John Glenn, Sheridan Square Off

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Last year’s matchup between Sheridan and John Glenn was a statement of how both teams played all season long. The Little Muskies took down the Generals, 28-0, and finished tied for third in the conference, while Sheridan won just four games. However, both teams have shown signs of improvement this season.

“We’re making progress,” Sheridan coach Paul Culver said. “We can’t assume things will just happen because we’re Sheridan. We’re going to continue to work hard.”

These teams are not only coming off very different seasons, but also very different weeks. Last week, John Glenn handled West Muskingum, winning, 48-12. Sheridan, who struggled to find its way against Zanesville, lost last week, 49-7. Both teams are trying to put last week in the past and make this week their focus.

“We got handled by a good football team,” Culver said. “It’s up to the kids to establish the mental attitude to bounce back.”

John Glenn is coming into this game playing well, having won every game so far this season and outscoring opponents by nearly 100 points. Coach John Kelley credits both sides of the ball for the Muskies’ high point differential through just three games.

“It goes hand-in-hand,” Kelley said. “We’ve played good defense and hope to get better on both sides of the ball. The fact is one complements the other.”

2012 Gridiron Glory Player of the Year candidate Blake Atkins ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Tornadoes. He’ll look to repeat the performance against the Generals. Culver knows Atkins has talent, but doesn’t want to focus on just one player.

“We can’t prepare any different,” Culver said. “We just need to tackle as best we can.”

“[Atkins] is a fine, young man, and an explosive player,” Kelley said. “He’s just a tough kid in all dimensions of the game.”

Both coaches have the utmost respect for each other and their teams. They see this game as being tough to win.

“John Glenn is a very good team, and John Kelley is a very good coach,” Culver said. “Beating them requires a lot of self discipline.”

“Sheridan is always a physical football team,” Kelley said. “They can make it a long evening for you. Defensively, we want guys swarming to the ball. This is about the team, and football is the ultimate team game.”

Picking up a win would mean a lot to both teams, as John Glenn is looking to stay undefeated overall, and Sheridan is looking to remain undefeated in the MVL. The matchup will be on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at McConagha Stadium at Muskingum University.