Brock Netter, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — All season long, SVC fans who looked at Southeastern’s schedule knew the final three games were going to be its biggest tests.
Well … the Panthers have aced their first two, and they hope to go 3-for-3 Friday night, while also winning a second Gold Ball in three years, at Adena.
If the Warriors can beat the Panthers, it could mark a three-way tie for first place in the Scioto Valley Conference. Paint Valley, which hosts Westfall, must also win for that to happen.
|1-2||All-Time Postseason Record||0-5|
|2||Consecutive Playoff Appearances||1|
|46-34 win over Paint Valley||Last week’s results||29-21 win over Zane Trace|
The Bearcats upended the Warriors in Week 4, meaning an Adena and Paint Valley win would leave all three teams with 6-1 league records.
Both Southeastern and Adena have already clinched playoff spots. The Panthers will be hosting their game while the Warriors’ destination is most likely also at home.
So, with the postseason already a lock, the Panthers and Warriors will have their minds on one thing: an SVC crown.
Here’s a preview of SOSA’s Game of the Week.
SOUTHEASTERN PANTHERS (9-0)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Lane Ruby (QB), Mikey Nusser (RB), Jarrett McWhorter (RB)
Teams simply can’t stop Lane Ruby. Offensively or defensively, the senior speedster finds ways to get his hands on the ball, and into the end zone.
But it’s not just Ruby that has to be accounted for. Mikey Nusser’s ground and pound running style can have its effect on an opposing defense. The Panthers’ duo accounted for just under 300 total rushing yards and every touchdown scored, six to be exact, in the team’s 46-34 victory over Paint Valley last week.
It says a lot when the opposition knows what a team is going to do, yet still doesn’t have an answer to stop it. That’s also credit to the Panthers’ offensive line for the job it does to spring Ruby, Nusser and compaby into the open field.
Nine teams have been asking the question, “How do you stop Lane Ruby?” And, so far, there’s been no answer. Adena will try and change that trend.
While Ruby has thrown for just 410 yards this season, he leads the SVC in rushing with 1,656 yards. He’s scored 30 total touchdowns, which also leads the SVC … Nusser is fourth in the SVC with 822 rushing yards alongisde 13 touchdowns … The Panthers currently hold the top spot in the Division VI, Region 24 playoff rankings with 18.8444 computer points.
ADENA WARRIORS (8-1)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Preston Sykes (QB), Nate Throckmorton (RB), Logan Bennett (WR)
Much like Southeastern in a Week 8 matchup with Unioto, Adena nearly got caught looking ahead last week. But the Warriors managed to survive and pull out a one-score victory over Zane Trace.
But maybe that 29-21 win was the wake-up call Adena needed, especially after surrendering just 13 points combined in its previous two games.
Adena hasn’t had any problems in the scoring department … the Warriors have only scored under 30 points three times. So the offense certainly has the horsepower to keep up with the Panthers’ high-octane scoring machine.
It’s defensively where the question marks come into play. That’s not because the Warriors aren’t talented, it’s simply because they haven’t faced an offense with speed and power, like Ruby and Nusser, just yet.
If you contain Ruby and Nusser, and control the edges, one of two things will happen: you’ll win or you’ll at least have a chance to win come crunch time.
Preston Sykes has totaled 1,525 yards (1,010 throwing, 515 rushing) alongside 18 touchdowns (10 passing, eight rushing) … His favorite target, 6-foot-3 Logan Bennett, leads the SVC with 22.9 yards per catch. He has 22 catches for 504 yards and five touchdowns … Adena currently holds the No. 3 spot in the Division VI, Region 24 playoff rankings with 14.2111 computer points.
BOTTOM LINE …
Everything pretty much rides on Adena and whether or not its defense has the answer as to how you contain Ruby.
The Warriors haven’t won outright, nor clinched a share of the SVC championship, since their Gold Ball season in 2010, despite not making the playoffs that year.
A win also clinches Adena’s first home playoff game since 2011. It lost that game to West Jefferson by a 40-13 final.