Gridiron Glory week five game predictions

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Hello and welcome back to the Gridiron Glory game predictions! Last week was an exciting slate of showtime games that went live at 11:30. Meadowbrook battled, Bloom-Carroll rolled, Athens took the rivalry match, the Tornadoes won a key MVL Small School match, and Gallia Academy continued their undefeated season. All-in-all, it was another great week of high school football. This week, conference rivalries will burn bright, and I will give my take on how this week will go for these teams. Once again, I hope to be proven wrong by all of the teams on this list, and I wish the best of luck to all these teams when Friday night rolls around(3-1, 1-0) Waterford @ (4-0, 1-0) Eastern


(3-1, 1-0) Waterford @ (4-0, 1-0) Eastern

Wildcats @ Eagles

Easy Verdict: The times, they are a-changin’

There’s always a lot of talk in rivalry games about wanting a matchup. Eastern wants this game, and they get a prime chance for revenge after losing to Waterford twice last year. That second loss occurred on home turf in the second round of the playoffs, something I am sure that the Eagles have not forgotten. Eastern has been on the warpath in the young season, outscoring their opponents by a combined 171-47. Credit to reigning Division Seven Coach of the Year Jason Jackson and the Eagles, they haven’t been playing a paper-thin schedule. Eastern has faced undefeated teams in back-to-back weeks and emerged the overwhelming victor, 34-8 over South Gallia and 42-26 over Notre Dame. The Eagles were a young team last year, and the growth that Eastern has demonstrated from last year is already apparent. On offense, the ground game has been impressive. Rylee Barrett and Gavin Smith have been an excellent one-two punch that defenses have not been able to slow down. Smith’s fingerprints were all over the victory against South Gallia as he tallied touchdowns on both sides of the ball. At quarterback, the Eagles have the benefit of the exceptional arm of Ethan Edwards. Edwards put the TVC on notice with his performance against Bishop Rosencrans in Week Two as he totaled two passing touchdowns in the second quarter. His performance in Week Two effectively iced a convincing victory for the Eagles. It wouldn’t be a preview for an Eastern football game if I didn’t mention Brandon Oldaker. The reigning Division Seven Defensive Player of the Year has picked up right where he left off for Eastern. Coming into this season, he had one goal on his mind: beat Waterford. How are the Wildcats shaping up for this season? After last year’s playoff exit to Newark Catholic, Waterford has proven why their program hasn’t experienced a losing season since 2014. Despitesome close calls and a blowout loss to Caldwell, the Wildcats have put together a 3-1 record.

This Waterford team has proven that they are able to play hard-nosed defensive football, as they did in Week One versus Alexander and Week Three against Shenandoah. The Wildcat faithful should be encouraged by last week’s performance against Belpre. Waterford’s offense caught fire for the first time this season to cement a rout over the winless Golden Eagles. That kind of performance is something the Wildcats need to overcome a deep Waterford squad. Waterford’s most significant challenge this season has been the end of the Jacob Pantelidis era. Pantelidis was an all-Ohio standout for the Wildcats, and the new man under center is junior Zavier Heiss. Heiss experienced some adversity early in the season, particularly against Alexander in Week One, but Heiss broke out of his shell against Caldwell despite a Wildcat defeat. He finished the game 17 for 39 with 211 yards and two touchdowns through the air. That’s the kind of performance Waterford wants to see every week. His favorite target this year has been Max Roberts. Roberts was critical against Caldwell The lifeblood of this new-look Wildcat offense is another two-headed monster in the running game. Waterford’s tandem of Dylan Taylor and Hayden Jones have taken turns as the workhorse as Taylor led the way against Alexander and Caldwell while Jones was the rushing leader versus Shenandoah. On the subject of the Shenandoah game, the turnover bug has been running rampant for the Wildcats. In just four games, Waterford has turned the ball over eight times. Ironically, the only game that the Wildcats lost was the game where they did not turn the ball over, against Caldwell. Maybe there’s a method to the madness?

