Written by Scotty Mincher & Super Dave O’Malley

Welcome to the inaugural installment of “Goal Line Stance” with Scotty Mincher and Super Dave O’Malley.  In this column, Scotty and I will be examining the psyche of the Mahoning Valley sports fan, in all their undiluted glory.

Our first subject will be on the long-suffering Browns fan, more specifically, the Modern Day Browns Fan (MDBF). Allow me to continue…

Imagine being a fan of “The Walking Dead” but you only started watching it after season six, or of loving the show “Two and a Half Men” but only the Ashton Kutcher years.  Sounds ridiculous and painful, right?  Well, welcome to the wonderful world of the MDBF.  These are the fans that showed up to the theater late, just in time for the tragic second act, approximately around the year 1999 (not the party that Prince suggested).  And trust me, we feel for the MDBF.

You know who they are. The dudes walking around the sports bar in their $200 Trent Richardson jerseys pining for a return of the Kelly Holcomb era. Sad, really. And, unfortunately, no one personifies the MDBF like my man, Scotty Mincher…

SD:  So, Scotty, how long have you been a die-hard Browns fan?

SM:  Since 1999.

SD:  Ouch. 

SM:  My father made me a fan.

SD:  Do you ever feel like just rearing back and hitting him square in the jaw?

SM:  Almost every Sunday.

SD:   And how long have you been a season ticket holder?

SM:  Seven Years.

SD:  So, as many years as home wins?

SM:  (Abject silence with a touch of glare).

In Scotty’s defense, most MDBF’s have poor patriarchal advice to blame for their wildly misguided fandom, but that can’t be the only reason, let’s explore…

Look, we all know the facts:  Twenty years, over twenty quarterbacks, twelve head coaches (unbelievable), two winning seasons and one playoff appearance…sob.  So, exactly what does the MDBF have to hang their helmet on?  As Scotty has pointed out, being a resident of Ohio went a long way in choosing his favorite teams (both admirable and loyal) but he also added that he’s a Browns fan because he loves the color orange, so you never know. I feel the color orange should only be worn by hunters or people doing community service on the side of the highway.  Although coupled with the color brown, it is quite autumnal.  Perhaps the MDBF, quite simply, loves the city of Cleveland.  It’s possible. Cleveland is a great town.

But, so is Pittsburgh (once you get acclimated to Appalachian foothill dialect and trucker hats).

But, make no mistake, there is a difference between a Cleveland fan and a Pittsburgh fan. You can pick the differences up right away.  Let’s take DJ Yokely, owner of YSN and a lifelong Steeler fan.  DJ is one of the most confident, driven and positive people I have ever met. I guarantee you, he would not possess any of those three qualities if he had grown up a Browns fan. There are rare exceptions, of course, but it’s a very difficult road.  I grew up a Browns fan and I barely have a pulse.

SD:  So, Scotty, what special qualities do you possess by being a Browns fan?

SM:  Perseverance and the innate ability to handle pain.

SD:  Then it helps to be a little masochistic to be a Browns fan?

SM:  You have no idea…(trails off into a cloud of tears).

But wait, it’s 2020, the year of the bizarre and the Browns have a winning record (as of this writing) and seem to be destined for a playoff berth. (Of course, the Squealers chose this year to have their best start in history, dagnabit!!).  We can’t concern ourselves with that.  So, could this finally be the year the MDBF have something to fill their, basically vacant, great memory file? Could this be the year that the generational gap between old and new Browns fans gets narrower?  We can only hope. Either way, Browns nation is not going anywhere.

Scotty and I love the Browns, for better or worse (heavy on the latter), and even though I experienced many more successful seasons (actually only three), we will continue to throw blind support at our beloved Browns. We are an extremely dysfunctional family, but loyal to a fault. We have experienced more than our share of heartbreak, yet we still continue to love our team. That alone says the most about Browns fans, old or modern.

I’m not sure this piece has shed any light on the Modern Day Browns Fan but that is the enigmatic nature of this fan base.

Go Browns!!


By Scotty Mincher

Being a fan of baseball here locally in the valley, It’s very obvious and certainly doesn’t take an expert to see that the Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates are two teams going in completely different directions. The Indians have clinched a postseason berth and the Pirates are in the cellar and have the worst record in Major League Baseball. When it comes to the Indians, I think the word that’s probably most suitable to describe their team this year and during the Terry Francona era as team manager is competitive. They show up ready to play and rarely give in before the final out is recorded. But injuries, Star players underachieving in the playoffs, no salary cap, and ownership cutting payroll in recent seasons have all been key factors in the Indian’s inability to end baseball’s longest World Series title drought in my opinion. Because the Indians have been able to remain competitive this year and in recent years prior, being a fan of the team has been both exhilarating and at times heartbreaking. I see the Indians as a legitimate contender for a championship this year, but their struggles at the plate have me feeling cautiously optimistic at best.

The outlook for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from the media as well as a fan’s perspective for 2020 and beyond isn’t nearly as glowing. Much like with the Indians, the Pirates have gained a reputation for being cheap. The big difference I see between the two teams is that the Indians have drafted and developed their own talent very well and the Pirates have not. The Indians farm system has solid talent right now and is considered to be in the middle of the pack of Major League Baseball at worst. What I know from Pittsburgh fans about the Pirates farm system is that it leaves a lot to be desired.

The Indians got a draft haul of starting pitchers that look to have really promising futures in Dan Plesac, Aaron Civale, and Shane Bieber all in one draft, with the latter looking to win his first Cy Young award this year. In my time watching baseball and following Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I don’t ever remember the Pirates getting quality pitchers or position players to that degree in one baseball draft. It’s a big reason why the Indians have been a World Series Contender for the better part of the last decade and the Pirates have mostly been a cupcake to other teams on their schedule. Furthermore, despite the Indians being unable to shake the cheap team label, especially the last couple of years, in particular, They’ve been considerably more active about trying to win than the Pirates. The Tribe added key relief specialist, and arguably the best relief pitcher at the time in baseball in 2016 in Andrew Miller, who ended up being a vital piece to their run to the World Series that year. They also were able to get free-agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion at a discount and add him to an already good lineup in 2017. Miller came via trade from the Yankees and Encarnacion was signed during the 2016 offseason. The Pirates on the other hand have been a lot less aggressive with trades and free agency to bolster their Major League club over the years. During the Pirates several year window as a contender throughout the last decade, They were never really players for big-name high ceiling guys in free agency and didn’t shell out hefty contracts to stars. They instead opted for low-risk signings of minimal impact. That’s a problem for an organization that hasn’t done as good a job with developing their draft picks and homegrown talent as the Indians have. Having a bigger payroll would help the Pirates, but the Indians have been proof that a small or midlevel market team can win and have success, something that has seemed to elude the Pirates franchise.

