Prep football, Week 8:Watching the river flow

A-T?FILE?PHOTO BY?REBECCA?PADULA Seneca East’s Logan Hicks is brought down by Carey’s Brady Curlis Friday in Attica.

Seneca East at Upper Sandusky

Records: Seneca East 6-1, 3-1 N10; Upper Sandusky 2-5, 1-3 N10.

Last season: Seneca East, 63-6.

Outlook: Last week was a frustrating one for Seneca East.

Against Carey, the Tigers committed five turnovers and lost for the first time this season.

But coach Ed Phillips said some positives can come out of the defeat.

“I’ve said to teams many times, and I’ve said this to our team even this year,” Phillips said. “The best football team is an angry football team. Our kids weren’t happy about that (loss). They’re really competitive, and they expect to go out and win every game. And when they don’t, it ticks them off. That’s the mood they’re in right now, and it’s not …it’s a good thing, because they have high expectations for themselves. When it doesn’t go quite like they would like it, they don’t pout, they don’t mope. They work their butts off and they get better.”

That’s bad news for Upper Sandusky, whose coach, Russell Hall, is very aware of how good the Tigers are.

“Seneca East is exceptionally good. They were my pick coming into the season to win the league,” Hall said. “They had the success last year. A lot of their team got that taste, and that playing experience, and they’re a very gifted team running the ball, throwing the ball, stopping the run, stopping the pass, solid in special teams. That’s a very tall task. We’re asking our boys to go up against it, put themselves in position to compete.”

And while Upper Sandusky has struggled, Phillips knows it has weapons in quarterback Mason Vent, receiver Diago Cazares and returning tailback Nate McMillan.

“They’re explosive. They start out games really well, and really fast. With their quarterback and their receivers and their tailback back now, too, they’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of skill,” Phillips said. “They make a lot of plays, especially early in games, they come out and challenge people and play with them.”

Despite some lopsided scores in recent weeks, — the Rams fell 65-14 to Wynford in Week 7 — Hall said the Rams have done good things.

“The biggest message that we had is, believe it or not, with our last score, when guys did what they were capable of doing, we were very successful, whether that was offense, defense or special teams,” he said. “So, that’s really been our focus right now, extra effort all the time, trying to practice faster, at game speed, and focusing on what you have to do, and be more consistent. In the last three games, we’ve been extremely competitive for three out of the four quarters. It’s just been one quarter and let the opponent pull away. We’re gonna do the best we can to compete for four quarters and give ourselves a chance to win.”

Seneca East is likely to be without tailback Skyler Walker, who was injured in the loss to Carey.

Walker ran for 713 yards this season.

“He carried the load for us, probably to this point in the season, but we have a lot of guys we have confidence in to put back there and do the job,” Phillips said. “I told one of the coaches this week, I said, ‘You know, when something like this happens, I feel terrible for Skyler, but there’s a part of me that’s excited for the kids who have the opportunity.'”

Hall was asked if there was one thing he wanted his players to take away from Seneca East this week.

“I don’t know if there is one big thing,” he said. “They’re not a one-dimensional team, so that makes it harder.

“If you look at Seneca East, in the last several years, their quarterback is a three-year starter, and they’re just a dual team on offense,” Hall said. “If anything, (you try to take away) the big play, try and stop the big play, but they’re so good at running the ball and throwing the ball, and then on defense, trying to establish the run is going to be tough. Trying to establish the pass is going to be tough. Their kids are very disciplined and very well-coached, and their special teams are lights out.

Clyde at Sandusky

Records: Clyde 5-2, 1-1 SBC Lake; Sandusky 5-2, 1-1 SBC Lake

Last year: Clyde, 33-28

Outlook: Clyde lost a heartbreaker last week, 49-42 to Columbian. It was a tough loss for the Fliers, but in such a strong conference, the Fliers have to bounce back in a hurry as they travel to Sandusky Friday, which also is trying to bounce back after a 37-20 loss to Norwalk.

“We’re trying to bounce back, but it was a tough one. We played our hearts out and so did they,” Clyde coach Ryan Carter said. “They executed a little better than us and had the ball last. I was proud of our kids and the way they gutted it out. We had a couple key injuries last week that hurt us with depth.

“We are trying to get some kids healthy, you just have to tell the kids that there is a lot of football to be played yet and everyone still has to play everyone. We have to go on the road again this week to a very good opponent. You have to bounce back. You can’t sit back and sulk about last week because this is a Sandusky team that can light up the scoreboard in a hurry.”

One of the Blue Streaks that can light up defenses is BGSU commit Terion Stewart.

