No. 3 St. Edward vs. No. 7 St. Ignatius breaks tradition: Week 7's must-see football games

Cleveland Sports 1 month ago

St. Ignatius' Jack Welsch runs for a TD during the Wildcats' 21-7 win against St. Edward on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. (Matt Goul,

CLEVELAND, Ohio — If St. Edward and St. Ignatius meet in the playoffs, it will come at least a month in between.

That was not the case last year, as they met in Week 10 at FirstEnergy Stadium and again in the first round of the OHSAA football playoffs. They have come close to meeting in back-to-back weeks during multiple recent seasons, but no more.

Their rivalry breaks tradition with a Week 7 matchup Saturday night at First Federal Lakewood Stadium. It caps a weekend that includes games that could determine the balance of power in the Suburban League, Western Reserve Conference and Great Lakes Conference.

Unbeaten Aurora, 10th in the rankings, visits defending Suburban League American Division champion No. 14 Barberton. WRC champ No. 4 Kenston travels to No. 25 Chardon, also on Friday, while a slew of Greater Cleveland Conference matchups also take place. Holy Name and Buckeye clash Saturday in North Royalton to determine the GLC leader, while No. 2 St. Edward entertains No. 7 St. Ignatius.

Check out this week's top matchups, beginning with a countdown of the 10 must-see games from Friday to Saturday, plus plenty more to watch.

Independence quarterback Michael Tommer throws a pass Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, at Beachwood. (John Kuntz,

Lutheran West (5-1) at Independence (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Stan Skoczen Stadium at Independence High School

What to know: A share of first place is on the line in the Chagrin Valley Conference's Metro Division. Lutheran West running back Eddie Lewis ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 30-7 CVC crossover win vs. Berkshire. Independence sophomore Kyle Zygmunt ran for 131 yards and four TDs in a 47-8 win vs. Richmond Heights. pick: Independence

Willoughby South Rico Small, right, celebrates the score of teammate receiver Mike Ward on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at Kenston. (John Kuntz,

Willoughby South (4-2) at No. 12 Mayfield (6-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Wildcat Stadium at Mayfield High School

What to know: Both of Willoughby South's losses have come in WRC, including last week's push of defending state champ Kenston. The Rebels will now try to spoil Mayfield's undefeated run, which continued with a 41-7 win at Madison. Junior quarterback Michael Huss completed 11-of-13 passes in the first half of that one for 222 yards. Both teams are in position for a run at the Division II, Region 5 playoffs and currently in that region's top five. pick: Mayfield

No. 22 Strongsville (4-2) at No. 15 Medina (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Ken Dukes Stadium at Medina High School

What to know: This GCC matchup could ultimately be a play-in game for the Division I, Region 1 playoffs with Medina 10th and Strongsville 12th. The top 12 teams still are mathematically in contention, according to probabilities. The Bees broke a two-game losing streak with last week's 56-20 win at Elyria. Strongsville looks to now do the same after close, consecutive setbacks vs. Brunswick and Euclid. Garret Clark rushed for 125 yards last week, bringing his season total to 1,134 yards on the season. Contrasting styles will be on display, as Medina gained 338 yards through the air last week. pick: Strongsville

No. 9 Perry (6-0) at Chagrin Falls (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: CS Harris Stadium in Chagrin Falls

What to know: A three-way tie atop the Chagrin Valley Conference's Chagrin Division will break up when these two meet, both 3-0 with Geneva. Perry remained unbeaten last week with a school record four interceptions by junior defensive back Desmond Malone in a 71-20 win at Orange, while senior quarterback Drew Schiano kept up his impressive pace by completing 14-of-16 passes. He has 1,918 yards and 25 TD passes on the season. Chagrin Falls has won four straight games, including last week's 47-8 win vs. Ashtabula Edgewood. The Tigers did most of their damage in the first half, as junior quarterback Dawson Pierce threw for 203 yards and five TDs. pick: Perry

No. 20 Brunswick (5-1) at No. 1 Mentor (6-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Jerome T. Osborne Stadium at Mentor High School

What to know: Brunswick has rebounded the last two weeks from its lone defeat, 33-29 at Solon, to remain in GCC contention. The Blue Devils also are seventh in Division I, Region 1 and vying for their first playoff appearance since 2014. An upset of defending GCC champ Mentor, coming off a 41-7 win at Solon, can go a long way in making that happen.

