New classifications, regions for Warren, Eisenhower in 2018

Eisenhower’s Joe Bauer (44) forces a fumble of Seneca quarterback Joey Scarabino on September 29, 2017 at the Pasture of Pain. While Scarabino took his talents to Cathedral Prep this season, Bauer, an all-region perfromer in 2017, returns to help lead the Knights in the new Region 2.

There’s some shake up on the county football scene as game week is finally upon us.

Both Warren and Eisenhower are switching not only regions but classifications, while Sheffield is part of a new look District 9.

Here’s a look at each as we continue the countdown to kickoff.

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The Dragons make the move from 4A to 5A this season, a bump up like many other schools their size with Cathedral Prep and all of the advantages they have remaining in 4A.

Warren is now part of Region 7, which includes fellow 5A teams General McLane, Oil City, Meadville, and Franklin and 4A’s Fort LeBoeuf and Franklin.

Just one of those teams – Meadville – had a winning record in 2017, going 8-4. General McLane, which went 4-6 in 2017, is the preseason pick by the coaches to win the region.

The Dragons are coming off a 2-8 season in coach Mark Morelli’s first season and were very good in their scrimmage at Punxsutawney on Saturday. They return a large core group, including captains Justin Eck (OL/DL), Devin McMeans (WR/DB), Jake Kupchella (QB/DB) and Aidan Morrison (TE/LB).

They open the season Friday, hosting Fairview.

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The Knights bumped down a classification, going from 2A to 1A.

They are now part of Region 2, which also includes fellow 1A competitors Union City, Cochranton, Cambridge Springs, Saegertown and Maplewood.

They are coming off a 4-6 season and return all-region defensive end Joe Bauer, who will also play tight end, as well as Jeremy Card, Nate Holt, Riley West, William Schwanke and Garrett Head, among others.

Cambridge Springs was 7-4 a year ago and Maplewood 6-5. The Blue Devils are the preseason coaches favorite.

The Knights open the season on Friday with a trip to Mercer County to take on Region 1 foe West Middlesex.

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The Wolverines, who faced doubts about the future of the program this summer, are back and raring to go in the new District 9 Small School North Division.

The division also features Coudersport, Cameron County, Otto-Eldred, Smethport and Port Allegany, with Smethport the preseason coaches favorite.

Sheffield, as well as all the other North teams, will play crossover games against the Small School South, which includes Clarion-Limestone, Curwensville, Elk County Catholic, Keystone, Redbank Valley and Union/A-C Valley. Keystone is the only one of those schools that is 2A, with all the rest in 1A.

Curwensville was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the South.

The Wolverines open their season on Saturday, hosting Smethport

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Friday’s Times Observer will feature a breakdown of all three local games – Fairview at Warren, Eisenhower at West Middlesex and Smethport at Sheffield. Also included will be lineups, predictions and other games to watch in District 10 and District 9.

Saturday, the Times Observer Fall Sports Preview will be released, which will include in depth previews of all county teams, as well our cover story, a look at each region for all sports, predictions, schedules and a glance at some of the top returning athletes both in Warren County and the entirety of District 10.