Northmor at Danville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Danville’s defense struggled against the run last week at Highland. This week, the Blue Devils (3-1, 0-1) will face another running challenge in Demetrius Johnson and the Northmor Knights. Johnson rushed for 205 yards in a Knox Morrow Athletic Conference win over Fredericktown, giving him 962 on the season. The Northmor senior quarterback has been doing it with the big play, breaking free on touchdown runs of 42, 79 and 47 against the Freddies. The Knights (4-0, 1-0) can also pound it at defenses with running back Conan Becker, who has rushed for 299 yards so far this season. The Danville defense, led by Brice Berger and Marshall Stull, will need to be ready for the challenge.
One way the Blue Devils can slow down the Knights is by keeping the ball away from them. The Devils have the offense capable of that, and also one that can hit the big plays needed to keep up. Tyler Mickley (25 catches), Berger (15) and Corbin Hazen (14) give quarterback Skyler Durbin (59 percent completions, 686 yards) plenty of options. Connor Becker, Ryan Moore and Austin Wheeler lead a Knights defense that will look to slow down Danville, as well. Friday’s key KMAC matchup may come down to who makes the plays defensively.
Fredericktown at Mount Gilead, Friday, 7 p.m.
Both Fredericktown and Mount Gilead will be looking to see who can get the offense warmed up when the teams tangle in Knox Morrow Athletic Conference action.
The Freddies (1-3, 0-1) struggled moving the ball against Northmor until late in the contest. Running back John Robbins got things going for the Freddies, rushing for 87 yards on just 10 carries and scoring the team’s lone touchdown on a 28-yard run. The Fredericktown offensive line will look to give him, as well as running back Jack Fitzpatrick and quarterback Jimmy Nussbaum, more room to operate against the Indians.
Mount Gilead (0-4, 0-1) found the going tough against a solid East Knox defense last week. Quarterback Seth Young hit on 5 of 6 passes, but they weren’t able to generate much yardage. The Indians will hope to improve on that, as well as open things up for running back Hunter Trimmer, this Friday against the Freddies. Fredericktown has had an opportunistic defense, as Anthony Caputo, Terry Fearn and Tanner Ruhl have all recorded interceptions.
Cardington at East Knox, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Cardington and East Knox game will feature two of the better running backs in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference.
Cardington will come to Howard riding the back of Mason Goers, who is second in the KMAC with 713 yards so far this season. Goers has passed the 200-yard mark twice already this season. The Pirates (2-2, 1-0) don’t throw much, but have a couple of big play receivers in Cade Ruehrmund and Garrett Wagner that could give the East Knox defense trouble. The Bulldogs do have Dawson David (3.5 sacks) and Gage Steinmetz (3 sacks) that have done the work harassing other quarterbacks.
Offensively, East Knox (4-0, 1-0) will turn to Kasson Krownapple (558 yards, third in the KMAC) to counter the running of Goers. The Bulldogs, though, are not one-dimensional as quarterback Kadden Lester is third in the conference in passing yards, throwing for 607 while completing 48 of 84 passes. Caleb Gallwitz (20 catches, 167 yards) and Ethan Beckett (15 catches, 300 yards) are his two favorite receivers. Cardington’s Tyler Villella (31 tackles, 8 for loss) and his defensive cohorts will have their work cut out for them.
Highland at Centerburg, Friday, 7 p.m.
Highland (3-1, 1-0) started play in the KMAC with a dominating performance over Danville last Friday. They will look for another one just like it when they travel to Centerburg this week. The Scots followed their triple threat rushing attack of Brody Matthews (529 yards), Brock Veley (420) and Jack Weaver (314) to an impressive victory last week. Centerburg’s Michael Kuhn (31.5 tackles, 3 for loss) and his defensive buddies will try to stop, or at least slow down, the Scot offense.
Centerburg (1-3, 0-1) quarterback Stephen Schmitt is starting to find his rhythm, rushing for 112 yards and throwing for another 94 in the loss to Cardington. Schmitt has Seth Belt (238 yards rushing) in the backfield to give them another weapon, and he has receivers John Sheasby, Donnell Marshall and Tyler Boales, for his passes.
Utica at Granville, Friday, 7 p.m.
Utica is going from the frying pan into the fire. After falling 43-13 to cross-league rival Licking Valley last week, now the Redskins have to face another juggernaut in Granville.
The Blue Aces (3-1) are averaging 40 points a game, led by running back Brandon Haley and quarterback Cameron Crouch. Haley is a big-play threat from his spot in the backfield, scoring on runs of 46, 58 and 68 last week in a loss to Johnstown. Utica will need another big game defensively from guys like Garrett Meyers and Aaron Dennis to stop the run, and from Jarrett Miller (two sacks) to slow down Crouch.
Offensively, the Redskins (0-4) will look to quarterback Brad Potes (623 yards passing, 327 rushing). Granville can’t let receivers Mason Bodle (18 catches, 254 yards) or Mack Marston (14 catches, 192 yards) get behind the defense.