Say it isn't so.
It can't be.
But in reality it is.
Week 10 of the high school football season.
For most of the six-county area it means 'Basketball Monday".
But for those lucky others that make the playoffs, it means at least one more game, more practice time and additional excitement about the football program which can do nothing but help in the 2012 season be better.
Speaking of lucky (no really!), readers again have the opportunity to get another view of Kevin and Bruce in this week's edition of the Sideline Squabble.
• What is your biggest surprise of the 2011 season?
Kevin: Hmm, maybe the fact that the readers were just called "lucky" to get another view of us. In all seriousness, this is a surprisingly tough question. Maybe the in-season coaching changes at a couple of area schools really caught me off guard. No need to go into any more detail on that, but my hope is for these teams to find stability in the near future for the benefit of their programs.
Bruce: Never in my wildest dreams did I think Napoleon could go 5-5 and make the playoffs. But that's what could happen with a win over BG on Friday. Meanwhile, with a victory over Elida on Friday Defiance could finish 5-5, including a win over Napoleon, and come up short in a quest for the postseason despite the WBL going 8-2 in non-league games. That says a lot about what winning a few games in the NLL will do for the Wildcats in the future.
• Speaking of surprises, something has to happen in that regard this Friday. What will it be?
Kevin: Archbold is going to knock off Liberty Center, of course. The reason? The Blue Streaks need it more, especially for the truckload of computer points that will come wrapped in an upset over LC. I would say this factor is enough to possibly bring a bit more charge out of the Bolts. The Tigers may be full of confidence after devouring nine straight opponents, but never underestimate a hungry opponent.
Bruce: A week ago Antwerp was sitting at 0-8, giving up 46 points per game while failing to score a point in three outings. Two consecutive wins to end the season would make the off-season much more enjoyable for the Archers. It says here that will happen with a win over Holgate in a battle of teams led by two coaches that were not at the helm of their respective squad at the outset of the season.
• How do you see the NWOAL finishing out this weekend?
Kevin: To build upon my last response, I think Wauseon pulls it together and gets by Patrick Henry. You can laugh, throw out all the numbers you want or call me whatever trips your trigger, but I just have a feeling about this one. You hear that, Wauseon? Don't make them all laugh at me. Is anybody else really picking up on the "surprise" vibe this week?
Bruce: Liberty Center, which struggled with Bryan's spread offense two weeks ago, must deal with Archbold's high-powered offense that is putting up 41 points an outing. I believe the Tigers will have just enough to get by the Streaks leaving PH one game behind when it all shakes out.
• Can Hicksville complete a perfect GMC slate?
Kevin: Since I seem to be on a surprise upset kick this week (there it is again), I feel inexplicably compelled to say no. With as much as the Fairview community has been through this year, I could easily see these Apaches rally around "The Reservation" to play the ultimate spoiler. While the Aces deserve to be where they are atop the GMC, Fairview couldn't wrap up its season any better than with a huge victory in a game of this magnitude.
Bruce: There's no doubt in my mind. The Aces have averaged 44 points per game in league play thus far and happen to face a Fairview team that has allowed that same amount (44 per outing) the past two GMC games. Despite three wins in the last four weeks, I don't see the Apaches being able to slow down Hicksville on Friday.
• What are you most disappointed about the 2011 campaign?
Kevin: Well, I'm honestly pretty bummed about the thought of Tinora not seeing week 11. That also came as quite a … nah, I'm not even going to say it. I am also just a bit uptight over something else this fall. I know this is supposed to be football talk, but has anybody seen what havoc the powers that be have wreaked on the cross country postseason this year? Sorry to digress, but it's a madhouse. I'm sure those in the know would agree.
Bruce: That's actually an easy one. It's right here in Defiance County. Four of the county schools - Defiance, Ayersville, Tinora and Fairview - will be at home come week 11 while the other, Hicksville, is not assured of a playoff berth. That excitement, the talk around town, all that electricity in the air is non-existent with November just around the corner. Let's hope it returns to at least a couple of those schools in 2012.