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Whitmer, Central Catholic, Eastwood lead Blade high school football poll

09/11/2017, 5:24pm EDT

First poll of season has trio of unbeatens at the top of divisional rankings

Central Catholic's Devon Rivers (5) breezes past defenders for a long run in the first quarter of the Friday, September 1, football matchup against Detroit Martin Luther King at Central Catholic in Toledo. THE BLADE

Three Rivers Athletic Conference rivals Whitmer and Central Catholic, along with Northern Buckeye Conference power Eastwood, sit atop the divisional rankings in the first Blade high school football poll of the 2017 season.
With his team off to a 3-0 start, Whitmer coach Ken Winters’ Panthers are ranked No. 1 in the combined Division I-II poll, ahead of 2016 D-II state semifinalist Anthony Wayne (2-1), which lost 30-28 to visiting Clyde on a late field goal Friday night.

Whitmer has outscored its three foes — Canton GlenOak, Detroit Catholic Central and Perrysburg — by a combined 101-45 heading into its TRAC opener at home against St. John’s Jesuit (2-1) on Friday. The Titans are ranked No. 5 in the I-II poll.

STATE POLL: Eastwood earns first No. 1 ranking; See Steve Junga’s vote

Last season’s Division I-II Blade poll champion, Springfield (2-1), is currently ranked No. 4 behind Fremont Ross (2-1), which upset the Blue Devils 28-18 in Week 1.

Central (3-0) is a clear-cut No. 1 in The Blade’s Division III-IV poll, having opened with wins against two teams who entered the season as two-time defending state champions.

The Fighting Irish, of coach Greg Dempsey, won 35-16 at Columbus Bishop Hartley, which has won back-to-back Ohio Division IV titles, then rallied to a 21-13 win against visiting Detroit Martin Luther King, which has won the past two Michigan Division 2 state championships.

Central topped Canada Prep Academy of Welland, Ont., 23-8, this past Friday.

Since the start of the 2012 season, Central is 67-8 overall with two state championships and a runner-up finish. The four-time defending TRAC champion Irish take a 28-game conference winning streak into their conference opener Friday at home against Lima Senior.

Central — which won the 2016 III-IV Blade poll as well as the Associated Press D-III state poll title — have needed late rallies to top the Spartans the past two seasons, edging them 49-48 in 2015, and 35-34 last year.

Wauseon (3-0) of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League is ranked No. 2 in the first III-IV Blade poll.

At Eastwood, where first-year coach Craig Rutherford has succeeded his father, 35-year coach Jerry Rutherford, not much has changed in the transition.

Well stocked with veteran talent, the Eagles (3-0) have outscored their opposition 100-21 so far, and is ranked No. 1 in the first Blade Division V-VI-VII poll.

A D-V team, the Eagles edged out preseason NWOAL favorite Liberty Center (3-0) and NBC rival Genoa (3-0), also D-V teams, for the top spot.

The Tigers of first-year coach Casey Mohler, who are ranked No. 2, have topped foes by a combined 92-13. Coach Paul Patterson’s Comets, who are ranked No. 3, have outpointed their opponents 142-50 thus far.

All three teams take to the road Friday — Eastwood open NBC play at Elmwood, Liberty Center begins NWOAL action at Evergreen, and Genoa starts its NBC slate at Lake.

Patrick Henry, the 2016 Division V-VI-VII Blade poll champ, was hit hard by graduation, and is off to a 1-2 start.

Division I-II

1. Whitmer-1 (3-0)

2. Anthony Wayne-II (2-1)

3. Fremont Ross-II (2-1)

4. Springfield-II (2-1)

5. St. John’s-II (2-1) 

Division III-IV

1. Central Catholic-III (3-0)

2. Wauseon-IV (3-0)

3. Bowling Green-III (2-1)

4. Port Clinton-IV (2-1)

5. Maumee-III (2-1)

Division V-VII

1. Eastwood-V (3-0)

2. Liberty Center-V (3-0)

3. Genoa-V (3-0)

4. Liberty-Benton-VI (2-1)

5. McComb-VII (2-1)

Contact Steve Junga at sjunga@theblade.com419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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Tag(s): High School  Anthony Wayne  Toledo Central Catholic  Eastwood  Elmwood  Evergreen  Fremont Ross  Genoa  Lake  Liberty Center  Lima Senior  Springfield  St. John's Jesuit  Wauseon  Whitmer  Steve Junga