Prep football, Week 3: Welcome to the working week
Records: Arlington 2-0; Hopewell-Loudon 1-1.
Last season: Arlington, 15-14.
Outlook: Hopewell-Loudon opens its Blanchard Valley Conference schedule — its final one — against an undefeated Arlington team.
Not only have the Red Devils won their first two games, they have yet to be challenged. Arlington beat its first two opponents — Riverdale and Ada — by a combined score of 77-13.
“They’re a very aggressive, physical football team on both sides of the ball,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio said. “They’ve had a great deal of success running the ball against both teams they’ve played. Defensively, they’re super-aggressive and caused some turnovers and some negative plays. They’ve played two very good games.”
One of the biggest challenges for Hopewell-Loudon — or, frankly, any team that matches up with the Red Devils — will be defending tight end Ivan Berry.
“He’s their big-play receiver, and he’s also a very physical blocker as a tight end,” Colatruglio said. “So they move him all around and do a lot of things with him. He’s one of those big athletic receivers; they’ll throw some jump balls too, and try to get some big plays.”
Last week, Hopewell-Loudon was able to move the ball, but struggled to finish drives in a 34-14 loss to Mohawk.
Colatruglio gave much of the credit for that to the Warriors. But at the same time he said his Chieftains have things to work on.
“It’s just the little things, consistency,” Colatruglio said. “We had two good drives right out of the gate, inside the 30… we came away from those two without points. We moved the ball consistently the whole night, and didn’t finish drives. They kinda wore us down. That’s a big part.”
This week, Colatruglio said he’s expecting a tight game.
“We’re two pretty evenly matched teams,” Colatruglio said. “I would think that both of us are looking at this as one that we need to get to get off to a good start.”
at Seneca East
Records: Elmwood 0-2; Seneca East 2-0.
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: After a pair of comfortable wins at the expense of Margaretta and Newark Catholic, Seneca East gets a team that went 1-9 last season and dropped its first two games of 2018.
Seneca East coach Ed Phillips doesn’t think so.
“(Elmwood) is a very good football team, and when I first turned the film on on them, I’ll admit I was a little surprised at how good they are,” Phillips said. “Only because … I knew they didn’t have a good record last year, but I also know what conference (NBC) they play in. A lot of good teams our size can play in that conference and have a rough record … they’re a good football team, that’s for sure.”
The Royals probably are better than their record indicates. Each of their first two games were winnable — losses to Gibsonburg and Genoa were by a combined 13 points.
A standout for the Royals has been Garrett Wright, who ran for 156 yards in last week’s loss to the Raiders.
“We gotta stop their run, because they come out and pound you, and run their inside zone and trap you, they’re pretty effective at that,” Phillips said. “You don’t want to allow them to run the football on you and let them be two-dimensional. You don’t want to let them shorten the game either. That’s a big key for us.”
Phillips said he wants his team to keep improving.
“If we can just keep getting better every day and every week, we’re gonna do some good things this year,” he said.
Galion at Upper Sandusky
Records: Galion 2-0; Upper Sandusky 2-0.
Last year: Did not play.
Outlook: Two unbeaten teams will square off this Sunday. Upper Sandusky coach Russell Hall says his team is excited where it is at, and he’s got an eye on history.
“(Practice) has been good, very energetic,” Hall said. “It’s the first time since 2013 that we’ve been 2-0, so that’s half a decade. Even longer, it’s been since 2008 since we’ve beaten Galion. Our energy has been pretty good, our focus has been pretty good. The kids are excited; they’re enjoying football.”
That doesn’t mean this week’s game won’t be a big challenge. The Tigers recorded a statement win a week ago when they handled Carey. Hall said Galion is a difficult team to go against, on both sides of the ball.
“They’re very physical, their skill kids are tremendous,” Hall said. “(Elias) Middleton, their quarterback, is extremely fast, but also very accurate. He can throw completions to every zone on the field. Their receivers have catches everywhere. There’s not just one single guy. Their skill kids are phenomenal.”
And it doesn’t end there.
“Their two guards are very big, and can move very well for being as big as they are,” Hall said. “So, they’re a tough team.”
And that toughness extends to the Galion defense.