Stewart has 108 carries for 971 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He averages nine yards a carry. The home run potential always is there for Stewart.

“He is the focal point without a doubt. He’s going to get the football 30-35 times and when he gets it 30-35 times, he has potential to take it the distance all 30 times he touches it,” Carter said. “He is that good and that explosive. If you don’t rally and get everyone to the ball, he will burn you.

“He is the focal point, but they have other athletes, the coach’s son is playing QB a little more now and he can throw it. Quite frankly, I think their front four defensively is the best we’ll face, with their size and athleticism. We have our work cut out for us and we know that. We usually don’t play well over there, but we are in a situation where we’ve got to get a couple of wins to keep ourselves in the league hunt and to keep ourselves in the playoff hunt.”

Wynford at Carey

Records: Wynford 4-3, 3-1 N10; Carey 3-4, 3-1 N10

Last year: Carey, 45-7.

Outlook: Was last week the real Carey?

Coming off the biggest win of the N10 season a week ago at Seneca East, Carey is now faced with another big test: Wynford.

The Royals are not the same team from last season and have proved it against some good teams.

The biggest question mark Friday is for Carey and if it is ready to take the next step and challenge for a N10 title after a 1-4 start to the season.

“We made some mistakes in that game and Seneca East did as well with five turnovers, so we talked about humbling ourselves bit,” Carey coach Jonathon Mershman said. “If you look at it from a coach’s perspective, if Seneca East doesn’t turn the ball over five times and makes the plays they are used to making, it might have been a different outcome.

“We just need to stay humble, we are 3-4 and we didn’t do anything other than win a game. This week is the biggest game of the year and we have to win this game. Both 3-1 going into the game and with league implications, we are still fighting for everything, but we have no room for error at this point. We just go on in a great game against a great opponent.”

This Royal team is a bit different than a few years ago as they pass a lot of the time. They have a couple of capable runners, but they’ve had more success through the air.

QB Dustin Brady has thrown for 1,236 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven picks. The top rusher is Cody Taylor with 436 yards rushing and seven scores. Seth Benedict has been Brady’s top target with 24 grabs for 443 yards and three TDs.

“They can run the ball and their quarterback can throw it. They are well-coached and they do their job,” Mershman said. “They are either one or two in the N10 for offense and one or two in the league in defense, so even their special teams are dynamic. You’re facing a really good team, they aren’t a typical 4-3 team.

“We are just right there, and we just need to find our footing to get this thing rolling.”

Buckeye Central at Mohawk

Records: Buckeye Central 0-7, 0-4; Mohawk 4-3, 2-2 N10

Last year: Mohawk, 50-14

Outlook: There are 0-7 teams and there is 0-7 Buckeye Central. Mohawk coach Eric Daniel said he knows what the Bucks record is, but they are still a dangerous team that can really move the ball on offense and is well coached.

“What they run, they run it well and you can tell they are well-coached,” Daniel said of Buckeye Central. They come off the ball and they know exactly what they are doing. Their running back runs hard and they are huge up front. They can really move the ball too. They scored on Crawford on the first drive.

“Nobody wants to see a team go 0-10 I don’t care who you are. I’m impressed with their group and how they keep hammering away. You can see on film, so we aren’t taking them lightly.”

On the flipside, BC coach Chad Jensen isn’t taking the Warriors lightly, for good reason. The Warriors, after a little skid earlier in the season, are right where they want to be, which is sixth in their region in Division VII with three games to play.

“They want to run the ball with their running back and QB and they are good up front,” Jensen said. “Then they’ll lull you to sleep and throw it over the top to the (Tyler) Hayman kid, so there is no secret to what they want to do. They do it out of several formations and they want to be balanced.

“For us, it’s no secret, we want to run the football. We want to put ourselves in position to do that. They present a challenge to us, but we want to match them physically and play aggressive and play with some intensity.”

Hopewell-Loudon at Danbury

Records: Hopewell-Loudon 3-4, 2-1 SBC River; Danbury 0-7, 0-4 SBC River.

Last season: Did not play.

Outlook: After starting the season 0-3 and 1-4, Hopewell-Loudon can win its third-straight game and get back to .500 Friday by winning at Danbury.

Its odds are good.

The Chieftains offense has scored 80 points over the last two weeks, as quarterback Ashton Bour continues to improve. On top of that, Danbury is really struggling. It’s lost all seven of its games, and was hammered by Calvert, 68-0, last week.

“They have a really good coaching staff that are trying to get them to do things the right way,” Colatruglio said. “They’re just outmanned on a weekly basis.”