Final Analysis: Waterford finds itself in a transition year, and Eastern has the potential to make a deep run in the playoffs. Make no mistake, this is a matchup that will go down to the wire. The experience of this Eastern team, the factor that led Waterford to victory twice last year, and the turnovers from Waterford will give the Eagles a narrow win.


(3-1, 0-0) Portsmouth West @ (3-1, 1-0) Waverly

Senators @ Tigers

Easy Verdict: Tigers overcome Senators in narrow victory

If you have any doubt that this week of show games is stacked, look no further than our first two matchups. Both of these teams sustained surprising upsets in their Week One matchups, but since then, they have wasted no time validating their credentials as challengers in the SOC.

First, the Senators. Portsmouth West was one of many substantial surprises in our coverage last year, improving from 5-6 in 2021 to 11-2 last year to win their first SOC II title in 14 years. That magical run came to a screeching halt as they encountered Ironton in the regional semifinals, and they proved to be one obstacle too tall to climb for the Senators. Week One saw them fall to the Fairland Dragons courtesy of quarterback Peyton Jackson’s rushing touchdown with time expired, 32-29. This season shares the trend of dropping a Week One match to Fairland, the same as last year. Even in that matchup, the seeds of another great Portsmouth West team were beginning to take root. Running back Mason Parker collected 12 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown versus the Dragons. Since then, Parker and the Senators’ offense have been relentless, tallying 31 against Portsmouth and 49 twice when they faced Hillsboro and Wellston. Parker was single-minded in his pursuit of the endzone in the rivalry game against Portsmouth, compiling 138 yards on 16 rushes and three touchdowns. That dominance comes in large part from an outstanding offensive line that boasts reigning SOC II lineman of the year, Kade Woods alongside two other upperclassmen, Jack Geyer and Nichol Rapp. If there is something that the Senators should be worried about, it’s the rushing prowess of Waverly.

Portsmouth West was gashed two weeks ago against Hillsboro when Austin Barrett totaled 146 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hillsboro put up a staggering 34 points on the Senators’ defense, something only Ironton managed to top last year. Another concern? A quarterback who can use his legs. Peyton Jackson had his way in Week One, racking up 200 yards passing along with two touchdowns in the air and added another two scores on the ground. With that in mind, Portsmouth West will have their hands full with Mason Kelly and Jase Hurd from Waverly. Waverly also fell in the final seconds in Week One, losing 27-26 to the Miami Trace Panthers on a failed two-point conversion. Since then, the Tigers have laid waste to their opponents, outsourcing their opposition by an average of 21 points. Waverly hasn’t played an easy schedule either, facing off against the reigning SVC champions Zane Trace, and the SVC runner-up Unioto. They had no trouble dispatching two powerhouses from last year 42-28 and 28-14 respectively, and they look to prove they are capable of a Portsmouth West-style turnaround. Last year, the Tigers finished 5-6, but they are just two seasons removed from a 9-2 season that saw Waverly host a playoff victory. How can they get back to those heights? Jase Hurd has been unstoppable through four weeks of the season, something that was made apparent when he finished with 296 yards and five touchdowns versus Zane Trace. That performance was by no means an isolated incident, ashe totaled 181 yards with 49 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. For the passing game, the Shermans didn’t have a chance. Mason Kelly teed off on the Unioto defense, racking up 299 passing yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target was and continues to be Kody Sword, who compiled 211 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Those touchdowns came as a result of two missiles of 46 and 72 yards respectively. As of late, it seems like the Tigers have been unstoppable offensively, and their defense has rounded into form, allowing just 14 points against Unioto and eight points against Valley.

Final Analysis: This is going to be a dogfight all night, especially in the trenches. The dynamic nature of the Waverly offense is going to provide them a slight advantage in the end, and this matchup will prove the deciding factor for the SOC II crown.


