COLUMBIANA-After spending the past two weeks trying to fit the pieces together, coach Sean Guerriero feels his Ohio team is ready for the 35th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Springfield High School.
"I'm pleased with the way we have jelled," Guerriero said. "The intensity has stayed up at practice for the most part. Occasionally we've had guys falling asleep out there, but most of the time they've kept up their interest."
During preparations, Guerriero seemed particularly impressed with his defensive front seven.
"They have just done a fantastic job," Guerriero said. "The line has gotten a good push, and it seems like our linebacker group is always in the backfield making plays."
Manning the controls at quarterback for Ohio will be Collin Gilbert from Crestview and Jacob Wolfe from Poland. Gilbert helped lead the Rebels to an 11-2 season and was third-team Div. V All-Ohio. Wolfe helped Poland go 10-2.
"Both of them seem to have gotten better the last couple of weeks, they will give us a chance to make a lot of plays," Guerriero said. "We have an excellent wideout core for them to work with."
Guerriero made one notable positional switch on the Ohio roster, moving South Range's Bill Goodall from defensive back to running back
"Bill's done a great job for us on the offensive side of the ball," Guerriero said. "He's a solid runner."
On the Pennsylvania side, coach Joe Greco-the head coach at New Brighton High School-will have the honor of coaching his son Gabe-a Grove City recruit-who is one of the two quarterbacks.
"I've been coaching him almost his entire career," Greco said. "He's had a great high school career. It's fitting that I get to coach him in his last game."
Greco is very familiar with his other quarterback Alex Rowse, a Washington and Jefferson recruit from Beaver. The two teams faced each other in the regular season with Greco's New Brighton team winning 64-49.
"Both quarterbacks can put tons of points on the board in a hurry," Greco said. "They've had fun with each other about that game."
The lone Div. I recruit on the Pennsylvania side is receiver/linebacker Tory Delmonico from West Allegheny, who is going to the Naval Academy.
"He is an extremely versatile athlete," Greco said. "We plan to use him a lot on both sides of the ball."
Both coaches said the atmosphere at their respective practices has been competitive.
"We have a really tight-knit area," Greco said. "The kids have been competing against each other in different sports for a while," They are having fun testing themselves against each other."
"I actually think guys who are teammates are enjoying getting a shot at hitting each other more than the other players," Guerriero said. "I saw the Western Reserve guys going at it pretty hard. They usually don't get to hit each other a ton during the year."