That figures to be the case again Friday. So Colatruglio said his team is focusing on what it can control.

“We’ve really improved last three weeks, and the one thing we don’t want to do is take any kind of step backwards,” he said. “So, our preparation, our focus with the young team that we have is on us and doing the things that we do better. Working to keep the momentum going that we’ve established now, and just make sure that we continue to improve weekly, like we have been.”

Fostoria at Genoa

Records: Fostoria 4-3, 2-2 Northern Buckeye Conference; Genoa 2-5, 2-2.

Last year: Genoa, 34-8.

Outlook: Fostoria will try to get back to winning Friday when it travels to Genoa, but challenges await.

Though Genoa has a young team and is just 2-5, Fostoria has yet to beat the Comets since the Northern Buckeye Conference began in 2011.

And with Genoa’s Wing-T offense and overall physical play, Fostoria coach Derek Kidwell said the Comets pose problems.

“You can see them improving each week,” Kidwell said.

“They’re a heavy-run football team with a play action passing attack, so we’ve got to be very disciplined on the back half not to get our eyes too locked in the backfield because they’ll play action us and have wide open receivers,” he said.

While taking advantage of the younger Comets could prove useful, Kidwell said a big key to success will come from his Redmen limiting mistakes.

They trailed Rossford 21-16 at halftime and 24-16 midway through the fourth before losing 38-16, with penalties and turnovers hobbling Fostoria.

“We’re just trying to get better, trying to protect the football, trying to put a complete game together. We’re going to go over there and be aggressive on defense and hopefully be aggressive on offense,” he said. “We’re going to run what we normally run, but we’ve got to worry about ourselves. We’ve got to play better football than what we did last Friday.

“We had four turnovers. You can’t have four turnovers and expect to win a game, normally,” Kidwell said.

Lakota at Fremont St. Joe

Records: Lakota 2-5, 1-2 Sandusky Bay Conference River Division; Fremont St. Joe 2-5, 1-2.

Last year: Fremont St. Joe, 20-0.

Outlook: Lakota coach Mike Lento said he knows this week’s road game at St. Joe may be a bit a change for some since it’s on a Saturday.

“I heard through the grapevine that because of the Lakota/St. Joe game, they’ve moved the Ohio State and Northwestern game to Friday,” he said with a laugh.

Jokes aside, Lento said Saturday’s game at his alma mater shouldn’t cause any problems for his Raiders.

The Raiders have already played and won on a Saturday this year, downing Woodmore in Week 3. And Lento shared talked with the Raiders about his Saturday game experience while playing for St. Joe and in college to prepare them.

“A Saturday game right now, for us, doesn’t make a difference,” he said.

What will matter, he said, is St. Joe’s team.

“They’ve got all their skilled guys back and that’s dangerous. Where we’re young at is where their skill guys are, so we have to be humble, we have to be respectable,” Lento said. “They’re 2-5 and we’re 2-5, so when we look at it in the paper, it’s going to be a great game.”

Lakota enters — as it has repeatedly — with the SBC River Division’s best overall rushing attack (1,726 yards) and its best runner in Trevor Franks (1,207 yards, 15 TDs).

“We’re going to run the ball probably 95% of the time, so I’m very impressed with our offensive linemen,” Lento said. “They’re stepping up, they’re making it happen, they’re creating seams for our running backs.”

St. Joe counters with a balanced attack of 919 rushing yards and 982 through the air.

Quarterback Chase Harrison has all the passing yards — and eight TDs — and has run for another 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Grant Stepanic adds 44 catches for 566 yards and five scores, along with 151 yards rushing and a touchdown.

Logan Johnson (310 yards, 3 TD rushing; 13-127 receiving, 1 TD) has also contributed, with Lento seeing Derek Ritzman (135 yards rushing; 3-25 receiving) just waiting to have a breakout game.

“They’re a motion-based offense so they try and create a lot of what I call ‘window dressing.’ Harrison is 6-6, 6-7, so he can fall for a first down. He’s a tough kid,” he said. “You’ve got Stepanic, who I think is probably going to be one of the better athletes on the field. I think one of the better football players on the field for St. Joe is going to be Derek Ritzman. If I was St. Joe, I’m trying to figure out how to get Derek Ritzman the ball more.

“There are a lot of things as a coaching staff we’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do because they’ve got so many weapons, they’ve got so many things they can do to expose us, so we’re challenging our young kids, athletes, DB’s to step up and continue to make plays,” he said. “That’s why we won against Margaretta, because our young kids defensively stepped up and made plays.”