YORKVILLE - Buckeye Local and first-year head coach Phil Pest get the friendly confines of World War II Memorial Stadium today as Westinghouse, Pa. pays a visit for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
"We will be their first game," said Pest. "They will have a bunch of athletic kids and some game-breakers. We just have to come out and play some ball. They will have some questions, too, since it is their first game."
The Panthers are coming off a 45-19 loss at Utica in Week 1.
Buckeye Local was down 13 just 2:15 into the game and 32-0 at halftime.
"We told the kids before the game that if a big play happens, don't panic," said the coach. "They got two big plays and I think some let off a little bit. They know that one play doesn't make the whole game and one quarter doesn't make the whole game. We learned that lesson and are ready to go this week."
Pest said it wasn't all bad for his Panthers last week.
"I've watched the film several times," he remarked. "We were inside the 10 three times. The kids didn't quit. In the second half, we came out and did what I thought we could have done the whole game.
"Yes, we made some mistakes, but the kids fought back and played hard."
Buckeye Local totaled 294 yards of offense, 171 on the ground on 44 attempts.
Austin Marshall led the way with 64 yards on seven carries and a score. Shane Duncan caught two passes for 86 yards.
"We're at home, which is big," said Pest. "It's great for the kids. The stadium will be full. We just need a win. I have seen our mistakes and we can correct them. We just need to focus on what we need to do. We need to focus a lot better. We have a good team. We have a bunch of good ball players.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot last week, but I think we'll be just fine."
Blue Dons at Maroon Knights
WEIRTON - One of the biggest small school rivals in the Ohio Valley is the annual joust between Madonna and Wheeling Central and the teams renew the rivalry today at 7 p.m. in Wheeling Island Stadium.
The Maroon Knights, who have won the state Class A football championship the past two years, gave a good Harrison Central team all it could handle last week before losing 14-7.
Wheeling Central is without first team all Class A All-State quarterback, Parker Henry, who likely will miss all of his junior season. Henry, who suffered a knee injury in a pre-season scrimmage, rushed for over 1,200 yards last year and scored 11 touchdowns. He passed only 75 times in 14 games, but completed 32 of them for 696 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"'I felt we played a good second half once we realized we needed to be a little more physical,"' said Wheeling Central coach Mike Young. "'While I was disappointed in the first half, the kids came around. I thought some of them naturally were hesitant because they were playing in new positions and the others were starting for the first time.'"
Junior two-year letterman, C. J. Burch, stepped up to fill in for Henry and last week rushed for 221 yards against a rugged Harrison Central defense.
"Burch was going to be one of their running backs anyway and was the backup quarterback," said second-year Madonna coach, Doug Taylor. "So when Henry went down in the scrimmage, he assumed the quarterback duties and does what Ross Comis does for us - runs the football pretty good. They just do it from the quarterback position instead of running back."
The big concern Taylor has in preparing for Wheeling Central is the spin series offense they use. Burch will sit back in the shotgun position to receive the snap. As wingbacks jet across the field, Burch spins to confuse the defense as to whether he has the ball, the jet back or the running back.
"Wheeling Central will run, run, run and the all of a sudden throw the football," Taylor explained. "They throw when they want to and Burch is more than capable of taking care of the passing."
Cougars at Crusaders
STEUBENVILLE - Teams coming off totally different Week 1 experiences will square off today at Harding Stadium.
Catholic Central, which dropped a heart-breaking 44-42 decision to Bellaire on the last play of the game, will host New Matamoras Frontier, which rallied for two second half touchdowns to nip Shenandoah 20-14. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
This will be the second meeting between the schools, Central rolling to a 48-0 victory back in 1980. The win against Shenandoah did snap a 10-game losing streak for the Cougars.
Steve Daley's Crusaders appeared to have things under control in their opener with the Big Reds, leading 42-10 midway through the third quarter. The Belmont County squad, however, reeled of 25 straight points to escape with the victory. The CCHS boss doesn't expect any hangover from the tough loss.
"The biggest thing with kids is they'll bounce back," he said. "We watched the film and corrected some little things that we still need to get better at. We stressed that while watching the film.
"At the same time, we kept pointing out the better efforts and there were plenty of those. Once the film was over, that was it. We sealed the deal and turned the page. We can't dwell on that game, we have to move on to Frontier."
Daley noted the Cougars run a traditional Wing-T, meaning "they line it up and smash it as you."
"I think they threw the ball five times against Shenandoah," he added. "That's quite a contrast to what we saw against Bellaire. They have decent size up front and do what they do. We have to prepare for that.
"It will be a total change of game plans. We have to go from preparing for passing and keeping guys in front of us to focusing on filling gaps and stopping the running game."