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Prep Football, Week 4: Nothing’s gonna stop us now

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Hopewell-Loudon quarterback Ashton Bour breaks free and gets pursued by Fostoria's E.J. Williams Saturday in Bascom.

Eastwood

at Fostoria

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

Last year: Eastwood, 42-16.

Outlook: It’s been 50 years since Fostoria has beaten Eastwood, but that comes with a caveat.

The lone win was a 14-0 triumph in Week 6 of the 1969 season in the first game between the schools. They didn’t play again until 2011, when they were Northern Buckeye Conference foes in the conference’s inaugural season.

It’s been all Eastwood since then, with last year being the first time the Redmen scored in double digits against the Eagles in NBC play.

Both enter on the upswing, with the Eagles unbeaten and Fostoria 2-1 after a two-game win streak.

But pushing that win streak to three games will take a big effort, FHS coach Derek Kidwell said.

“We’ve played well the last two weeks, but this is different competition than what we’ve faced the last two weeks,” he said. “This is very comparable to Oak Harbor (Fostoria lost 49-12 to Oak Harbor in Week 1), so we’re going to have to play very sound football in all three phases and tackle well and try to control the time of possession.”

Stopping Eastwood’s offense will be key to doing that, but hasn’t proven easy for Eastwood’s first three opponents. The Eagles upended Ottawa-Glandorf 21-14 in the opener before thumping Bowling Green 49-14 and Maumee 49-13.

“They’re a Wing-T team to the fullest. Two very good running backs in (Justin) Pickerel and (Jaden) Raford. Not a big offensive line, but they’re extremely quick and efficient at what they do,” Kidwell said. “They’ve got a sneaky passing game — very good at play action — so we’ve got to be disciplined, read our keys and gang tackle and run to the football.”

Fostoria rebounded from its Week 1 loss by dominating Toledo Scott 43-6 and Hopewell-Loudon 36-0, with Dom Settles, thrust into the starting role in the preseason due to an injury, getting more and more comfortable at quarterback. He ran for 125 yards and threw for 99 against H-L.

“Each week he’s gotten better. He’s getting more and more comfortable. He had a good game Friday, but this will be a defense that’s better than the last two defenses we’ve seen, so we’ve got to continue to get better. He’s got to be careful with his reads and protecting the football,” Kidwell said. “We’ve got to block better than we have all season and we’ve got to control the line of scrimmage if we can and we’ve got to not turn the ball over.”

Buckeye Central

at Wynford

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

Last year: Wynford, 34-0.

Outlook: Buckeye Central enters on a 25-game losing streak, and although Wynford has just one win this year, Buckeye Central coach Chad Jensen said that doesn’t mean the Royals won’t be formidable in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference opener.

“Wynford is a very good team, on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they can do many things; they’re balanced, they’re very well-coached. They want to throw the ball and they want to run it evenly. They can do all things well,” he said.

“Defensively, their ends and linebackers are really, really good, and they just flow to the ball so well,” he said. “They’re very athletic and they’re very well-coached, so our concerns are all those things.”

Buckeye Central has many concerns this year, along with struggles.

The Bucks opened with a 12-0 loss to Crestline, and have scored just once this year, losing 41-7 in Week 2 to Dalton. They fell 32-0 to Plymouth last week.

Meanwhile, the Royals’ lone win was a 13-9 triumph over Calvert in Week 2. Their two losses were each by one score — 34-29 to Liberty-Benton and 22-14 to Allen East.

“Wynford’s very good at what they do and we’ve just got to our best to handle that,” Jensen said.

“We’re just trying to get some stops out of them, we’re just trying to stop them and we’re just trying to force them to get into some third downs and positions where we can get their offense off the field,” he said.

Mohawk

at Carey

Records: Mohawk 2-1; Carey 0-3.

Last year: Mohawk, 35-14.

Outlook: Each coach before the season advised to throw the records out when it comes to the Mohawk-Carey rivalry game.

For Carey’s sake, it actually wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The Blue Devils have started 0-3 this season, falling to Ashland Crestview 3-0 last week in a game that didn’t even start until about 10 p.m. After storms delayed a lot of football in northwest Ohio.

But Mershman isn’t making any excuses. He knows the N10 season begins Friday, so a lot of goals and things are at stake for his team, including a rivalry win against the Warriors. That would be a good start.

