Gridiron Glory week seven game predictions

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What does Ted Lasso always say? Be a goldfish? I will try to remember that advice after last week’s lackluster predictions. 2-3? Yeesh. In any case, we had plenty of nail-biters in the form of Fairland’s high-scoring triumph over Gallia Academy, Athens concluded their rivalry on top, Harvest Prep maintained their winning streak over Wheelersburg, Hillsboro snapped their losing streak against Chillicothe, and Tri-Valley earned another MVL notch on the way to their showdown against Sheridan. This week, we will see Gridiron Glory’s perennial outlier chase the first TSL title, Nelsonville-York stares down their first TVC-Ohio challenge, Paint Valley looks to assert themselves as contenders for the SVC crown, an MSL shootout looms, and Jackson seeks to uphold their vice-grip on the FAC.

(5-1, 2-0) Fort Frye @ (1-3, 0-1) Point Pleasant

Game of the Week

Easy Verdict: Fort Frye narrowly secures the first TSL crown

Last week was a rude awakening for a Fort Frye squad that has faced unexpected adversity despite their 5-1 record. Metaphorical chickens came home to roost last week when Linsly routed the Fort Frye 41-0. The Cadets were barely defeated by the other Cadets (it was a Cadet bowl last week) last year as well, but it took a last-second field goal to defeat Fort Frye 41-38. The last time Fort Frye lost on the road in the regular season was in 2014 against Caldwell. The last time the Cadets were shut out was back in 2017 when Northridge defeated Fort Frye 6-0. This was the Cadets’ worst loss since 2012 when Fort Frye faced another West Virginia school in Weirton Madonna and fell 49-6.

What can we make of this Cadets’ squad? Prior to last week, Fort Frye continued to uphold their reputation as a team that runs the ball effectively. Newly-minted running back Clayton Miller was vital in Fort Frye securing their early season victories over Marietta and Bellaire. Sebastian Huck took over at quarterback this season, and he has led a passing attack that has supplemented their ground game. Huck’s legs have also been another tool for Fort Frye, and his legs propelled the Cadets past Bellaire. The thunder to Miller’s lightning, Bryndan Riddle has been a great supporting piece for the ground game. Grady Hesson and Matthias Kesselring have formed the foundation of Fort Frye’s receiver corps, taking advantage of the limited opportunities in a run-heavy offense. Fort Frye’s defense has been the backbone of the team thus far. Senior Graham Baker and sophomore Tyce Beardsley both forced crucial turnovers to lift Fort Frye over Bellaire. The X-factor for the Cadets has been punter Clay

Greuey who has put Division Six on notice with his leg. Against Bellaire, Greuey booted a 67-yard punt, something that most professional punters wish they could replicate. While their wins might have come by the skin of their teeth, this Fort Frye squad has the talent to contend with Garraway and West Jefferson at the top of Region 23.

How does Point Pleasant stack up to the ground-heavy offense and suffocating defense of the Cadets? Point Pleasant has played a balanced slate of West Virginia and Ohio teams, but they have taken on a daunting assembly of teams. After a Week One victory over Greenbrier East, Point Pleasant has been unable to replicate their early season success, dropping three consecutive contests. Last week seemed to be the start of their turnaround, but a late touchdown from Warren handed them a one-point loss. Point Pleasant can hang its hat on a close defeat, considering that Weeks Two and Three saw defeats of 42-12 and 68-20 respectively.

As for the difference makers on Point Pleasant, Nate Bentz, Jason Hughes and Brody Bowen have been the focal points of the offense. Bentz took more of the burden last week against Warren, and despite his solid performance, Point Pleasant was stuck in the mud for most of the night. Bentz and Bowen are the running back tandem that will match up against Fort Frye’s duo of Riddle and Miller. Hughes is the signal caller for Point Pleasant, and the majority of his production also comes through the running game. Point Pleasant practices a similar philosophy on offense to the Cadets, keeping the ball on the ground. While their running backs have been effective, the reliance on the running game against potent passing attacks such as Gallia Academy has made it trying for Point Pleasant to play from behind.

