Centerburg at Lucas, 7 p.m.
Centerburg (1-0) got a fight from Utica in the season-opener Friday, but eventually prevailed, 28-14. The Trojans’ defense was opportunistic with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions, which kept the Redskins’ scoring chances limited. The Centerburg secondary gave up two touchdowns, of 55 and 41 yards, but harassed the Utica passing game to a 6-of-20 effort. The Trojans’ offense was steady with 253 yards rushing, with a combined 227 by Donnell Marshall, Michael Kuhn and Stephen Schmitt, and QB John Sheasby was 10 of 20 passing for 103 yards, but to do the same against Lucas’s defense this week will be a tough task.
Lucas (1-0) dropped a big zero on Danville Friday, as the Cubs defeated its fellow playoff team from last season, 22-0. Lucas rang up 304 yards on the ground on 51 carries, and although QB Logan Niswander was just 1 of 7 throwing, the completion went for a 44-yard score. Jeb Grover and Kaiden Thomas each ran for over 90 yards, Grover for 130 on 18 carries and Thomas for 92 on just 10 carries. The Cubs defense was dynamic, holding Danville to 112 total yards, including only 34 yards on 22 rushes. Centerburg’s defense was tough against the run last week, but containing Grover and Thomas will be a full-time job this week.
* * *
East Knox at Utica, 7 p.m.
East Knox (1-0) faced an opponent who hadn’t won in 27 games in West Muskingum Friday, and the Tornadoes made it 28 straight with a 55-2 loss. The Bulldogs ran the ball just 15 times, but had six touchdowns and 169 yards on them. RB Kasson Krownapple had five of those scores on seven carries, and finished with 164 yards, and Caleb Gallwitz ran once for a 74-yard score. QB Kadden Lester was ultra-efficient, completing 7 of 9 passes for 150 yards and two TDs. The defense was also excellent, allowing 88 total yards, and just eight on the ground. Improving Utica is the opponent this week, and East Knox will need to build on the foundation of Week 1.
Utica (0-1) won only one game in the past two seasons, but its improvement was evident in a 28-14 loss to Centerburg in last week’s opener. QB Collin McCullough had a big TD throw, of 41 yards, and despite 96 yards was just 6 of 14 overall. Mack Marston had a 51-yard touchdown toss on a trick play as well. The Redskins’ rushers didn’t get going, with Garrett Meyers leading the team with 30 yards on 12 carries. The biggest problem was self-destruction, as Utica turned the ball over four times, two by interception and two by fumble. The defense gave up 378 yards, 275 rushing and 103 passing, and will have its hands full against an East Knox team that has multiple skill-position players back from last season.
Fredericktown at Pleasant, 7 p.m.
* * *
Fredericktown (0-1) was completely overmatched by a playoff Clear Fork team, and fell 63-0 in Friday’s opener. With just 135 total yards, the Freddies had nearly equal yardage with 68 on the ground and 67 through the air, but were not efficient in either aspect. Terry Fearn won the QB job and was 6 of 13 for 56 yards, and had over 100 yards total with his 48 rushing yards. The Freddies only got past midfield a few times, and also turned the ball over twice, once in the Colts’ red zone. Fredericktown needs to improve its play at the line of scrimmage to establish its offense, and can’t let itself be buried under a huge deficit in the early going.
Pleasant (1-0), a playoff team in 2017, was a 40-7 winner in Week 1 against Indian Lake, which made the playoffs for three straight seasons. The Spartans’ Patrick Blubaugh proved a dangerous weapon by scoring on a 6-yard touchdown in the first quarter, a 40-yard punt return later in the game and finally an 80-yard rushing score. He wasn’t the only one, either, as Bryce Lowry ran for a touchdown and returned an interception for another. Pleasant led 40-0 at halftime, allowing only a meaningless score in the fourth quarter. The Spartans have the talent to build the same kind of advantage this week, and if it controls the line may do just that.
* * *
Highland at Ontario, 7 p.m.
Highland (0-1) lost its opening game for the third-straight year to Bloom-Carroll with Friday’s 44-22 defeat. Two 30-plus-yard touchdown throws to Isaiah Stoneburner cut the lead to 30-22 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs’ All-State QB Otto Kuhns ran for two to close out the game. The Scots’ three-headed returning rushing tandem of Brock Veley, Brady Matthews and Jack Weaver gained 132 yards, and Ian Taylor took over the QB job and was 5 of 15 for two TDs, but also tossed three interceptions. Highland’s defense did well against the pass (8 of 24, 105 yards), but cannot continue to allow the 319 rushing yards it gave up last week.
Ontario (1-0) did not score for nearly 44 minutes against Lexington Friday, but put up two touchdowns in the final 4:10 to earn a 14-7 victory. The Warriors did not commit a penalty or a turnover in the fourth quarter, and recovered a midfield fumble by Ohio State-bound Cade Stover to set up their winning score. The only touchdown Ontario allowed was an 80-yard bomb in the first quarter, but closed in on Stover and the rest of the offense for three quarters of shutout ball. The Warriors showed what they could do against a good running attack, but will have another tough task this week with the three-headed Highland ground game.
* * *
Danville at Calvert, 7:30 p.m.
Danville (0-1) was nearly stopped cold by the Lucas defense last Friday, as it gained just 112 total yards, including 34 yards rushing, to fall to the Cubs, 22-0. The Blue Devils’ passing offense was also stymied, as new QB Dalton Davis completed just 5 of 15 passes for 59 yards and one pick. Leading rusher Chris Greenawalt had 18 yards on five carries, but Langdon Johnson made the most of his three receptions with 61 yards. The Cubs averaged nearly six yards per carry, so the Danville defense did well to hold them to only three scores. Tiffin Calvert is another playoff team from last season, so the Blue Devils need to have their offense jell quickly this week.
Calvert (1-0) got 210 yards and four touchdowns from Austin Jones in a 59-27 victory over Monroeville in Week 1. The Senecas led just 22-19 at halftime, but outscored the Eagles 37-8 in the second half. Jones had TD runs of 30, 6, 79 and 57 yards, making him a scoring threat from anywhere on the field, and QB Trenton Cooper had scoring runs of 4 and 46 yards. Calvert also had TDs on an interception return and a kickoff return. One negative was the defense gave up 213 yards to Monroeville back Dominic Ruffing. The Senecas face a more pass-oriented team this week in Danville, which is one of the four 2017 playoff teams they will play in the first four weeks.