Updated Thu, Sep 4, 2014 3:58 pm
A popular sports cliché states that defense wins championships. Even though this is not a championship game, New Lexington and Maysville’s defensive units will have their work cut out for them when the teams go head-to-head on Friday.
The two teams combined to score 70 points last week, with Maysville topping Crooksville 49-15 and New Lexington falling to Fairfield Union 27-21. New Lexington running back Tommy Russell racked up 215 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries against Fairfield Union. Meanwhile, Maysville piled on 35 unanswered points on the Ceramics after trailing 15-14 late in the first half.
“One thing we did learn is that we have a strong interior running game,” Maysville head coach Craig Clarke said. Each of Maysville’s (1-0, 1-0 MVL) six offensive touchdowns came on the ground.
As for New Lexington (0-1), head coach Dave Rupe said that this week’s practice has revolved around addressing miscues such as penalties, missed tackles, poor blocking and dropped passes, which hurt them late in their game against Fairfield Union.
“These are all things we need to get better, so that can translate to success on the field,” Rupe said. “We’re going to push these kids to their limits. That’s our job as coaches.”
This is only Rupe’s first year in charge at New Lexington, but he understands the challenge that lies ahead. Rupe described Maysville as a championship-caliber team with great speed, size, tackling and special teams play.
“We know what we’re up against,” Rupe said. “(Maysville) is a good football team and we’re excited about it. That’s what we want.”
New Lexington’s spread offense will force Maysville’s defense to cover a lot of ground, and playing at a quicker pace could allow New Lexington to win the endurance battle. Rupe is banking on his players to give “everything they’ve got” to match up against the Panthers.
After playing a smash-mouth Crooksvillke team, Clarke admitted that while his team is filled with athletes, defending the spread will be a new challenge this week.
“We have to be able to get pressure without [blitzing] people,” Clarke said.
Maysville will depend heavily on its defensive line to contain the run so that linebackers can drop back in coverage and help contain plays to the outside. With Clarke stressing the importance of winning the possession battle, the game could be decided in the trenches.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in New Lexington.
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