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Local rivals meet tonight

Posted Oct 19, 2012

Independence and Cuyahoga Heights renew their rivalry tonight in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, presented by PNC Bank.

Tonight’s Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week, presented by PNC Bank features a Chagrin Valley Conference matchup as Cuyahoga Heights host its rival from Independence.

With a conference title and playoff implications on the line, Cuyahoga Heights (7-1) is looking to build on an already strong season.

“There is a lot on the line with a conference title and then, it’s senior night, so there is a lot going on,” Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin said. “We need to come out and focus on playing football rather than getting distracted by the other things. That will really be crucial.”

The Redskins currently sit in a three-way tie with Hawken and Beachwood atop the Chagrin Valley Metro Division (each with one conference loss). For Martin, coaching in meaningful games this late in the season is why he became a football coach.

“It’s an important time of year,” Martin said. “It’s fun for everyone involved, the coaches, the players, the fans. We are certainly looking forward to it.”

Independence, meanwhile, has had a season of streaks to date. After starting the season 4-0, the Blue Devils dropped three in a row before winning last week at Newbury.

“There has been a lot of frustration in the sense that we got out of the gate at 4-0 and then came a failure to execute during that three-game stretch,” Independence coach James Jackson said. “The good thing is the kids have been focused and working their tails off.”

For the Blue Devils, a win over their rivals would resurrect the early season magic.

“There wasn’t really too much motivation we had to lay down this week,” Jackson said. “They know what’s at stake. It’s a huge game; it’s at Cuyahoga Heights and I like where we’re at.”

The winning team will receive $4,000 through the Game of the Week program and the winning coach, along with Game MVP, will be honored during the Browns-Baltimore Ravens game on Nov. 4.

The Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week Program is presented by PNC Bank, in association with Russell Athletic and The Ohio Army National Guard.