Final Analysis: While both of these squads rely heavily on the running game, Fort Frye has more versatility on offense. If the Cadets can get ahead early on, Point Pleasant will find themselves in a similar situation to the rest of the season. Point Pleasant will keep this game extremely close due to the similarity of their players and scheme, but Fort Frye has proven that they can overcome their often one-dimensional offense with their impressive defense.


Fort Frye takes the belt in the TSL title fight.

(3-3, 2-0) Wellston @ (5-1, 2-0) Nelsonville-York

Golden Rockets @ Buckeyes

Easy Verdict: Buckeyes roll another TVC-Ohio opponent en route to Vinton County

Nelsonville-York has been on a mission throughout this season. And it’s a mission of revenge. Despite losing TVC-Ohio defensive player of the year, the Buckeyes have soared to new heights behind a defense that has somehow outperformed last year’s unit. After a Week One

upset on the road against a revitalized Trimble squad, Nelsonville-York has rattled off five consecutive wins to propel them up the TVC-Ohio rankings. In a twist that will be relevant in the coming weeks, Vinton County, the team tied with them atop the TVC-Ohio rankings, has also rattled off a five-game winning streak after dropping their Week One game against Unioto. The crown jewel of the Buckeyes’ revenge tour thus far was their Week Two win over Newark Catholic, a team that defeated Nelsonville-York 45-0 last season. The Green Wave traveled to Nelsonville just to be upended 21-9 in the first game of the Buckeyes’ winning streak. The benchmark for this season will be returning to the Region 23 semifinal and dispatching Bellaire.

The Buckeyes have accomplished this with yet another dominant defense. Nelsonville-York’s season high in points allowed is just 19, and their defense allows just 11.5 points per game. Junior Landon Inman and senior Jacob Jones were decisive with their interceptions against Newark Catholic. It would be a mistake to characterize the Buckeyes as simply an opportunistic unit, as Nelsonville-York just shuts down their opposition consistently. Gavin Richards has highlighted that trend, racking up an unbelievable 15 tackles in the Buckeyes’ 47-14 thrashing of Meigs. Offensively, Nelsonville-York bucks the expectation of the rest of the TVC by operating a balanced attack. Just last week, the Buckeyes put up a total of 422 yards of total offense and 235 yards of that came on the ground. Nelsonville-York’s ability to keep their opposition on their toes has granted the Buckeyes the same level of dominance that they boasted last year. That consistency has borne clear results, as Nelsonville-York has won 18 consecutive TVC-Ohio contests. It is no surprise that stability at quarterback is key with Makhi Williams torching the rest of the conference. Against Meigs, Williams put up 124 yards on just four carries and three touchdowns. Through the air, he compiled 187 yards on 7-11 passing and three touchdowns. That results in a total rarely seen in high school football, 311 yards of total offense. On the season, he boasts an impressive 693 yards passing and 184 yards rushing. Landon Inman has been his favorite target, compiling 13 catches for 274 yards and five touchdowns.

Wellston’s season has been defined by their performance against teams above and below .500. For the Rockets, they have yet to claim a victory over a team with a winning record, and they have been outscored 147-49 and hold an 0-3 record. Against teams with a losing record, Wellston has a 3-0 record, but only one team that the Rockets have defeated has a win on the season, the 1-5 Alexander Spartans. Wellston can hang their hat on the fact that this season has been an improvement upon last year’s winless campaign. It will take a similar performance to

their game against Alexander, wherein the Spartans were shut out, for the Rockets to uphold the TVC-Ohio juggernaut.

Final Analysis: Nelsonville-York has its eyes set on another TVC-Ohio crown and has aspirations to make some noise in Region 23. Wellston can use this season to return to the upper echelon of the TVC-Ohio, but this Buckeye squad will not meet its match until Vinton County in Week Nine. The Rockets will be a tough test for Nelsonville-York, but the Buckeyes will take care of business.

Nelsonville-York marches toward the TVC-Ohio title fight.


