Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Here’s a brief look at 10 area high school football games:
Zane Trace (0-3) at Huntington (1-2), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Zane Trace beat Huntington, 38-12.
Last five years: Pioneers lead series 5-0 and have outscored Huntsmen, 204-49.
Last week’s results: Zane Trace lost to McClain 51-50, Huntington lost to Northwest 52-16.
Outlook: To find the last time Huntington beat Zane Trace, you’d have to travel back to 2007 when the Huntsmen earned a 32-29 win. Since then, to be blunt, it’s been all Pioneers in every way imaginable. As this year’s matchup looms, Zane Trace enters at 0-3 after a heartbreaking 51-50 loss to McClain last week while Huntington tries to bounce back after being throttled by Northwest’s running game. The Pioneers have allowed 45-plus point in all three games they’ve played while the Huntsmen have surrendered at least 39. Defense isn’t a strong point for either. And with multiple offensive weapons on each side, all signs point to a potential shootout.
Southeastern (3-0) at Westfall (2-1), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Southeastern beat Westfall, 40-0.
Last five years: Panthers lead series 3-2 and have outscored Mustangs, 181-108.
Last week’s results: Southeastern beat Eastern 62-26, Westfall beat Circleville 33-6.
Outlook: Over the first three weeks, Southeastern has looked like a team that has a Division I athlete at quarterback … you know, because it does. Lane Ruby has been outstanding, and he’s been joined in that effort by teammates Mikey Nusser, Dalton Thurston, Aarick Hill, etc. Westfall, on the other hand, has won two straight over Logan Elm and Circleville after a season-opening loss to still-undefeated Madison Plains. We’re still waiting to see Marcus Whaley under center for Westfall … could this be the week? No matter the case, the Mustangs will have their hands full in an effort to halt Ruby and company’s production.
Piketon (1-2) at Unioto (2-1), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Unioto beat Piketon, 34-6.
Last five years: Shermans lead series 5-0 and have outscored Redstreaks, 165-73.
Last week’s results: Piketon lost to Valley 23-7, Unioto beat Waverly 41-14.
Outlook: After a convincing 41-14 win over Waverly last week, Unioto will enter Week 4 as a clear favorite over Piketon. However, the Redstreaks do have athletes that could hurt an unsuspecting opponent such as Levi Gullion, Sammy Savage and Austin Henderson. Those three will try and counter Unioto’s Jamarcus Carroll, who scored four times last week, Isaac Little, Chris Scaggs and Byrd Green. If the Shermans remain focused and treat the contest like business as usual, they should move to 3-1. However, a lapse of concentration to backfire against a youth-filled roster. Chances are, Unioto coach Jeff Metzler doesn’t let that happen. But weirder things have occurred.
Centennial (2-1) at Chillicothe (1-2), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Did not play.
Last five years: N/A
Last week’s results: Centennial beat Africentric 46-6, Chillicothe lost to Watkins Memorial 26-14.
Outlook: A stagnant offense continues to dominate headlines in Chillicothe’s case. The Cavaliers have now scored 41 total points in three contests, including a 27-point outing in their lone win. In last week’s loss, it took Chillicothe 39 plays just to gain 140 yards, an average of 3.6 yards per play. Having said that, the Cavaliers only had the ball just under 17 minutes, compared to Watkins Memorial’s possession time of 31:14. Against Centennial, Chillicothe must flip that script and rely on Christian Benson and Hunter Thomas to lead the offense on a favorable pace. The Stars own wins over Columbus West and Africentric, who are a combined 0-6. Chillicothe could certainly win its second game this fall, but the offense will have to play much better than it has up unto this point.
Hillsboro (2-1) at Williamsburg (3-0), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Hillsboro beat Williamsburg, 55-35.
Last five years: Indians lead series 2-0 (started playing in 2017) and have outscored Wildcats, 112-42.
Last week’s results: Hillsboro beat East Clinton 21-7, Williamsburg beat Riverview East 43-6.
Outlook: After a two-touchdown win over East Clinton, Hillsboro enters Week 4 with momentum … and the Indians will need every bit. Williamsburg sits at 3-0 with wins over Batavia, St. Bernard-Elmwood Place and Riverview East Academy, three programs with a combined record of 2-7. While the Wildcats haven’t yet beaten a team with a winning record, three wins is three wins, and a team playing with confidence becomes dangerous. Hillsboro relied on Mark Gallimore to shoulder the brunt of last week’s work as he scored on a 90-yard kickoff return and and eight-yard rushing score. Combined with Silas Simmons in the backfield, the duo make up a strong pair. In the midst of a three-game road slate, the Indians’ defense will be ready to go as well. The unit has been imperative in two wins.
Wheelersburg (1-2) at Greenup County, Ky. (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last year’s result: Did not play.
Last five years: N/A
Last week’s results: Wheelersburg beat Ashland Blazer (Ky.) in overtime 34-33, Greenup County lost to Minford 45-27.
Outlook: Finally, Wheelersburg got in the win column last week with a thrilling one-point victory over Ashland Blazer. The Pirates now travel to Kentucky to take on Greenup County, a team they’ve never lost against. In an 11-game series against the Musketeers, Wheelersburg is 10-0-1. The usual suspects for Wheelersburg should come to the forefront in Makya Matthews and Aaron Masters. Matthews had 45 yards on the ground and 124 receiving in last week’s win while Masters completed 14-of-25 passes for 162 yards. Greenup County gave up 45 points last week to Minford, meaning if the Pirates turn to their running game, they should see success.