Arguably the biggest fish the Pirates caught in a trade during their contending years was A.J. Burnett from the New York Yankees, which one could say after underachieving in New York resurrected his career in Pittsburgh. The Pirates look to be pretty dysfunctional even when just looking at them on the surface. With that being said, I think the work that best sums up the Major League franchise is cheap. Pittsburgh has done a poor job of scouting, drafting, and developing talent, which has made the life of a Pirates fan that much more demoralizing. But in my opinion, unwillingness to put big bucks into the team by ownership is the biggest reason for the Pirates dysfunction, and you can’t win consistently if you don’t spend enough money, Just like at owner Mike Brown and the Cincinnati Bengals. Speaking of the NFL and teams in the AFC North, The Steelers and Browns and the way they compare and contrast have its similarities to the Indians and Pirates.

The NFL is a little bit of a different animal in that it has a salary cap. But even so over the last twenty years specifically, The Steelers have made sound decisions after sound decisions while the Browns have made terribly bad ones after terribly bad ones. For example, The Steelers have had the same quarterback at number one on their depth chart since after the 2004 NFL Draft in Ben Roethlisberger. All the Browns have had is a history of instability and change at that position. The same can be said for the coaching category. The Steelers have Super Bowl Winning coach Mike Tomlin and have had just three head coaches since 1969. For the Browns, it has been a constant revolving door for them at head coach, and almost like a death sentence for coaching careers. If you feel that franchise quarterbacks and coaching are the two most important ingredients for winning in the NFL as I do, It’s easy to see why the Steelers have been such a well run organization, and why the Browns have been a dumpster fire. The one big difference between the Browns and the Pirates and both franchise’s losing ways, other than the fact that they play a different sport is that the NFL is better built for parity. With the salary cap and the way the NFL is structured, every year creates a level playing field and an equal opportunity for every team. Baseball has done a better job to create more parity in recent years with things like the wild card, but with still no salary cap to date in the majors, the playing field isn’t quite as even.

On top of all that, the Browns unlike the Pirates have an owner that isn’t afraid to spend money. Yet somehow it still hasn’t translated into wins for the Browns. In conclusion, because of the reasons I just gave, I feel that as bad as things must be for Pirates fans, It still not as bad as being a Browns fan in a league that has the perfect setup for parity. So whether you agree with me when it comes to the Browns and Pirates or not, I think just about every sports fan of Pittsburgh and Cleveland would agree that we’ve witnessed a tale of four similarly different sports franchises.


By Scotty Mincher

The return of multiple sports has been splendid and a sight for sore eyes. But as wonderful as it is to be able to watch sports again, that doesn’t mean that things don’t feel a little different. I think just about everyone will agree that the most significant difference is the reality of no fans in the stadiums. But how much of the impact of no fans at the game actually affects the outcome? For this story, we’ll take a look at the level of importance fans play during a game, as well as go over how much they are truly missed in specific sports. When taking a look at the three sports I know best, that being baseball, basketball, and football no fans at the games affect all three of these sports in different ways.

When it comes to baseball, I think fans are of the least amount of importance in comparison to basketball and football. That’s not to say they don’t matter in baseball, but I think their impact is more limited. As the old saying goes in baseball, momentum is as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. Because baseball is unique in the sense that the guy on defense always has possession of the ball, the pitcher can always be a silencer no matter how hostile the opposing crowd is. A pitcher can also neutralize a superstar’s effectiveness to a degree unlike what’s seen in other sports because when a pitcher’s at the top of his game, you can’t just give your superstar more at-bats to take over a game, and the pitcher could also have his number over the course of that player’s career, or on a certain day. I do feel like baseball fans play a little bigger role when it comes to the postseason because there’s tension hanging on every pitch. But there’s a lot of empty seats in major league stadiums throughout the course of a 162 game season and that really limits a baseball fan’s impact on a game.

Switching gears to basketball, I think the impact of no fans at the basketball games is bigger than baseball by a substantial margin. In basketball, just about any seat is a good seat and fans are right on top of the action. NBA teams of the past have put together some great home records, and the same goes for high school and college as well. It’s very evident when you watch a basketball game on T.V. or in person, that because fans are so close to the action, the players can feed off their energy a great deal. I also think in basketball, depending on the team, home-court advantage in the playoffs can be a launching pad to a championship.

The other sport that is sure to take a hit with no fans in attendance is football. Like in basketball, Football fans can very much influence the outcome of a game. For as big a role football fans play in supporting the home team. Their role in disrupting the visiting team is just as vital. It’s common to see false starts and pre-snap penalties a team suffers have a direct link to the amount of noise an opposing crowd may be making. On top of causing penalties, A loud crowd may cause a visiting team to call a timeout, which could come back to haunt them late in the 4th quarter when they may need one. According to an article, and graphic produced by SBnation.com throughout a five year period in inter-conference college football games, certain stats were compiled that gave the home teams an upper hand. In another article posted by sportingcharts.com in 2014, thirty-one of thirty-two NFL teams have a higher winning percentage at home as opposed to on the road. Crowd noise is a key component of a team’s home-field advantage, and the fact that most football stadiums are larger than most basketball and baseball venues make home-field advantage in football that much more impactful, and the most impactful home-field advantage in college and pro sports.

On the high school level, based on my experience of going to the games, I think the best home team advantage happens in basketball. When I went to home games at Lowellville and Poland, You could feel the stands shake in the student sections at those basketball games. I personally feel that the Fans in Lowellville that were at the games when I went to school there played a large part in the Rockets scoring some victories and upset wins. The fans of Poland boys basketball also became a key factor in my opinion during their multi-year run to Columbus just about a little over a decade ago. To take it a step further, at one point in 2016, 13 of the 14 teams in the Big Ten in men’s college basketball saw their opponents make free throws at a lower rate than they do at home. Numbers like that can be attributed to loud crowd noise at away arenas. Overall, fans play a role in sporting events, small or big you can’t deny the numbers, and whether they’re sorely missed or just missed a little, the one thing that’s for certain is they are missed.


By Scotty Mincher


After a lengthy delay, America’s pastime has returned, Well in some sense anyway. The Major
League Baseball Players Association and owners agreed on health and safety protocols that will
govern baseball as it attempts to return during the Coronavirus pandemic. The league
implemented a 60 game season that featured the World Champion Washington Nationals, as
they faced off against the New York Yankees on July 23rd in prime time.

The world is in a current state unlike anything we’ve ever seen, and because of that, just like with everything else, baseball will have a very odd and different feel to it in 2020. You can find pluses and minuses with anything in life and baseball is no exception. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of this shortened baseball season.