“Their defense, their line is very, very physical, come off the ball really hard,” Hall said. “They get off of blocks really well. Their linebackers fly and their secondary is extremely sound. So this will be a tough game for us. We’ll have to play really well.”
Upper Sandusky will counter with quarterback Levi Malone and running back Nate McMillan. But Hall said the result will likely be determined what happens in the position battles.
“Offensively, it will be trying to impose our will,” Hall said. “It will really come down to a battle of wills. It’s self discipline among the players to try and win those one-on-one battles.”
Cardinal Stritch at Fostoria
Records: Cardinal Stritch 0-2; Fostoria 0-2.
Last year: Fostoria, 53-13.
Outlook: Each comes in looking for the year’s first win, and even though Fostoria is the larger school, FHS coach Derek Kidwell said the Redmen face challenges.
Fostoria’s new offense finally found the end zone in last week’s 45-13 loss to Division III Toledo Scott but the Redmen committed drive-ending penalties early and lost a couple fumbles.
That will have to stop against Cardinal Stritch’s 3-5 defense, he said.
“We need to go out and find some kids who want to play football and play with passion,” Kidwell said.
Now the Division V Redmen host the Division VI Cardinals, but Cardinal Stritch actually has a few more players on its roster than Fostoria. And some of those players are pretty good athletes, Kidwell said.
“The kids play hard. They’ve got a good-sized line,” Kidwell said. “No. 2 (senior Paul Latz), he’s pretty athletic. He’s a big-play guy.”
However, he said, the Cardinals are a bit one-dimensional on offense.
“They don’t have much of a run game,” he said. “They’re a spread team, but they live with the pass.”
Lakota at Ridgemont
Records: Lakota 1-1; Ridgemont 1-1.
Last year: Lakota, 63-7.
Outlook: Fresh off a 26-19 win over Elmwood, Lakota hits the road for a game against fellow 1-1 team Ridgemont.
While the Raiders breezed past the Gophers last year, Lakota coach Mike Lento said there are concerns this year.
“Obviously, the bus ride becomes a concern. It’s a long haul,” he said. “Also with us playing them last year …, we put together a great game plan and it all came together. What comes into factor this year, our kids that played know Ridgemont.
“We have to become mentally better. That’s how you become a good team,” he said. “You respect everybody but fear no one, and that’s what we’ve been telling everyone here with Ridgemont.”
The Gophers suffered a 63-2 setback to Triad last week and only have 20 on the roster, but their attack features running back L.L. Jackson, who’s averaging 111 yards per game.
“One thing that’s going to be a strength for us is depth. What they have, they do a great job with. Their one fullback, he’s 6-4, 225 pounds,” Lento said. “They have athletes all over the field. What I think that hurts them is depth.”
And taking advantage of that means sticking to Lakota’s strengths, he added.
“We’re going to continue to do what we do,” Lento said. “We’re going to get our young quarterback some reps and we’re going to give the ball as much as we can (to Trevor Franks). We’re going to allow our depth to help us.”
West Holmes at Bellevue
Records: West Holmes 2-0; Bellevue 0-2.
Last year: Bellevue, 34-26.
Outlook: Challenges abound for Bellevue.
Division III West Holmes comes to town after a pair of easy wins over lower division teams (Triway 48-14, Tuslaw 35-7) while the Redmen have yet to find the win column.
“The big things is, you look at their starting lineup, they have 22 starting seniors. They’re a veteran team. They’re a pretty solid team all around,” Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti said.
“We’ve had two tough games now, we’ve got some guys hurt. We understand that. In 2018, you’ve got to make sure kids can distinguish between being hurt and being injured,” he said. “We’ve been battled-tested for two games.”
And despite the losses — the first by just a point to Canton Central Catholic on the road — Nasonti said the Redmen won’t change.
“Our approach is going to be the same every week. We’re going to stay the course …, play as hard as we can,” he said. “I thought for the first two games, we played as hard as we could.”
Gibsonburg at Mohawk
Records: Gibsonburg 2-0; Mohawk 2-0.
Last year: Didn’t play.
Outlook: Gibsonburg looks a bit different this year, but still knows how to win, Mohawk coach Brent Konkle said.
