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Unique week for Pavlansky: Poland coach faced Lakeview for first time since departure

As has been the case for a number of years, Lakeview and Poland met Friday in the annual Battle of the Bulldogs. And just like in years past, Tom Pavlansky played a key role in the game.

This time, however, Pavlansky was a different breed of dog.

From 1999 until 2020 Pavlansky served as the head coach at Lakeview. On Friday, Pavlansky was on the opposite sidelines. Now the head coach at Poland, Pavlansky guided his Bulldogs to a 40-0 win over Lakeview.

“This was a unique week; this was a very unique game day experience,” Pavlansky said. “Every one of those kids over on the other side, they mean more to me than they’ll ever know. I have nothing but love and respect for those kids wearing that Lakeview uniform.

“Honestly, I’m just glad it’s over. I just spent the week focusing on our kids, focusing on Poland. I tried to separate the emotions, but it’s not an easy thing to do when you care so deeply about all those kids at Lakeview.”

After guiding the Lakeview program for 22 years, Pavlansky left last February to coach his former school — and the football program where his dad once coached.

Adding to the uniqueness of the night, Pavlansky was able to spend a few minutes of halftime outside of the locker room and with his son Tommy, who plays in the Lakeview band. Tommy is also a track and cross country athlete at Lakeview.

Earlier this year, Pavlansky coached against his brother Mike Pavlansky for the first time ever when Poland opened the season with a home game against Canfield.

FAIR WEATHER FANS

The 2021 season has been a season of disruptions, with nearly 30 area games canceled through the first eight weeks due to either COVID or a lack of players.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature has provided a calming presence for players and fans.

Weather, usually responsible for some type of delays and disruptions throughout the course of the season, has been a non-factor. Through the first seven weeks of the season, no rain fell on any area games and temperatures were average or above average for the season.

This past Friday only several games played in the Mahoning Valley experienced light rain.

“It’s definitely unusual to have this type of dry stretch this deep into the football season,” said WFMJ-21 Chief Meteorologist Eric Wilhelm. “It’s not crazy rare because late August to mid-October is generally a dry period, but we seem to always have at least one football Friday that involves some type of weather event.”

Wilhelm noted that the pleasant football weather is a welcome surprise considering the conditions leading up to the start of the season. In August, a record 9.45 inches of rain fell at the Youngstown Airport.

“Part of it is just the luck of the draw,” Wilhelm said. “While Fridays have been dry in September, we had at least a little bit of rain every Wednesday during the month.”

With the high school tournament extending into the first week of December, Wilhelm warns fans that the stretch of ideal weather conditions will likely end in the near future.

“The streak won’t last forever, especially as we get past mid-October,” Wilhelm said. “If not rain, wind and other weather factors will start coming into play.”

STILL ON TOP

Hubbard senior running back T.C. Caffey continues to lead the nation with 30 rushing touchdowns. This past Friday Caffey rushed for 167 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 29-15 win over Girard.

Through eight games, Caffey has rushed for 1,984 yards, which is second in the nation behind Desean Bishop (Kearns High School, Knoxville, TN), who has rushed for 2,034 yards.

Caffey is averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

Former Hubbard standout L.J. Scott holds Trumbull County’s all-time single-season rushing record with 2,819 yards (2014). Scott also scored 38 rushing touchdowns in 2014, which tied former Warren G. Harding star Maurice Clarett (2001) for most in Trumbull County history.

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