Prep football, Week 4: Playing in the band

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Leipsic at Hopewell-Loudon

Records: Leipsic 3-0, 1-0 BVC; Hopewell-Loudon 1-2, 0-1 BVC.

Last year: Leipsic, 16-8.

Outlook: A week after being blown out by McComb, Hopewell-Loudon returns home to face another tough task. It goes up against the Vikings, who are 3-0 and are ranked fifth in the Division VII AP poll.

There’s also questions for the Chieftains regarding running back Sam Stickley, who hurt his ankle last week against McComb.

“I think he’s OK, and hopefully going to play,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio said Tuesday. “He hasn’t practiced yet this week, but hopefully we’ll get him out there (Wednesday) and let him run around a little bit and see what he can do.”

To Colatruglio, the Vikings’ strength lies in their consistency and their balance.

“I don’t think they’re great at anything, but they’re good at everything. They are a solid football team. They don’t have one guy who stands out above everybody else, but they have 11 really good football players on offense and defense, and they’re just solid at everything.”

Colatruglio said it’s a tough stretch in the schedule, but that’s not a bad thing.

“We get a chance every week to keep facing these quality football teams,” he said. “I keep telling our guys, at some point, we’re gonna put it all together, and we’re gonna play a solid four-quarter game on offense and defense, and we’re gonna knock somebody off. And we’re preparing to do that this week.”

Carey at Bucyrus

Records: Carey 3-0, 2-0 N10; Bucyrus 0-3, 0-1 N10

Last year: Carey, 63-28

Outlook: Carey has started to establish itself — again — as an area power. And it’s ranking as the No. 6 team in Division VI shows that.

After three wins, the Blue Devils travel to Bucyrus for what looks like an easy game. Through three weeks, the Redmen not only haven’t won, but they haven’t scored.

In its losses to Galion, Wynford and Pleasant, Bucyrus has been outscored 133-0. But Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said his squad is not overlooking the Redmen.

“I think they’ve played three really tough opponents,” Mershman said. “I mean, a 3-0 team, another 3-0 team, and then Wynford, who’s 2-1. So, I mean, they didn’t do themselves any favors with their schedule, that’s for sure.

“On film, you’re seeing some things on film that they’re capable of doing, if you’re not ready for them,” Mershman said. “Their screen game is very effective, and they can move the ball using it.”

And despite his team’s success, Mershman said he’s still looking for improvement.

“I’m looking for our offense to be a little more consistent,” Mershman said, “and our defensive backs to cover and not lose sight of their assignment half way through a play.”

Mershman said he continues to be happy with the play of his quarterback, Brayden Wentling.

“We need to get him a little more consistent on some things, but, I’ll tell you what… he’s got that experience and stuff, and he knows how to play in those games and get himself out of trouble and find the right guys who are open,” Mershman said, “or run the ball, or do whatever he needs to do.”

Seneca East at St. Mary

Records: Seneca East 2-0, Sandusky St. Mary 0-3.

Last year: Did not play

Outlook: After a bye week, Seneca East didn’t show any rust against Buckeye Central last week, running over the Bucks 63-0.

On Saturday, the Tigers will travel to Sandusky to take on another winless team, St. Mary.

Seneca East coach Ed Phillips said the key to success against Buckeye Central was a good week of practice, and that will be the key again this week.

“If you’re good every day in practice, good things are going to happen for you in the game,” Phillips said. “When we had the bye week — we played Buckeye last week — we just practiced really well every day. I talked to the kids about being ready and doing things for each other, and that’s what they did.”

The Panthers come in to Saturday’s contest 0-3, but those losses have come against some tough competition, including Norwalk St. Paul and Monroeville.

“They’re solid on defense, and same thing on offense,” Phillips said. “They’re a very fundamental team that doesn’t make many mistakes, and makes you play really well in all three phases of the football game.

Phillips said the Panthers will show a 3-2 defensive front, which is a little different.

“They’ll give you some looks you don’t see a whole lot,” he said.

Phillips said one thing he wants to see continue to improve this week is the play of his line.

“We were spoiled for a couple of years, in that we had a lot of guys back,” Phillips said. “I think the biggest improvement we can make is to continue to progress with our offensive and defensive lines, and eliminate simple mistakes. We’ve really played very well up there, but we’ve made some simple errors we’ve got to cut out as the games get tighter.”

