CENTERBURG — Last week’s big win confirmed what the Centerburg Trojans already knew deep down — they are much better than a year ago. How much better? That remains to be seen.
“They had worked hard to win all summer,” said Centerburg Coach Jim Stoyle. “Now that they have that first win under their belts, they can focus on each week, getting better and focusing on the opponent. Last week we had to overcome adversity throughout the game. Sometimes, you are going to get your back up against the wall. You’ve got to see how you respond and, I thought, that our kids responded very well.”
The rebuilt Trojans (1-1) face their biggest test of the young 2010 season when they host the Columbus Academy Vikings (1-1) on Friday. This one looks to be a real fight.
“One thing that we stress with our kids is to continue to focus on ourselves, get better and correct our mistakes,” said Stoyle. “We saw a lot of good things (last Friday) against Lucas. We saw good things (in the season opener) against Cardington. We can turn around our program and get better and that’s one of the things that we can control is our preparation — getting ourselves better each week.”
The Trojans’ offensive line, which didn’t allow a sack last Friday, will be facing a big, physical team with the ability to disrupt anyone’s game plan.
Centerburg will be able to give Columbus Academy a number of different looks, offensively. The Trojans can throw the ball around, but quarterback Drew Osborne (9-for-19, 138 yards, one interception and one TD last week), who had 72 yards rushing against Lucas, can take off running at any time. The Trojans’ ground attack can feature the pounding style of Jason Ratliff (19 rushes for 51 yards, one TD vs. Lucas) or the slashing style of Steven Keihl (8 for 42, one TD vs. Lucas). Finding the right combination of weapons is key.
“What we try to do on offense is maintain some balance,” said Stoyle. “We’re real pleased with our running game so far this year. We’re giving five or six guys a carry a game, which is important to spread it around a little bit. We’ve had five, six or seven guys catching passes, so we spread it around that way, too. We’ve got balance and our philosophy is that we’re going to take what the defense gives us. We don’t want to get greedy.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Trojans defense, who held off the Cubs’ battering, 205-pound fullback Russell Robinson and shut them down with their airtight pass coverage. The Trojans will face a muscular offensive line and a ground attack spearheaded by running backs Preston Pearson and Austin Peterman. The duo were impressive in last week’s 42-34 loss to Bishop Hartley, gaining close to a combined 200 yards. They also shined in Academy’s clubbing of Northridge in the season opener two weeks ago.