Arcanum's Zade Shank. (Dale Barger photo)

SHOTS IN THE DARKE

Is there any better time of the year for sports enthusiasts than October? Baseball playoffs, high school, college, and professional football all in full swing, high school tournaments in all fall sports, the start of basketball practices at the college and pro levels, hockey getting ice time; it just doesn’t get any better!

Throw in beautiful fall weather and all the other fall activities and it is truly a great time of the year!

Another huge weekend of high school football is upcoming with league championship and playoff implications all around the area. The Versailles Tigers are in a three-way tie for second place in the MAC with St. Henry and Coldwater, all with 5-1 league marks, all trailing the 6-0 Flyers of Marion Local.

The Tigers travel to Mercer County Friday to take on the Redskins while Marion and the Cavaliers have their annual bloodletting the same evening. Versailles’ only loss in a 7-1 season was by a narrow 19-17 count to Marion. The MAC continues to live up to its reputation as the best small school conference in the state!

Meanwhile down south the Ansonia Tigers, boasting a 5-2 record in the WOAC, travel to Camden to take on the undefeated Arrows of Preble Shawnee. Shawnee can clinch the league title with a win and will finish the regular season at Dixie.

Tri-Village at 6-1 and in sole possession of second place has to hope for an Ansonia win to stay in contention for the trophy. The Patriots, whose only blemish is a week two loss to the Arrows, wind down the regular schedule by hosting winless Bradford and then traveling to National Trail. The inaugural season of the WOAC has proven to be interesting to say the least!

Piqua’s undefeated and state-ranked Indians look to wrap up the Miami division of the MVL with a win at home over Butler before going on the road to Stebbins, one of the three coleaders in the Valley division along with Xenia and Sidney, all at 4-3.

Greenville’s Wave look to finish strong by hosting the Trojans of Troy this Friday before closing the campaign at Tipp. Greenville’s offense has suddenly failed to fire on all cylinders the past two weeks, being shutout by both Piqua and Butler, the two top defensive units in the MVL, in falling to 2-6 overall.

On the national level Georgia takes over as the number one team in FBS with Iowa’s Hawkeyes second, thanks to a huge win over Penn State, and UC’s Bearcats third. The Texas A and M upset of Alabama, Oklahoma’s comeback win over Texas, and all of the other usual shenanigans of a fall weekend made for turmoil in the rankings with THE moving up to sixth, Penn State seventh, Michigan eighth, and Michigan State tenth, making a total of five Big Ten teams in the Top Ten!

Must say that I really enjoyed seeing ‘Bama go down!! What do you make of the Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden news the past week? It’s been a rough few weeks for the former Buckeye mentor as he has an 0-5 record with the Jaguars in his first try at coaching pro ball and a lot of “splaining to do”, as Ricky Ricardo would say, as a result of his visit to his restaurant in Columbus and subsequent video revelations.

Out West, Gruden is under scrutiny for an e-mail of 10 years ago that is causing ripples in the NFL. I guess anything that is considered social media is fair game for eternity!!

Baseball playoffs as mentioned earlier are well underway in both Leagues at the divisional level with what should be competitive matchups all around. Too tough to call for this old boy but I’d like to see the Giants and Rays emerge as World Series contenders!!

What a great game, except for the outcome, between the Browns and Chargers Sunday! If you liked offense, this contest had more than enough to satisfy your appetite—89 points and over 1,000 yards total offense kept the scoreboard operators busy at the spectacular new SoFi Stadium, a testament to what $5 BILLION can buy!

Earlier in the afternoon the Bengals lost to the Packers in an entertaining game that saw a total of FIVE missed field goals in a period of eight minutes on the clock. Veteran Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby and Cincinnati rookie Evan McPherson both misfired although McPherson’s were both from long-range—lots of pressure on those two specialists, something that I wouldn’t want put on my shoulders!

Enjoy the next few weeks of weather and activities; remember that those combines and tractors taking up the roadways are putting food on your table!! Until next time, stay healthy and active!

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