Prep Football, Week 6: Can’t fight this feeling
Records: Buckeye Central 0-5, 0-2 N10; Bucyrus 2-3, 1-1 N10
Last year: Bucyrus, 55-0.
Outlook: Buckeye Central is coming off its best game of the season, which still resulted in a loss, but it scored 26 points.
Running back Jacob Maxhimer had a big game and the Bucks even had a few chances to tie Upper Sandusky late, but couldn’t pull through late.
“We were really happy with how well we played,” Bucks coach Chad Jensen said. “We had over 500 yards of total offense, so we were happy with that.
“We definitely put some points on the board, which we haven’t done, but it just showed that we can compete when we execute. That is the difference from prior weeks.”
This week, the Bucks will have to play well again. Bucyrus is improved this season and after giving Seneca East all it could handle for about three quarters two weeks ago, the Redmen are fresh off a win at Carey.
“They are definitely improved. They are really good on defense,” Jensen said about the Redmen. “Their nose guard is a stud, their linebackers are really good and they flow to the ball very well.
“On offense, Ben Seibert is a nice quarterback for them and they run the ball well. They got weapons on both sides of the ball and we just have to know where they are.”
For the Bucks, they don’t want to take a step back after a solid Week 5.
“That’s been the message this week is to keep improving and keep getting better. We got better last week, but it wasn’t enough to win. We have to remember our ultimate goal is to win.
“Even though we got better, we still didn’t win. Our kids understand that and that’s our ultimate goal. We’ll just continue to have great practices.”
Records: Perkins 3-2; Clyde 4-1
Last year: Clyde, 33-12.
Outlook: Clyde coach Ryan Carter admitted Perkins is a bit different this year on both sides of the ball, but one thing is still true of the Pirates: they like to run the ball.
The Pirates have lineman-turned-running back Tai Carter leading the way with 90 carries this season. He has 569 yards and eight touchdowns. In comparison, Clyde’s Gunner Golden has 390 yards rushing with six scores on 72 attempts.
“They are a much improved team. They have a very good running back and if we don’t come to play or come to tackle, they will cause us a whole lot of problems,” Carter said. “They have changed quite a bit because they have adapted to their personnel. (Carter) is really hard to tackle and they have some weapons on the outside as well.
“They are always well coached and they play hard and do things the right way. It’s never an easy game when you are talking about playing against a Lake team this year. You will have to show up every week.”
Carter said the Pirates’ defense has also changed a little bit, but they still play predominantly a four-man front. He added that they blitz a lot and the Clyde pass protection will have to be sound Friday.
“We have our work cut out for us, but our kids are excited to play another game,” Carter said. “We talk about it a lot with having the opportunity to play at home and it’s homecoming for us. Hopefully we can come out and play well on Friday.”
Records: Norwalk 4-1; Bellevue 4-1.
Last year: Norwalk, 7-0.
Outlook: With Norwalk, it’s pretty simple what Bellevue has to try and stop.
The Tuckers’ Evan Stumpf already has over 1,000 yards rushing this season on 98 attempts, which lead the SBC Lake in both categories by quite a margin.
Stumpf has 14 TDs and is averaging 10.3 yards per carry.
The Redmen defense has been good this season, allowing seven total scores and just 231 yards on the ground.
Something will have to give Friday, and the key will be up front in the trenches as it always does.
On offense, Keegan Ray has improved at the quarterback position for the Redmen from his sophomore season. He has 722 yards through the air, including seven scores and five interceptions. He also uses his legs quite a bit, rushing for 499 yards on 65 carries.
When he’s not running it, he’s more than likely targeting first-year receiver Caleb Marshall, who has splashed onto the scene as one of the best playmakers in the SBC Lake. Through five contests, Marshall has caught 19 balls for 407 yards and eight scores. Being 6-foot-5, Marshall is an excellent red zone target for Ray.
Records: Seneca East 5-0, 2-0 N10; Wynford 3-2, 2-0 N10.
Last year: Seneca East, 47-14.
Outlook: The two favorites in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference face off Friday at Wynford.
The Royals, who are coming off a dismantling of Colonel Crawford, 56-14, are looking to avenge last season’s below average season.
Seneca East on the other hand is continuing its stellar play after handling Mohawk last week 31-6.
“This season’s been a lot of fun. Those things we’ve needed to work on this week in practice we’ve done well in practice,” Tigers coach Ed Phillips said. “We’ve done a good job this week so far and we are excited about Wynford Friday.”
