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Waterford @ Eastern
The Waterford Wildcats (1-2) travel to Reedsville, Ohio, on Friday for a conference matchup against the Eastern Eagles (1-2).
With identical records, these teams come into Fridays’ game appearing to be on the same level of competition. They are also both coming off scoreless losses to tough competitors, and they look to swing the momentum back into their favor.
The Wildcats plan to do this by taking it one game at a time and focusing all their importance on that one game until the clock ticks down the final seconds of the fourth quarter and the referee blows the whistle. Then it is time for the next.
Fundamental contributors on Eastern’s squad include quarterback Chase Cook and running back Zack Scowden. In order to beat the Wildcats, Eastern is counting on Cook to come out ready to convert passes and lead his team to a win. Scowden’s running game is also a fundamental component for the Eagles if they are going to be able to convert first downs and drive into Wildcat territory.
Waterford intends to counter Eastern by cutting down on mistakes. The Wildcats have a lot of young players on their team, and coach Tom Tucker is hoping they play up to their potential and to the caliber of their veteran teammates.
“Eastern runs close to same stuff as last year, so we have to be aware of their tendencies and aware of when they line up in different formations and know how to respond,” Tucker explained.
Waterford also looks to the offensive linemen to do the simple necessities like block and make tackles. Senior lineman Nick Gardner will not be strengthening the line however, as he is injured and will not be playing in Friday’s game.
On the defensive side of the ball the Wildcats rely on their powerhouse middle linebacker, running back and fullback Austin Lang. Tucker expects a lot out of Lang during every game, and this one is no different.
“We put a lot on his shoulders,” Tucker explained.
In last year’s matchup, the Eagles beat Waterford, 39-6, but Eastern has struggled early this season, and Friday offers the Wildcats a chance at redemption.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Southern @ Fed Hock
The undefeated Southern Tornadoes (3-0) travel to Federal Hocking High School Friday to take on the Lancers (2-1).
The Tornadoes are looking very competitive early in the season, coming off three victories. So far, they are outscoring their opponents 84-6.
Southern’s dynamo defense has only allowed one touchdown all year. That is less than half of the Lancers’ average of 12.7 points allowed per game. The Tornadoes’ defense could very feasibly put a stop to the Lancer’s offensive tactics.
During this matchup, expect another great performance from Southern running back Tyler Barton, who has ran the ball 39 times for 402 yards and scored 7 touchdowns through three games this year. He is a big contributor for the Tornadoes and really gets their momentum going. Southern will rely heavily on his rushing ability.
The Tornadoes are also looking for quarterback Tristen Wolfe to bring his A-game on Friday. Wolfe ran for 53 yards in the Tornadoes’ matchup against Belpre a week ago, and he was instrumental in getting his team within scoring territory.
An added component to Southern’s squad that it didn’t have last year is Hunter Johnson. Johnson broke two returns for touchdowns last week, but both were called back because of penalties. Nevertheless, Johnson’s speed and agility are a great attribute for the Tornadoes on special teams.
Federal Hocking looks to make history repeat itself by taking advantage of its skilled running back unit, led by Delbert Crum and Peyton Steel. Crum has 27 carries for 307 yards so far this season, and Steel has 21 rushes for 174 yards. The Lancer duo is a solid counter to Barton’s high-caliber ability. Look for Crum and Steel to be fundamental components if the Lancers are going to come out on top.
Last year Federal Hocking beat Southern 14-7, but a much tougher Tornadoes squad awaits, as Southern only needs one more win to match its total from 2012.
Kickoff is Friday night at 7:30 in Stewart.