Both the Ready and Hartley high school football teams are 1-1 after putting together strong Week 2 performances.
The Knights and Hawks will meet for the 55th consecutive season Friday, Sept. 7, but it likely will be their last matchup for at least a few years.
Ready will play the other four schools in the CCL on a two-year rotational basis beginning next season when it faces St. Charles.
“(Ready) coach (Brian) Cross is as good of a football coach as we have ever prepared against,” Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. “In 2013 we were state runners-up (in Division V) and they were state semifinalists (in Division VI). We beat them in overtime (21-14) and I have to think that was one of the best games in the rivalry.
“Through the years there were many similarities between the schools, but times change and schools change. Although I’m disappointed to see such a historic rivalry end, I respect the decisions of all involved.”>> Hartley 51, Wheelersburg 20 <<
Ready beat Hartley 52-6 in 2008 in Burchfield’s first season leading the Hawks, but the Knights have lost the last nine meetings. Last season, Hartley beat Ready 42-10 on its way to an 11-2 record and Division III regional runner-up finish while the Knights went 7-4 and were Division V playoff qualifiers.
Ready opened with a 28-0 loss to Genoa Area on Aug. 24 at Fortress Obetz but bounced back with a 30-23 win at West Jefferson on Aug. 31.
Hartley began its season with a 42-17 loss Aug. 24 at Toledo Central Catholic but dominated defending Division V state champion Wheelersburg 51-20 on Aug. 31 at home.
Cross hopes the Knights develop rivalries with some of the MSL-Ohio Division programs they will be facing later this fall as well as with West Jefferson, a Division V program.
“It’s always good to play a quality program like (Hartley’s), but the games haven’t really been close,” Cross said. “In the second half of games they wear us down and they have put points on the board. They’re going to be good again this year.”
Against West Jefferson, Jack Foley rushed for a 2-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining. He finished with 174 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and quarterback Austin Aiello passed for 238 yards and two scores, with Jaishan Norris and Tyrese Hudson both going over 100 yards receiving.
Linebacker Thomas Stiltner has been leading the defense, according to Cross.
Miles Fleming split time at quarterback for Hartley last season but has assumed the role full time this fall. Against Wheelersburg, he ran for a 50-yard touchdown with 2:41 left to help seal the victory.