(4-0, 0-0) John Glenn @ (4-0, 0-0) Sheridan

Little Muskies @ Generals

Easy Verdict: Generals continue their undefeated season

As the Generals march towards the MVL Super Bowl against Tri-Valley, this could be their most formidable foe on the way. That said, don’t sleep on Philo. John Glenn has mostly cruised through their first four opponents, excluding an ugly victory over New Lexington in Week Three, 14-13. For the Little Muskies, this season has been a rebound to form. Last year, John Glenn failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, finishing 3-7. Part of that tough season was the strength of schedule for the Little Muskies, as five of their opponents finished with eight or more wins. This season, John Glenn’s schedule hasn’t reached those heights. The combined record of the Muskies’ opponents is 2-14, and New Lexington is the only team to win a game this year. Like many southeast Ohio and MVL teams, John Glenn relies on a run-centric offense. Lincoln Gilcher and Reese Metzger will take the majority of the carriers behind a seasoned offensive line. The Little Muskies returned four of five starters from the previous season: junior Clay Mathers, senior Noah Scheffler, junior Kaden Stallard, and Jake DeMattio round out the returnees. In addition, junior Rock Zemba takes over at center. The most important factor this year has been John Glenn’s secondary. They intercepted Circleville thrice and New Lexington five times. That kind of secondary production is crucial to continue their undefeated season.

Keep an eye on Noah Winland and Jake Johnson are the one-two punch at defensive back that have been giving opposition passing offenses fits. Now, what does the reigning MVL champion look like this year? Sheridan comes off an 11-2 season that ended with a narrow defeat at the hands of the eventual state runner-up Bloom-Carroll, 17-7. Sheridan has been on the warpath, dispatching Licking Valley, Logan, and Morgan with ease. Their toughest test was against Watkins Memorial, a team that bested the incredible Generals’ squad from last year, but Sheridan was able to squeeze out a 24-19 victory. Watkins Memorial rallied late, but a methodical final drive by the Generals was able to quiet their efforts. Filling the big shoes of All-Ohio quarterback Reid Packer is Cade Sheridan. Cade Sheridan excelled against Morgan, provided crucial late passes against Watkins Memorial, and has generally been up to the monumental task ahead of him. Another position with monumental expectations is Sam linebacker where Sheridan has three consecutive All-Ohio players. Senior Bryson Ruff has also picked up an impressive lineage as his red zone interception effectively sealed the victory over Licking Valley in Week One. Ruff also features as a favorite target of quarterback Cade Sheridan with a long touchdown against Morgan last week. This Sheridan team is locked and loaded for another run at the MVL crown.

Final Analysis: John Glenn is about to get a serious increase in difficulty with Sheridan, and the Generals are well acquainted with the big stage this year. The Little Muskies are on pace for a great season, but it will take some time before they can truly stake a claim for the MVL title.


(1-3, 0-0) Warren @ (4-0, 1-0) Fort Frye

Warriors @ Cadets

Easy Verdict: Cadets remain atop the TSL

Another year, same old story for the Cadets. Or is it? Last year’s squad hardly broke a sweat throughout the year en route to a 13-2 season that’s all too familiar to Head Coach Eric Huck. Last year, the Cadets experienced just two one-score games. That was against Linsly, and it took a last-second field goal to defeat Fort Frye. Things have been very different for the Cadets this year. Two of their wins this year have come by just a single score already, and the thirdcame against a Belpre squad that has scored six points in four games. In any case, good teams find a way to win, but as the Vikings found out last year in the NFL, a team can only go so far in one-possession games. Running back Clayton Miller has proven crucial for the Cadets, and he willed Fort Frye to victory over Marietta with 206 yards and two touchdowns. The most substantial change for the Cadets has been the development of a passing attack around senior quarterback Sebastian Huck. Huck took over the role right before Week One, and he has rewarded that confidence. Huck has been efficient thus far in the year, but make no mistake, this Fort Frye squad lives and dies by the running game. The Cadets ran the ball 32 times against Marietta, but Huck has been able to move the ball when the running game falters. Against Bellaire, Fort Frye’s leading rusher was only able to compile 41 yards. Huck stepped up to give the Cadets 120 passing yards and three passing touchdowns.

