Game Preview: New Lexington Looking To Spoil Perfection For Tri-Valley

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Last season on the first Friday night in October, Tri Valley traveled to New Lexington and took care of business, shutting the Panthers out 43-0. One year later the Panthers (2-2, 2-1) will travel into Tri Valley’s (4-0, 2-0) domain on Friday night with aspirations for redemption.

This task is a tall one considering the Panthers will have to travel to the house of the three-time defending MVL champions.

The MVL looks very similar to the way it did last season heading into Week 5. Maysville leads the conference with a perfect 4-0 record and Tri Valley comes in at second place with a 2-0 record in league play. The only difference is Tri Valley and New Lexington had both posted 2-2 records heading into this game but this year the Scotties are undefeated and don’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.

“A year ago we were pretty young and we went through some growing pains in the beginning of the season but this year we’ve played like an experienced team,” Tri Valley head coach Justin Buttermore said. “That experience has really driven us to our 4-0 start.”

However for New Lexington, the 2014 season didn’t start off the way new head coach David Rupe had planned. The Panthers dropped a nail biter to Fairfield Union in the first game of the season before dropping a tough loss to Maysville in Week 2.

Even though Tri Valley holds the edge on paper don’t underestimate how the heat of a rivalry can light up the Panthers.  New Lexington outscored MVL rivals Morgan and Crooksville 82-20 the past two weeks and have leaned on the leadership of senior quarterback Collin Russell who has emerged as a confident dual threat signal caller.

The Panthers’ wins over Morgan and Crooksville are impressive but due to the Scotties’ outstanding size and speed, Tri Valley poses a much bigger threat to New Lexington than most of the bottom and middle tier teams in the conference do. The Panthers offense will have their hands full against Tri Valley’s stout defense that has only given up 13 points all season.

“They (New Lexington) have some great skill kids that make plays through the air and with their feet,” Buttermore said. “We just have to play sound defense and defend the whole field when we play because they are spreading it around pretty well.”

On the other side of the ball, New Lexington’s defense will need to bring their all in order to stand a chance of containing Tri Valley’s running game. Whether it’s Brock Fargus pump faking and unleashing on a big run or Logan Bash and Bubby Scott pounding their way through under-sized defenses, the Tri Valley running game has given every opposing team fits this season.

“We always want to run the ball first,” Coach Buttermore said. “We’re a spread team but we’re a spread team that likes to be tough. Sometimes because of defensive schemes we have to adjust but we’re fortunate to be able to balance that.”  

Over the past ten meetings, Tri Valley holds the series edge 6-4, including five wins in a row.

The two teams kick off Friday at 7 p.m. in Dresden. 

'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!