The Cardinals are rolling. The trio of running backs Brian Trobel and Riley Coughlin with quarterback Ian Kipp led Mentor last week to 344 yards rushing. The defense has given up just seven points (14 for the team, counting last week's interception return by Solon) in three GCC wins. Senior Jackson Paglio is pacing the effort with a team-high 45 tackles and five tackles for loss. pick: Mentor

No. 19 Solon (4-2) at No. 5 Euclid (6-0)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Euclid Community Stadium at Euclid High School

What to know: Solon looks to rebound from last week's 41-7 loss to Mentor, which handed the Comets their first GCC defeat. Euclid tries to keep pace with the Cardinals atop the conference. This game also is critical for the Division I, Region 1 playoffs. Euclid is ranked second in the region, while Solon is ninth.

The Panthers have won this matchup the last two years, including a 21-0 victory last season at Solon. They jumped out quickly last week on Strongsville before holding on for a 21-14 victory. Senior running back Jaabir Mujihad ran for 205 yards and two TDs, so slowing him and the Panthers' backfield will be priority No. 1 for the Solon defense. Euclid follows this game with Brunswick at home and a trip to Mentor. pick: Euclid

Kenston defensive lineman Dominic Vittori puts the finishing touch on a tackle of Willoughby South running back Ira Sampson on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (John Kuntz,

No. 4 Kenston (6-0) at No. 25 Chardon (4-2)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Chardon Memorial Field at Chardon High School

What to know: Kenston's 12-game winning streak began after Chardon handed the Bombers a 27-24 defeat last year in Week 9. Kenston is tied with Mayfield for first place in the WRC at 3-0, while Chardon and Riverside are a game back.

Kenston survived a push last week from Willoughby South, 37-21, breaking a 21-all tie with a safety early in the fourth quarter. Chardon welcomed back All-Ohio linebacker D.J. Bowman, who rushed for 65 yards and a TD, in the Hilltoppers' 52-21 win vs. Brush. Bowman had been out since a Week 2 injury. Chardon ran for 448 yards last week. A duplicate effort could be vital in keeping the Bombers' offense off the field. Senior quarterback Jon Tomcufcik is up to 1,291 yards passing with 18 TDs to two interceptions, including 707 yards and eight TDs on 42 receptions for Tyler Mintz. pick: Kenston

No. 10 Aurora (6-0) at No. 14 Barberton (5-1)

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Rudy Sharkey Stadium at Barberton High School

What to know: Barberton is 3-0 in the Suburban League's American Division, while Aurora is 2-0. A week ago, the Magics held Copley to 24 yards in a 38-0 shutout win. The Magics have given up just seven points the last two weeks in wins against the Indians and Revere.

Aurora has clicked defensively all year, led by senior linebacker A.J. Barner. He had 11 tackles, including two tackles for loss in last week's 41-0 win vs. Kent Roosevelt. Barner has 45 tackles and four tackles for loss on the year, while senior linebacker Lenny Galaska has eight tackles for loss. They will try and slow a high-octane Barberton offense engineered by senior quarterback Chase Haywood, who already has more than 1,000 yards passing. pick: Barberton

Bay's Cullen Gergye (11) and Holy Name's Joshua Tait go after a blocked punt Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Joshua Gunter,

Buckeye (5-1) vs. Holy Name (5-1)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Serpentini Chevrolet Stadium at North Royalton High School

What to know: Both teams are in first place of the GLC with 4-0 conference records. The rest of the GLC has at least two losses, making this all but a conference title game.

The Bucks have won five straight, including a 49-13 win last week vs. Fairview. Senior quarterback Jacob Doerge ran for 148 yards and will be the focus of Holy Name's defense, which has given up just seven points in the last two weeks. The Green Wave stuffed Bay last week for a 26-7 victory behind defensive end Josh Tait's blocked punt and three tackles for loss. Junior running back Robert Sherrod added 124 yards rushing.

Both teams like to run the football, but in different ways. This matchup likely comes down to the line of scrimmage. pick: Buckeye

No. 7 St. Ignatius (3-3) at No. 2 St. Edward (5-1)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: First Federal Lakewood Stadium at Lakewood High School

What to know: The Wildcats secured a needed win Saturday by handing Florida's Rockledge its first loss, 42-7. The performance ended a two-game losing streak, as senior quarterback Griffin Hanna threw for 323 yards and the defense limited Auburn commit Ladarius Tennison to just 44 yards. St. Edward won its fifth straight with a 45-21 victory. The starters mostly played just a half, including QB Conor O'Malley's 10-of-11 day with 124 yards passing and 73 yards rushing.

Question is, could this still precede a playoff rematch? They moved up three weeks from the usual regular-season finale. The Eagles are third in Division I, Region 1, while the Wildcats are eighth. They met in last year's first round, a 21-19 win for St. Edward after St. Ignatius' Week 10 win. They have met a second time in two of the last three playoffs.

St. Edward kept St. Ignatius out of the playoffs in 2015 with a 35-28 win in Week 10. The Wildcats have missed the postseason just twice since 1988, including the 2010 season. According to probabilities, St. Ignatius has a 31 percent chance of making the playoffs but does not need to win out. pick: St. Edward

Keep an eye on …

Additionally, keep an eye on these matchups. All games are 7 p.m. Friday, unless noted:

No. 3 Archbishop Hoban (5-1) vs. Lake Catholic (3-3) at Mentor, Saturday: The North Coast League Blue Division, in its last season of football, opened with wins for both of these teams. Hoban impressed with a 42-10 win against Benedictine, handing the Bengals their first loss of the season. Lake Catholic edged Walsh Jesuit, 21-20.

No. 6 Avon (6-0) at North Olmsted (4-2): Avon and Olmsted Falls lead the Southwestern Conference with 5-0 records in the league. North Olmsted still controls its own destiny with the Eagles and Bulldogs in back-to-back weeks.

No. 8 Avon Lake (5-1) at Lakewood (0-6): The Shoremen defense limited Amherst last week to 95 yards and have given up just seven points in the last four weeks.

Orwell Grand Valley (0-6) at No. 11 Kirtland (6-0): Speaking of defense, Kirtland has given up just seven points all year with four straight shutouts.

No. 13 Benedictine (5-1) at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (3-3): Both teams are coming off NCL-opening losses, one lopsided for Benedictine and a close call for NDCL with last week's 17-16 loss to Padua. Jalen Edwards has scored every week for Benedictine and has 12 TDs on the season. Junior QB Ronnie Schultz has 1,003 yards passing.

Bedford (3-3) at No. 16 Cleveland Heights (5-1): The Tigers controlled the line of scrimmage in a 35-28 win Friday at Lorain, running for 309 yards. Heights has won five straight, while Bedford has dropped two in a row.

No. 17 Wadsworth (4-2) at Cuyahoga Falls (2-4): The Grizzlies got off to a fast start last week in their 56-23 win vs. Stow, scoring the first 21 points. Dom Loparo rushed for 132 yards and a TD. Cuyahoga Falls' Rob Graves rushed for 193 yards and two TDs in their loss to Brecksville.

No. 18 Stow (4-2) at Nordonia (2-4): Both teams look to bounce back from losses. While the Bulldogs are two games back in the Suburban League standings, they are still in the Region 1 top eight.

No. 21 Olmsted Falls (6-0) at Midview (3-3): Stephen Elias ran for 136 yards and three TDs to power the Bulldogs' win last week vs. Lakewood. Their defense will be tested by Midview, led by sophomore QB Ethan Surdock (1,194 yards passing).

No. 23 Brecksville (4-2) at Twinsburg (2-4): Joe Labas is proving to be one of the area's top passers with 1,473 yards and 12 TDs to one interception. He had 212 yards with four TDs in last week's 62-20 win vs. Cuyahoga Falls and faces a defense this week that features junior cornerback Alex Branch. Coincidentally, both Labas and Branch hold Akron offers.

No. 24 Streetsboro (6-0) at Coventry (4-2): The Rockets are rolling, as senior running back Krys Riley-Richardson is up to 967 yards rushing with 16 TDs. Coventry has lost two straight.

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (5-1) at Orrville (6-0): First place in the Principals Athletic Conference is on the line. Orrville edged CVCA, 37-34, last year during its Division V state title run. Junior quarterback Michael Bevington leads CVCA with 750 yards passing and 554 yards rushing, along with senior running back Shane Douglas' 558 yards rushing. Orrville junior running back Marquael Parks is up to 1,095 yards rushing with 17 TDs.

Rootstown (5-1) at Garrettsville Garfield (6-0): The G-Men look to maintain their share of the Portage Trail Conference County Division lead, beginning a three-week stretch vs. Rootstown, Mogadore and Crestwood. All three of them are 5-1.

Villa Angela-St. Joseph (4-2) at Lutheran East (4-2), 4 p.m.: This Friday afternoon nonleague matchup has Division V, Region 18 playoff implications. The Falcons are fifth in the region, while VASJ is 12th.

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