Starting with some of the pros for this year, because of the effects of the Coronavirus and the hunger for live sports, and Particularly team sports getting stronger by the day, I feel like baseball will gain fans at least in the short term that are part of the younger crowd of early 30 somethings and under. Much of today’s world can get and wants everything to be fast, so the demand for sports, along with a shortened season will in many ways add up to the young impatient fan’s dream. Another pro for this season is the universal DH. It’s not that I don’t like strategy in baseball and haven’t appreciated the double switch in the past, but pitchers batting has to go! I’ve seen enough of the vast majority of major league pitchers not being able to hit to save their lives. One might argue that the use of a DH eliminates the use of good strategy, But I feel it still makes the game more entertaining Because you know, DH’s can actually hit the ball. That alone makes the universal DH good for the game. The biggest plus about baseball coming back, is that every game this year will be managed like a game 7. I’m a diehard baseball fan, but also
know that as a fan because the season is so long, it can be harmful from an emotional perspective
to get too wrapped up in one single game and not look at the series that are played and won or
lost throughout the 162 game schedule. This makes it hard to get excited about every game. But
this year, with the 60 game schedule every game will have a do or die, win or go home type feel
and that’s a positive unlike anything baseball has seen.

Now we shift to the cons. The first con that immediately came to my mind is that I feel that this season could be the start of a drop off in the older generations of fans, or fans who just love everything about baseball and baseball purists. If this season is successful and met with high praise from fans 30 or younger, it could create a domino effect that leads to commissioner Rob Manfred reducing games in future seasons. I wouldn’t say it’s likely because more games always mean more money, but because
Manfred is looking to speed up the game to appease the modern fan I wouldn’t rule it out. That’s
bad for fans like me who think the game is fine the way it is. Teams starting with a runner on
second base after nine innings is another negative. I get that baseball doesn’t want to have
marathon games especially during a pandemic, but to me, this just seems like a cheap way to
make the game go faster. As the great Lebron James once said, “Nothing is given everything is
earned.” That’s why I don’t like this incorporation into baseball. You could hit one single or the
other team could make one error and it could decide a game. I like seeing hard work pay off
more than I like seeing a shortcut that’s taken result is a plus for one group of people and not the
other. This rule is an example of that. It should go after 2020! The biggest minus from baseball
coming back this year is that it could very much be a springboard for a baseball lockout in 2022.
I haven’t sat in on any meetings between the players and owners this year but from everything

I’ve heard they aren’t gonna be having Thanksgiving dinner together any time soon. Millionaires
fighting with Billionaires isn’t a good look for the game, especially considering that 30 million
people lost their jobs because of the virus. I tend to think that in the long run, Even though it
would suck to not have baseball in 2020, it would help baseball avoid a lockout in 2022.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and no baseball this year I believe would just add fuel to
the games appreciation train, and make the owners and players salivate even more over what the
game has to offer. Just like a lot of people, I’m ecstatic that baseball is back. But with cases of the
virus spiking and several players already dropping out for the season due to health concerns, I
think a stoppage this year, might bode better for baseball in 2022 and beyond. That a look at my
biggest pros and cons for baseball’s return in 2020.

For more check out the Scotty’s, Hot Takes podcast and ysnlive.com, and see ya next week!


By Scotty Mincher


Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve turned back the clock and looked at some of my brightest sports memories and pastimes from my youth. I’ve written a lot about how much of a sports nut I am and recently also talked about my times playing sports as a kid with a disability. A lot of people know about the impact that sports have had on me and quickly realize the level of passion I have for them. But what most people don’t know is that I was just as passionate about video games for much of my life. It was safe to call me a video game junkie and because of that, I think it’s more than fitting for me to take a look at what I feel are the ten greatest sports video games of all time. This is probably the hardest list I’ve had to do. But with that being said, It could be my most credible because of my ten or so years of experience playing sports games. It brings me great delight to present my top ten to all of the sports and video game addicts out there. Buckle up, folks!

10. Backyard Baseball-Released in 1997 on PC, Backyard Baseball was one of the first baseball video games that I played. A lot of people who remember and have played the game might consider Pablo Sanchez The Goat. But Kenny Kawaguchi is a nightmare on wheels for opposing batters with his superb pitching skills. He also has very good speed and never lets his wheelchair slow him down. His can do it attitude stuck with me, A big reason why Backyard Baseball is on my list.

9.MVP Baseball 2005-First off, Manny Ramirez is on the cover and even though he played for the Red Sox at the time, He’s still to this day one of my favorite Indians ever. Plus the game features Single-A rosters which is super cool! It even let you travel back in time. You can’t beat that. This game had to be in my top ten!

8.Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater– It was released in 1999. My favorite part about this game was the career mode and having to complete objectives to increase a character’s attributes. I also really like that it takes place in a third-person view with a fixed camera. I could never skate in real life. But that didn’t stop me from doing a ton of flips and ollies as Tony Hawk. If you’re curious about skateboarding games I’d recommend this one to anybody!

7.NCAA Football 14-This game is sick! You wouldn’t think it could be great with former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson on the cover. But this more than passes the college football test. In case there’s someone out there that doubts the effect of the game’s popularity, just take into consideration the fact that used game site Lukie recently had it in stock for as high as 160$. I really like the game’s combo/juke system and dynasty mode. The helmet rocking hits give the game a nice old school football feel. All of this elevates the game into top ten status.

6.NFL Street-It delivers for fans of fast-paced hard-hitting football. It gives you a different type of football that’s heavy on showmanship and light on rules, which is a nice changeup if you’re looking to play a game that’s a little different from NCAA and Madden. Not having to worry about penalties and the ability to force turnovers more frequently, make this game a millennial gamer’s dream!

5.NBA Street Vol. 2-Almost 20 years later, It is hard for somebody to argue that this game’s sense of style and spirit, along with its soundtrack has been matched. It pays homage to basketball as a spectacle, as art, and as a cultural cornerstone. The gameplay is fluid, dynamic, and fast-paced. It is also fun as hell. That’s why it’s in my top five!

4.NCAA Football 2004-It is groundbreaking in the sense that it was the first college football game that featured online play. Not to mention it was the first NCAA football game to feature and give a weekly look at key teams and players as well as events that happen throughout the season, thanks to a Sports Illustrated feature. I love the college classics mode too, As it allows you to relive some of College Football’s best moments. Just like the mode, this one is a College Football classic!

3. Madden NFL 2004-For people that have played or own the game, they’ll remember that playing as the Falcons and Vick was basically a cheat code. When it comes to the game as a whole, the Playmaker Control is an exceptional feature. Owner mode, Where you could hire your own staff, set your team’s ticket prices, as well as have the ability to build your own stadium, Is another thing I find super neat. I also remember that for it’s time the game had many trick plays in the playbooks. Add that all up and that’s good enough for this game to land in my top three!

