High School Football: 5 games to watch in Week 7

Published: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 2:49 PM


            Wayne QB Rashad McKee. Centerville defeated host Wayne 39-22 in a Week 6 high school football game on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Wayne QB Rashad McKee. Centerville defeated host Wayne 39-22 in a Week 6 high school football game on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

The seventh week of the high school football season finds plenty of Miami Valley teams in the hunt for division and league titles, not to mention playoff positioning during the final month of the regular season.

Here are five games to watch in Week 7, with a reminder that one of these games is interesting not due to winning records, but just the opposite.

Northmont at Springfield

The Thunberbolts can light up any scoreboard as the Lebanon Warriors found out last week in a 51-7 loss. Tony Broering’s team is averaging 40 points a game. This is a chance to pick up some big playoff points for a team that is currently ranked ninth in the Region 3 computer poll.

»RELATED: Week 6 recap — Centerville still perfect

For Springfield this is the start of a stretch of brutal games in the final month. The Wildcats also face Beavercreek, Wayne, and Fairmont in the coming weeks.

Wayne at Beavercreek

Three losses should be good enough to get into the Region 3 playoffs again this season, but Wayne faces a daunting task that starts Friday night at Beavercreek.

The Warriors were blitzed at home by Centerville last week and now face the once-beaten Beavers on the road.

Nic Black’s team is coming off its first loss of the season, a 27-24 setback at Springboro that saw the Panthers’ Connor Luksic kick the game winning field goal with 3 seconds to play.

Madison at Carlisle

The Mohawks have been a scoring machine the last three weeks after losing back-to-back games to Monroe and Valley View.

»RELATED: Madison overwhelms Milton-Union

Carlisle has been perfect since a season-opening loss to Franklin. The Indians also display a high-powered offense, so the scoreboard operator will be busy in Carlisle this week.

Brookville at Milton Union

This is the Touchdown 7 Arby’s Game of the Week, and it’s a tale of two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions.

»RELATED: Brookville outslugs Oakwood

Brookville is coming off a 63-42 win at Oakwood last Friday as Bailey Wallen ran for more than 300 yards.

Milton has only managed six points in the last two games, both losses. The Bulldogs are 2-4 in the first six weeks of the season.

Waynesville at Northridge

Last but not least, the Spartans and Polar Bears are both playing for pride…and the end of a losing streak.

Waynesville hasn’t won a game since 2015, the losing streak now stands at 16 in a row.

Northridge is giving up 53 points a game in their 0-6 start. The Polar Bears have lost nine games in a row.

Join us for all of the scores and highlights on Touchdown 7 on Newscenter 7 Friday night at 11:13 p.m.

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Hartman: Reds sweep Cubs, remind us all is not lost after all

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 10:10 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 24:  Alex Blandino #2 of the Cincinnati Reds congratulates Scott Schebler #43 after scoring the go ahead run during the seventh inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 8-6. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 24: Alex Blandino #2 of the Cincinnati Reds congratulates Scott Schebler #43 after scoring the go ahead run during the seventh inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 24, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 8-6. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)(Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

I’m pretty sure I stunned a friend last week when I told him I had expected the Reds to be around a .500 team this season. 

He’s an Indians fan and a casual one at that, but it still seemed unimaginable this could have been a respectable team now given the way things started, right? 

Well, they haven’t lost since, so I guess it’s nice not to seem totally crazy. 

>>RELATED: Reds rally to win Sunday, sweep Cubs

One good week does not a season make, but it sure beats the alternative. 

Now, why did I think the 2018 Reds would be around a .500 team? 

Well, they had shown they could hit, had a handful of starting pitching prospects finish last season strong and made some additions to the bullpen that looked smart. 

Of course it was easy to forget all those things as nothing went right during the first month or so of the season. 

The starters weren’t good most of the time, the bullpen had a few blowups and worst of all they couldn’t hit. 

But they when the regulars are in there — including Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler, who were both hurt in April — and Joey Votto isn’t slumping, the offense is a lot better. 

>>PHOTOS: Reds beat Cubs 8-6

Yes, it turns out this team can score as expected even though Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton still are hitting in the low .200s and having a hard time getting on base. 

The bullpen actually is good — better than expected despite one of last year’s stalwarts (Wandy Peralta) struggling. 

The rotation is still hit or miss at best, which assures there will be no miracle run to relevance between now and October. 

However, the (admittedly modest) goals from the start of the season may be back on the table if they can avoid chasing this winning streak with another winless week. 

» PROSPECT WATCH: How the top Reds minor leaguers are doing

And what are those goals? 

  • They can still flip a hitter or three for more young talent. 
  • They can still identify the real prospects for the rotation and hope to get beyond more growing pains with them. 
  • They can still provide some fun summer memories to help pass the time until Bengals training camp. 

To sum things up: The 2018 Reds can still make the 2019 Reds look like a team that will be worth following, which is all we ever wanted, wasn’t it? 

Of course not all the news from the weekend was good. 

Two other Reds notes to start the week: 

Top prospect Nick Senzel’s development is halted — again — after he tore a finger ligament

This is not the end of the world, but it means he won’t be getting his feet wet in the majors this season. 

That’s just as well because they don’t have anywhere to put him — yet. 

After a second battle with vertigo in less than a year, Senzel had been red hot at Triple-A Louisville, so I would say there is no doubt he’s ready for a call-up when healthy. 

There are a few different scenarios for getting him into the lineup. 

Not everyone who’s starting now — Schebler, Duvall, Scooter Gennett — is going to be here in 2019, but who goes will determine where Senzel comes up. 

