TC?looking to stop?Scott,?Presidents
Marion Harding’s record isn’t spectacular, but Columbian coach Brian Colatruglio said you have to look deeper.
The Presidents, a Division II independent, are 3-5, but have played three undefeated teams. They also have one of the best running backs in the state, L.J. Scott.
Scott, a senior, has committed to Louisville, and was featured on ESPN’s top 10 plays last month after he hurdled over a defender on his way to the end zone.
“They have one of the best players we will have gone against all year,” Colatruglio said. “He is a big-time running back, and the best back we’ve faced since I’ve been here.”
Colatruglio said the Presidents goal is to try to get the ball in Scott’s hands.
“They’ll spread (the offense) out and throw it to him,” Colatruglio said. “They do have some success in the play-action game. With him being so good, and obviously, he’s gonna be the focus of every defensive game plan. Being able to fake it to him and be able to take shots in the passing game is a big part of what they do.”
Colatruglio said the defensive plan is about containing Scott.
“Obviously, we have to slow him down and do a great job of gang-tackling him, but we can’t get beat for easy touchdowns because we’re too focused on him.”
The key is not allowing big plays, which TC has been good at this season.
“That’s the way we always try to play,” Colatruglio said. “We missed a tackle last week, gave up a big one [against Shelby], but other than that, we’ve been pretty solid, and that’s the big thing.”
Defensively, Marion Harding has had some tough games.
“They’ve struggled on defense, they’ve given up a bunch of points. It’s something where we hope to put points on the board early and get them out of just being able to hand the ball to (Scott) every play.”
It’s something of an odd situation for Colatruglio’s team, which clinched a share of the Northern Ohio League title last week and has played an NOL game each Friday since Week 3.
“We’re looking to win an outright championship, and we have to put it on pause here for a second and play a non-league opponent,” Colatruglio said. “In that respect, it’s a little different, it’s unique, it’s something that I’ve never experienced before. On the other hand, with Marion, they’re an independent, they don’t have a league, so every opponent is new to them, and as you can see, their schedule is pretty ridiculous, with who they have to play and where they have to travel.”
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.