(5-1, 3-0) Paint Valley @ (4-2, 1-2) Piketon

Bearcats @ Redstreaks

Easy Verdict: Redstreaks continue their tumble down the SVC standings

Piketon is a case study of not buying into the hype of a team before they have played the meat of their schedule. The Redstreaks got out to a scorching start, winning their first four games. The warning signs should have been there already, but I did not see them initially. Piketon victories have come against teams with a combined 2-21 record. Then, the Redstreaks met a legitimate challenge in Week Five in the form of the Zane Trace Pioneers. The defending SVC champions handed Piketon their first loss of the season, 34-25, and Unioto cemented their struggles with a 44-22 thumping. The Redstreaks were in a tight battle with the Sherman Tanks, but four second-half turnovers put the nail in the coffin of Piketon’s chances.

Prior to their struggles, Piketon’s offense was firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Luke Gullion and running back Buddy Wilson made the Redstreaks a force on offense. Gullion’s efficiency was a staple of Piketon’s success, and in the last two weeks, he has thrown six interceptions. More concerning for the Redstreaks is their struggles in the running game. Buddy Wilson’s production has declined against the best of the SVC, as he had over 100 yards in each of the first five games. Last week, Wilson finished with just 50 yards, and Piketon’s second option Zane Brownfield also struggled against a stout Unioto defensive line, finishing with 43 yards. Brent McGuire, the Redstreaks’ best receiver, had a solid night against Unioto, but his three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown were not enough to overcome the dominance of the Sherman Tanks’ secondary.

It is not going to get any easier for Piketon, and this week they face the final SVC contender, Paint Valley. Their offense needs no introduction, Preston Fauber, Braylon

Robertson, Carson Free, Bryson Dunham, and Peyton Bell form the nucleus of an offense that put up 76 points last week. That’s not a typo. Robertson put on the most memorable individual performance this season for the Bearcats against Westfall. Robertson rushed for 231 yards, three rushing touchdowns and put a cherry on top of the performance with an interception. He is Paint Valley’s kicker, just for good measure. The passing attack, led by sophomore quarterback Preston Fauber, has some of the best deep threats that the SVC has to offer. Carson Free and Bryson Dunham combine speed and elite route running to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Even with his arm talent, Fauber has also demonstrated his ability to break loose on the ground with a 52-yard touchdown run versus McClain. Peyton Bell anchors an ascendant offensive line that has propelled Paint Valley to the upper echelon of Division Six football. The Bearcats’ only loss on the season came to an undefeated steamroller in the form of West Jefferson, but despite their 49-13 loss, it is hard to poke holes in Paint Valley’s resume. The only thing left for the Bearcats to prove is their status among the SVC elite.

Final Analysis: Paint Valley’s offense has continued to hit a higher gear, and Piketon’s unit has struggled against the other elite teams of the conference. The Redstreaks may see some improvement against a Bearcat defense that allowed 41 points to Adena last week, but their offense will ultimately be too much for Piketon.

Paint Valley enters the rough part of their schedule on a high note.


(5-1, 3-0) Bloom-Carroll @ (6-0, 3-0) Logan Elm

Bulldogs @ Braves

Easy Verdict: Bulldogs prevail in their toughest MSL test

Another year, another remarkable Bulldog squad. Bloom-Carroll seems set on repeating the script of last year, but this time, the Bulldogs want the Division Three title. After a Week One loss at the hands of Harvest Prep, the Bulldogs have rattled off five consecutive victories, just like last year. Bloom-Carroll’s defense has been untouchable during this winning streak, allowing just 8.4 points per game. Their most impressive performance was against Bishop Hartley when the Bulldog defense forced four fumbles in a 28-17 victory.

Bloom-Carroll’s offense has been dynamic this year, and they can attribute that to quarterback Ethan Thanthanavong. Thanthavong has been a deep ball artist, sometimes to the detriment of his efficiency, No game exemplifies that relationship more than the Bulldogs’ Week One loss to Harvest Prep. Despite completing just 13 passes on 31 attempts, Thanthanvong finished with 222 yards. Some of those misses came on dropped passes, but the game speaks to

Thanthanvong’s ability to take the top off opposing defenses. Bloom-Carroll’s offense boasts receivers Carter Cornelius, Jayse Rockwood and Mike Stevenson who have made the Bulldogs’ potent passing attack a unit to be feared by the rest of MSL and Division Three. Bloom-Carroll still has All-Ohio running back and Army commit Dylan Armentrout. That running attack is one that Logan Elm will have to contend with.

