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Bears open new stadium against Wellsville

August 30, 2012
By RALPH COX - Sports correspondent , The Herald-Star

NEW MANCHESTER- - here will be some excitement in New Manchester Friday night when the Oak Glen Golden Bears, fresh off a 37-28 opening win over Edison, open its new football stadium and also renew a rivalry with visiting Wellsville, also a winner a week ago.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Golden Bear first-year coach Ian Whittington credited his team with having a good game, presenting him with a victory in his first at the helm of his alma mater, but he said it wasn't as good as he wanted.

"We gave up a 99-yard touchdown run from scrimmage on a blown assignment," Whittington lamented. "And we made other mistakes, but the key was we intercepted three passes, one for a touchdown. (Bub) Haddox is a good athlete and did well for his first time at quarterback.

"Everyone is excited about this week, though. Our kids, the coaching staff, the students and faculty at Oak Glen and the entire community are excited about opening our new stadium."

Wellsville, however, gives Whittington some concern.

"They are coming off of a big rivalry win over Toronto (the Tigers won by 42-13 last Saturday). They have a lot of good athletes and they are fast with a high octane offense," he explained. "If we can't contain them, we won't be in the game, but I have confidence in our kids. It should be a good game."

Whittington said the scouting report shows the Tigers, who made the Ohio playoffs last year for the first time in 10 years, are a run-oriented team. They had four backs total 70 yards or more in the win over Toronto.

"They will run out of the spread offense with a jet," Whittington continued.

"They want to confuse you with a lot of backfield action and try to get outside with their great speed."

Whittington said he expects Oak Glen's superior size to be a big factor in stopping the Tigers.

"I think we're much bigger up front," he said. "We average about 255 up front while they may be around 200 pounds per man. Being smaller, they (Wellsville) utilize quickness and they play tough. It is going to be a battle.

"Then, we have the hometown rivalry factor. The two teams haven't played each other in four or five years, but it was a good rivalry when I played for Oak Glen because people from both communities work together."

Whittington said his keys to victory are to play physical against the Tigers. He wants his Oak Glen team to impose its will over them, especially along the front line.

"We want to take advantage of our size, go right at them and control the clock on offense," he said. "Defensively, we want to play tough and contain their run game."

Whittington said senior center Logan Curtis missed the Edison game with an injury, but is cleared to play this week. However, sophomore, Noah Mills, filled in so well against Edison that Whittington said he's going to let the two battle it out in practice this week to see who starts against Wellsville. He said running back, Tyler Steed, is questionable this week.