2.Triple Play 96-This is an excellent game. Especially when you consider it was released over 20 years ago. With this game, you could have fun for hours on end. The graphics are very smooth for a game of its time that is played on Genisis. The best thing about this game is that like all Genisis games the controls make it very easy for anyone to play and that’s important for someone like me that doesn’t have the best dexterity. It even has a classic organ that plays a few songs. Yes, this game is a home run!

1.NBA Jam-This game became a legend in its own time and is still remembered fondly today. The soundtrack is upbeat and catchy. The gameplay is fast and furious. Matches play like a race to rack up the highest score because of the 2 on 2 instead of the 5 on 5, giving people just what they want out of an arcade game. The best part about NBA Jam is it has impossible jumps, basketballs catching on fire, and players punching each other in the back of the head without any consequence. Oh my, It’s number 1!

There you have it. The 10 best sports video games from my view. For more on this check out my video breakdown on ysnlive.com Peace out people!


By Scotty Mincher

There’s nothing quite like listening to one of your favorite songs before getting ready for a big game. It’s like mainlining adrenaline and songs played before, during, and after games can sometimes be just as exciting as the game itself. because of this, I thought this week it would be fun to take a look at the best stadium anthems. after much pondering, I give you my top ten.

10.Blur “Song 2”– I loved video games as a youngster and was an avid gamer from up until the time I was about 18 years old. I have a sentimental connection to Blur and Song 2 because of the song being used as the title music for the EA Sports game FIFA: Road to World Cup 98. It was a terrific game and every time I’d hear that song it would give me extra juice to wanna score 100 goals with Italy, the USA, Germany, or Brazil and that’s why it’s in my top ten. Woo hoo!

9.The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”– A true staple for sporting events everywhere, Seven Nation Army has also had a big impact on the soccer world. It first started to become popular at sporting events when the World Cup-winning Italian team adopted the song as the unofficial anthem for their championship run. When you’re at a game you can be sure that everyone with you in the crowd will be chanting along with it in no time, because it’s just very catchy, and that’s the reason it’s number 9 on my list.

8.Jack Norworth, Albert Von Tilzer “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”-Released in 1908,, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” has been playing in ballparks across the country for over a century now. Created by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, the tune is a stand-by for seventh inning stretches everywhere. Because baseball is my favorite sport to watch with other fans, This song comes in at number 7 on my list. Being at a game in Cleveland and loving Progressive Fields version that goes, “It’s root, root, root for the Indians helps this song’s case as well!

7.AC/DC “Thunderstruck” -I’m not a huge AC/DC fan, but this song is straight fire when it’s played at a sporting event. It has an unforgettable opening and brings absolute electric energy to any setting, whether it’s played before a key at-bat or pivotal third down play. Lead singer Bryan Johnson’s strong growl capitulates this into the top 7 and its part of the reason that it’s a must listen to song for sports fans!

6.House of Pain “Jump Around”-It’s a tune produced by Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs. It became a huge hit in 1992 for its high-energy vibes, and demands for you to jump! Even though it’s become the signature song of Buckeye rival Wisconsin It’s still one of the best songs of the 90’s and any song that could get me to rock my wheelchair has to be high on my sports anthem list.

5.Eminem “Lose Yourself”-I’ve always been an Eminem fan, and I even think he’s a top 3 all-time rapper. Lose Yourself isn’t my favorite Eminem song, but I still consider it an inspirational sports gem and elite Marshal Mathers anthem.

4.Queen “We Will Rock You”-It may be the most recognizable song from it’s opening few seconds ever. It has been and always will be a classic. It’s just wanna those songs that as soon as you hear it you just wanna start stomping and clapping. It’s also been a song that the Browns play when they score touchdowns, which doesn’t happen that often, but always makes the song a delight to my ears!

3.Metallica “Enter Sandman”-Metallica’s Enter Sandman always brings me back to my high schools days as a Lowellville Rocket. It was the intro song for the Evil Empire that is the New York Yankees and their star hall of fame closer Mariano Rivera. But even with that being said, this song by an awesome band is too good to ignore, and will rock your socks off! Sleep with one eye open metalheads!

2.Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight”-My favorite pregame high school football song, In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins can make the most mellow person wanna dance and bang on some drums. In the air tonight is my favorite song by Phil Collins. Hell, if “iron” Mike Tyson jams to it, the song has to be a knockout!

1.Zombie Nation “Kernkraft 400”-People may be surprised that this is the gold medal winner of my list, taking the #1 spot, but this song just hooks you in! When the tempo begins to rise, so too do the chants and energy of any sports fan taking in a game. Not to mention the fact that if they used it in The Sopranos, one of the greatest shows in the history of television, It shouldn’t come as too much of a shock that I have it ranked as the best stadium anthem ever!

Until next time, Stay strong sports fans!


By Scotty Mincher


There’s just always been something that has drawn me to sports. It has sucked me into its wonderful world since 1996. At least that’s about as far back as I could remember sports. When I was still pretty little and growing up in Campbell Ohio, We’d play baseball every day in the summer and it was just a glorious time. My family, friends, neighbors, and I would get together at our childhood house and pick players for teams. Even though I was growing up with a disability I never really felt excluded from anything as a young kid. I do remember having a designated runner, but still being able to smack the baseball like everyone else and to me, that’s the best part about sports. Anytime I’m involved in it in any way I feel more whole as a person and less like a man that just uses a wheelchair. Some of my closest friends and family have helped and still help me get through tough times, but I’ve always viewed sports as a great escape and arguably it could be the best escape that life has to offer. For as much as I enjoyed playing sports, mostly baseball as a youngster, I enjoyed watching it as a fan just as much, if not more so. I used to listen to the announcers and try to imitate them and pretend like I was calling a game.

One of the first pro games my dad took me to was the Bulls V.S. Cavs in 1998 to see Jordan. I remember being stunned that the Cavs who were mediocre at best at that time and considered by just about everybody a cupcake opponent for the Bulls beat the Sh*t out of Chicago, winning by about 20 that night! I also remember being kind of sad that I only remember Jordan scoring about 29 points that night and thought he looked like just another NBA player because despite having a game that a lot of NBA players would kill for I viewed him as some type of superhero and figured he would go off for at least 50. Maybe my memories of that game and my biggest childhood sports idol looking human affected my perception of live basketball viewing. I’ll get to more on that later. As some of you may know I was raised to be a Cleveland sports fan.

My dad took me to my first Indians game the same year I saw Jordan for the first time, to watch the tribe take on the Boston Red Sox.(Screw Red Sox Nation BTW!) My first game at what’s now known as Progressive Field was a dandy. The Indians were a 90’s powerhouse spearheaded by Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, Sandy Alomar, and Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox weren’t too shabby themselves led by Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, and a lineup that featured Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy O’Leary, and Jason Varitek. The Tribe would lose in a pitchers duel 3-2, But I still marveled at the star power on the field that day, the roar of the crowd, and the sights and sounds of the ballpark.

