been moved to Saturday due to scheduling conflicts with officials. There are no must-win games in Week 2, but this one is pretty close for the Rockets. Vanlue is similar to Ridgedale in its roster makeup and it should be a level playing field for both teams. Pick: Ridgedale.
≫ Highlands on the Wooster Triway: The Titans were shocked 41-7, but it was to defending state runner-up West Holmes and they were within a shot in the first half before losing steam in the second half. Triway is also coming off a 7-2 season, so this is a definite step up in opposition for the Scots. Pick: Wooster Triway.
≫ Mount Gilead in Upper Sandusky: The Indians had to play one half of football before shutting down the Ridgedale offense in a 56-0 victory, but they’ll need the full four quarters against Upper Sandusky. While River Valley was never really threatened by the Rams in the opener, Upper Sandusky showed little ability to make it interesting in the second half. Upper will enter the game expecting to win. Mount Gilead will have to take some shots early to show they won’t be lying. The pick: Upper Sandusky.
≫ Northmore to South Central: The Golden Knights, hard hit by graduation, continued as always in a 45-0 victory over Elgin. South Central is a different entity and one that can produce points as evidenced by the 44-43 win over Willard. Choice: South Central.
≫ Northern Union in the Triad: The Wildcats should easily get to 2-0 in this one. Choice: Northern Union.
≫ Last week: 6-1.
≫ Be sure to visit MarionStar.com and its app Friday night and Saturday morning for score updates, photo galleries and high school football game stories and recaps. Also pick up a copy of Sunday’s Marion Star to see content in print.
Rob McCurdy is the sportswriter at the Marion Star and can be reached at [email protected], 419-610-0998, Twitter @McMotorsport and Instagram @rob_mccurdy_star.
Marion Star Football Player of the Week Poll
Highland’s Dane Nauman ran for 300 yards and a touchdown, plus added 10 tackles with 2.5 for loss in a win over Fredericktown. The performance was enough to earn him the Marion Star Football Player of the Week Poll, garnering 898 of 2,511 votes (36 percent), other nominees were Mount Gilead’s Garrett George, Marion Harding’s Parker Davis, Maxton Lower of Northmor, North Union’s Cayden Lassiter and River Valley’s Grant Butler.