Centerburg at Danville
Centerburg (4-1, 1-1) came back from Week 4’s loss to Johnstown with a come-from-behind win over winless East Knox last week. The Trojans’ attempts to mix the run and pass have been mixed, and against the Bulldogs the pass took over for good with 258 of the team’s 371 yards. Tyler Stoyle was an efficient 18-of-22 passing, and has excellent receivers such as Logan McGovern, Jacob Teale and Caleb White to throw to. Danville’s success defending against the run should mean another big night for Stoyle, but the running game has to do more.
Danville (3-2, 0-2) has run into a snag in Mid-Buckeye Conference play, losing two after a 3-0 start. A defense which allowed only seven points in nonconference action has given up 59 points in the last two games. Even so, the Blue Devils still managed to outgain Fredericktown 309-227 in Week 5, holding the passing game to 5-of-15 completions for 64 yards and two interceptions. If Danville can do the same against pass-happy Centerburg, Heath Buckingham and the rest of the offense could have some fun.
East Knox at Northridge
East Knox (0-5, 0-2) held the lead against Centerburg in the third quarter of their game on Friday, but was unable to hold the lead against the Trojans’ passing offense. Cody Howard took most of the snaps at quarterback, replacing Dylan Wears, and threw for 131 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Wears gained 122 yards on the ground, and is the team’s most potent weapon. Howard’s emergence as QB, and how quickly he assumes a leadership role, will help take pressure off Wears.
Northridge (3-2, 0-2) is winless in conference play after a 3-0 start against poor competition, falling to Utica last week, 33-3. Sophomore running back Jacob Burke has come back down to Earth after a 600-yard performance in the first three games, and as a team the Vikings have managed only 10 points against MBC foes. With East Knox’s difficulties against the run, Burke might have some extra room to run if QB Gavin Kyle can come anywhere close to what Centerburg did in Week 5.
Highland at Cardington
Things are not so bleak in Sparta, despite Highland’s season record (1-4, 1-3). The Scots dropped last week’s game against Elgin on a missed extra point, but the game was close in points and in yardage, where the Scots managed 356 yards. QB Josh Gahm had accuracy problems the week after a shoulder injury, but a week of healing should help him better his 11-of-26 performance against the Comets. The Scots’ defense gave up over 200 rushing yards, a stat that will have to improve against Cardington’s Blair Wolcott.
Wolcott leads Cardington (3-2, 3-1) with 606 rushing yards through five games, and will carry the weight of the Pirate offense. Hardly one dimensional, Cardington also relies on receiver Daren Landon, who has 12 receptions and a nearly 20-yards-per-catch average. On defense, Chase Deckling has 6 1/2 sacks, and Jonathan McClenathan leads the team with 42 1/2 tackles. With losses against Centerburg and River Valley and wins over Elgin and Buckeye Valley, this game is a toss-up.
Utica at Loudonville
Utica (2-3, 2-0) has two straight wins in MBC action after an 0-3 start. The defense, which gave up 140 points in the first three games, has allowed only 10 points in the past two games against East Knox and Northridge. The Redskins had their best game offensively last week, as Travis Baldwin scored four touchdowns and had 153 total yards. QB Clay Rowley threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings, but Baldwin led the team with only 77 rushing yards. A more effective running game would do a lot for the Utica offense.
Loudonville’s (1-4, 1-1) difficult pre-conference schedule has paid dividends in MBC play. The Redbirds lost their first three games to teams who are currently 5-0 on the season, and they scored 35 points in a 56-35 loss to 5-0 Johnstown in Week 5. Loudonville had to deal with the Johnnies’ Ross Franklin last week, but Utica has a limited running attack, leaving the defense free to concentrate on Rowley. QB Nate Scarbury was 16-of-30 for 287 yards, and Christian Leitenberger caught five passes for 131 yards, so it can answer the Redskins passing game.