There’s always a few bumps in the road on opening night.
Coaches will second guess a call or two. Players will regret a play not made. School officials will analyze ways to increase concession sales and decrease traffic congestion.
Opening night brought its share of trials and tribulations to the sports department as well.
Which brings us to the guy we call the grizzled veteran of the staff, Dave Hanneman. Hanneman was in Whitehouse covering Findlay’s football game at Anthony Wayne. But as we’re learning, especially after the slow period days of summer, sending him on the road with just a laptop and phone card is courting disaster.
Contrary to what some of the young pups on staff might think, Hanneman’s first stories weren’t run off on a printing press, nor were they relayed back to the office via Pony Express. Still, this is a guy who put the “no” into tech-no-logy.
When his first call came in that he was having trouble getting a “connection” the red flags went up. And with deadline fast approaching, then quickly passing, tension mounted as to whether he would get his story back at all.
Back at the office, they considered putting out an OGB (Old Geezers Bulletin.) They considered stocking the shelves of local pharmacies with bottles of Geritol bearing his face and this plea: “Have you seen this man?”
Eventually, the article did get phoned in — literally. But like coaches, players and school officials, Week 2 offers hope for redemption, especially with Findlay playing at home. If Hanneman had to, he could probably yell it in from Donnell Stadium.
One thing Hanneman did do right last week was correctly predict 17 of the 21 games on the local schedule. He accurately picked two of the three winners in the games he and sports editor Jamie Baker disagreed on, giving him a one game edge heading into Week 2 of the Pigskin Picks.
With our fearless forecasters disagreeing on four games this week, there could be a major shift in the standings. In three of those four games, Hanneman is going with the home team in Findlay, Columbus Grove and Riverside. He’s also taking Bluffton in what should be a competitive match-up at Van Buren. Baker is going with road teams Grove City, Allen East and Arcadia, along with the Black Knights.
WEEK 1: 17-4, SEASON: 17-4
- FINDLAY over Grove City –Findlay’s offense can score some points. The key will be keeping Grove City from ball-hawking the time of possession all night.
- SPENCERVILLE over Ada — Bearcats hung 51 points on Leipsic last week. The real shocker, though, was they also shut the Vikings out.
- COLUMBUS GROVE over Allen East — Gut-check time for a Grove group that last Friday dodged a bullet that had “upset” written all over it.
- BRYAN over Patrick Henry — It would be tough to pick against the Big Bad Bears on their home turf.
- OTTAWA-GLANDORF over Van Wert — Van Wert gave Bryan a battle. I expect they’ll give the Titans one, too.
- Colonel Crawford over MOHAWK — Mohawk’s early schedule is B-R-U-T-A-L.
- RIVERSIDE over Arcadia — Pirates return two 1,000-yard backs to a program that went from 0-9 in 2012 to 5-5 in 2013.
- Arlington over PARKWAY — Parkway has a few patsies on the schedule. Arlington ain’t one of them.
- Bluffton over VAN BUREN — A secret source has me giving an edge to the Pirates in what should be a close one.
- LIBERTY-BENTON over Bowling Green — I think the Division III Bobcats were counting on an easy win over little Division V school. Surprise!
- FOSTORIA over Cardinal Stritch — 1-1 is going to look a lot better than 0-2 Saturday morning.
- Carey over RIVERDALE — The Powers that be point to a big win in this long-running rivalry.
- UPPER SCIOTO VALLEY over Cory-Rawson — Taking the Rams at home in what could be a close one.
- UPPER SANDUSKY over Elgin — Taking the Rams at home in what could be a close one. (Is there an echo in here?)
- Fairview over NORTH BALTIMORE — Fairview and Holgate aren’t too far apart geographically. But they are miles apart when it comes to football.
- WAYNESFIELD-GOSHEN over Hardin Northern — Tigers have a deeper, more battle-tested club, at least this year.
- Hopewell-Loudon over ELMWOOD — I flipped a coin. It landed on its side.
- McComb over PANDORA-GILBOA — I was tempted to call this an Upset Special, but I don’t think Kris Alge and his staff will let that happen.
- Leipsic over FREMONT ST. JOE — St. Joe’s numbers are way down. And after last week’s whupping, I’m guessing the Vikings are not in a good mood.
- Vanlue over ST. WENDELIN — Great chance for the Cats to put that 30-game skid to rest.
WEEK 1: 16-5, SEASON: 16-5
- Grove City over FINDLAY — I picked against the Trojans last week and got burned. Let’s see if they can do it to me again this time at the friendly confines of Donnell Stadium.
- SPENCERVILLE over Ada — Not really confident on this pick but last week’s 51-0 win over Leipsic swayed me to the Bearcat bandwagon.
- Allen East over COLUMBUS GROVE — Another tough call. Mustangs in a nailbiter.
- BRYAN over Patrick Henry — After last week’s miraculous win over Edgerton, hopefully the Pats have saved a few Hail Marys for the rest of the season.
- OTTAWA-GLANDORF over Van Wert — Titans open WBL play with a win.
- Colonel Crawford over MOHAWK– Pleasant and Colonel Crawford is a tough way to start the season for a young Mohawk team.
- Arcadia over RIVERSIDE — The long trip to Logan County will be worthwhile for the Redskins.
- Arlington over PARKWAY — Heard Vegas set the odds on the number of 200-yard rushing games for Austin Rettig at four.
- VAN BUREN over Bluffton — Statement game for both teams. Black Knights have long-sought a big win over an area school, I think they get it this week.
- LIBERTY-BENTON over Bowling Green — Eagles showed me something last week. This week they’ll show the Bobcats.
- FOSTORIA over Cardinal Stritch — Expect the Redmen to win a low-scoring struggle here.
- Carey over RIVERDALE — Blue Devils take this neighborhood skirmish before both teams enter league play next week.
- UPPER SCIOTO VALLEY over Cory-Rawson — I’d love to see what the fastest man in the BVC, Mason Warnimont, could do with the football.
- UPPER SANDUSKY over Elgin — Rams get Chris Rodriguez his first win as head coach.
- Fairview over NORTH BALTIMORE — Tigers are going to get more wins this season, just not this week.
- WAYNESFIELD-GOSHEN over Hardin Northern — Polar Bears are headed in the right direction; good test for them this week.
- Hopewell-Loudon over ELMWOOD — Chieftains got smacked around a little by Calvert last week. I think the Senecas might do that to a lot of teams this season.
- McComb over PANDORA-GILBOA — Friday night’s game at Pandora might turn into a high-scoring track meet.
- Leipsic over FREMONT ST. JOSEPH — Both teams lost big last week. Look for the Vikes to rebound.
- Vanlue over FOSTORIA ST. WENDELIN — Vanlue wins. The biggest thing for both teams in this game is to avoid injuries.
HOME TEAM IN CAPS