Area teams set for Week 4


By Justin Miller - jmiller@civitasmedia.com



Graham running back Jarrett Knoop (11) tries to break free of a Lehman tackler as Falcon teammate Matt Williams (53) pursues the play during last Friday night’s game at GHS.


While one local team continues to roll, others are just hitting their stride or struggling to find a gear at all.

At Urbana, the Hillclimbers turned the ball over a handful of times last week but still managed to hang with a bigger Greenville squad, an encouraging sign as UHS (1-2) returns to the CBC this week at Benjamin Logan (3-0).

“If you have a weakness, they’re going to find a way to exploit it,” UHS Coach Jon Daniels said. “They’re very capable of putting points on the board.”

The Raiders like to air the ball out and keep scoreboard operators busy, but the ‘Climbers might be able to hang in there with some good fundamental play.

“Our guys came in today very fired up to get back into CBC play,” Daniels said on Monday. “If we can come out and execute and play the way we did Friday, I think we’ll be all right.”

At Graham, the Falcons (0-3) host Bellefontaine (1-2) in what figures to be a pretty one-sided affair.

“We have to really execute our game plan extremely well,” GHS Coach A.J. Woods said. “We’ve got to be extremely disciplined in our zone coverage.”

Bellefontaine has an excellent quarterback and the Falcons are coming in winless, so it might be an uphill battle.

“You didn’t expect to be here, so you have to change it up a little,” Woods said. “We’ve had to crank up practice a little bit, make it competitive. We talked about overcoming adversity. We have got to be competitive in this game.”

At West Liberty-Salem, the Tigers (1-2) are prepping for a tough home matchup against Northeastern (1-2) in the OHC opener.

“I think it’s huge. It’s a big challenge this week,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said.

The Tigers are playing a home stand that never seems to end, but with construction all around at the school, it doesn’t really feel like home.

“It’s an unusual year to say the least. We’re a team without a locker room,” McGill said, explaining that they move into a temporary space on Friday evening and leave on Saturday morning. “It’s really weird. My guys have handled it about as well as they can.”

WL-S bounced back from an 0-2 mark to win against Kenton Ridge last week, riding running backs Braden Miller and Brandon Wolfe to victory.

“I’m a big believer that you have to have two quality backs,” McGill said. “(And) our kids played with a sense of urgency. I think that they also realized that whoever we’re playing next is the most important game of the year.”

At Triad, the Cardinals (0-3) are still hunting for their first win as they play at Greeneview (2-1) Friday night. That task may have to wait another week, as the Rams offer a stiff challenge.

“They are definitely still showing up ready to go,” Coach Joe Cardinal said of his players. “We’ve got to just take each week as a challenge to grow up with our youth. Our goal is to be up at the top of the conference. We’ve got a tremendous task ahead of us this week, but we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”

Triad’s been changing its rotation and moving guys around the formation a bit in the opening weeks. Now that they enter conference play, Cardinal feels more confident.

“We’ve had quite a few players come out after our two-a-days,” he said. “So these first three weeks have given us a chance to reevaluate. This will be a measuring stick for us about where we’re at in the conference.”

Over the last couple of seasons, it seems three things are certain: Death, Taxes and Mechanicsburg Football. The unbeaten Indians have been on a tear, walloping opponents week in and week out. They host winless Cedarville this week.

“There’s a lot of teams and people that know they have to do something different (to compete with us),” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said. “We know we’re going to get different looks that maybe we haven’t seen on film.”

Forrest praised his linemen for adjusting easily and quickly to those changes. So how much better can the Indians be after winning each of the last 13 regular season games by more than 30 points?

“The big thing is making sure we’re firing on all cylinders. We need to do a better job being ready to go right from the gate,” Forrest said. “We’re just scratching the surface of what we’re capable of doing. I think our mentality is going to change.”

Graham running back Jarrett Knoop (11) tries to break free of a Lehman tackler as Falcon teammate Matt Williams (53) pursues the play during last Friday night’s game at GHS.
http://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2016/09/web1_GrahamLehman.jpgGraham running back Jarrett Knoop (11) tries to break free of a Lehman tackler as Falcon teammate Matt Williams (53) pursues the play during last Friday night’s game at GHS.

By Justin Miller

jmiller@civitasmedia.com

Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.

Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.