Centerburg at Elyria Catholic
Centerburg’s (2-0) Joey Valentine had only eight carries in the Trojans 38-7 win over Lucas last Friday, but three were when the Trojans were close to the goal line and wanted points. Valentine’s three TDs combined with 181 yards from Jeremy Sesma to give Centerburg 289 yards on 45 carries. QB Tyler Stoyle went 14-of-25 for 156 yards. The Trojans will have to address its penalty problem from Friday, when they committed 10 penalties for 100 yards.
Elyria Catholic (1-1) has played two away games, and will host the Trojans for its first home game on Friday. The Panthers earned a slim 30-27 win over Huron in the first week, followed by last week’s 43-7 loss to Elyria. EC is vulnerable to the run, as touchdowns of 33, 65 and 31 yards in the Elyria game are testimony, but it also allowed two long TD passes as well. The Trojans’ running game is suited for this type of defense. QB Jeremy Holley is a player to watch on offense.
East Knox at Bishop Hartley
East Knox (2-0) scored in every quarter in a 30-13 victory over Grandview Heights, its first win in six games against Bobcats since 2007. The Bulldogs never trailed, and got two touchdown runs from QB Cody Howard. Hayden Frazee provided a score on defense with a fumble return for a touchdown, and Logan Whims booted in a 27-yard field goal.
But East Knox will have its work cut out for it on both ends of the field trying to hold back Bishop Hartley’s All-Ohio stars. Hartley (1-1) is coached by former Centerburg mentor Brad Burchfield, who earned the 2011 Division IV Central District Coach of the Year award for his 11-1 Regional finalist team from a year ago. The Hawks return Notre Dame recruit Jacob Matuska on defense, as well as two-way star RB/LB JaWuan Woodley (1,600 yards rushing, Def.ensive Player of the Year). East Knox showed a never-say-die attitude in last year’s meeting by scoring three touchdowns in the second half. If the Bulldogs show the same moxie, anything can happen.
Lucas at Fredericktown
Lucas (1-1) had some success running the ball against Centerburg last week, but scored only once in a 38-7 loss. Nicholas Swinehart, the Cubs leading rusher, had only 48 yards on 22 carries, and the team managed 152 yards on 41 carries. Passing was almost non-existant, 4-of-13 for 34 yards from QB Cole Barrett. Lucas’s problem has been to stop other teams from scoring, and Fredericktown has enough weapons at the skill positions to make life tough for the Cubs.
Fredericktown (1-1) had its running game shut down against Bishop Ready in Friday’s 49-14 loss. The Freddies gained only 46 yards rushing (less than two yards per carry), and completed 16-of-32 passes for 180 yards. They also, however, turned the ball over four times, three by interception. On defense, Fredericktown had difficulty stopping the run and the pass; but that was against Ready. Lucas is a different team.
Pleasant at Highland
Pleasant (1-1, 0-1) played a tough game against reigning Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference champion North Union on Friday, losing by only a touchdown, 21-14. The Spartans Kyle Galyk set up touchdown with a 49-yard run in the third quarter, and caught a 60-yard TD pass from QB Colin Wood. Wood, however, threw an interception on a late drive which sealed the win for the Wildcats. If Pleasant can get Galyk the ball and control the line of scrimmage, this looks to be one of the week’s better games.
Highland (1-1) got rid of the turnovers which plagued it in the season opener against Fredericktown in Friday’s 42-0 victory over Northmor. Shawn Beltz and Kyle Minyo provided a pair of impressive running games, Beltz with 158 yards and Minyo with 103, each on only eight carries. As a team, the Scots ran up 389 rushing yards. Pleasant will try to limit Highland’s runners, putting the game in the hands of QB Josh Gahm, who has had limited opportunties this season.
Utica at Heath
What worked for Utica (1-1) in Week 1 did not work as well in Week 2’s 41-0 loss to Granville. The Blue Aces gave up a little over two yards per carry to the Redskins, and allowed only 5-of-20 passes completed. Utica gave up 525 total yards on defense, most of it to all-state QB Dave Fraley but 202 yards in rushing as well. QB Trent Vickers will have to find some consistency in throwing, and RB Travis Baldwin will have to give him an option out of the backfield.
Heath (0-2) was just plain sloppy in Johnstown’s 18-14 comeback victory last week, losing four fumbles in Johnnie territory and allowing a 50-yard punt return late in the third quarter. The Bulldogs were able to drive most of the game thanks to RB Donyelle Simpson, but had many of those stall on nine rushes for loss in the game. Simpson gained 183 yards on 26 carries, including a 62-yard TD scamper in the second quarter.