Gallia Academy Hoping To Bounce Back Against Chesapeake

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The last three years have been a roller coaster for the Gallia Academy football program. In 2012, they finished 9-3 and the future looked bright. Fast-forward to 2014, where the Blue Devils are on their third different coach in three years and are coming off a 5-5 finish last season.

Gallia Academy (0-1) is certainly a flexible program, but they now hope to showcase their resiliency against the Chesapeake Panthers (0-2) on Friday night. 

The Blue Devils started the season off on a sour note, as they fell to Athens 52-0 on the road. Looking to Friday night, first-year head coach Josh Riffe is confident the Blue Devils can come together for their home opener.

“We got past the first one,” Riffe said optimistically. “I always tell the guys you can only control the things you control.  It’s time now to get the focus off of the first game.”  Riffe urged the team to shake off the loss and look forward to not only Chesapeake, but also to the possibility of an SEOAL title.      

“Athens and Chesapeake are two different teams,” Coach Riffe said regarding the team’s week two adjustments.  “Chesapeake will be running right at us in a double wing, so we need to be ready on defense.” 

The Blue Devils will have to shift gears from keeping up with Joe Burrow’s arm, to keeping up with the Panthers’ backfield.  Riffe said he is counting on senior safety Blake Wilson to lead the defense.   

Last week in the Chesapeake’s matchup against Oak Hill, the Panthers managed only 39 total offensive yards.  Chesapeake’s defense has struggled mightily, too, giving up 60 points in the first two games combined.

In order to capitalize on the struggling Chesapeake defense, Gallia entrusts junior quarterback Kole Carter to lead the offense.  Carter has stepped into a leadership role this season, as the coaching staff feels comfortable letting Carter make his own decisions on the field.  Riffe said he sees Carter as “the team’s leader.”     

The Blue Devils will also be without a key playmaker in wide receiver Wes Jarrell, who is out for the game after suffering an injury last week against Athens. However, Jarrell is expected to be back next week against Fairland. 

Although the ultimate goal for Gallia is still to take the SEOAL title, Riffe is adamant he wants his players to compete in the present.  “I always want to see them playing at their highest level each snap.” 

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Gallipolis. 

'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory