Big weekend in Monroeville starts with home opener

Mark Hazelwood • Sep 6, 2018 at 7:00 PM

MONROEVILLE — It will be a big weekend in Monroeville, and it starts tonight at Marsh Field.

The Eagles (1-1) are at home for the first time this season against Margaretta — and are back playing in the traditional Friday night lights slot after two road games at Tiffin Calvert and St. Mary Central Catholic were played on Saturday nights.

On a weekend the village celebrates its 150th birthday, the Monroeville football program will also be celebrating a big anniversary as well.

Prior to kickoff, members of the 1978 team will raise a 12th man flag — a new tradition started by the Monroeville Football Alumni Association prior to home games this season at Marsh Field. Members of the 1978 team will be the first to help raise the flag.

The 1978 Eagles were the first unbeaten team in program history, finishing 9-0-1.

Nine out of the 10 games were decided by two possessions or less that season, and six out of the 10 games were by one possession or less. Even further, four games were decided by just a single point, including a 7-6 win over rival St. Paul on a touchdown with 15 seconds left.

The 1978 season is most remembered, however, for a comeback win over New London to seal the Firelands Conference championship. The Eagles trailed 13-0 entering the final two minutes — only to score twice for a 14-13 win over the Wildcats.

On the field Friday, the Eagles will be looking for a 2-1 start entering Firelands Conference play next week.

Monroeville is coming off a 28-16 win over SMCC in Sandusky, while the Polar Bears (1-1) scored a convincing 38-17 win at Western Reserve last Friday.

The Bears won last year's game (35-12) over the Eagles, with Monroeville winning in both 2015 (14-8) and 2016 (28-16).

Willard (1-1) at Shelby (2-0)

The Crimson Flashes nearly entered this rivalry matchup with no wins, but rallied from 21-0 down to stun visiting Plymouth in a 38-35 shootout last week.

Facing the Whippets — just 14 miles from Willard — the Crimson Flashes are hoping for any type of improvement from the past few meetings. Shelby's dominant 13-1 state semifinalist team from a year ago blasted the Flashes by a 56-6 margin — which came on the heels of 66-0 in 2016 and 46-7 in 2015.

This is also currently the last scheduled games between the two programs. The Flashes and Whippets have played every year since 1928 — a span of 91 consecutive seasons. Willard and Shelby first met in 1921 — a 55-0 win for Shelby in the first year the Crimson Flashes fielded a football team.

Western Reserve (0-2) at Edison (2-0)

The Chargers are winners of 34 of their last 41 games since the start of the 2015 season, which has included some convincing win over the visiting Roughriders.

Since the series resumed, Edison has won the last three meetings by margins of 42-0, 49-14 and 24-7 — a combined margin of 115-21. The Chargers enter the game with offensive momentum once again, having scored 68 points in a pair of wins over Firelands (41-23) and Bucyrus Wynford (27-14).

Western opened with a pair of home losses, including 51-6 vs. Black River and 38-17 vs. Margaretta.

New London (0-2) at Wellington (0-2)

The matchup with the Dukes began on the schedule for New London in 2015 — once the Chargers and Wellington quit playing in favor of the Western-Edison matchup.

After two competitive losses in the first two meetings (62-44, 17-14), the Wildcats routed Wellington a year ago, 34-8. It proved to be the lone win of the season in 2017 for New London, which is off to an 0-2 start this year as well.

The 'Cats opened with losses to Rocky River Lutheran West (47-13) and Firelands (34-7).

Crestline (1-1) at South Central (2-0)

Just twice in the last 40 years (1980, 2006) have the Trojans started a season off 3-0 entering FC play — which is exactly the opportunity they have in their home opener tonight.

After losing a 20-0 lead then holding off for a thrilling 32-26 win at Willard in Week 1 — the first-ever meeting between the two nearby schools — the Trojans (2-0) left no doubt in last week's 54-14 win at Danbury.

South Central jumped out to a 35-6 halftime lead and were never threatened in the victory. The Bulldogs opened with a 26-6 win over Buckeye Central, but were routed last week at home vs. Fisher Catholic (35-7).

The Trojans also won last year's meeting with Crestline in dominant fashion, 44-9.

West Holmes at Bellevue (0-2)

A year ago, it was the Redmen making the 80-plus mile drive near Amish Country to hold on for a 34-26 win over West Holmes.

In that game, Bellevue raced out to a 14-0 lead, and led by 15 at halftime. West Holmes then outscored the Redmen 13-6 in the second half to pull within a possession — but it was Bellevue getting enough defensive stops in the victory.

The Redmen (0-2) enter tonight's matchup desperate for a win. After a narrow 14-13 loss at Canton Central Catholic to open the season, Bellevue was roughed up a week ago (40-12) by visiting Clear Fork.

Meanwhile, the Division III Knights make the long trip north armed with two decisive victories over Wooster Triway (48-14) and Massillon Tuslaw (35-7).

Buckeye Central (0-2) at Plymouth (1-1)

The Big Red enter their home opener stinging from the 38-35 shootout loss at Willard after being unable to hold a three-score lead.

Plymouth opened the season with a 35-20 win at Cardington-Lincoln.

Buckeye Central — located just 13 miles from Plymouth — could be just the right opponent for the Big Red. Low on numbers, the Bucks (0-2) have lost by wide margins to Crestline (26-6) and Dalton (47-7).

The Bucks did not win a game last season, which included a 34-14 loss to the Big Red in the season opener.

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