TORONTO - As with the halfway point of the season approaches, the Toronto Red Knights are still looking for that elusive first win. Things can easily turn around for head coach Eric Meek and the Red Knights as they showed over the previous two seasons. They're hoping they turn around this week against Valley, Friday at 7 p.m. at Clarke Hinkle Field.
"We're getting into late September and we haven't tasted the thrill of victory yet," said Meek. "It would be nice to do that this week.
"We've started slow in the past and turned it around. We won four of our last six two years ago and five of our last six a year ago so there is hope.
"The key is to improve at the end of the season.
"If we can improve as the year goes on that is all I can ask as a coach."
One thing Meek has said since preseason was that his Division VI squad needed to avoid the injury bug as much as possible to give his young team a chance to gain experience. Though the Red Knights came out of last week's 49-7 loss to Central banged up it still looks like they are at close to full strength.
"The only one I'm thinking will be out is Kyle White with a concussion," said Meek. "I'm hoping everyone else will be ready to go.
"Tyler Miller is also out, and he's been out for a few weeks. We're hoping to dress 28 guys this week for Friday. That would give us 28 of 30 kids suited up this week."
With White out, and senior Joey Chadwick coming off an injury in last week's game, Meek may have to look to some of more of his youth to step up.
Something he feels comfortable doing.
"We're going to have freshmen and sophomores in there," he said. "There's some kids we can put in there that can help with Nate Stewart, Donnie Starkey, and Blane Rawson if Joey can't go."
White and Chadwick are tied for the team lead in catches with seven each. White has 99 and Chadwick 80 yards with both scoring once.
"We're going to play it by ear," said Meek. "We also do throw to Charles (Ross III) and Chez (Glenn) out of the backfield. We still do have some speed there. It's going to be interesting to see what happens."
This week Meek hopes to see one of his speedy tailbacks - Ross III and Chez Glenn - step up and make a name for themselves this week.
"We've had the problem finishing games due to nagging injuries in backfield," said Meek. "We're going to have to find out who our feature back is going to be in the second half of the season.
"We're waiting for one of them to take over. Hopefully that will happen this week."
Chez Glenn has 45 carries for 260 yards and a score with Ross III adding 17 carries for 64 yards. Freshman quarterback Blaze Glenn has 47 carries for for 126 yards and two scores.
Both Chez Glenn and Ross III have five catches with Chez Glen having 52 yards and Ross III 81 yards.
Blaze Glenn is 27-for-55 with 326 yards, three scores, and four picks.
After facing a pass first offense last week against Central, Toronto finds itself facing the exact opposite with the Lumberjacks.
"We've kind of told them that would be the case this week," Meek said. "Our first three opponents lined up and put ball down our throats.
"Valley is going to try that. All three teams were able to do that, they ran the ball with success. We'll see if we've improved from the beginning of the season."
In order for Toronto to beat Valley two glaring weaknesses will have to improve quickly.
"We need to start winning the turnover margin," said Meek. "I've been saying it, but we are at minus 10 after four games.
"We also need to improve our tackling. Their fullback is 300 pounds and we haven't tackled well. We tackled a little better last weekend even though it may not have shown with all the yards we gave up.
"We need to really wrap up. They're going to try to get three yards a play. I'm concerned they'll control the clock and keep our offense off the field."