Northwest (2-1) at Oak Hill (1-2), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Oak Hill beat Northwest, 53-0.
Last five years: Oaks lead series 5-0 and have outscored Mohawks, 202-50.
Last week’s results: Northwest beat Huntington 52-16, Oak Hill beat Rock Hill 20-0.
Outlook: After dropping their first game of the season, the Mohawks have outscored their next two opponents 87-23, and have used a ground-and-pound offense to do so. Brayden Campbell has been as good as anyone over that stretch, rushing for 357 yards and six touchdowns. He’s been joined by Wyatt Brackman and Nathan Rivers, who have combined for 407 rushing yards in the last two weeks. In last week’s 52-16 win, the Mohawks posted 535 yards on the ground, which is just simply ridiculous. Oak Hill is coming off their first win of the season, a 20-0 decision over Rock Hill. The Oaks’ first two games resulted in 35-13 and 42-21 losses to Chesapeake and Fairland. Here’s the bottom line: can Oak Hill stop the run? Against Chesapeake and Fairland, the answer was no. If that doesn’t change against a capable, run-first Mohawks team, the two will have opposite records by the end of the evening.
Waverly (2-1) at Fairland (2-1), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Waverly beat Fairland, 41-27.
Last five years: Tigers lead series 3-0 (started playing in 2016) and have outscored Dragons, 137-53.
Last week’s results: Waverly lost to Unioto 41-14, Fairland lost to Ironton 49-7.
Outlook: Waverly quarterback Hadyn’ Shanks isn’t expected to play, which means a heavy, heavy workload will fall into running back Payton Shoemaker’s lap. While every offense wants to be balanced, more carries for Shoemaker against a defense that gave up 49 points last week isn’t at all a bad thing. After all, Shoemaker still ran for 201 yards in the Week 3 loss. But his production must translate into points, meaning the Tigers certainly can’t turn the ball over four times again. Waverly’s defense has been suspect at best this season. Fairland has two wins where it’s scored 34 and 42 points, against Tolsia (W. Va.) and Oak Hill. The Tigers’ defense must be better, ball security must be at the top of the game plan and Shoemaker must be in tip-top shape for Waverly to leave Proctorville with a win.
Wilmington (1-2) at Minford (3-0), 7 p.m.
Last year’s result: Did not play.
Last five years: N/A
Last week’s results: Wilmington lost to Butler 57-29, Minford beat Greenup County (Ky.) 45-27.
Outlook: Can anybody stop Minford’s talented tandem of Elijah Vogelsong and Ty Wiget? So far, absolutely not. Vogelsong ran wild in last week’s win, to the tune of 266 yards on 23 carries. Wiget racked up another 144 rushing yards on 20 attempts. You can already tell what the Falcons’ strength is. Behind a stout offensive line, Minford has scored 43, 54 and 45 points in its three victories. There’s more good news if you’re a Minford fan … Wilmington gave up 57 points last week, and a boatload of rushing yards. As the Falcons salivate at the chance to go 4-0 with a potential win over a Division III opponent, Vogelsong, Wiget and company must stay on task and simply do what they’ve been doing.
West (2-1) at Wellston (2-1), 7:30 p.m.
Last year’s result: West beat Wellston, 35-0.
Last five years: Senators lead series 3-1 (did not play in 2014) and have outscored Rockets, 106-60.
Last week’s results: West beat Coal Grove 21-12, Wellston beat Lakewood 30-7.
Outlook: Alongside Paint Valley-Adena, this matchup could certainly be included in a Game of the Week sense. Wellston is much improved from the team it was a year ago and has proven that with back-to-back wins over Piketon and Lakewood. Quarterback R.J. Kemp has led the Rockets’ offense to 44- and 30-point outings while the defense has given up a total of 29 points in the two victories. That defense will be tested by West running back William Journey, quarterback Luke Bradford, and hybrid Hunter Brown. The Senators have momentum back on their side after a gritty nine-point win over Coal Grove in Week 3. That was a huge one-week improvement after a 48-28 loss to Portsmouth in Week 2. If the Senators take care of the football and bring the defense they had last week, they’ll be the favorite. But don’t count Wellston as down and out. The Rockets, playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this fall, will be tough to beat.
Follow Southern Ohio Sports Authority’s live game updates from Southeastern at Westfall (@dw1509), West at Wellston (@SirBrockNetter), Paint Valley at Adena (@CoconutWallpapa) and Northwest at Oak Hill (@ClayArcher7673) Friday on Twitter at hashtag #SOSA.
Then be sure to visit sohiosa.com Friday night and Saturday morning for complete Week 4 coverage.
OTHER AREA CONTESTS
- Jackson at Western Brown, 7 p.m.
- Ponitz Career Technology Center at Washington, 7 p.m.
- Miami Trace at Marlington, 7 p.m.
- East Clinton at McClain, 7 p.m.
- Fayetteville at Notre Dame, 7 p.m.
- Federal Hocking at Green, 7 p.m.
- Eastern at Manchester, 7 p.m.
- East at Dayton Christian, 7 p.m.
- Fairview at Symmes Valley, 7 p.m.
- Valley at Circleville, 7 p.m.