River View at Mohawk

Records: River View 0-3; Mohawk 3-0.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Things are looking pretty good at Mohawk right now.

The Warriors have won their first three games, and last week’s 34-20 win over Colonel Crawford qualified as their tightest win. They received votes in the first Division VII AP poll, and are home this week for a matchup against the winless Bears.

“I think there’s excitement because, every game we’ve played, I think we’ve looked good for spots,” Mohawk coach Brent Konkle said. “I though we showed signs of being a very good team for at least as short period of time for all the games we’ve played.”

A key to that success has been the offensive balance the Warriors have shown through three games. Even with top running back Bryce Kirian out last week with a shoulder injury, Mohawk rushed for more than 200 yards, and quarterback Keith Jenkins threw for 172.

“I thought our offensive line came out, and pass (protected) very well,” Konkle said of the win over Colonel Crawford. “Keith benefitted from that, he delivered the ball on time, receivers caught the ball and ran good routes, and it kind of all clicked. It starts up front, whether it’s pass or run. Keith ran the ball well, Parker Brown did, and Jesse Leeth as a freshman stepped in.”

Konkle said he does not expect Kirian to play Friday against River View.

The Bears are a puzzling case for Mohawk. They are winless, but they also are a Division IV team.

“Offensively, they’re kind of a double wing, a lot of motion,” Konkle said. I think up front, we’re gonna be good up front against them. I think we’re gonna be good up front against themIt’s our advantage up front, I think we’re gonna take advantage of that.

“They’ve got some athletes they put in space, and anytime you put athletes in space it worries me, because it’s just one play,” Konkle said. “I think offensively, us against them, I think our advantage up front is big time.”

Otsego at Fostoria

Records: Otsego 2-1; Fostoria 3-0.

Last year: Otsego, 38-7.

Outlook: Fostoria kicks off its Northern Buckeye Conference slate Friday by hosting Otsego.

The Knights fell 41-27 last week to Bowling Green, but started the year by doubling up Evergreen 28-14 before overpowering North Baltimore 49-28.

“Very talented quarterback, good receiving corps. They like to spread the ball a lot. They throw the ball about 60, 70 percent of the time,” Fostoria coach Derek Kidwell said.

“They give you different defensive fronts, so you’ve got to be prepared for lots of things,” he said.

The Redmen enter on a roll after beating Cardinal Stritch 53-13. Their 3-0 start is their best since winning the first seven games in 2008. Fostoria has just two three-game win streaks since — thelast three games in 2011 and in Weeks 2-4 in 2014.

“The kids are working hard, the kids are excited,” Kidwell said. “We’re healthy, that’s a bonus.”

“I think it’s really two balanced teams. It’s a close match-up,” he said. “I think if we have an advance, it’s our quarterback and our receivers against their secondary.”

Ridgedale at Lakota

Records: Ridgedale 1-2; Lakota 1-2.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Lakota snapped a nine-game losing streak by whipping Ridgemont 63-7 last week. The Raiders now host Ridgedale, which halted a 26-game skid with a 12-7 season-opening win against Ridgemont before dropping its next two games (36-14 to Whitney Young, 46-14 to Waynesfield-Goshen) by a combined 82-28.

Despite the Rockets being in another losing streak, Lakota coach Mike Lento said his Raiders will face challenges.

For one, Lakota will be without Jordan White, a do-it-all player on both sides of the ball who was injured in a Week 2 loss to Gibsonburg.

For another, Ridgedale quarterback Branden Jaggers is a dangerous player, Lento said.

“Their quarterback is pretty darn good. He wants to win, you can see that through every play,” he said.

“He elongates play. He’ll break contain and make a big pass or use his legs,” he said. “I think he single-handedly beat Ridgemont for their win in Week 1.”

Along with containing Jaggers, Lento said a key to victory will come from controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides.

“We pressured our offensive line and defensive line to have a good game,” Lento said. “Seeing the points they’ve given up to similar offenses as ours …, in those games, each of those teams was able to control the line of scrimmage against Ridgedale and we’re looking to do that.

“I’ve seen a vast improvement from Week 1 to Week 3. I think that’s from guys getting comfortable with our offensive scheme. I’m seeing it on defense, as well,” he said. “We’re just looking to improve again from Week 3 to Week 4, and that’s all you can ask.”