Logan Elm has hardly broken a sweat en route to their 6-0 record. The Braves average 41 points per game, and the Braves have yet to face a team that can even keep the game within two possessions. Quarterback Aaron Walters’ performance has been a significant reason for the success of the team, and his receiver corps of Camden Redd, Hunter Kersey and Carson Summers have become a trio that has yet to be solved. The Braves’ running game has thrived because of Landon Thompson’s excellence. Thompson and the ground game have had their way this season, and the strength of the running game presents the Bulldogs with a dynamic offense to match their own.

Final Analysis: Bloom Carroll’s schedule thus far in the year has been more grueling than the Braves, and while this game will likely come down to the wire, the Bulldogs are more battle-tested. This game will prove decisive in the MSL, and this win will secure Bloom-Carroll the title. Thanthanvong will present a threat that Logan Elm has not faced this year.

Bulldog dominance in the MSL continues this season.


(5-1, 1-0) Jackson @ (4-2, 1-0) Miami Trace

Ironmen @ Panthers

Easy Verdict: Jackson cruises to another FAC title

Death, taxes, and Andy Hall and the Ironmen controlling the FAC. The last time Jackson lost an FAC game, not including the COVID year, was in 2018. That was an overtime thriller that saw the Ironmen fall 27-21 to Hillsboro. Since the beginning of Andy Hall’s tenure at Jackson, it has been Ironmen’s dominance across the board. The conference officially formed in 2017, but since 2009, the year Hall took the reigns, against FAC opponents, Jackson is 34-5. That’s good for a .872 winning percentage and most of the FAC has never defeated the Ironmen throughout Hall’s tenure. Outside Chillicothe and Hillsboro, the rest of the FAC is winless. The aforementioned Hillsboro victory in 2018 is the only win that Hillsboro can boast in six contests versus Hall and Jackson. With that in mind, how does this iteration of Jackson compare to the past standard of dominance?

The roster is loaded, to no one’s surprise. Cade Wolfard has established himself as a force to be reckoned with at running back and linebacker. He has also been electric on special teams, catapulting himself into GG POTY contention. Another Wolford is the man under center. Bodhi Woldford has begun to assert himself at quarterback, particularly against Washington Court House. He compiled three touchdowns against the Blue Lions, but with that emergence, the Ironmen receiver corps has shown itself as one to be feared by the FAC. Ryan Seimetz put all of Division Three on notice with his two-touchdown performance against Washington Court House. Cade Wolford is not the only prolific running back that Jackson boasts, as Eli Broerman has given Jackson an elite one-two punch at the position. Broerman put two touchdowns on the board against Western Brown. These were vital to the one-possession victory that the Ironmen eeked out versus the Broncos. Across the board, Jackson has another unit capable of making a deep run in Region 11. How does Miami Trace measure up?

Despite the Panthers’ last victory over the Ironmen coming in 1977, Miami Trace has another rock-solid squad. The Panthers finished 4-7 last year, and they have already matched that win total through six games. Miami Trace put this year’s team on the map with their Week One thriller versus Waverly. That game saw the Panthers narrowly escape with a last-second victory over a resurgent Tigers squad. This team has outperformed expectations throughout the season, and their players have done the same. Freshman Julian Baker embodied that mentality when the Panthers upended Western Brown 63-31 on the road. Baker compiled four touchdowns in a performance that propelled the Panthers to the second of three wins of their current winning streak. Trey Robinette has been a quality dual-threat quarterback whose legs helped seal the game against Waverly. Senior Garrett Guess has been one of his favorite targets in the season. Baker has been far from the only running threat. Senior Asher LeBeau has carried the majority of the load, but the emergence of Baker has given Miami Trace plenty of options on the ground.

Final Analysis: Jackson has been historically dominant over the rest of the field in the SVC, and that is not going to change this season. The Wolfords will present a similar threat to Logan Elm, a team that dispatched the Panthers 41-20. In terms of talent, Miami Trace has the seeds to grow into a team that can threaten for the FAC title, but it is too soon for them to threaten the Ironmen for the crown.

Jackson keeps their streak over Miami Trace.