The first Browns game me and my dad went to was in 2001 against the then San Diego Chargers. The crowd was incredibly rowdy and helped launch the Browns to a 20-16 win over Doug Flutie and the San Diego Chargers. Many heartbreaking losses would follow that victory, Including the infamous bottle gate game that we attended that December, but I’ll never forget showing every emotion possible in that game and the fact that it summed up what’s it’s like to be a Cleveland sports fan. On the local level as a fan, I’d love catching my brother’s high school baseball games as a Lowellville Rocket at Bob Cene Park in Struthers Ohio.

I also shadowed a game at Cene last year for YSN’s founder and CEO D.J. Yokley so I got to check out a couple of the teams that are covered by YSN. I was overcome with feelings of nostalgia taking me back to the days when I would attend sporting events as a Lowellville student. It was a beautiful night in Struthers and I even took the different scenarios that were happening during the game and used them to envision how I would call my first game in my head, which was a lot of fun for me since I’m more than willing to lend my hand to help YSN call baseball games in the future and have to stay ready. That’s also in part why when talking about my favorite sports which include baseball, basketball, and football whether I’m playing the sport in the backyard with my friends and family or watching it as a fan, because of my own personal connection to the game my favorite sport and the best one to watch live, in my opinion, is baseball. I’ve just always loved the atmosphere when I’m at a ballgame and the fact that every pitch creates a different scenario and conversation that on top of the sound of the crack of the bat to go along with the roar of the crowd after a home run is why I feel the uniqueness of baseball in person compared to any other sport is unmatched.

A good boxing match is special, but there’s always a chance somebody could pay top dollars for a ticket and the match could end inside of 1 round. Football is great, but there’s so much tension on every play that there’s really never a chance to sit back relax, and catch your breath. I really like the NBA, but feel it’s become a little too much about the theatrics and in-game entertainment than just the game itself, Which is fine for a lot of people, It’s just become a little too much of a spectacle in my opinion. Maybe things will change for me if the Browns ever become relevant and start winning some playoff games. But to me for now anyway, baseball is the gold standard of live sports!


by Scotty Mincher

Anyone that has met or talked to me knows how much of an avid sports fan I am. For as passionate as I am about sports, there’s another pastime that I’ve come to enjoy very much over the years. Along with Sports, Movies have always helped me break away from a lot of hurdles or challenging obstacles that I’ve had to overcome in my life. In addition to being an escape, movies have also educated me on historic events and happenings in our country as well as other parts of the world. They’ve even educated me and expanded my knowledge of sports, which has made my appetite for sports even stronger. Because no matter how much passion you have for something, you could always be on the lookout to learn something new and exciting every single day. I know there’s been stories and lists of the past, released on the web that have debated on, and ranked the best sports movies ever made. But, even with that being said, It feels like there’s been not nearly as much debate and listing of rankings or discussion, on movies centered on the high school athletes of the sports world. Because of this, a fire has been lit under me to now wanna take a look at and breakdown, the best high school sports movies of all time. Before we get to my top ten list of the best high school sports movies, I wanna get into 5 sports films I haven’t seen yet that I feel are worth mentioning.

The first movie I wanna look at is The Way Back. It stars Ben Affleck. Affleck, in my mind, has had a hit and miss acting career, but has shown he can be extremely effective given the right role and shines in one of my all-time favorite movies Good Will Hunting. In The Way, Back Affleck plays Jack Cunningham a former high school basketball star who walked away from the game and forfeited his future Years later, when he reluctantly accepts a coaching job at his alma mater, he may get one last shot at redemption. The critics consensus on rottentomatoes.com states that The Way Back‘s occasionally frustrating treatment of a formulaic story is often outweighed by Ben Affleck’s outstanding work in the central role. After rewatching the trailer a couple of times, I’m captivated by Ben Affleck’s character’s role in the film as he tries to balance coaching his high school alma mater while fighting his own personnel demons. The Way Back is on my watchlist and looks like it has the potential to go down as a good to very good sports film in 2020, and who knows it could go down as a consensus career-best performance for Affleck.

Next up is a Disney film starring Mark Wahlberg titled Invincible. released in 2006, It’s Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976. I really liked Wahlberg’s work in The Fighter. Another sports film based on a true story, Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness. Wahlberg also got nominated for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for The Departed, the best picture winner of 2006, and made me laugh a whole lot in the 2012 Seth Macfarlane comedy Ted. From the trailer, Invincible looks like an uplifting and heartwarming movie about beating the odds. I’m curious to see if there’s any reference or flashbacks to Vince Papale’s high school days in the film considering that the internet has this movie listed in the high school sports movie category. Regardless, Mostly favorable critic reviews give me hope that Invincible we’ll be nothing short of an inspirational watch on Disney Plus.

The Third movie I’m highlighting is Varsity Blues. It stars James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, and the late Paul Walker. The story is about a backup quarterback who is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured. It gained mostly unfavorable reviews as many critics called it a predictable football movie that lacks intensity. After watching the trailer it’s hard to disagree with that opinion. Although in fairness to the movie, I feel like it’s been referenced or talked about a lot in the more than two decades since it’s release and has possibly even become a cult classic. It also was a chance for Jon Voight to showcase his versatility as an actor. I really haven’t seen much of James Van Der Beek and his work. Dawson’s Creek was a series that debuted in 1998 about the challenges of young adulthood that was well before my years as a young grownup, and I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the movie The Rules of Attraction, with nothing about the film really sticking with me. I only have seen the very first Fast and the Furious movie and it just wasn’t my cup of tea, So with no disrespect to the late Paul Walker I also kinda viewed him as a middle of the road actor with limited range at best. Jon Voight though from what I remember was above exceptional in the movie Deliverance, and also very good in the Showtime series Ray Donovan and has the talent to make Varisty Blues watchable at the very least. Even so, I’ll probably save my viewing of Varsity Blues for a rainy mundane afternoon.

