Centerburg at Loudonville
Centerburg (3-3, 1-2) allowed nearly 400 yards to Danville in Week 6, but kept close throughout in a 23-14 loss. QB Tyler Stoyle was nearly all the offense, going 18-of-27 for 202 yards and two touchdowns. He helped make up for a running game that got only 47 yards from leading rusher Joey Valentine, and finished with 81 yards on the ground. Loudonville is another team that does well against the rush, so it looks as if Stoyle will again have to carry the load this week.
Loudonville (4-2, 1-2) won its first Mid-Buckeye Conference game of the season, 17-14, over Utica last week. The Redbirds had nearly 300 yards of offense, led by QB Lane Harper, but erased many more 85 yards of penalties. Those cost them first downs and made them put four times, poor showings for a team with a 2-to-1 edge in yards. Loudonville’s defense held both the run and pass of Utica in check, but Stoyle and his receivers who could make the Redbirds night difficult.
Danville at Northridge
Danville (5-1, 3-0) had more rushing than passing yards for the first time this season in last week’s 23-14 win over Centerburg. QB Bryce Staats was hurried into scrambling for nearly half of his 21 carries, and finished with 166 rushing yards along with 148 through the air. Staats’s favorite target, Cade Mickley, had six receptions for 81 yards. The Danville defense, which held the Trojans to 81 rushing yards, will face another tough customer in the Vikings’ Jacob Burke, but QB Bryant Garee can be rattled.
Northridge (3-3, 1-2) had its usual 100-yard game from Burke in Week 6, but did not taste the end zone in a 21-0 loss to East Knox. Garee completed only 7-of-16 passes for 59 yards, and was intercepted three times. The Vikings also had trouble on special teams, as its only two punts were blocked, one for a touchdown. Northridge was lucky enough to fall on all four of its fumbles last week, but it will have to keep its hands on the ball against an opportunistic Danville defense.
Highland at Ridgedale
Highland (3-3, 3-2) had a nearly nine minute advantage in possession on Friday against Buckeye Valley, but failed to turn that into points, losing 27-7. For the first time all season, the Scots did not have a 100-yard rusher, as David Fisher led them with 67 yards. QB Josh Gahm had two passes picked off while completing only 3-of-11. Highland will have to reestablish its running game this week to help prepare for some tough games ahead.
Ridgedale (0-6, 0-5) has been shut out three times this season already, and has scored only as many as 14 points in a single game. The Rockets have given up 40 or more points in three games, including a 76-point debacle against Pleasant, and more than 30 points in another game. Teams can run and pass against its defense, which means that a running team like Highland can pile up the yards and the time of possession.
Utica at Johnstown
Utica (1-5, 0-3) was outgained 2-to-1 by Loudonville in the latter’s 17-14 win on Friday. Kudos should go to the Redskin defense, who despite the yardage allowed for the most part kept the Redskins out of the end zone. A late turnover gave Loudonville a chance to score its game-winning field goal. QB Trent Vickers was just 4-of-16 with a pair of interceptions, and he and RB Travis Baldwin will have to keep Johnstown’s offense off the field this week for a chance to win.
Johnstown (5-1, 3-0) kept atop the MBC standings with a 14-0 win over Fredericktown in Week 6. The Johnnies ran for 341 yards and 22 first downs, but only managed a pair of touchdowns. That should change against Utica on the strength of rushers Cody Farley, QB Tyler Thompson and Adam Carter. On defense, Johnstown held the Freddies to 93 yards on 31 carries and only 72 yards passing. The Johnnies will have to cut down on its 12 penalties from the past week.