Flyers, Chieftains battle for region's crown again

NORWALK St. Paul and Hopewell-Loudon have developed into quite a little rivalry on the football field in recent years.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



St. Paul and Hopewell-Loudon have developed into quite a little rivalry on the football field in recent years.

The Flyers and Chieftains will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Don Paul Stadium in Fremont for the Division VI, Region 21 title.

It will be the fourth straight meeting between the schools at this point.

"It's a testimony to both programs that we've been able to play for the regional championship for four straight years,'' St. Paul coach John Livengood said. "It shows the success of both programs. They're 12-0 and finished ranked first in the state. That says it all. They're a very good football team and as well of a coached team as we've gone against.''

The playoff history between the schools is 2-2, with Hopewell leading 2-1 over the last three seasons.

St. Paul has won twice at Fremont -- 40-28 over McComb in the regional semifinal in 2006, followed by a 29-28 win over the Chieftains.

"We definitely like going to Fremont,'' Livengood said. "Their athletic director, Art Bucci, does a fantastic job and the facility is as nice as you can play in. It's a first-class facility and well-run.''

Hopewell-Loudon is the first seed in the region, while St. Paul is second.

The Chieftains, running out of the spread, are led by senior quarterback Tyler Brown.

"He's the man that makes everything go,'' Livengood said. "He's a big kid that can throw over people. A lot of their routes are timing and he puts the ball on the money. He does a nice job with the short passes and is patient with the passing game.''

Livengood said Hopewell-Loudon's spread is a little different than what the Flyers have faced this season.

"They're a quick-hitting spread,'' he said. "They like the short stuff.''

But Brown isn't the lone cog in the Chieftains attack.

"He has receivers that can get the football,'' Livengood said. "They run the ball decent and the offensive line doesn't give up pressure.''

Hopewell-Loudon runs a 4-4 defense.

"They're a lot like us defensively,'' Livengood said. "They mix up man coverage and zone coverage. They've got good skilled kids.''

The Chieftains captured a 43-14 win 2005 and 26-14 in 2007 over the Flyers.

"They've beaten us two of the last three years,'' Livengood said. "In a game of this magnitude, it comes down to special teams play and turnovers. Those are the little things that make all the difference in a game like this. It's the intangibles that make the difference.''

St. Paul boasts a pretty good quarterback in its own right with Eric Schwieterman at the helm. The junior has gone 89-of-129 for 1,647 yards with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions through the air.

Schwieterman is also second on the team with 910 yards rushing and 12 scores. He's averaging 12.3 yards per run.

"I think they have two different styles,'' Livengood said. "Brown is dropback pro style passer and Eric can buy time and is definitely a running threat.''

St. Paul has outscored two playoff opponents 90-7 in the postseason, including Friday's 34-0 decision over McDonald.

"I was pleased with the win with the weather,'' Livengood said. "We felt like we had two scoring drives we could have finished and defensively we had a couple of breakdowns, but the kids really buckled down. We were able to come up with the big play and force turnovers."

Matt Wilde rushed for 204 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns. The senior upped his season totals to 1,385 yards and 25 TDs. He's averaging 11 yards per carry.

"Matt will be the first to tell you that the offensive line and receivers do a good job of blocking,'' Livengood said. "We have a number of backs that once they get into open space, they're dangerous. Matt was able to take advantage.

"The receivers did a nice job of making some catches. But there are lot of things we need to improve on.''