The plan to keep a promise between a father and son is in place.
The question is, will the weather cooperate tonight?
That remains to be seen as Hudson football coach Ron Wright plans to join his wife, Pamela, to walk across the field on Stow’s Senior Night with their son, Kyle, a football player for the Bulldogs, who host Elyria, and then coach his team at Mentor.
The Wright family lives in Stow. Ron Wright said the preliminary plan, weather permitting, is to drive to Stow High School for the 7 p.m. pregame ceremony. Following the Senior Night festivities, he would then drive two miles to Kent State Airport, board a plane and make a 47-mile flight to Lost Nation Airport in Willoughby. Wright would follow that with a 4-mile car drive to Mentor High School, and possibly arrive during the second quarter of the game to coach his undefeated Explorers against the one-loss Cardinals.
“It is all based on the weather,” he said. “If the weather is decent Friday, I have a flight. If it is not decent, I will drive an ’03 Dodge Caravan with 145,000 miles on it.”
If he has to drive from Stow to Mentor, he is looking at a 46-mile trip that could take about an hour, depending on traffic, and get him to the game by halftime or in the third quarter. He would take Graham Rd. in Stow to Rt. 8 North, to I-271 North, to I-90 East to Center Street in Mentor.
“Kyle and I had already discussed this in the summer,” he said. “I told him that when it is his Senior Night, I wanted to be there. I talked with the people at Hudson and everybody said that is the right thing to do. Nobody knew that Hudson would be 8-0 and going into a big game with Mentor, but I made a promise to my son.”
Hudson (8-0) and Mentor (7-1) are both in the playoff hunt in Division I. The Explorers are ranked No. 1 in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I, Region 1 computer poll and are No. 5 in the Division I state poll. The Cardinals are ranked No. 5 in the same computer poll and No. 9 in the same state poll.
Stow (7-1) is also in the Division I playoff hunt, standing at No. 8 in the computer poll with the top 16 advancing to the playoffs.
“It means a lot to me that my dad is doing this,” Kyle Wright said. “Not only the fact that he is trying to do this, but how hard he is trying to do this. There are all these steps. It is kind of crazy. He might be flying or he might be driving. It all depends on the weather Friday.
“We talked about this over the summer and I am glad he can be there with my mom and I. I want him to be there with us, and I also want him to be able to get there so he can coach his team to victory. It would be awesome if we can both win.”
Ron Wright said the possible plane ride is courtesy of a Hudson resident who wanted to help the Wright family.
“I have always preached to my kids that family is first,” he said. “I don’t want to make this bigger than it is. It is a great opportunity. I made a promise to my son and I am able to keep my promise. The people at Hudson have been great.
‘‘After all, it is all about your kids. Each of my kids only gets to go through four years of high school once.”
Ron Wright said he saw his son play for Stow’s freshman team on Thursdays in 2010. Since he has been on the varsity, most of Hudson and Stow’s games are on Fridays.
He has coached against his son on the varsity level three times and then watched him in person Oct. 17, when host Stow defeated Medina. The coach has a 3-0 record against Stow.
He also has watched his son play via tape recordings.
“Kyle is the punter for Stow and I am in charge of punt return for Hudson,” Ron Wright said. “As you can imagine, it was a very emotional week for me.”
Kyle Wright also plays as a reserve defensive back and kicker for Stow. His father is a biology teacher at Hudson and said the school district has no open enrollment.
“My daughter, Erin, is a student at Bowling Green and she graduated from Stow,” Ron said. “She was the defensive specialist on the volleyball team at Stow and the goalkeeper in lacrosse. My wife of 28 years, Pamela, is a CPA in Akron and our youngest son, Jared, is the quarterback on the freshman team at Stow. He is a lefty and he threw the touchdown pass to beat Hudson in the freshman game.”
Ellet football on a roll
Ellet (8-0, 4-0) brings a 12-game City Series winning streak into its game with visiting Garfield (5-3, 3-1) tonight.
Ellet, the defending City Series champion, is 4-0 in the league after winning all six of its league games in 2012 and its final two league games in 2011.
The Orangemen’s last loss to a City Series foe came on Oct. 7, 2011, against Firestone 40-13. Ellet lost to Kenmore (8-7 on Sept. 24, 2011) and Buchtel (20-13 on Oct. 1, 2011) the two weeks prior to that, as well. Ellet beat East, Kenmore, Buchtel and Firestone by a combined score of 147-21 this season.
Highland vs. Nordonia
When Highland (8-0, 5-0) visits Nordonia (8-0, 5-0) tonight, it will mark just the second time in Suburban League history that two teams will meet with perfect records in Week Nine, historian Phil Heyn of Revere said.
The other time it happened was 2010, when Tallmadge and Copley entered a Week Nine game with identical 8-0, 5-0 records. The visiting Blue Devils won 34-14 over the Indians.
The Hornets-Knights game will also be the fifth time in league history that undefeated teams have met after Week Seven, and it is the 11th time that teams undefeated in league play have met after Week Seven.
The Suburban League started competition in 1949.
The winner of tonight’s game between Highland and Nordonia will at least clinch a tie for the league championship, and the loser will remain in contention for a co-championship possibly along with Wadsworth, which is 7-1, 4-1 and hosts Tallmadge tonight. Wadsworth’s lone loss this season was 24-23 to Highland.
The Highland-Nordonia game also has playoff implications in Division II, Region 4 with Highland currently No. 1 and Nordonia at No. 3.
St. V-M seeks victory
St. Vincent-St. Mary (8-0) brings a 14-game winning streak into its game at Massillon (7-1) tonight. St. V-M, the defending Division III state champion, has not lost since host Massillon topped the Irish 44-23 on Oct. 19, 2012.
Coventry is hosting a “Tackling Cancer Together” event tonight, when the Comets’ football team plays the Field Falcons.
The school and community have set up a fundraising event to raise money for beating cancer. As of Thursday, the event has raised around $7,000. Event organizers are encouraging the public to help increase the amount, and everyone who attends the game should wear pink.
First-year Coventry football coach Ed Egan is a cancer survivor, having overcome skin cancer. He mentors children as a teacher and coach, and he is also a devoted husband and father. Just like anyone who battles cancer, Egan is an inspiration.
Coventry plans to have the following at its stadium tonight: a balloon release recognition, James Harrison-signed pink football raffles, rally towels and jewelry purchase opportunities.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or email@example.com.