With a new coach and system on both sides of the ball, the Golden Bears no longer are a spread offense under Steve Reser, but now like to run the ball a lot out of the wing-T.
“They are big up front and have some athleticism to spread the ball around,” Konkle said. “It’s a good game for us because with a new system and stuff, we don’t know exactly the way they’ll play, but you know they are a eight- or nine-win team every year.
“If we can bottle up our second half we played at Hopewell-Loudon and translate that to this game Friday, we’ll be in a good position.”
Defensively, the Golden Bears mix things up, but play some man and zone coverage on the back end.
“They do a good job of mixing things up and I can tell from looking at them Week 1 to Week 2, they definitely got better,” Konkle said. “Offensively, we are diverse and that’s the way we want to be. Last week, we just pounded the ball and it was working well, but I think Gibsonburg will load up the box and make us throw, which we can do. We continue to make adjustments and take what the defenses are giving us.”
Anthony Wayne at Clyde
Records: Anthony Wayne 2-0; Clyde 1-1.
Last year: Clyde, 30-28.
Outlook: Clyde is a young team which is learning fast, but its schedule isn’t doing it any favors so far.
After playing a good game, but losing to Ashland last week, the Fliers get an even greater teast in Anthony Wayne, who beat Columbian 31-14 last week.
“They are a good team top to bottom. They just do things really well and they always give themselves a chance with their run-pass-option plays,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “They present a whole lot of problems they present for us.”
Carter was pretty happy with his team’s performance last week in the loss, but it was a couple mental errors that cost the Fliers.
“We have six turnovers and have only two takeaways during the first two weeks, so we need to take care of the ball this week to have a chance,” he said. “I haven’t been disappointed or anything like that with our effort and aggressiveness, but it’s just a few errors here and there that have hindered us so far.”
Defensively, Carter said they graduated a few great players last year on the line, but they still have good players to fill in and fill those roles.
“They run a four front, but will run multiple things. They bring a lot of pressure and have very good linebacker play,” Carter said. “They flow very quickly and play downhill. We definitely have our work cut out for us blocking this week.”
Carey at Ashland Crestview
Records: Carey 1-1; Crestview 1-1.
Last year: Didn’t play.
Outlook: At the end of the regular season last year, Carey was eighth in the region and Ashland Crestview was on the outside looking in at the playoff in ninth.
They both had the same record, so before the season, Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said the Cougars would be hungry.
The Cougars beat Loudonville in Week 1, but lost to Hillsdale last week. Carey is coming off a tough loss to Galion, who ran all over the Blue Devils.
“We need to stop the run this week. We didn’t do that well last week. We have to buckle down and stop the run,” Mershman said. “They are about a 80 to 20 percent run team, so it is our main focus this week.
“They do a lot of stuff with their wings and putting them in motion to get around the edge and into space, so we will have to force them back inside.”
Mershman said they’ve seen about every kind of defensive front on film they’ve seen, but he said the Cougars are stout up front.
“They have some nice-sized boys up front and they plug up holes,” he said. “Last week we lost because we couldn’t stop the run and we couldn’t run the ball. We are a team that is known for both, so we have to get back on track this week and do those two things to get a W this week.”
Buckeye Central at Plymouth
Records: Buckeye Central 0-2; Plymouth 1-1.
Last year: Plymouth, 34-14.
Outlook: Before the season started, Buckeye Central coach Rob Detterman said he thought Plymouth was a game where the Bucks would have a shot at getting a W.
The Big Red have beat Cardington-Lincoln in Week 1, but are coming off a 38-35 loss to Willard last week.
“Their offense is unique with a double wing and double tight. They like to run the ball up the middle and keep everything in a phone booth,” Detterman said. “They are physical and like to pound it, but it’s something we are familiar with and I think it’s a strength of ours with our big guys on the line to try to stop this offense.
“I think we match up well and if we read our keys and play well, we can compete with them and have a chance to win this game.”
Defensively, the Big Red run a lot of different things, but will be mostly in a five-man front, he said. They also put a lot of pressure on the center with a nose guard, but Detterman said his team is ready and familiar with the style Plymouth plays.
“The No. 1 thing I’ve wanted this team to adopt is to expect success,” Detterman said. “We have to adopt that attitude this season. We can compete with them. We just have to believe it first.”