Mechanicsburg will continue its quest for perfection on the road at a tough Greeneview team this week in what should be the last real conference test the Indians will face.
Making it all the more difficult will be the fact that the game is being played in Jamestown.
“They’ve had huge crowds and they’re very, very excited. The entire community’s behind them,” MHS Coach Kurt Forrest said. “They’re a very physical, fundamental, well-coached football team.”
The Indians are playing at an extremely high level that should make them competitive in the state playoffs, but Forrest isn’t satisfied.
“Our job right now is to make sure we are maximizing our potential,” he said. “We all think we have another level we can take it to. It hasn’t happened yet.”
M’burg will be trying to find that next level against a competitive team in hopes of not just winning the game, but also tuning up for the playoffs.
“You know there’s a certain level of intensity on their sideline and there’s a certain level of intensity on our sideline, and that makes for a special Friday night,” Forrest said. “If you’re willing to go really really hard and sacrifice for the man next to you, then you’ll usually find success.”
West Liberty-Salem will play at home versus Southeastern on Friday, with the Tigers finally celebrating homecoming. With the way the schedule was laid out, one might have wondered if they’d get around to it before Thanksgiving.
“It’s been an odd year in that way. It almost feels weird to play at home,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill mused. “The fact that we can finish the last two weeks at home is a nice thing.”
The Tigers are ranked second in Division VI, Region 22 and will be looking to take care of business down the stretch to add another home game to the menu.
“We’re just going to focus on getting better this week and enjoy playing at home,” McGill said, noting that the playoff picture is likely to shift. “It feels like it’s gone by really fast. Just trying to remind the guys that this is a fun sport.”
The Trojans will test the Tigers’ assignment-based defensive scheme this week.
“They try to run the ball and do a little sprint-out passing game. They try to attack you on defense. We’ve got to be fundamentally sound,” McGill said.
Urbana will go on the road to league-leading Indian Lake for a difficult test.
The Lakers have ridden strong defense to a 6-2 record, giving up only 77 points overall. The only losses for the boys from Lewistown came to Kenton Ridge (22-15) and Tippecanoe (17-13) – both of which are 7-1.
Urbana (2-6) is only scoring at an 11 points per game clip, so the Hillclimbers will have to manufacture drives to be successful.
Graham will travel to take on Northwestern and the Warriors’ spread attack. The Falcons had a tough time against Benjamin Logan’s passing attack when they played the Raiders, so Coach A.J. Woods is putting emphasis on stopping the aerial attack.
“We put a lot of time in this week working on pass defense,” Woods said. “We need to make sure we’re mentally and physically prepared.”
The young Falcons are beginning to feel the grind of the 10-game season, as many of the players have limited varsity experience and are learning on the job.
Graham still has a chance to win the division, but would need to win both remaining games and have both Ben Logan and Indian Lake lose out.
“The league championship is the last thing you think about at this point in the season,” Woods said. “You’re thinking of one week at a time. We’ve got Northwestern this week. We have to knock them off.”
Triad is on the road at Catholic Central, with the Cardinals trying to stay afloat in the OHC and finish strong.
Although Triad is thin, the Irish are even more depleted and don’t have an athlete as good as the Cardinals’ Trent McIntyre.
The key for Triad will be how the Cardinals respond to the physical beating they took at the hands of rival West Liberty-Salem last week. The Irish shellacked Cedarville for a convincing win last week, so SCC will be riding positive emotions.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller