Northridge at Centerburg
Northridge (3-4, 1-3) faced possibly the best defense in the Mid-Buckeye Conference in Danville last week, falling 40-0. Jacob Burke, who has gained 100 yards in multiple games this season, was limited to 29 yards on 12 carries, leaving the offense to QB Bryant Garee, who was 11-of-19 for 87 yards. Centerburg’s defense is not as dominant as the Blue Devils’, but still have the capability to keep Burke to similar numbers. The Trojans offense is multi-faceted, making this one of the more entertaining games of the week.
Centerburg (3-4, 1-3) has had offensive troubles in recent games, running for only 80 yards and averaging less than 10 yards per pass completion in a 28-6 loss to Loudonville last week. The Redbirds had two 100-yard rushers, and the Trojan defense will have its hands full with Burke this week. Running backs Joey Valentine and Jeremy Sesma are key for Centerburg; if their running can move the chains, then QB Tyler Stoyle can use his receivers (Zac Holsopple, Jake Stewart, Silas Beals, Sean Borden) to better effect.
Loudonville at East Knox
Loudonville (5-2, 2-2) did not score in the first half last week against Centerburg, but scored 14 points in each of the final two quarters for a 28-6 win. Kolton Edmondson and Ryan Weber gave the Redbirds over 100 yards rushing apiece, keeping QB Lane Harper from needing to do much. Loudonville is vulnerable along the offensive line, allowing four sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss last week. The Redbirds rushing duo will need to repeat Week 6’s performance against East Knox’s defense.
“Miracle Touchdown” was the least of the terms used to describe East Knox’s (5-2, 3-1) 28-26 victory over Fredericktown last Friday. Mistake prone as the Bulldogs were down the stretch, QB Cody Howard completed a 62-yard TD pass to Dylan Wears with time expired for the victory. Wears had 240 total yards for East Knox, and his running and receiving skills make him a potent weapon. If RB Mason Lyon can come back from injury, his presence makes the team that much stronger.
Fredericktown at Utica
Fredericktown (3-4, 1-3) scored the go-ahead touchdown with 40 seconds to play in Friday’s game against East Knox, and it took some amazing plays for the Bulldogs to pull out a 28-26 win. Quarterback Austin Hathaway showed big-play ability in leading the Freddies on the go-ahead TD drive, both running and passing. He, RB Tyler Ruhl and WR Chris Hoar lead a capable Fredericktown offense, but the team has been giving up far too many big plays on the other side of the ball.
Utica (1-6, 0-4) has little offense to show for seven games this season. Trent Vickers is throwing for less than 100 yards per game, and RB Travis Baldwin has the lowest average per carry (4.3) among local rushers with over 350 yards this season. On defense, the Redskins are solid againt the pass. However, they are prone to giving up a lot of rushing yards, which keeps the offense off the field and in comeback mode most of the time.
Mount Gilead at Highland
Mount Gilead (1-6, 1-5) is just the latest team with 1 or fewer MOAC victories to play Highland this season after a 28-6 loss to Buckeye Valley last week. The Indians have scored more than 14 points in only two games this season, and have scored in single digits or been shutout in each of the last three weeks. With a team that can run the ball the way the Scots can, Mount Gilead might face the same offense (all rushing, no passes) that gave Highland a 62-0 win last week.
Highland (4-3, 4-2) had five runners with over 49 yards in demolishing winless Ridgedale, 62-0. The Scots ran at will, gaining 399 yards on 42 carries, a 9.5 yards-per-carry average. They did not punt once, and had nine first downs to the Rockets four. Often overlooked with the powerful running game is a defense which held Ridgedale to minus-15 yards rushing and 6-of-27 passing. Mount Gilead has better offensive weapons in QB Brandon Young and WR Michael Brand, but the Scots are facing its second straight outmatched opponent.