Oak Glen looks to continue winning ways

Gage Patterson and Oak Glen host Harrison Central on Friday. (Photo by Michael D. McElwain)

NEW MANCHESTER — Some of the top athletes in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area will be on the field Friday night when Oak Glen hosts Harrison Central.

“They are a much-improved team,” Harrison Central coach Anthony Hayes said of the Golden Bears. “I remember watching their kids play our kids at the junior high level, and they are a very talented team. They’re very gifted. Coach (Ted) Arneault has done a good job starting to turn a corner with the program.”

The Golden Bears, now sitting 4-3, are led by sophomore quarterback Nick Chaney, who leads the area with 1,313 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“Their quarterback has a heck of an arm and has had a heck of a season,” Hayes said. “They’ve got skilled kids. We’re anticipating a tough matchup.”

Huskies sophomore quarterback Kobe Mitchell is second in the area with 1,205 yards and nine scores.

Oak Glen’s Hunter Patterson leads the area with 28 catches for 300 yards and four touchdowns, while Zach Taylor has turned his 19 catches into an area-best nine scores.

Harrison Central’s Caden Dalton is fourth in the area with 23 catches for 383 yards and two scores. Tyler West has hauled in a fifth-best 22 catches for an area-leading 435 yards and five scores.

West also leads the Huskies’ rushing attack, sitting sixth in the area with 523 yards and five additional scores, averaging more than 7 yards per carry.

“They’re a very talented team,” Arneault said of Harrison Central. “They’ve got what I consider to be one of the top backs in the Ohio valley in Tyler West. They’ve got a very good sophomore quarterback and a good No. 1 receiver.

“They’re very explosive. We’re going to have to wrap up, set the edge and try to keep their offense off the field as much as we can.”

Likewise for the Huskies, the adjustment will be trying to slow down the area’s top passing attack after facing some good running teams. The Huskies have allowed the fewest passing yards of any team in the area, despite giving up the second most total yards.

“Any time that you face a team that is in the top portion of rushing or throwing, it is a cause for concern,” Hayes said. “That is something they do very well and can create match up problems. Like I’ve said all year, though, I like our skill guys, and I’m always going to like how we match up skill-wise.

“Their skill kids are big, strong athletes, so we really had to hone in this week and make sure we are doing the right things fundamentally.”

While Harrison Central is 1-6, Arneault knows that record is deceiving when one considers who the Huskies have played.

“They’re 1-6, but they’ve played three very physical teams the last three weeks,” he said. “They’ve played a really tough schedule. We have to be ready on Friday night.”

As the season begins to wind down, Hayes hopes some of the individual success translates to victories.

“We’ve had a tough run,” Hayes said. “We’ve had a murderers row in terms of opponents. Take nothing away from the back half of the season, they are good teams, too. They just create different problems than what we’ve seen.”

Oak Glen’s offense, as a whole, averages 334.4 yards and 28.6 points per outing. The Huskies defense allows an average of 382 yards and 35.1 points.

Harrison Central’s offense has 312 yards but only 18.1 points. The Golden Bears defense is allowing an average 307.7 yards and 32.4 points.