First time’s the charm! South Range battles through year of firsts with chance at playoff berth

Sports

Another win this week and the Raiders will have a shot at a home playoff game

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been a year of firsts for the South Range football team. Their first year in the new Northeast 8 Conference, which has come along with their first-ever meetings with Valley programs Girard, Poland, Struthers and this week, Hubbard.

The Raiders have been standing tall with some of the area’s best.

“It’s crazy,” said head coach Dan Yeagley. “You always dream something like that will happen but you never know.”

Coming into the season, South Range wasn’t too sure where they stood in the new Northeast 8 Conference. But with one week to go in the regular season, the Raiders control their own destiny for a postseason berth.

“Here we are, Week 10, with a chance to get in the playoffs. We might be in already, we don’t know and it doesn’t matter,” Yeagley said. “Again, our main concern is Hubbard but it is exciting to be in this position.”

“It is exciting because when you think about football in Youngstown you always hear about Poland, Struthers, Girard,” said senior lineman Anthony Czap. “And now it is going to be, like, South Range will be right up there with them, beating a few of them this year. I do not want to say it is a little more personal but it is. We are playing kids we know now, kids we have seen since middle school playing football. It is honestly a lot more fun.”

The biggest of those wins came last week as the Raiders won a thriller over Struthers. Coming into the game, South Range was on the outside looking in to the postseason in Division V.

But now, another win this week over Hubbard and South Range could host a first-round game and would have them finish second in the NE 8.

“I mean, it is huge,” Yeagley said. “And it is exciting. A chance to have a home playoff game is huge, but like I said, right now, we can’t even think about that. We have to play Hubbard first and Coach Hoffman [is] going to have their guys ready also.”

“I think it would be a big step for the program finishing second in the NE 8,” Czap said. “I don’t think a lot of people at those schools didn’t think we could compete. So placing second to a really good Poland team would be a big deal.”

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