  

In better prospect news, Hunter Greene had another strong start Saturday for the slumping Dayton Dragons. 

He pitched into the seventh inning for the first time, though he took the loss because he allowed three runs and that is too many for the Dragons to win right now. 

Greene was efficient with no walks and 62 of his 87 pitches were strikes. He relied on the fastball but also used his slider at times as an out pitch. He lowered his ERA to 5.13 and has a 2.37 ERA over his last six starts.

“I feel like every outing I’ve been getting better,” Greene said. “I’ve go to continue to learn and get better for sure and stay healthy and to continue to execute pitches.”

Not bad, eh? 

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Sprint car driver Jason Johnson dies from injuries suffered in crash

Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

Sprint car driver Jason Johnson died Sunday after crashing during a World of Outlaws race Saturday. He was 41.
Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Sprint car driver Jason Johnson died Sunday after crashing during a World of Outlaws race Saturday. He was 41.(Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Sprint car racer Jason Johnson died Sunday from injuries suffered after a crash at Saturday night’s World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam Raceway, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. He was 41.

>> Read more trending news 

Johnson crashed on the 18th lap of the race at the Wisconsin track. Johnson, of Eunice, Louisiana, was racing for the lead in the dirt-track race with eventual winner Daryn Pitman when his car flipped and crashed through the billboards near Turn 3, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

Johnson was airlifted to a hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, where he died, the newspaper reported.

Johnson debuted in the World of Outlaws series in 1998 and began racing full time on the circuit in 2015, according to Bleacher Report.

He was the league's Rookie of the Year in 2015. Johnson had 12 victories on the circuit, including two this year, Bleacher Report said.

Johnson is second driver in four years to die from injuries suffered in a sprint car crash at Beaver Dam Raceway. Scott Semmelmann was killed in an accident in practice at an Interstate Racing Association in September 2014, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Bobbi, and a son, Jaxx, according to the World of Outlaws website.

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NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini hit by car while jogging

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

Wendy Venturini Hit by Car While Jogging in California

NASCAR pit reporter Wendy Venturini suffered a skull fracture and concussion Saturday after she was hit by a car while jogging in Novato, California, according to a news release from Venturini Racing.

>> Read more trending news 

Venturini, 39, was in California to cover Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Cup race in Sonoma. She will remain in the hospital for several days, the news release said.

“She’s completely coherent and conversational, and I have talked to her on two occasions today," said Doug Rice, president and general manager of Performance Racing Network. "They told her she would have a really good headache for a couple of days.”

Venturini's father, Bill, is a two-time Auto Racing Club of America champion who founded Venturini Motorsports in 1982, The Sporting News reported.

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Jesse Winker: Reds ‘are going to ride the wave’

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 4:01 PM

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias celebrates a victory over the Cubs on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds closer Raisel Iglesias celebrates a victory over the Cubs on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Jesse Winker bounced as he rounded third base, hopping high into the air before slapping hands with third-base coach Billy Hatcher.

“I was pretty happy,” Winker said.

Winker did come back down to earth after his pinch-hit, three-run home run in the seventh inning. The Cincinnati Reds, however, continue to soar. Their 8-6 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Great American Ball Park gave them a season-high seven victories in a row and 10 wins in their last 12 games.

» RELATED: Injured Senzel sees Reds play in person for first time

Winker’s home run came in a seven-run seventh inning as the Reds rallied from a 6-1 deficit to sweep four games from the Cubs in Cincinnati for the first time since April 1983. None of the current Reds were born when that sweep occurred. Joey Votto was born five months later.

“We were focused on today’s game,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “It wasn’t about a sweep. It’s about trying to just get better and better and win some ballgames. We just really have put a nice string of games together. These other games we were up and really played flawless. Today we were down and kept pushing and came back and got it.”

» PHOTOS: Reds beat Cubs 8-6

While the Reds (32-45) still sit in last place in the National League Central Division, four games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates, they are making up ground fast. They trailed Pittsburgh by 9½ games on June 9. The Reds trailed first-place Milwaukee by 17½ games on June 9 and are now 13½ games back.

“We know what we can do as a team,” Winker said. “We can all play this game. It’s fun to win. But I don’t think anybody’s surprised by what we’re doing. If you look around, we’re all kind of acting pretty normal right now. It’s what we expect to do. It’s cool coming to the field expecting to win. It’s a very good feeling. Right now, we’re on a good wave, and we’re going to ride the wave.”

» RELATED: Reds set sights on escaping basement

The Reds completed their first perfect homestand of at least six games since May 2008. In the last seven games, Reds batters are hitting .322 with 14 home runs.

The Reds even got home runs by pitchers on consecutive days for the first time since 2006. One day after Anthony DeSclafani hit a grand slam in an 11-2 victory, Michael Lorenzen hit a solo home run with the Reds trailing 5-0 in the fifth.

“You just feel the momentum in here,” Lorenzen said. “A game like today, it just feels like we’re not meant to lose.”

Lorenzen and Winker hit pinch-hit home runs, making Riggleman look good.

“With Lorenzen, it’s a matter of not using a bench player with nobody on base,” Riggleman said. “If we had somebody on base, we would have had somebody else hitting. With Wink, he’s a great option to have off the bench. He’s done great things coming off the bench.”

NOTES: Joey Votto went 3-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh with a double. He raised his average to .305. … Raisel Iglesias recorded his 13th save with a perfect ninth inning. … The Reds and Cubs drew 36,818 fans on Saturday and 30,508 fans on Sunday. It’s the first time this season the Reds have topped 30,000 fans in back-to-back home games.

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