A look at the team, coach and MVP of the first half, and other superlatives.

A high school football regular season unlike any other begins its second half Friday night.


Yes, in 2020, Week 4 has teams heading into the stretch run with the playoffs set to begin Oct. 9.


What did we learn in the first half of the season?


That games can get canceled at a moment’s notice because of the coronavirus and that some really good football is still being played.


Here’s a look at our superlatives from the first three games, plus a look ahead to the second half.


TEAM OF THE FIRST HALF


McKinley


An argument easily can be made for Perry, which like McKinley, is 3-0. And we don’t have to wait long to see what the correct answer is, since McKinley hosts Perry on Saturday. The argument for the Bulldogs? They have playmakers all over the field on each side of the ball, something that’s been on display in wins over Jackson, Hoover and Lake.



MVP OF THE FIRST HALF


Elijah Wesley, McKinley


As a passer, runner and leader, the senior quarterback has not disappointed. Capable of delivering a touchdown run or pass from anywhere on the field, Wesley averages 12.1 yards per carry and 19.0 yards per completion. He’s gained 966 yards of total offense with nine total TDs.


COACH OF THE FIRST HALF


John DeMarco, Northwest


Despite the odd and abbreviated offseason created by COVID-19, Northwest and DeMarco have adapted quite well to each other in his first year as head coach. Northwest isn’t just 3-0. It has dominated the competition, averaging 500-plus yards of offense a game in outscoring its opposition 114-39. Two of those opponents, Orrville and CVCA, were playoff teams a year ago with the Red Riders being just two years removed from a state title.


FRESHMAN OF THE FIRST HALF


Jack "Poochie" Snyder, Canton South


The Wildcats anticipated Snyder opening the season as the No. 2 QB with Gavin Moses returning as the starter. When the regular season began with Moses injured, Snyder wasted no time making an impact. He’s completed 69.8% of his 43 passes for 429 yards with seven TDs and two interceptions. Not many Stark County ninth-graders over the years have run offenses averaging 38.3 points per game.


PERFORMANCE OF THE FIRST HALF


Perry’s run defense


Instead of singling out one game, this is for three games of dominance by Perry against the run. The Panthers have yet to allow more than 40 yards rushing in a game. For the season, they’ve given up just 115 yards on 70 carries (1.6 per carry) against Lake, Central Catholic and Hoover. Their ability to shut down the run is a big reason the Panthers have allowed 17 total points this season.


BEST STAT LINE OF THE FIRST HALF


Jordan Mick, Northwest


The senior QB needed just three games to eclipse the 1,000-yard passing mark. He enters Week 4 having completed 46 of 72 passes for 1,064 yards with 12 TDs and three interceptions. He adds a team-high 170 yards rushing and three scores.


SURPRISE OF THE FIRST HALF


Canton South


The Wildcats matched last year’s win total with last week’s win. They also have increased their scoring output each week, putting 55 on Minerva last week. In all, they’ve outscored their opposition 115-40. South has not enjoyed a winning season since 2017 (6-4) — Greg Reed’s first year as the head coach.


SECOND HALF TO WATCH


Massillon


By the time the playoffs arrive, the 2-1 Tigers certainly will be tested. Their final three games, all at home, feature two strong Cleveland parochial schools, Benedictine and St. Ignatius, before playing McKinley in Week 6.


POTENTIAL SHOWDOWN OF THE SECOND HALF


Canton South at West Branch, Week 6


Week 6 features many usual Week 10 rivalry games. But perhaps the most intriguing game, especially with league title implications, could be when the Wildcats and Warriors meet. Each of the Eastern Buckeye Conference schools head into Week 4 unbeaten and putting up big numbers on offense.


DATES TO KNOW


Today Teams must have informed OHSAA if they will take part in playoffs


Friday Regions for playoffs announced


Sept. 24 Cutoff date for teams to withdraw from playoffs without penalty


Sept. 29-30 Coaches vote on playoff seeding in their regions


Oct. 1 Playoff brackets announced


Oct. 9-10 Playoffs begin


Nov. 13-14, 20-21 State title games at sites to be determined