Coming in at number 4 is Teen Wolf. It stars Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, and Susan Ursitti. Fox plays An ordinary high school student discovers that his family has an unusual pedigree when he finds himself turning into a werewolf. Fox, best known for his time as Marty Mcfly in the back to the future trilogy, plays Scott Howard in the leading role. I think he showed the charm and moxie in the Back To The Future movies that can help keep Teen Wolf afloat, and maybe, just maybe… make it fun. Heck, I’d watch it just to see Michael J. Fox, as a werewolf trying to dunk a basketball! Before I finally get into my top ten, the fifth and final high school sports movie that I haven’t seen and I wanna cover is Love & Basketball. It stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as Monica Wright and Quincy Mccall. To sum up the plot of the film, Monica and Quincy love and play basketball together through many life challenges from childhood to adulthood. Sanaa Lathan may also be recognizable to some readers and movie fans for her role in Blade, which like Back To The Future is a trilogy. Omar Epps had an 8 year run on the T.V. series House as Dr. Eric Foreman. It’s a small sample size, but judging by the Trailer Epps and Lathan seem to have solid chemistry on & off the floor, making Love & Basketball a potential slam dunk of a movie. Now, On to my list of the 10 best high school sports movies.

10. The Blind Side-It’s tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. It’s a story that resonates with the viewer. The realization that this movie is based on contemporary facts makes it all the more resonant. It’s well-acted, well written, and a fun film to watch.

9. Coach Carter-I’ve always been a big Samuel L. Jackson fan, and he delivers a strong performance as Ken Carter in the lead role. The basketball scenes are also pretty realistic which makes for a more authentic watch.

8. All the Right Moves-This is one of the better high school sports movies from before my time in the early ’80s. In a small declining Western P.A. town, sports pride is huge and football is the only way out for Tom Cruise. If you love your small town and love football as I do, this one is a must-see!

7. The Rookie– It stars Dennis Quaid as Jimmy Morris, A Texas baseball coach who makes the major leagues after agreeing to try out if his high school team makes the playoffs. Because there’s a lot of influence from his high school team, I think that’s reason enough to include this film on my high school sports movies list. It features Fathers and sons and baseball, to form a grand combination and hit one out of the park!

6. More Than a Game-It follows NBA superstar Lebron James and four of his talented teammates through the challenges and hardships of high school basketball in Ohio and James’ journey to superstardom in the pros. It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen and a truly feel-good movie. To say that it’s inspirational is a big understatement. If you’re a documentary or Lebron fan like I am you’ll see this as a resounding slam dunk!

5. Remember the Titans-It’s based on The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team in their first season as a racially integrated unit. The reason it’s in my top 5 and I like the movie so much is it shows that you can overcome obstacles on and off the field. It’s also well made and features great cast performances led by Denzel Washington.

4. Hoosiers- It’s about a coach with a checkered past and a local drunk who train a small-town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the state championship. It’s a marvelous story of what makes our country so great. Giving people second chances in life. The true-life David beat Goliath story makes the movie that much more appealing. I’ve always thought that Gene Hackman was a superstar actor and loved him in Unforgiven as Little Bill Daggett. He’s also a perfect casting choice for the tough but fair basketball coach Norman Dale.

3. He Got Game-It tells the story of A basketball player’s father who must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence. It finds director Spike Lee at the top of his game. This movie features pointed commentary and his signature visuals. Add a powerful performance from Denzel Washington and that’s enough to catapult this movie into my top 3!

2. Friday Night Lights-It’s Based on H.G. Bissinger’s book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, the 1988 Permian Panthers. It’s a portrayal of a football-obsessed heartland that succeeds as a stirring drama and captivating sports movie. It shows you how heart-stopping, agonizing, and fun high school football can be and since I’m from Ohio and love high school football it helps this movie totally resonate with me, a big reason why it’s number 2 on my list.

1.Hoop Dreams- It’s A film following the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys who struggle to become college basketball players on the road to going professional. Rotten tomatoes calls Hoop Dreams one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time, It runs for three hours but it feels like much less because of the power this documentary holds It’s an absorbing movie that sucks you in and has a grip on you. It tackles real-life issues that society still battles today like racism, poverty, drug abuse, and peer pressure. You’ll fall in love with the characters, and quite frankly, To quote the late famous movie critic Roger Ebert, “It’s one of the best films… I’ve ever seen.”

That’s my list.  Who do you have in your Top 10?  Checkout YSN’s social media pages for more on how I came up with the top ten, and whether you liked it, hated it, or anything in between If you’re looking for a new pastime give these sports films a chance!



By Scotty Mincher


Over the last couple of weeks here at YSN, I’ve looked at some of the schools and teams that help to shape and make our three pillars of loyal, local, and live into something special. Today is no different, and up to bat for this story is the Buckeye 8 Conference. The Buckeye 8 Athletic League consists of ten schools. Here is the complete list of schools in the North and South divisions.

South Division

We’ll look at 3 of the school’s boys, as well as the Beaver Local girls and boys basketball programs from the North Division as the East Liverpool Beaver Local Beavers, East Liverpool Potters, and Richmond Edison Wildcats have the spotlight. Beaver local boys basketball in 2019-20 were coached by first-year man Nick Miller and finished the season with a record of 13-10. The Beaver Local high school girls finished the season with an almost identical record as the boys at 13-11. They were coached by Stephanie Coie. Like with any winning team, senior leadership is extremely important. The Beaver Local girls were lead by seniors Danica Taylor, Madison Cline, Jenna Riccardo, Brooke Briggs, and Riley Britt. The boys were led by Luke Chetock, Tate Joseph, Logan Reed, and Jaden Kiddey. Here are the full schedules, along with the win and loss results from the 2019-20 season, for the boy and girl Beaver Local Beavers, Starting with the boys. 11/27/19 vs Crestview HS W 67-45

