Logan lines up against the Tri-Valley defense
Logan lines up against the Tri-Valley defense

Game of the Week Preview: New Lexington Looks to Take Revenge on Tri-Valley

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David vs. Goliath. An old MVL powerhouse vs. a new, rising contender looking to take the throne. This game between the Tri-Valley Scotties and the New Lexington Panthers has the combination of conference implications and hype to live up to the billing of Gridiron Glory Game of the Week.

Perennial power Tri-Valley comes into the game at 3-2, looking to rebound after a disappointing 27-17 loss to Philo in last week’s MVL action. The Scotties started the season off hot with back-to-back wins over Logan and Crooksville, but were tripped up in the following two weeks going 1-2. This uncharacteristic slow start for Tri-Valley opens the door for some teams to try to take a shot at the reigning MVL champs.

However, second year coach Kevin Fell and his squad are looking to silence those doubters and show the league that they are still the top dog as they travel to what should be a fierce environment in New Lexington.

On the flip side, New Lexington is a team that has slowly climbed the ranks in recent years in the MVL, starting off the season on a tear and sitting with a record of 4-1. They could be undefeated coming into this matchup, but a slip up at Maysville two weeks ago ended their bid. Albeit, New Lexington is still having a strong season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

New Lex outscored opponents 173-6 in their first three games of the season and put up 82 points last week in an 82-60 shootout win over Coshocton. Head coach Kevin Board has his players firing on all cylinders on offense and they look to carry that firepower into arguably their biggest matchup of the year. New Lexington has a chance to put the league on notice with a statement win over Tri-Valley and improve to 3-1 in league play.

All eyes will be on the Tri-Valley backfield Friday night as their two-headed monster of Blake Sands and Jordan Pantaleo at running back will look to wear down the New Lex defense and hopefully put up some points as they do so often for Tri-Valley. Quarterback Aiden Fritter will also be another guy to watch out for as he has the pocket presence and certainly the arm strength to devastate the Panthers through the air, along with talented wide receivers like Keaton Williams.

The X-factor for New Lexington will be standout junior quarterback Logyn Ratliff, who has already thrown for over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns with only two interceptions. An outstanding game from him would put New Lex in a position to take home a big win. Also keep an eye on senior running back Christian Vance who has torn up opponents on the ground; his explosiveness may pose problems for the Scotties’ defense.

Last year, Tri-Valley shut out the Panthers 30-0, a loss New Lex is looking to avenge this season. New Lex has taken great strides of improvement and are ready to compete with the big dogs in this league like Tri-Valley, in a game that both teams have circled on the calendar as a must-win.

The game of football is a game of inches, made or broken on a few close plays. Whoever can gain those inches on Friday, may just creep that much closer to winning a league title.