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High School

Central Catholic, Bowling Green, and Genoa lead first Blade poll of year

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    Toledo Central Catholic's Jase Bowen (4) laughs with Michael Griffin (27) and Jaron Swain (3) after a touchdown during a Week 1 win vs. Columbus Bishop Hartley.

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    Bowling Green receiver Adam Iler, right, scores a touchdown during a nonleague game against Otsego. Iler scored twice as the Bobcats beat the Knights on Friday.

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    Genoa football players, from left, Jacob Bradfield, Andrew Bench, Jacob Plantz, and Nathan Lewis highlight a team off to a 3-0 start.

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Central Catholic, Bowling Green, and Genoa top the field in the first Blade Poll for this high school football season.

The Fighting Irish of 19th-year Central coach Greg Dempsey are off to an impressive 3-0 start, including big wins against perennial Ohio power Columbus Hartley (42-17), Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek (45-0), and Friday at perennial Michigan Division I power Detroit Catholic Central (34-10).

The Irish, who moved up from Division III to D-II this season, sit atop The Blade’s combined Division I-II poll. Central had reached a D-III state semifinal the past four years, including a state championship in 2014 and a runner-up finish in 2015.

At No. 2 is defending Northern Lakes League champion Anthony Wayne (3-0), which is 22-6 under third-year coach Andy Brungard, including a D-II state semifinal berth in 2016.

Whitmer (2-1), The Blade’s 2017 poll winner in I-II, is ranked third. The Panthers lost at home to Detroit CC (35-7) in Week 2.

Bowling Green (2-1) edged Scott (3-0) for the top spot in the first Division III-IV poll on the strength of its wins against two 2017 playoff teams — D-II St. John’s Jesuit (15-8) in Week 1 and D-V Otsego (45-14) on Friday.

The only loss for coach Dirk Conner’s Bobcats came in Week 2 against 2017 D-V state runner-up Eastwood (21-14).

Scott (3-0) is experiencing a resurgence under second-year coach Mark Weaver, a former Bulldogs’ player during their City League championship seasons of 1984 and 1985.

After sharing first place in the CL with Bowsher and Waite in 2014, when they finished 8-2 overall, the Bulldogs were just 2-28 the next three seasons, including a 23-game losing streak in that span. But Weaver’s team has opened with wins against Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (50-35), Fostoria (45-13), and Friday at Southview (24-21).

In the combined Division V-VI-VII poll, Genoa (3-0) of the Northern Buckeye Conference edged out Liberty Center (3-0) and Archbold (3-0) of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.

Fifth-year coach Paul Patterson’s Comets have begun the season with wins against Columbus Ready (28-0), rival Oak Harbor (34-14), and Sandusky Perkins (34-12).

No. 2 Liberty Center has had easy wins against Tinora (35-3), Napoleon (21-0), and Woodward (44-13), and No. 3 Archbold has topped Hicksville (24-7), Liberty-Benton (28-27), and Lake (23-14).

Ranked No. 4 in V-VI-VII is three-time defending Blanchard Valley Conference champion McComb (3-0), a D-VII power which reached a state semifinal game in 2012, 2015, and 2016 under 21st-year coach Kris Alge.

Eastwood (2-1), the 2017 D-V state runner-up, was edged 21-19 at Ottawa-Glandorf in Week 1 on an unsuccessful late two-point conversion try.

Division I-II

 WLPFPA
1. Central Catholic-II 3 0 121 27
2. Anthony Wayne-II  3 0 107 45
3. Whitmer-I 2 1 93 60
4. St. Francis-II  2 1 107 74
5. Springfield-II  2 1 129 82

Division III-IV

 WLPFPA
1. Bowling Green-III 2 1 74 43
2. Scott-III 3 0 119 69
3. Bryan-IV 2 1 70 68

Division V-VI-VII

 WLPFPA
1. Genoa-V  3 0 96 26
2. Liberty Center-V 3 0 100 16
3. Archbold-V 3 0 75 48
4. McComb-VII 3 0 141 35
5. Eastwood-V 2 1 84 41

The Blade poll ranks teams (.500 or better) from the City League, TRAC (except Lima Senior), NLL, NBC, TAAC (except Hilltop and Edon), and NWOAL, plus Arcadia, Fremont St. Joseph, Holgate, Lakota, Liberty-Benton, McComb, North Baltimore, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton, and Van Buren.

Contact Steve Junga at sjunga@theblade.com419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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