Steel City Football

By S. Samek

Texas is a football state. Even at the youngest levels the sport is dominant. Pennsylvania is another upper tier football state. Western Pennsylvania and the WPIAL highlights this list.

Texas young football player got national exposure on Esquire Networks Friday Night Tykes show. It has lasted four seasons, and can be further reviewed here.

Pennsylvania son followed with a season one based in Beaver County and the Beaver County Youth Football League, or BCYFL. Season one thoughts can be chronicled here.

The main difference between the first and second season of Steel Country was the move to USA from Esquire and the elimination of Monica and Ambridge being covered and replaced with Sto-Rox and more emphasis on Beaver Falls. Central Valley, Aliquippa, and Blackhawk return to the field as well. The age bracket went up to the highest age too.

Blackhawk was a decent team this season after playing in last season’s finals. The Cougars created a team in the highest division to end with a championship and play with each other one more time. Best of intentions, not the best season.

Sto-Rox was the worst team on the show. The newcomers were more into fighting and goofing off than playing football. It showed on the field as the season ended short of the title. Though it was pretty cool to see the players get to do a bit of firefighter training as a team bonding activity.

Beaver Falls impressed me a lot. They clearly knew what they were doing this season. Though a host of star power still couldn’t get them the prize. Also, a plus for their big rivalry with Aliquippa.

Central Valley was the champs from last season. They looked to keep winning this season. A surprise entrant in the finals after playing one of the best games of the season, can CV win it all?

Aliquippa is the defending champ, but in this seasons age bracket. They are going for the undefeated title win this year. Off the field issues in the community threaten the season. Can this team keep it together and rally the community with another championship?

The main action of the show was on the field. Games were close and rivalries are highlighted. Teams play for community pride. It gives it a dimension that the Texas edition doesn’t. In Texas, it’s the organization more than the town that matters. In Pennsylvania, it’s often times the best thing to happen to a town is to play football with all the violence and negativity.  Granted it doesn’t make for a lot of creativity in storyline, but it is real and true. I would say the second season improved a lot on the first season of Steel Country. I recommend checking it out if you’re a local football fan, or fan of the original show.

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QB1:Beyond the Lights

By S. Samek

Ran across a new show on a website called go90.com. The show goes by the title QB1: Beyond the Light. The show highlights three quarterbacks during their senior year of high school on their way to major universities. My review of the show is as follows.

The first is Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman High School. Martell is on his way to Ohio State. Martell is a good quarterback and led his team to many wins over nationally ranked teams during the show. However, he bugged me. He’s the standard rich entitled QB that gives more time to his appreances than his football it seems. Several instances in the show demonstrate this. Interesting to see if he does live up the hype at Ohio State next year.

The second QB is Tayvon Bowers of Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt. Bowers is a Wake Forrest commit. Bowers showed a lot of promise, but didn’t quite have the weapons needed to excel this season. An injury also limited his time in the playoffs. Bower’s isn’t stuck up like Martell is and it was refreshing to see. Though Bowers may not quite have the skill set of Martell.

The third and final QB is Jake Fromm from Georgia. Fromm is going to the University of Georgia in the fall. Fromm is a tough quarterback that dealt with some tough losses this season, while chasing individual records and glory. Though the neat thing was he had his brother as his backup QB. Fromm does have swagger, but is also humble and is a mix of the two other QBs in the series.

Three unique story lines was a strength of the show. However, I don’t feel like the stories went more than surface deep. I don’t feel like I really knew the QBs and what was going on in their lives as much as I could have.

The on the field action was good. The matchups seem to be high level ones with frequent rival battles and ranking teams going head to head.

Though the action wasn’t enough to save the show. It just seems forgettable at times and not a must watch every week. It’s a good series if you’re interested in up and coming backs or football. Though I would say skip if you’re looking for a deeper story line. I would probably give it barley a three out of five-star review. I just wish it had the deeper connection sense it was only covering three QBs.

Check out the show here.

 

Playing for Peanuts

S. Samek

Got to love YouTube. Through this wonderful social media channel I was introduced to the topic of Todays Post.

Introducing the show Playing for Peanuts. The show was a 10-episode mini documentary about the South Coast League of independent baseball. It mostly focused on the entry known as the South Georgia Peanuts. This motley crew was led by former big league player Wally Backman.

The shows 10 episodes focused on the trials of independent league ball. Problems ranging from bad umpires to lack of clubhouses and mediocre pay.  Though a lot of good things happen to the Peanuts. They play exceptional baseball and sit atop of the league standings for all 10 episodes. The roster featured a couple former big league players in Curtis Goodwin, Desi Wilson and Mike Caruso. Sad to say now of the former players made it to the majors, but a few did get picked up by professional teams.

I must admit this show is filled with drama. The league is criticized for poor facilities awful umpiring and poor handling of drug testing. Fans fail to show up for games as the league tries to make its mark on independent baseball.

Backman takes a lot of heat for standing up for his players against the leagues short comings. It gives the show a bit of the scripted feel, but Backman does care for his players. Not to mention he gives a rousing pregame speech in an extra episode. Pg13 on it though lots of cussing. Not to mention it does show just how hard it is to start up a league. Though it was just so comically bad how much this league failed.

Though the Peanuts were good sports the entire time. They had a lot of fun on the field and played pranks and tried to stay out of trouble off the field. It made the show very lite in tone despite some serious issues going on.

I highly recommend checking out this show. It’s fun, but serious at the same time. It really appeals to casual and serious fans.  You can enjoy the good on field play and the silly off the field antics. It also serves as a historical marker as the league only lasted 1 season. Read more about it here.

Watch the first episode here.