12/03/19 vs Southern Local L 64-51

12/07/19 vs East Liverpool HS L 69-44

12/10/19 vs Buckeye Local HS W 55-66

12/13/19 vs Indian Creek HS W 67-36

12/14/19 vs The Linsly School L 64-60

12/17/19 vs Edison HS W 79-67

12/20/19 vs Wellsville HS W 74-36

12/21/19 vs South Side W 66-41

12/30/19 vs Indian Valley HS W 58-48

01/03/20 vs St.Thomas Aquinas L 51-40

01/04/20 vs Columbiana HS L 60-46

01/07/20 vs East Liverpool HS L 64-59

01/10/20 vs Buckeye Local HS W 56-64

01/14/20 vs Indian Creek HS W 54-30

01/17/20 vs Edison HS W 75-51

01/25/20 vs Wellsville HS W 59-54

01/28/20 vs The Linsly School L 36-47

02/01/20 Buckeye 8 Championship

vs Martins Ferry L 54-60

02/08/20 vs East Palestine W 91-51

OVAC Semi Final

02/11/20 vs St. Clairsville L 64-71

OVAC Consolation Game

02/14/20 vs Brooke W 74-53

Sectional Game

02/29/20 vs Claymont L 45-46

Beaver Local:50 Carrollton: 45 Won

Beaver Local:41 Martins Ferry: 56 Loss

Beaver Local:46 Crestview: 54 Loss

Beaver Local:55 East Liverpool:37 Won

Beaver Local:22 John Marshall: 55 Loss

Beaver Local:38 Indian Creek: 68 Loss

Beaver Local:60 Buckeye Local: 26 Won

Beaver Local:76 Edison: 30 Won

Beaver Local:68 Ontario: 75 Loss OT

Beaver Local:42 Indian Valley: 50 Loss

Beaver Local:64 East Liverpool:31 Won

Beaver Local:29 Indian Creek: 60 Lost

Beaver Local:55 Buckeye Local: 23 Won

Beaver Local:66 Edison: 31 Won

Beaver Local:50 Martins Ferry: 44 Won

Beaver Local:61 Oak Glen: 51 Won

Beaver Local:52 Sandy Valley: 67 Loss

Beaver Local:61 Toronto: 32 Won

OVAC Semi Final

Beaver Local:48 St. Clairsville:35 Won

OVAC Championship

Beaver Local:45 Martins Ferry: 63 Loss

Beaver Local:77 David Anderson:41 Won

Sectional Game

Beaver Local:61 St. Clairsville:60 Won

Sectional Final Game

Beaver Local:36 Zanesville Mysville:76 Lost

The next team up is the East Liverpool Potters. Coached by Nate Conley, the Potters had a very successful season, going 18-6 overall and 7-1 in conference play. They went 4-1 at home,6-2 on the road, and 8-3 at neutral sites, finishing the season with a winning percentage of 750. They were a senior-laden team led by Nick Woodyard, Brennan O’Hara, Timmy Neal, Levi George, Gannon Irvine, Tresean Jackson, and Demani Brown. Here’s the Potters full schedule and results from the 2019-20 boys basketball season, via maxpreps.com


12/3TBA Edison (Richmond, OH)

(W) 63 – 48

12/6TBA Beaver County Christian (Beaver Falls, PA)

(W) 102 – 37

12/77:00p Beaver (Lisbon, OH)

Location: East Liverpool High School

(W) 69 – 44

12/13TBA @ Buckeye Local (Rayland, OH)

Location: Buckeye Local High School

(W) 86 – 47

12/17TBA Indian Creek (Wintersville, OH)

Location: East Liverpool High School

(W) 82 – 39

12/214:15p Meadowbrook (Byesville, OH)

Game Details: Buckeye 8 Challenge @ Ohio University Eastern

(L) 53 – 37

12/277:00p @ Steubenville (Steubenville, OH)

Game Details: Steubenville High School, Crimson Center

(L) 80 – 76

1/3TBA Edison (Richmond, OH)

(W) 75 – 47

1/77:00p @ Beaver (Lisbon, OH)

Location: Beaver High School

(W) 64 – 59

1/111:30p East Palestine (East Palestine, OH)

Game Details: East Liverpool High School, Fieldhouse

Report Final Score

1/117:00p @ Carrollton (Carrollton, OH)

Game Details: Carrollton HS/MS, High School Gym

(L) 62 – 54

1/14TBA @ Buckeye Local (Rayland, OH)

Location: Buckeye Local High School

(W) 84 – 52

1/177:30p @ Indian Creek (Wintersville, OH)

Location: Indian Creek High School

(W) 79 – 39

1/18TBA St. Clairsville (St. Clairsville, OH)

(W) 73 – 55

1/247:00p Steubenville (Steubenville, OH)

Game Details: East Liverpool High School, Fieldhouse

(W) 63 – 55

1/287:00p @ Salem (Salem, OH)

Location: Salem High School

(W) 85 – 53

2/1TBA St. Clairsville (St. Clairsville, OH)

(W) 61 – 58

2/47:00p Oak Glen (New Cumberland, WV)

Location: East Liverpool High School

(L) 65 – 60

2/77:00p @ Minerva (Minerva, OH)

Game Details: Minerva High School/ Middle School, Gym

Report Final Score

2/11TBA Martins Ferry (Martins Ferry, OH)

(W) 81 – 41

2/1510:00a Meadowbrook (Byesville, OH)

Game Details: OVAC Tournament Finals @ Ohio University Eastern

(L) 47 – 39

2/187:00p Harrison Central (Cadiz, OH)

Location: East Liverpool High School

(W) 67 – 46

2/217:00p @ Minerva (Minerva, OH)

Game Details: Minerva High School/ Middle School, Gym

(W) 62 – 56

2/29TBA Indian Valley (Gnadenhutten, OH)

(W) 59 – 30

3/47:00p Carrollton (Carrollton, OH)

Game Details: at Steubenville HS

(W) 53 – 51

3/77:00p New Philadelphia (New Philadelphia, OH)

(L) 55 – 47

They bowed out to Meadowbrook in a tightly contested contest, but making it to the OVAC 4-A Championship game, Is something they can hang their hat on, and a tremendous accomplishment for the Potters, As they look to build on a successful 2019-20 season.

The final school being examined today is the Edison Wildcats. Coached by Todd English, The Wildcats finished 6-18 overall and went 3-7 in their conference. Even so, the Edison boys basketball team played their most complete game of the season in mid-February. It was a resounding win against Bridgeport, Alec McBane was the team’s leading scorer with 25 points, Noah Woods with 13 and Alex Mayle and Jayden Sanders chipped in with 8 points each. Freshman Gage Cline and Brayden Moses had 6 and 4 each. Senior progress on the court is always important on any team striving to get better, so the noticeable improvements of Mayle and Mcbane leading up to their best win of the year was a major factor in their success against Bridgeport. For the future, if Jayden Sanders makes the natural senior progression before and during his senior year it will go along way in helping the wildcats get more W’s during the 20-21 season. Cline and Moses are promising freshmen that should only get better, giving the Wildcats a bright future to look forward to in the next several years. Nothing is guaranteed, but if the Wildcats can get more consistent contributions from everyone on the roster as a whole, they could become a pretty big force to be reckoned with! All of the schools that I’ve covered today are examples of local sports teams with winning sports cultures, or like in the case of the Edison Wildcats a team that played their best game late in the season, and have players that are on the rise to better success. It’s a feather in the cap of the conference and shows that sports can be great in the Buckeye 8!


By Scotty Mincher


In this edition of Scotty’s Stories, We take a look at the history of the Steel Valley Conference. According to an article posted by the Tribune Chronicle on August 6th, 2017. The Steel Valley Conference began play in 1949 and included Niles, Girard and Hubbard at its inception, though Niles left in 1957. Austintown Fitch, Struthers, and Campbell were the other original members and Boardman joined in 1951. Brookfield replaced Niles in 1959 and the ensuing lineup — Girard, Hubbard, Brookfield, Fitch, Boardman, Struthers, Campbell — lasted through 1968 and is considered by many fans as the “classic” SVC alignment.

