Other area Week 4 football previews
Thursday, September 19th
Utica at Watkins Memorial
Utica (1-2) gave up a lot of yards in falling to former MBC rival Fredericktown, 34-0, in Week 3. The Redskins defensive line was exploited all night, as the Freddies gained 354 yards on the ground, and 207 in the second half. The offensive line gave up many tackles for loss and sacks. Senior runner Travis Baldwin, coming off a 188-yard performance in Week 2, was held to 92 yards on 29 carries. He’ll be the main focus of the offense again, and everyone knows it.
Watkins Memorial (2-1) has had a schizophrenic season so far, winning 62-0 over Briggs in the opener before falling to Athens, 53-3 in Week 2. The Warriors got back on track against another City League opponent, Mifflin, 26-12, last week. Watkins forced five turnovers on defense, two on interceptions by senior Zach Lescalleet. That helped the Warriors hold Mifflin to 42 rushing yards, an average of under two yards per carry. Watkins ran for 186 yards, and will have to better that against Utica.
Northmor at Centerburg
Northmor (2-1) begins MOAC play after getting past Lucas in Week 3, 33-28, the same team whom Centerburg defeated in Week 2, 30-7. QB Zach Carroll threw for a pair of touchdowns, both to Trevor Pryor, and rushed for one more. Carroll finished an efficient 8-of-10 for 92 yards, and running back Jamie Baldridge rushed for 86 yards on 19 carries as part of a 244-yard effort. The Knights defense hasn’t faced an offense like Centerburg’s, however, and will be severly tested.
Centerburg (3-0) is the only undefeated area team after last week’s 55-54 overtime thriller against Danville. QB Tyler Stoyle was responsible for nearly 400 of the team’s 449 total yards. He also tossed four touchdowns and returned a pickoff for a TD. The Trojans defense held the Danville air attack to 190 yards on 13-of-37 passing, and although it allowed a huge number of points on limited time on the field. Stoyle’s experience should not allow the team to let down this week.
Danville at Berne Union
Danville (2-1) dropped a heartbreaker to Centerburg last Friday, 55-54 in overtime. It was by far the most points allowed by the Blue Devils so far, and eclipsed their season high in points. Danville producted 347 total yards, but gave up 449 as the Trojans dominated time of possession. QB Ridge Durbin was only 13-of-37 passing, but threw four TDs and rushed for 118 yards on 21 carries. Durbin’s workload (58 plays among the 69 total) is a lot for a sophomore.
Berne Union (0-3) scored a season-high 21 points last week in a 44-21 loss to Nelsonville-York. This was after scoring just two points in the first two games, on a safety in Week 2. QB Blake Weidener had two TD passes to Brady Mahlerwein for 17 and 59 yards, respectively, but the defense gave up 330 yards to York’s Alex Mount. Danville has the skill players to exploit Berne Union’s defensive shortcomings.
Gilmour Academy at East Knox
Gilmour Academy (2-1) came back from a 21-7 halftime deficit in last week’s 35-28 overtime win over Gates Mills Hawken. Rodell Golphin scored on a fumble return and a 65-yard run, and QB Matt Botek suffered an ankle injury, but still completed the game-tying drive with a 15-yard TD pass. The Lancers got 205 yards on 20 carries from Golphin and another 126 yards and two TDs from Frank Grk. That kind of running game has the capacity to keep time of possession all to itself.
East Knox (1-2) won its first game of the season in Week 3, shutting out Mount Gilead, 27-0. The Bulldogs got back to the run with 338 rushing yards, and had 410 yards in all. Dylan Wears was the team’s workhorse with 30 carries for 209 yards. Cody Howard was just 4-of-12 passing, but for 78 yards and a TD. The defense was stingy, allowing 168 total yards and almost zero yards through the air. East Knox has the capacity for a big offensive night if all aspects of its offense can jell.
Buckeye Valley at Highland
Buckeye Valley (2-1) scored on each of its first seven possessions against Cardington in last week’s 48-25 victory. That was a far cry from its first two games, when the Barons gained just 21 yards in a loss to Delaware Hayes, then lost five fumbles in a win over Fisher Catholic. Dashawn Haynes ran for 179 yards in Week 3, and 331 yards in the last two weeks. Like the Scots, the passing game is a work in progress, so the team who establishes the running game best should be the victor.
Highland (2-1) suffered its first loss of the year against a very good River Valley team last week, 40-7. The Scots fumbled the ball away three times in the first half alone, and the Vikings turned all three into touchdowns. Highland also found a team able to stifle its power running game, and the offense gained only 157 total yards on the night. The Scots should run more effectively against Buckeye Valley, but will its three fumbles only be a fluke?
Commentary by mountvernonnews.com readers