Meigs, River Valley to clash in Pomeroy< < Back to
Two teams with two different strengths will meet Friday night in Pomeroy, but one goal is in mind: staying in the TVC-Ohio race behind Athens. New conference member River Valley (3-1, 0-1) has proven itself as a gritty, defensive side, but that defense will be challenged when the high powered Meigs offense (2-2, 1-0) takes the field.
The Marauders are fresh off of a lopsided 46-13 victory at Vinton County and will be looking to keep the momentum rolling in their home stadium. Head coach Mike Bartrum felt that his team is in good spirits coming into the matchup.
“We had a good day of practice (on Wednesday). We need to come out on Friday, not arrogant, but confident, and be ready to play football,” Bartum said. “The expectations are very high.”
Bartrum expressed his displeasure with standing at the .500 mark through four games, but it’s clear that the defense has been an area of concern. The defensive unit has given up more than 45 points per game and this week’s practices have focused on diminishing that average.
“It all comes down to heart,” Bartum said. “Our coaches have done a great job preparing them, so now it all comes down to Friday night.”
Heart is key, but it can only push one so far when the injury bug runs rampant through a roster. Key play-makers, such as starters Cody Bartrum and Isaiah English, have spent time on the sidelines, but Meigs expects to return several players this week.
“I believe that if one man goes down, another should be right there to take his place.” Bartrum added.
As for River Valley, it’s been all about the defense. The Raiders have let up an average of 16.5 points per contest.
After falling to Nelsonville-York 28-7 in week four, head coach Jerod Sparling said that this week the team has focused on getting reorganized and rallying for the game ahead.
“I think our kids have the right frame of mind,” Sparling said. “They have the right mindset. We had a good week of practice and I think we’ll bounce back well.”
Sparling understands what his team will be going up against, but he felt that if his game plan is executed well, the defense can keep Meigs in check.
“We need to limit their opportunities,” Sparling said. “We need to get off the field on third downs. Offensively, we need to get first downs to keep our defense on the sidelines.”
Last season, the Marauders trounced River Valley on their home turf, 57-7. The Raiders will be hoping to settle the score this time around.
“It was probably one of the most embarrassing losses in my career,” Sparling said. “There’s definitely some motivation there, but the biggest motivation is to get back on track for the season.”