“We say the season has three parts and the non-league is part is over and didn’t go well, so we have to start picking it up for Part 2,” Mershman said. “We can still win the league, we can win out and get into the playoffs, it’s all there for them, but it all starts with Mohawk.”

On the flip side, Mohawk coach Eric Daniel knows the Blue Devils will be a desperate team Friday, which could be a dangerous thing. The Warriors are coming off their first defeat of the season on the road at unbeaten Gibsonburg 23-6.

“We just made some key mistakes Friday and we could not get off the field on defense, which hurt us,” he said. “This week … Carey is a good 0-3 team, probably one of the best 0-3 teams in the state because we know the schedule they’ve played and they have some really good athletes. They run a lot stuff out of the shotgun, which is a little different than the Carey of old, but they still like to run the ball, which is our first priority to stop.”

Mohawk and Carey both lost a lot of seniors from last season. But both squads still have a lot of talent and speed.

“They lost some guys up front, but they are really quick up there this season, so we have to adjust to that,” Mershman said.

Daniel said he is expecting the Blue Devils to be excited and to throw everything they can at the Warriors Friday trying to get that first win.

“I expect them to throw the kitchen sink at us,” he said. “When it’s Carey-Mohawk, you just throw out the records, and if you have a pulse, you’ll enjoy the passion and the energy these kids play with in this game. It doesn’t get any better.”

Bellevue at Clear Fork

Records: Bellevue 3-0; Clear Fork 2-1.

Last year: Clear Fork, 40-12.

Outlook: Bellevue against Clear Fork has been one of the better non-league matchups in the area recently.

Nasonti said they matched up in 2009-12 and then picked up the contest again since the 2017 season. Both sides have seen some success in the series.

“We’ve had some really good games with them,” Nasonti said. “They are a really good football program and have a good tradition, so it’s always a solid game for us to get ready for league play.”

This year, Bellevue comes into the game a little differently than last year. A young team has grown into a traditional tough Redmen squad, which has started the season 3-0 and has only allowed 14 total points on the defensive side.

“We’ve been real happy with how our kids have been playing on defense and I knew coming into the year we could have a really good defense because of how many young guys were back from last year on that side,” Nasonti said. “We know the season is young and there are more challenges ahead, but we’ve been playing really well.”

The main challenge now for the Redmen will be the Colts.

They are fresh off a 43-16 drubbing of Lexington.

“They have some really good skill guys and they like to spread the field,” Nasonti said. “Their QB has a nice arm and they have a nice running back to complement him. They will stretch you horizontally and vertically, so it will be a good test for our defense.”

Defensively, the longtime Redmen mentor said the Colts are really sound and switch things up from a three-men front to a four-man depending on the down and distance. They like some zone and man coverage as well in the secondary.

Thurgood Marshall at Clyde

Records: Thurgood Marshall 1-2; Clyde 2-1.

Last year: Did not play.

Outlook: Clyde has bounced back from a tough turnover-plagued Week 1 loss with two turnover-free weeks, which resulted in two wins.

After a dominating win at Toledo Start last week, the Fliers begin their Dayton portion of their schedule. They have Thurgood Marshall this week and then travel to Belmont next Friday.

“It’s partly intriguing just because you’re not entirely sure what to expect from them,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “They do some different stuff, but you would like to play some of those local teams and rivalries every year, but this is just how it happened this year. We struggled finding games and sometimes you have to branch out to find some teams to play.”

Carter said the defense has been solid since Week 1 and the offense got going last week with a balanced effort throwing and running, which is something Carter would like to see again against the Cougars.

“They are very athletic and even though they’ve been outscored 80-0 the past two weeks they played Archbishop Alter — the state champ from last year — and Shawnee — who is also always tough — so we can’t look at them and think this will be easy,” Carter said. “They like to try to get those athletes in space and if they do and we struggle tackling, it could be a long night.”

He said the defense likes to bring some pressure off the edge and play some man coverage to challenge the receivers at the line of scrimmage. He said it is somewhat similar to what they saw in Toledo Start last week.

Lakota at Hopewell-Loudon

Records: Lakota 1-2, Hopewell-Loudon 0-3.

Last season: Did not play.

Outlook: The season hasn’t started the way Hopewell-Loudon wanted. It’s opened with three straight losses, two of which were outright blowouts.

But as coach Brian Colatruglio said, another season is just beginning.

“You kind of break your season down into segments, and obviously the first three didn’t go the way we wanted,” Colatruglio said. “But (we have) kind of a fresh start with league play, and our first ever SBC game, and playing at home against an old rival.”

