MAHONING CO., Ohio (WYTV) – One of the area’s biggest football rivalries — Poland versus Canfield — will very likely end after two more games because the two sides cannot agree on what week the game should be played.
“We’ve joined a league, we want to continue playing. It has to be Game 1, 2, or 3,” said Poland Superintendent Dave Janofa.
“Why can’t a newly-formed league, who doesn’t have anything in place yet, accommodate this rivalry?” said Canfield Superintendent Alex Geordan.
Last year’s Canfield/Poland game, like the previous two years, was played in Week 10. That’s where Canfield wants to keep the game.
“In the last 33 years of playing Canfield, we’ve only played Game 10 12 years. So it’s not like this is the Michigan/Ohio State game,” Janofa said.
“They wanted to siphon off only a certain timeframe, a couple decades. If you go back 50 years, we’ve been playing Week 10 for a lot longer than we’ve been on the face of the earth,” Geordan said.
The disagreement began in May when Poland decided to join a new league — the Northeast 8 — which Canfield was not consulted about nor invited to join.
“Then they sever relations and leave the league but then expect us to change. Again, who’s trusted in this?” Geordan said.
Poland said they just can’t make Game 10 against Canfield happen.
“We can’t put a new league — or the league we’re going to — put another league school out to try to find a Game 10. We can’t do that,” Janofa said.
Canfield has long-standing relationships with its Weeks 1, 2, and 3 opponents — relationships it does not want to end.
Janofa wondered why one of those opponents — Alliance — had been moved to Week 5 in 2019. Geordan said Alliance requested it and Canfield accommodated but Canfield still has other commitments in Weeks 1 through 3.
Geordan suggested Niles and Poland — both in the new Northeast 8 — play in Week 3 and then Poland/Canfield and Niles/Howland play their rivalry games in Week 10. But Niles and Howland have already agreed to play each other in Week 1 of 2019 and 2020.
“We’ll be happy to sign a 50-year contract with Poland and play them in Week 10 from now until all of us are out of our school system,” he said.
Geordan said in their most recent correspondence, Poland officials stated if there’s no football, the other sports will not play either. He said Poland was worried about problems among the rival students.
Janofa had no comment, saying with a big game in two weeks, that conversation would be reckless.
It’s not a done deal yet. The decision to end or save the rivalry will be revealed when Poland schedules its first three games.