How does Warren measure up to their previous opponents? The Warriors have taken their lumps this season, and since Week One, Warren has been outscored 39-95. This brutal stretch was highlighted by the Warriors’ 42-3 drubbing at the hands of Fairfield Union. In terms of silver linings for Warren, coaches have to be encouraged by the play of quarterback Jacob Sealey and wide receiver Tanner Pepper. Sealey has been smart with the football, and while the Warriors can’t hang their hat on many close victories, Sealey excelled against Morgan, compiling 156 yards passing, and 83 yards rushing with two rushing touchdowns. He also found the ball on defense, getting an interception. Despite their recent string of tough play, Warren has an opportunity to turn their season around behind Sealey. Pepper racked up over 100 yards receiving against Fairfield Union, a highlight amidst a sea of lowlights.

Final Analysis: The new TSL has to be happy about the parity that is present throughout the conference. Warren will put up an admirable fight, but they will ultimately fall just short of ending their losing streak.


(2-2, 0-0) Portsmouth @ (4-0, 1-0) Gallia Academy

Trojans @ Blue Devils

Easy Verdict: Blue Devils high-flying offense can’t be stopped

The Blue Devils offense could not be denied once again last week as they emerged as the victor of a high-scoring match against Chesapeake. The Panthers tagged Gallia Academy for the most points of any team this season, but the Blue Devils offense hardly missed a step, outpacing Chesapeake 47-21. It was the usual suspect for Gallia Academy as the Blue Devils ran for over 464 yards, and Braylan Rathburn put up respectable numbers once again with 123 yards through the air. Winning this matchup is crucial for the Blue Devils, and it serves as a bridge to Gallia Academy’s matchup on the road against Fairland. If any readers are interested in a deeper analysis of the Blue Devils squad including Hunter Shamblin, who had two rushing touchdowns last week against the Panthers, I would recommend reading last week’s predictions.

As for the Trojans, I have to imagine that the Portsmouth faithful are glad to have a week to breathe after last week’s overtime thriller. It took a failed two-point conversion to give the Trojans their second win of the season over Rock Hill. It took a dynamic performance from Camron Williams to stave off defeat, as he compiled 101 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go alongside 165 yards on 15 for 19 passing and a touchdown. Williams will need a similar performance to be in striking distance of this potent Blue Devil unit. The area of greatest concern for the Trojans should be their defense being able to keep pace with Gallia Academy. The Blue Devils have posted 40 points per game, and the Trojans allow an average of 29 points per game. The Trojans will likely have to be even better than average as Gallia Academy has allowed just eight points per game.

Final Analysis: Off the heels of a thrilling victory for Portsmouth, the Blue Devils will be a challenge that will be too much for them to overcome. The Trojans will struggle to contain Gallia Academy’s offense, similar to all of the Blue Devils’ opponents this year.


(0-4, 0-1) Meigs @ (0-4, 0-1) River Valley

Marauders @ Raiders

It has been a rough season for the Meigs Marauders and the River Valley Raiders. For the Marauders, three shutouts mark what has been a brutal stretch for Meigs. Last week saw the Marauders fall 54-0 to Vinton County. To the credit of Meigs football, the Marauders seemingly had secured their first victory in Week Three against Coal Grove, jumping out to a 30-6 lead atthe end of the half. A 22-point third quarter undid most of the Marauders’ progress, and Meigs would eventually fall 48-42. Despite the fact that all of the Marauders’ points came in Week Three, that still outpaces the production of the Raiders.

While River Valley has only one shutout to their name, they have only compiled 27 points thus far in the season. Their highest total came in a Week Two loss to South Gallia when they fell 34-13. If there are any true similarities that these teams share, it’s that they both lost 54-0 last week as the Raiders fell to Nelsonville York. As the TVC regular season slate kicks into high gear, both these teams get a slight schedule reprieve. One of these teams has to break the streak of futility. Including last year’s playoff loss, the Marauders have lost five straight. River Valley finished last year with a victory against Machester. The Raiders look to recapture that magic this Friday. Last year, Meigs won this matchup 37-20 at home, and Meigs is 8-2 in the last decade against the Raiders. The recent history of this matchup has been better for River Valley as the series has been split since 2019.

Final Analysis: While both of these teams have struggled, the Marauders offense has shown more signs of life. That 42-point performance against Coal Grove will prove to be a blueprint for this game. This matchup will see the best performance from the Raiders, both offensively and defensively