NEW MANCHESTER - "It's going to be a battle" is how first-year Oak Glen football coach Ian Whittington characterized today's game with invading Indian Creek. Game time is 7 p.m. in the Bear's Den at Oak Glen High School.
"I think they're excited," Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor said of his team. "They realize they won a game last week where they had to put a lot of effort in for the entire game to get the win.
"Like I said Friday, it was a gut check. They do realize Oak Glen is a better ball club. They realize we're heading into a hostile environment at their new stadium and are looking forward to the challenge."
Both teams enter the game unbeaten with impressive wins and Whittington says preparing for the Redskins is like looking in the mirror.
"They are big and have an athletic quarterback with speed on the outside just like us," Whittington said.
Whittington was referring to senior quarterback Alex Young, who has been a key offensively and defensively. Young and junior Tran Huynh have helped the Redskins beat Weir High 52-12 and East Liverpool, 26-12.
"Alex is running the offense well," said Connor. "He's staying within himself and not forcing issues. He's content with playing in the offense.
"We're blessed with a lot of backs doing well who all have had big runs and carries for us. Logan (Woods), Blake (Roar), Tran and Darren (Gribble) can share the load offensively. Tran has rushed for over 200 yards this year and he's our third back behind Logan and Blake."
The statistics bear out Whittington's mirror image opinion as both teams are highly ranked in team offense and defense among the 11 teams in this newspaper's coverage area.
Oak Glen tops the schools in team offense with a total of 873 yards in two games. The Redskins rank third with 801 total yards.
The teams match up well defensively, too, with Oak Glen ranked second overall yielding 283 rushing yards and 118 passing. Indian Creek is right behind giving up 339 rushing yards and only 91 passing. After pitching a 45-0 shutout last week, the Golden Bear defense has yielded 28 points, that in the season opening 37-28 win over Edison. Indian Creek's defense has given up just 24 points.
St. Jude at Big Red
STEUBENVILLE - Bishop Timon-St. Jude, Big Red's Week 3 foe at 7 p.m. today, jumped out to an early lead in its opener against Williamsville South and hung on for a 21-14 victory.
That's the good news for the Tigers, members of the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association along with Buffalo St. Joe's and Tonawanda Cardinal O'Hara, previous Big Red opponents.
The bad news is Timon's victory in the marquee matchup of Western New York's opening weekend was tempered by injuries. Senior quarterback Ryan Dougherty reportedly tore his ACL, while senior receiver Bryant Fulton, suffered a season-ending leg injury.
"We'd be a lot happier if we came out of here with our guys being able to walk," Timon coach Charlie Comerford told The Buffalo News. "With Ryan going out, it changes the whole mood of the team and myself. Ryan's worked so hard for this moment."
The Tigers, based in Buffalo, entered the season minus the services of running back Adam DiMillo, a University of Maryland-bound lacrosse player. He will miss about a month due to a lacrosse injury. J.D. Recor took over for DiMillo and made a name for himself by traveling 65 yards on the first offensive play of the South game.
"They're a spread team and they have some pretty good players," Big Red's Reno Saccoccia said of the Tigers. "Their receivers go 6-4 and 6-5 and the tailback is pretty good. Their offense is very good and defensively, they played solid in that first game.
"They're a lot more solid of a team than I had given them credit for in the spring. They're very well coached and I'm sure they'll come to town ready to play."
JM at Buckeye Local
YORKVILLE - A pair of teams looking to get untracked meet tonight at World War II Memorial Stadium as Buckeye Local (1-1) rolls out the red - er, blue - carpet for John Marshall (0-2).
This has been an air-tight series in the past, with neither team able to take complete control. What this week holds in store, only time will tell.
The Panthers are coming off a 24-6 victory last Saturday against Westinghouse, Pa., while the Monarchs were beaten the same day, 31-20 on the road at Bellaire.
''We've seen them three times,'' John Marshall coach Rick Goodrich said. ''Cambridge in an early scrimmage, against Utica and then Westinghouse. They've gotten a lot better since the first time we've seen them.
''Coach (Phil) Pest and those guys are doing great job with their kids.''
Buckeye Local, despite its victory, would no doubt like to get its offense going. Westinghouse limited the Panthers to 103 yards of offense - 62 rushing, 41 passing. Defensively, Pest credited one of his freshmen, Dylan Dokes, as a big reason the Panthers won.
Pest thinks the offensive side of the ball will pick it up now that it knows who is running the show.
''We've settled in there at quarterback with Nathan Kirk,'' Pest said. ''And we got a lot of good time out of our fullback.''
Kirk threw a 12-yard touchdown to Shane Duncan, ran one in from 1 yard and Andy Stock took a punt back 74 yards for another score.
''It's really good to see Andy Stock running at full force again. He's coming off that ACL surgery and when he gets in the open field, he can be fun to watch,'' Pest said.
Shadyside at Toronto
TORONTO - The Toronto football team stands at 0-2 and is coming off a heartbreaking 20-19 loss to Bridgeport last week. Unfortunately for the Red Knights, things get even tougher in Week 3 with 2-0 Shadyside coming to town today for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
"It was a tough one," Toronto head coach Eric Meek said of his team's loss to Bridgeport. "Two young teams battled and it came down to the end. To their credit they won the turnover margin 3-0. I feel that was the difference in the game.