Crestline at Buckeye Central

Records: Crestline 1-2; Buckeye Central 0-3.

Last year: Crestline, 36-14.

Outlook: Both teams enter Friday after lopsided losses — Crestline fell 44-9 to South Central, Buckeye Central lost 63-0 to Seneca East — looking to turn their season around.

“I know we’re 0-3 but our team still has a great attitude. They have been putting in a good week of practice,” Buckeye Central coach Rob Detterman said.

“As with last week and the week before, we’re really focusing on getting better on the offensive and defensive line,” he said. “I know something I’ve really been harping on them is every rep is to get better and do it better than in the past.”

Both teams have struggled offensively.

Buckeye Central scored 14 points in each of its first two games before getting shutout by Seneca East. Quarterback Max Loy also left last week’s defeat with an injured hand, but Detterman said the hand was not fractured.

Crestline hasn’t scored more than 18 points in a game, and hasn’t scored in double digits the past two weeks.

But the Bulldogs do have junior Davon Triplett, who Detterman called a 6-4, 230-pound athletic force.

“He gave us a lot of trouble last year. He’s someone we have to keep an eye on,” Detterman said. “He plays defensive end on the other side of the ball and he’s very good at getting to the quarterback, so we have to know where he is at all times on both sides of the ball.”

Bellevue at Shelby

Records: Bellevue 2-1; Shelby 3-0

Last year: Shelby 49, Bellevue 34

Outlook: Toward the end of last season, Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti had to win one of two games in order to win the league title.

The Redmen ended up losing both.

One of the teams they had to beat was Shelby. In preparing for the rematch, Nasonti has been preaching the fundamentals to his team. He said he wants his team to secure the ball, make good tackles and be assignment sharp.

One of the people that Nasonti has been preparing the Redmen for is Division I college prospect Brennan Armstrong. He has been out for almost a year and is expected to return this week. Armstrong is to play for the University of Minnesota next year.

“He reads the defense really well,” Nasonti said.

In order to keep him off balance, the Redmen are going to have to make him execute downfield. “(Shelby) is a big play team,” Nasonti said, and he has been telling his guys, “‘You want to make the opposition earn their way down the field.”

Shelby’s spread offense already has put up 150 points through three games. That’s was without Armstrong playing in those games. On defense, the Whippets run a 4-3 that mixes up coverages and blitzes sporadically. The Whippets have allowed just 23 points.

Clyde at Bowsher

Records: Clyde 3-0; Bowsher 0-3

Last year: Clyde 56, Bowsher 13

Outlook: Coming into Week 4 with a record of 3-0 and facing a Bowsher team that is 0-3, Clyde coach Ryan Carter said his team needs to get focused.

“We need to get focused on playing one week at a time,” Carter said.

Now that his team 3-0, he has told his team that it needs to put the last three weeks behind it in order to keep winning.

Even though Bowsher has yet to win a game, Carter said, “They are very athletic and have athletes all over the field.”

Offensively, the Rebels run the spread. Bowsher has a good wide receiver and a talented running back. To stop those guys, Carter said the Fliers have to be assignment sound. On the defensive side, the Rebels run a 4-3 and bring a lot of pressure. Carter said they play a lot of man-to-man or cover-zero.

“Our up-front people — both offensive linemen and defensive linemen — can control the game if they come out ready,” Carter said.

The key to last year’s big win was getting off to a good start, and Carter is hoping for the same this year.

Edison at Upper Sandusky

Records: Edison 2-1; Upper Sandusky 1-2

Last year: Didn’t play.

Outlook: Big. Strong. Fast.

That is how Upper Sandusky coach Chris Rodriguez described Milan Edison.

He said the offensive line is fast and can get out and make blocks and the defensive line is fast and strong to make the blitzes.

With a quick, wing-T offense, Rodriguez said that his defensive coordinator has a few things up his sleeve to try and stop the Chargers offense. The Rams will more than likely be running a lot of blitzes.

Edison runs a 3-4 defense that mixes in the blitz with a cover-two. In order to get past the speedy defense, Rodriguez said, “We need to attack the best we can and make some plays.”

The Chargers a team that the Rams haven’t seen.

“The difference between playing a team you see regularly and a new team, is that with the new team you are only scratching the surface and going by the film,” Rodriguez said.

— By The A-T sports staff