League play opens for OHC teams


West Liberty-Salem hits Ohio Heritage Conference play this week on the road at Northeastern. The Tigers (2-1) are coming off a huge 21-12 win at Kenton Ridge.

“I’m always excited to start league play,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “You know there’s a little bit of extra pride on the line.”

WL-S is bursting with pride after dropping the Cougars with a solid outing.

“Beating a team like Kenton Ridge is exactly what we needed to do,” McGill said, adding that zero turnovers was the key to the win. “If we take care of the football, we’ll eventually get some points on the board.”

The Tigers are focusing on improving fundamentals this week and adjusting to the students finally being back in school.

“That’s something that our guys are hopefully going to be mature enough to handle,” McGill said.

Mechanicsburg continues its undefeated run with OHC foe Cedarville (1-2) this week.

“I think their coaching staff does a very good job. They’re a competitive bunch,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said, adding that he’s not focused on Cedarville’s game plan. “What we do is what we do. We like to make teams adjust to what we do.”

Forrest knows his players have a long road ahead and the Indians haven’t played a full game with their starters, pulling them in the second half of three consecutive blowouts.

“It’s a physical conference and it’s a well-coached conference. We’ve got to kick our conditioning back up,” he said.

Triad (1-2) hosts Greeneview (2-1) in a pivotal OHC matchup.

The Rams graduated all but three starters from a season ago, but Triad coach Payton Printz isn’t overlooking the boys from Jamestown.

“The kids that replaced those kids are very, very talented,” Printz said.

The longtime Cardinals’ coach said he’s already looking at the crowded Region 22 playoff picture and sees the potential for major secondary computer points for either team with a victory this week.

“There’s some really good teams in it, so every victory’s going to count,” Printz said, adding the Cardinals wanted to win the OHC and make the playoffs before the year began. “Those are some goals that are still attainable.”

Despite being depleted by injuries, the Cards are still looking to push going into the league schedule.

“We’ve got kids going both ways. They expect that now. Out of necessity, we have to,” Printz said. “We are really trying to become very inventive in how we substitute kids to get some of the two-way guys some rest.”

Urbana finally put a win in the books last Friday against Bellefontaine, with the Hillclimbers going on the road to Stebbins this week.

Stebbins runs a triple option offense that puts a lot of pressure on team defense and trust.

“It’s a little abnormal from your average preparation,” UHS Coach Jon Daniels said. “You try to get your scout guys to run it just like Stebbins does.”

Daniels thinks the Bellefontaine win may be just what the Hillclimbers needed to propel them to success.

“Our guys look like they’ve got a little bounce to their steps,” he said. “They’re a good group of kids – a talented group of kids. And through hard work, they can achieve their goals.”

Graham, fresh off a close loss to Lehman Catholic, is on the road at Tecumseh this week.

“Every week, we have to continue to keep getting better,” Graham Coach A.J. Woods said. “We’re going to play our game. We have to get better at what we’re doing.”

The Falcons spotted Lehman three touchdowns before pitching a shutout in the second half – something that wasn’t lost on Woods and something he thinks he can build on.

“We have to play hard right from the start,” he said. “I love my kids. They’re fighters. And that’s what I need on my team.”

West Liberty-Salem’s Brandon Upton (7) drops back to pass against Valley View in the season opener. The Tigers open league play at Northeastern Friday.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2015/09/web1_UptonFILE082815.jpgWest Liberty-Salem’s Brandon Upton (7) drops back to pass against Valley View in the season opener. The Tigers open league play at Northeastern Friday.

By Justin Miller

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

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