"We had a lot of yardage on offense, but should have scored more points, we were misalligned on the extra point block, and ended up on the short end by a point.
"It's disheartening, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves because probably the best team on the schedule is staring us in the face."
Meek states that though his offense made strides from Week 1 to Week 2, they still have to eliminate mistakes if they are going to find the consistency they need to win games.
"What hurt us Friday were turnovers and we had a huge penalty when we were heading down on their end," he said. "(Toronto quarterback) Blaze (Glenn) actually scored and it was called back. We can't have those things. We need to improve and we will.
"I like our kids. We need to start winning sooner than later. I think as the year goes on we'll turn into a pretty decent football team."
Offensively the Red Knights have been led by the Glenn brothers, Blaze and Chez. Blaze Glenn has shown himself to be a dual threat throwing for 215 yards and two scores and rushing for 62 yards and two more touchdowns this season. Chez Glenn leads the team with 201 yards on the ground.
Charles Ross III has shown himself to be a dual threat as well, rushing for 55 yards and receiving for 58, including a 42 yard scoring grab against Bridgeport. Joey Chadwick is the team's top receiver with five catches for 63 yards and a score.
Weir at Edison
WEIRTON - When the Weir High-Edison game is over one of the teams will have earned its first win of the season. The two winless football teams clash today at 7:30 p.m.
Weir High, which will be on the road for the first time this year, continues with its heavy dose of Buckeye Eight Conference teams. The Red Riders already have loses to Indian Creek, 52-12, and Harrison Central, 36-7. The Wildcats dropped a 37-28 decision to Oak Glen in the OVAC opener at Harding Stadium and suffered through a lopsided 55-0 licking at Carrollton last week.
"Edison is a good football team," said Red Rider coach, Tony Filberto. "They are 0-2, but they have played two very good teams. Edison is well coached and they are athletic.
"Sometimes when we see a team that has no wins we forget who they have played. Oak Glen, which lost just four players from the starting lineup of a playoff team a year ago and Carrollton are really good."
"It's hard to say at this point in the week how we're bouncing back from Friday," said Edison head coach Mike McKenzie. "We'll find out on Friday night."
Filberto is buoyed by the fact his team appears to have improved from Week 1 to Week 2 and he is hoping the improvement will continue.
"I saw a lot of improvement. This team didn't totally collapse as it has in the past," he said. "We did a lot of positive things against Harrison Central. We just want to keep getting better. We hope to improve on a day-to-day basis."
The Red Riders are led by sophomore quarterback, William Larch, who is the leading ground gainer among the 11 area schools covered by The Weirton Daily Times and Herald-Star with 371 total rushing yards on 38 attempts for an average of 9.76 yards a carry. He has scored two touchdowns.
"We want the ball in the hands of our best athlete," Filberto said. "Usually we want that best athlete to be the quarterback because the ball starts in his hands. William has responded to the challenge very well especially in the running department."
Said McKenzie of what his team needs to do to contain Larch, "We have to play assignment football because he is a dangerous runner. We have to read our keys and when we need to finish the tackle when we get there. That has been an issue for us, not finishing plays."
Caldwell at Harrison
CADIZ - The Harrison Central football team welcomes Caldwell at 7:30 p.m. today in the home opener for the Huskies.
"It will be nice to play at home for a change," Huskies head coach Justin Kropka said with a laugh.
It's not like the road has been terrible for Kropka's bunch, winning Week 1, 14-7, over Wheeling Central in the Island and last week, 36-7, at Weir High.
"It's great being 2-0, but we still have things to work on," Kropka said. "I like how we are playing on defense. We are still making some mental mistakes that we need to work on, but we're getting to the ball and we have kids who like to hit. We obviously have to correct the mental errors, but I really like the fact that we are running around the field hitting people."
Caldwell is 0-2 after losing games to Newcomerstown and Buckeye Trail.
Maurtice Hython has 314 yards on 36 carries and two scored for Harrison Central. Rashaen Mitchell has 94 yards on 11 attempts. Mitchell is 14-of-21 through the air for 296 yards and two scores. Nate Olmstead has caught four of those passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Nick Pelegreen leads the offense with 28 tackles, six for loss and a sack. Nate Maykowski and Josh Leggett have 17 tackles each.
Brooke at University
MORGANTOWN - As much as everyone looks at wins and losses, including head coaches, sometimes new sideline bosses have to look at other things.
Such is the case with new Brooke man Sean Blumette.
His club takes an 0-2 record into today's 7:30 p.m. affair at University High.
"One thing I definitely like that I have seen is our progress in eliminating early season mistakes," he said. "We eliminated penalties against St. Clairsville and protected the ball.
"The effort of our kids has been tremendous, even though we have no W's to show for it. I really like our attitude and desire to go out and compete.
"Offensively, the concepts are coming and we're pretty happy with how things are installed. We're happy with our defensive aggression and our ability to keep fighting.
"We kept coming back against St. Clairsville, trying to make stuff happen. Even though that was not successful, the effort was there."
Brooke is coming off a 44-14 loss to the Red Devils after a 36-35 heartbreaker to Parkersburg.
The Hawks are 2-0 and ranked No. 9 in the West Virginia Class AAA ranks.