Wynford’s passing game came alive last week with several scores through the air. Quarterback Dustin Brady has thrown for 811 yards and eight TDs this season and has been picked off five times. Seth Benedict is the main target. He has 19 grabs for 340 yards and two scores. Cody Taylor is the Royals’ leading rusher with 304 yards and five scores. The Royals use a lot of different guys.
“They are really balanced. They throw it really well and run it really well,” Phillips said. “They’re a lot like us. They spread you out and give you a lot of different formations. We haven’t seen a tone of that this year with a team doing both really well.”
Phillips said the Royals’ defense is really aggressive and are physical up front. He said they have brought more heat than in the past.
It’s just the second road game for the Tigers as they handled their first test at Willard with a 42-14 win.
“It’s been good for us to have six home games this year because these kids and fans have earned it,” Phillips said. “When you are 5-0 and get to go over to Wynford to play in a big game and a fun game, it’s something to be excited about. It’ll be cool to go over there and get after it Friday night.”
Fostoria at Elmwood
Records: Fostoria 3-2, 1-1 NBC; Elmwood 2-3, 0-2 NBC.
Last year: Fostoria, 28-22.
Outlook: Fostoria got back to winning last week, upending Lake 22-14 to even its Northern Buckeye Conference mark at 1-1.
“Felt good going into the Lake game, we liked our matchup,” Fostoria coach Derek Kidwell said. “The game became a little closer than it should have been, but we still found a way to win.”
Now the Redmen travel to Elmwood. The Royals fell 42-27 last week to Rossford and are still seeking their first NBC victory.
The Royals started the year well with a pair of wins, but have dropped three straight since then.
Kidwell said Elmwood’s spread offense has had a mixture of successes and challenges, and he hopes the Redmen add to the latter part.
“They’ve kind of moved the ball against everyone, they’ve just had some turnovers or stalled out on drives, had trouble protecting the quarterback against the better quality opponents that they’ve faced,” Kidwell said. “We want to get pressure on the quarterback, we want to make them one-dimensional, we want to take the running game away and try to make them throw the ball. I like our secondary matching up against their receivers, so we’re confident in that aspect.”
He’s also confident for when the Redmen have the ball.
“Offensively for us, we just want to put our athletes in space, let (quarterback) Dom Settles read the field and hit our open receivers and let our trio of running backs … execute our running game,” he said.
Gibsonburg at Lakota
Records: Gibsonburg 5-0, 2-0 SBC River; Lakota 1-4, 0-1 SBC River.
Last year: Gibsonburg, 40-7.
Outlook: It won’t be hard to figure out each team’s offensive approach Friday.
Gibsonburg leads the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division in rushing offense with 1,354 yards so far, while Lakota is second with 1,146 yards.
Lakota’s Trevor Franks leads the River Division with 703 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, while Gibsonburg’s Hunter Smith is second in the division in both yards (515) and rushing scores (7 TDs).
In short, expect a quick game.
“That’s what I’ve been telling people,” Lakota coach Mike Lento said, “an hour and 35-minute game.”
While both teams lean heavily on the run, Smith and his Golden Bears bring a bit more depth in the rushing attack.
Theo Hernandez adds 344 yards and six touchdowns on the ground and Jon Auld brings another 200 yards and five rushing TDs.
Lento said they will make it difficult for the Raiders.
“You’ve got Auld, who’s a great all-around athlete over there at Gibsonburg. You’ve got Hunter Smith, he’s just a moose. He gets out there, he gets running, he’s just not going to be got down by just one tackler. He’s got some good speed, he’s a big back,” Lento said. “And then you’ve got Theo Hernandez, who’s probably the fastest guy on the field.
“You’ve got to read your keys, do your job and make the tackle,” he said. “If we don’t tackle, it’s going to be a long night.”
But Lento also sees advantages for the Raiders.
“I think our line matches up pretty well with their line, size-wise and push-wise,” he said. “We did not have a very good game last week against Hicksville (56-12 loss). We saw that, we’re coaching them up and we’re slowing things down and making sure what we do offensively and what we do defensively, even as we go into Week 6, we have to do what we do well.
“I think we match up very, very well with them up front,” he said. “We kind of put a lot on our offensive and defensive linemen to see what we can do and create (opportunities).”
And a big opportunity for the taking is the annual shovel award.