That rival? The 1-2 Raiders, a former opponent of the Chieftains in the now-defunct Midland Athletic League.

“We used to play all the time,” Colatruglio said, “and it’s a good week for our guys to put the first couple weeks behind them, and keep trying to move forward.”

When talking about the Raiders, Colatruglio said one player jumps off the screen: Back Trevor Franks.

“He’s the best player in our league. He carries the ball 30 times a game, and makes a ton of tackles on the other side,” Colatruglio said. “When you watch them play, he moves at a different speed than everybody else on the film, and obviously that’s this whole focus, but it’s the full focus of everybody who’s played him and he’s still had a lot of success. We’ve got our hands full in trying to make sure that we can keep him under wraps.”

Lakota coach Mike Lento said Franks’ role has changed because of the amount of injuries to the team’s quarterbacks.

“He goes from being — I don’t know the right terminology — the poster child of a running back, right, to where you can just be the guy,” Lento said. “You hand him the ball, and he can just go, go, go, go. And now he’s got to slow some things down a little bit and manage the game. That’s a tough thing to do.”

Lento said that while Franks has Colatruglio’s attention, the Chieftains trio of backs — CJ Smith, Hayden Welly and Lance Crawford — have his.

“All the backs they’ve put in the backfield have a chance to break one and work very well with what they’ve got going on,” Lento said. “Athletically they are a very tough team. They’ve had a tough non-league, with Van Buren, with Mohawk and Fostoria last week. You’re gonna see a very good Hopewell-Loudon team on Friday night. Our kids are very aware of it. We were talking about it this whole week, coming in after watching film.”

Bucyrus at Seneca East

Records: Bucyrus 1-2, Seneca East 3-0.

Last season: Seneca East, 47-13

Outlook: Seneca East has won three straight games, and comes into Friday’s contest with Bucyrus sporting an extra accolade.

The Tigers are ranked No. 9 in the state’s first Division VI poll.

When reached Tuesday, the Tigers’ coach, Ed Phillips said he wasn’t aware of it.

But he was pleased.

“That’s good to hear. A good sign of how we started, a good sign of what we’ve done in the past, and where the program’s at,” he said. “That’s good stuff. There was a time where I might not have paid much attention or appreciated that, but I do now, because it’s a sign of the current times and the past, which is what good programs are built on.”

The Tigers will look to continue the program’s roll against the Redmen, who come in 1-2.

Phillips said Bucyrus can create some problems.

“They’re really aggressive on defense, and they’ve got some really good playmakers at linebacker on defense, and up front,” he said. “Their nose is really good, and then their secondary. Defensively, all the way around, they’re pretty solid. Really aggressive.”

For Seneca East to be successful Friday, Phillips said the Tigers will need to continue to do what they have done in the first two games.

“We’ve got to control the line of scrimmage. Our guys have played really well up front on both sides of the football to this point this year,” he said. “We’ve got to do that against these guys…I mentioned how good they are on defensive line, linebacker. On the offensive line we have to play well to take care of that. On defense, they’re pretty well-rounded.”

Phillips said he’s also impressed with the Redmen quarterback, Ben Seibert. In three games, he has completed 32 of 68 passes for 474 yards. He has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions.

“Their quarterback throws the ball really well, and then they’ve got some backs and the quarterback who runs the ball really well,” Phillips said. “You’ve got to contain them, and then when they throw the ball, you’ve got to make plays in the secondary, too.”

Colonel Crawford at Upper Sandusky

Records: Upper Sandusky 1-2; Colonel Crawford 2-1.

Last season: Colonel Crawford, 49-7.

Outlook: Upper Sandusky has a another tough test ahead of it this week with a good Eagles team.

“Their execution is fantastic. Their running back (Brook Ritzhaupt) reads holes really well, their receivers run good routes,” Upper Sandusky coach Russell Hall said. “The line blocks really well. The same thing on defense. They’re sound in their coverage, they run to the ball really well. They’re a very good, disciplined well-coached team, that’s for sure. It definitely shows up on film.”

While it’s a challenge, Hall also sees the game — the first N10 game of the season — as an opportunity.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” he said. “It’s another new season within the league. Everyone is 0-0 in league play. And just like I said every week, my goal is to keep getting better, try to get everybody to do their 1/11th, and do that more often than not, so that we’re successful.”

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