Oak Glen or Buckeye Local will win

RUNNING ROOM — Indian Creek’s Trevor Fante and Sam Mazar, left, will lead the Redskins into Alliance on Friday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

YORKVILLE — When the Buckeye Local Panthers host the Oak Glen Golden Bears on Friday night at World War II Memorial Stadium, one of the teams will pick up its first win.

The Panthers played in a close game at Union Local in Week 2, holding a slim lead in the third quarter before falling, 30-16. The Golden Bears dropped a 41-20 decision at home to Catholic Central.

In order to get the first win against the Golden Bears, Herbert knows they’ll have to slow down the Oak Glen passing game. Sophomore quarterback Nick Chaney is the current area leader with 472 yards and five touchdowns.

“They’ve got a quarterback with a real strong arm,” Herbert said. “They got some tall receivers, and they really like throwing the fade routes. That’s definitely something we’ve got to worry about with them — the deep ball and the passing attack. They have thrown the ball early in both games, so it’s something they want to establish right from the start. They want to spread the field out and get one-on-one matchups.”

Buckeye junior quarterback Seth Richardson has thrown for 128 yards and has a completion percentage close to 60.

Last season’s meeting at Oak Glen was a double overtime thriller that went to the Golden Bears.

“The kids certainly remember that game,” Herbert said. “It was a heck of a game. It was back-and-forth all the way. They just made one more play than we did.

“We know that we are going to be able to compete with them well at our place on Friday. Maybe the home field advantage can help us. Our kids are looking forward to this one, and I’m sure Oak Glen is, too.”

One thing Oak Glen coach Ted Arneault has noticed is improvements in athleticism and on the defensive side of the ball for Buckeye Local, things his team will have to contend with.

“Seeing them on film, what really impresses me is they have got some nice athletes,” he said. “They play a more aggressive style of defense than they have in the past. They give you multiple looks on both sides of the ball.

“They are going to play us hard. They are going to give us their all. They really want to win this week, and so do we. I would expect another good football game.”

Hunter Patterson, the area’s current leader with nine receptions and 129 yards, is a question mark for Arneault after missing the second half of the loss to Central, as is his brother, Gage Patterson, who was injured in Week 1.

“He is still day-to-day with his injury,” Arneault said of Hunter Patterson. “So is Gage as well.”

Indian Creek at Alliance

ALLIANCE — Andrew Connor’s Indian Creek Redskins are off to a 2-0 start after hanging on to defeat East Liverpool, 26-20, and go on the road for the first time in 2018 to take on the Alliance Aviators.

“It’s our first trip this year and our first trip to Mount Union,” Connor said. “We’re excited to get on the road and see where we are at.”

While Alliance is 0-2, Connor knows that record does not tell the entire story.

“They played two really good football teams,” he said. “That 0-2 mark is not indicative of the football program Alliance is.

“They have speed, they are big and they play in a good conference. We played them last year, so we know a little of what to expect. They can run the ball, and they like to get outside with their running game. They can take some shots down the field. It was a good football game last year.”

With senior quarterback Brennon Norris out for the remainder of the season, Sam Mazar has stepped into the role of starting quarterback and has completed 68 percent of his passes, while amassing 221 yards and two scores, running for 87 and two more TDs.

“He’s done well,” Connor said. “I think with game reps and more time he gets in games, he will get better and better. He has a lot of the traits we had in Brennon, so we didn’t have to change much.”

Brooke at University

MORGANTOWN — After taking its bye week in Week 2, the Brooke Bruins will look for win No. 1 against a tough University Hawks team that is 1-1.

“This week, we put an emphasis on conditioning, strength training and getting back to the basics,” Brooke coach Mac McLean said. “We worked to get more proficient at a few things, and I think that is going to pay dividends for us.

“I think some years it’s helpful to have the bye week early. This year, I think it’s helpful coming off the trouncing we took against Wheeling Park in Week 1, not just to physically recover but to get mentally refocused as well.”

McLean knows the task is a tall one against the Hawks.

“I’ve seen them on film, and if you’re going to stop that team, it’s going to start with two players,” he said. “(Wide receiver) Amir Richardson and (quarterback) Logan Holgorsen are two above-average talents that I think both are getting Division I attention.

“When you’re going on the field with a couple of cats like that, you’ve got to have your ducks in a row and a game plan to at least slow them down. You’re not going to stop them all night.”

Harrison Central

at Bellaire

BELLAIRE — After a couple of tough losses against out-of-area teams, the Harrison Central Huskies and first-year coach Anthony Hayes are hoping to see their fortunes change when they finally take on a local rival in Bellaire on Saturday.

“They are a very good team,” Hayes said of the 2-0 Big Reds. “They are always prepared and always extremely well-coached. It’s good to face a local team, but we’ll play anyone the same. I know it’s typical coach speak, but it’s true.

“It doesn’t matter where it is. The yard marks are the same, the hashes are the same and we’re going to strap up and play.”

He knows his team is on the cusp of the elusive first W after a 26-25 loss to Washington, D.C., Bell. Trailing by seven with seconds remaining, Tyler West rushed for a touchdown. Going for the victory, the two-point conversion failed. Harrison Central then recovered the onside kick but was later sacked on the final play.

“We’re still growing a little bit, but we’ve done some good things,” he said. “Our youth comes through at times, unfortunately, sometimes in crucial situations, but we’re getting better every week.”

If his team is going to win, it needs to finish drives.

“We’ve been able to sustain drives — we just haven’t been able to finish them,” Hayes said. “We’ve turned the ball over some and been in the red zone and had penalties take us out of scoring position.

“That’s the key for us — making sure we put points on the board at the end of our drives.”