High school football: Sideline Squabble

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As former straight-A students in high school, Bruce and Kevin have always liked to fill in the blanks.

With that, the two (whose memories must be failing a little if they think they were A students) offer these fill-in-the-blank questions for readers to answer as a lead-in to questions in this weekend's Sideline Squabble.

Although a big underdog to arch-rival Tinora, Ayersville can still make a game of it Friday if ....

Archbold has the toughest remaining schedule in the area. The Blue Streaks will make the playoffs if ....

The Liberty Center defense has been the most impressive thing in the area this season. If I was an offensive coordinator playing against the Tigers I would ....

I never wanted to be a football referee because ....

The only way that fan who sits near me could be more obnoxious is ....

Glad to get that off your chest?

It's time to read on ....

• If you could go watch any game in the area this weekend which one would it be?

Kevin: Oh, I love to fill in the blanks ... you had better believe it. I am only able to go watch one game in the area, and it is Tinora at Ayersville. But I wouldn't have it any other way ... I'm always up for a good old-fashioned "River Bowl." There are some good people in those communities, and I am always impressed by the annual food drive they put together. It's proof that there is more to life than football and that rivalries do not necessarily make enemies. And speaking earlier of filling in the blanks, I would love to answer question number five in this introduction. The only way that fan who sits near me could be more obnoxious is ... drink more and complain louder about the coaches, officials and players. And yes, I am glad to get that off of my chest ... for myself and, I'm sure, a few others out there as well.

Bruce: I make the schedule out so this one is easy - it's where I will be. It's time to check out Liberty Center and see what all the fuss is about. Coming off its first loss of the season, Bryan should be motivated while the Tigers must come back to earth after the big win in a battle of state-ranked teams last Saturday.

• Name a couple teams in the area you had higher hopes for this year.

Kevin: Well, since I have sung the praises of Wayne Trace and Wauseon much of the year as my "sleepers," I will begrudgingly go with them. But it was all in good faith, though. Wauseon ran into some injuries and illness, while Wayne Trace ran into Edgerton, Hicksville and Tinora ... ouch. Maybe that will buy me some more Crystal Ball cheap shots, but I really don't care. And while things don't look too promising in the computer points right now, I still have hopes of seeing Tinora make the playoffs. If it's meant to be, it will be.

Bruce: I wouldn't be in Bryan on Friday if Napoleon could just play four good quarters a game instead of two or three. Winning tight games as well as injuries have been issues for the Wildcats playing against a demanding schedule. Another squad that has had trouble winning close games is Fairview. Like Napoleon, I expected the Apaches to be in the hunt for a playoff berth at this stage but three close losses dimmed those hopes.

• Defiance is looking for its first winning record in three years. What will it take for this to happen?

Kevin: Looking at the remainder of the schedule, I would say a bit of luck and a lot of faith. It would be nice to see the Bulldogs pull it off, but getting past Kenton on the road is going to be quite a tall order even if they happened to win against Shawnee and Elida. But anything can happen, right? That is proven all the time, especially when there is determination and hard work involved. But whatever happens, lessons are learned, character is hopefully developed and times moves on.

Bruce: It sure feels good talking about the Bulldogs and a winning record again. Two big things must take place for it to happen. First a win over Shawnee is a must this week. No questions asked. Continued improvement on the defense is the other main thing. With Kenton and Elida to close out the schedule, the defense must come up big. Remember ... those are teams that combined for 93 points against the Bulldogs in 2010.

• It's been another great year for offenses in the area. Where will the most points be scored on Friday night?

Kevin: That depends on if you are speaking individually or collectively. With all due respect to Holgate, Hicksville is coming to town. And judging by what the Aces have been up to, I think you know what that means. Hicksville is a scoring machine, and that is exactly what it will do against the Tigers. Now collectively, Archbold and Patrick Henry are hooking up ... if the defenses don't hold up, there could be at least a 10-line scoring summary attached to that one.

Bruce: Only once has Edgerton scored fewer than 40 points in a game this season. While the Bulldogs may not hit that number against Fairview, they should be close. The Apaches, on the other hand, may score that many. Let's say first one to 40 wins.

• This season has been a struggle for Paulding, Antwerp and Montpelier. Each is still in search of win number one. Who has the best shot to get it?

Kevin: Okay, Paulding is hosting Columbus Grove, Antwerp is entertaining Wayne Trace and Montpelier is taking on Bishop Ready ... since I am not too familiar with Bishop Ready, I'll take a shot in the dark and say Montpelier. No, let me be completely honest ... I know absolutely nothing about Bishop Ready. I apologize in advance to the Montpelier fans if I have now jinxed you.

Bruce: Paulding, while playing better of late, has the toughest remaining slate with three 4-3 teams left while Antwerp and Montpelier each face a trio of teams with losing records. The coin is in the air ... Antwerp. The coin toss on tests at school always worked didn't it Kevin?

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