Another SVC lineup fans remember is the one from 1982-85, which featured four Trumbull schools — Harding, Reserve, Howland and Niles — and four from Mahoning County — Fitch, Boardman, Ursuline and Cardinal Mooney.

That ended when the Trumbull schools pulled out to form — along with Hubbard — the All-American Athletic Conference. That league lasted from 1986-90 and ended when Western Reserve was closed due to the declining population in Warren. The “new” Harding went back to the SVC and the five-team alignment with the same Mahoning schools. That lasted through 2003 when Fitch and Boardman left for the Federal League.

The original SVC existed from 1949 to 2009. 2019 marked the start of the second incarnation of the Steel Valley Conference.

  • Here’s the complete list of schools and years. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney Cardinals (1970-2009, 2019-)
  • Youngstown Chaney Cowboys (2003–09 [independent in football], 2019-)
  • Youngstown East Golden Bears (2007–09 [independent in football], 2019-)
  • Youngstown Ursuline Fighting Irish (1970-2009, 2019-)
  • Austintown-Fitch Falcons (1949-2003)
  • Girard Indians (1949–71)
  • Hubbard Eagles (1949–80)
  • Niles McKinley Red Dragons (1949–57, 1982–85)
  • Campbell Memorial Red Devils (1949–80)
  • Struthers Wildcats (1949–79)
  • Youngstown Boardman Spartans (1951-2003)
  • Brookfield Warriors (1959–68)
  • Warren Howland Tigers (1975–85)
  • Warren Western Reserve Raiders (1980–85)
  • Warren Warren G. Harding Presidents (1982–85, 1991-2009)
  • Warren John F. Kennedy Eagles (2003–09, Independent in football)
  • Youngstown Rayen Tigers (2003–07, no football, school closed)
  • Youngstown Wilson Presidents (2003–07, no football, school closed)

I’m not an expert when it comes to the Steel Valley Conference, But when you look at its inception, there’s a rich and illustrious history that comes with it that you could argue was a launching pad for several intense high school rivalries like, Struthers and Cambell Ursuline and Mooney, etc. As far as the teams that have played and competed in the SVC, from what I’ve read, Albeit they finished last in the conference that season, The 1987 Austintown Fitch Falcons were a really solid team. They had some close losses. They lost (0-3 to Mentor, 0-3 to Boardman, 3-7 to Mooney, and 16-21 to Ursuline) on route to finishing 4-5 that year. They did have a nice win over Canton Mckinley though that year 14-7. One member of the sports blog I read, even wrote that the 1987 Austin Fitch Falcons are probably the greatest cellar dweller of all time. Their other loss during that 1987 season that I’ve yet to mention was a 38 to 29 contest to Massillon. It was an impressive display of scoring, as The offenses went berserk. The Falcons ended up amassing 294 net offensive yards. Fitch who at that time was coached by former Massillon player David Hartman beat Massillon 21-19 in 1985 and 13-10 in 1986 in their only two meetings up to that point. “They just outmanned us,” said Fitch’s Hartman. “Their offensive line is huge. But we played with a lot of heart. We had lousy field position in the first half and we got behind. We certainly moved the ball in the second half when we got field position. We just didn’t stop them.” The Tigers defense stuffed Fitch in the first half, allowing only 39 nets yards. But Fitch cranked up its wingT attack in the second half, enabling outstanding senior tailback Mike Sztary to finish with 114 yards in 15 carries. He also returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score. “We didn’t make any adjustments for the second half,” Sztary said. “We just played with a lot of heart.” The Falcons had some talented pieces, especially on offense. I was born in 88 so I can’t say whether or not the 87 Fitch Falcons are the greatest cellar-dweller ever. But all my research tells me that at the very least, they were a pesky team with a lot of heart. Other memorable Steel Valley Conference teams from the blog I read are the 1999 Boardman Spartans who beat ST Ignatius and Steubenville that year and Lost their starting QB during the season and ended up losing in 2nd round of the playoffs to Pickerington by 3. Their head coach Gary Smith, who took over the helm three years earlier lead the Spartans to outright or shared SVC championships three times. He was praised for his leadership and experience that helped build a strong foundation and thrust the Spartans forward into a new era in Spartan Football, according to hometeamsonline.com. The last Steel Valley Conference football power we look at is the 1966 Hubbard Eagles. That year, Hubbard won their only outright SVC championship, They went 8-1, losing only to Farrell, PA in the season opener. Here’s a look at the full schedule and results. 09/09 H Hubbard 6 Farrell, PA 28 L

09/16 A Hubbard 28 Girard 8 W #

09/23 H Hubbard 8 Austintown Fitch 0 W #

09/30 A Hubbard 20 Campbell Memorial 12 W #

10/07 H Hubbard 36 Warren JFK 20 W

10/14 H Hubbard 34 Howland 14 W

10/21 H Hubbard 22 Boardman 0 W #

10/28 A Hubbard 28 Struthers 14 W #

11/04 H Hubbard 46 Brookfield 12 W #

Total Points 228 108

# denotes an SVC game, (6-0)

The Eagles were coached by John Brideweser he was in his third and final season and finished with a record of 18-9. Hubbard went unbeaten in the Steel Valley Conference, finishing the year with a record of 5-0 in 1966. The Eagles also shared the SVC championship with Austintown Fitch in 1962. The Eagles had a record eight wins in a row, in 1966 most in their history and only their third eight-win season. When it comes to the modern-day sports world in connection with the Steel Valley Conference, It’s safe to say the Steel Valley Conference was kind to the Lady Cardinals this basketball season. The Cardinals wrapped up their league schedule with a 60-29 win at home over East and finished with a record of 6-0 in the SVC. Caitie Perry and Alaina Scavina paced the Cardinals in the January 29th, rout of East. Defense was the key to victory for the Cardinals, and Mooney coach Jason Baker said that plays into his team’s strength. “That’s kind of been our MO the whole season,” he said. “We’re a defense-first team and our guards can really do a good job of pressuring the basketball and making things difficult as far as people getting into their offense.

“I thought we did a really good job of that tonight.” The Cardinals carried a 26-16 halftime lead and never trailed during the game.

It was a rough first half for all of us,” said Perry who scored 17 points for the Cardinals. “The second half we all came out a little bit stronger.

We knew what we had to get done, big game, the SVC (title), we knew we had to get that, so it’s a good one.”

These quotes are courtesy of vindy.com. The Lady Cards were a bright spot for the Steel Valley Conference this season and are just another example of a scrappy team to come out of that league.

So, whether you’re a fan of the original SVC lineup that lasted through 1968. Or you think the lineup from 1982-85 was the best. or you’re a millennial that cherishes the current sports setup, You can truly come to appreciate the origin as well as the modern-day history of the SVC. As well as everything in between!