Preview: Second Place On The Line Between Alexander, Nelsonville-York

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When Nelsonville-York and Alexander take the field this Friday night, there will be much more at stake than the result of one game.

The Nelsonville-York Buckeyes (5-2, 3-0) are one of two teams undefeated in TVC-Ohio play and continued success within the conference will ensure Nelsonville-York a shot of the title crown with Athens looming in week 10.

Rewinding to the present, the Buckeyes first must face Alexander (5-2, 3-1).  The Spartans are third in the TVC-Ohio and the season’s win total eclipses last year’s mark of one victory.

“Week by week,” Alexander head coach Alex Penrod said, “We want to better ourselves at practice every day and that’s how we’ve gotten to the point we’re at right now.”

Alexander is currently riding a three-game winning streak and coming off of a 20-0 shutout win over River Valley.  The three game streak is the longest the Spartans have accumulated since the 2011 season and have already exceeded many expectations.  Nevertheless, Penrod still hungers for more.

“For the most part we’ve turned this team around and we still have more wins to come,” Penrod said.  “For right now, the opponent is Nelsonville-York and that’s the only thing.   We can’t control the future and we can’t dictate the past anymore so we’re excited for this opportunity.”

While he is pleased with the team’s progress, Penrod admitted he could not have predicted his team’s success prior to week one.

“You believe it but you’re also realistic and looking at a 1-9 team,” Penrod said.  “I saw, obviously, the talent in the kids that we have.  It’s just starting from scratch for the most part and that’s what you can’t really predict and the kids have bought in from day one.”

While there were doubts at the beginning of the season, Penrod made it very clear that his players aren’t yet satisfied and that the team is relishing the opportunity to play in a playoff-like atmosphere. 

Penrod knows that it will be challenging to contain the balanced Buckeye offense, which is led by sophomore running back Alex Mount and sophomore quarterback Hunter Edwards.

“We’re going to have to be able to throw the ball to beat Nelsonville-York,” Penrod said.  “Their strength is running the ball but Edwards at quarterback has turned into a pretty good passer.  They’re not afraid to go double tights and play smash mouth football but our kids are ready for that challenge.”

As for Nelsonville-York, the focus will shift towards junior running back Josh Barnes and senior quarterback Brody McGrath. Rainy conditions lead to a subdued performance from the signal caller, he attempted only three passes, but Penrod plans to go with the passing game more often with this Friday’s forecast looking much more favorable towards throwing the ball. 

And while Penrod understands that the road ahead could be treacherous, he believes his team is prepared enough to continue to prove people wrong.

“Every week we have a new game plan, we have a new goal, we have a new opponent and that’s how we take it. We take that mentality of get better every day and take care of business on Fridays.”