Started two years ago when Lento took over Lakota’s program, the shovel trophy goes to the winning team and has each year’s score engraved on it. Gibsonburg has claimed the first two by scores of 18-17 in 2017 and 40-7 in 2018.
“Unfortunately, it’s been one-sided,” Lento said. “They’ve had it for the last two years.”
Carey at Upper Sandusky
Records: Carey 1-4, 1-1 N10; Upper Sandusky 2-3, 1-1 N10
Last season: Carey, 48-13
Outlook: Carey has struggled on offense at times this season.
In three of their five games, the Blue Devils have scored nine points or less. Last week, in a 16-9 loss to Bucyrus, Carey dominated nearly all of the offensive categories, but lost three fumbles.
Carey coach Jonathon Mershman was asked how the Blue Devils can solve their offensive issues.
“It’s going to be as simple as put the ball in the end zone,” he said. “We moved it, but we’ve got to finish in the end zone. Get points.”
Upper Sandusky didn’t have any such issues last week in a 34-26 win over Buckeye Central last week.
Quarterback Mason Vent had more than 400 yards passing, and receiver Diago Cazares had better than 200 yards receiving, which included a touchdown reception — a bubble screen — that went for more than 90 yards.
“He’s very athletic, he’s very coachable,” said Rams coach Russell Hall. “He works very hard. It’s good to see when that pays off for players.”
Mershman said he’s been impressed with Upper Sandusky’s offense.
“The Vent kid, he’s pretty elusive,” Mershman said. “He likes to scramble around, find somebody open and get the ball to him. They’re a dangerous offense.”
Meanwhile, Hall thinks the Carey rushing attack can cause problems.
“With Carey, you still have to stop the run, and that’s gonna be a big challenge for us,” he said. “We’re trying to work to improve that.”
Colonel Crawford at Mohawk
Records: Colonel Crawford 3-2, 1-1 N10; Mohawk 2-3. 0-2 N10
Outlook: The schedule doesn’t appear to get any easier for Mohawk this week, as it returns home to take on Colonel Crawford.
The Eagles come to town with a winning record and the conference’s leading rusher, Tristan Cross.
Cross already has run for 742 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cross is averaging better than 6.7 yards a carry.
The Eagles also have a solid rusher in Ethan Suter, who has run for five scores and is averaging 7.4 yards a run.
It’s all part of an effective wing-T offense, and a squad that Mohawk coach Eric Daniel said has plenty of depth.
“They’ve got like 65 kids on their team, so they’ve got it rolling,” he said. “Coach (Ryan) Teglovic does a really good job over there. They run the wing-T, which we’ve seen, fortunately we’ve seen it this year.”
Mohawk managed just six points in last week’s loss to Seneca East, but did have opportunities for more. It also poses challenges for defenses, from new starting quarterback Landen Snyder to tailback Jesse Leeth, who is averaging better than 90 yards a game.
The Warriors will be looking to snap a three game losing streak.
Pymatuning Valley at Hopewell-Loudon
Records: Pymatuning Valley 1-4; Hopewell-Loudon 1-4.
Last season: Did not play.
Outlook: It’s probably fair to assume that, had everything gone as originally planned, Hopewell-Loudon’s players would have gone through this season — if not their entire high school experience — without knowing of Pymatuning Valley High School’s existence.
That’s not a slight on the Lakers. It’s just a reality when teams are separated by 174 miles and a bus ride of more than three hours.
But Sandusky St. Mary’s decision to cancel its football season created an opening on the Chieftains’ schedule, an opening that Pymatuning Valley will fill at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bascom.
Hopewell-Loudon coach Brian Colatruglio said it’s something of an unknown for his team.
“We exchanged film, and we have an idea of what they do,” he said. “But it’s hard to judge. You don’t know for sure the level of competition that they’re playing, and it’s hard when you’re playing somebody where you have no clue, no comparison.”
But Colatruglio said the prep isn’t complicated.
“Scheme-wise, we’ll prepare for what they’ve done, and we’ll try to put our kids in position to make plays,” he said. “It’s what we do every week, but… it’s no different. You watch what they do on offense and defense and devise a plan to attack it. We’ll go to work from there.”
For Hopewell-Loudon, it will try to get back on the winning side of things after a home loss to Margaretta last week.
“We want to go out, compete and play hard,” Colatruglio said, “and keep working on getting better.”