Buckeye, Oak Glen looking for first win this year against one another

NEW MANCHESTER — With two young 0-2 football squads facing one another come Friday night, it should be the perfect opportunity to get that much-needed first victory, especially after facing some powerhouse teams to open the 2017 campaign.

Oak Glen knew it would have a tough start with Weir and Steubenville Catholic Central, losing 52-0 and 63-28 respectively. Although Buckeye Local rides a 24-game losing streak, the Golden Bears cannot take them lightly.

“That’s not the way we’re thinking about it. We’re just looking to go 1-0,” Oak Glen head coach Ted Arneault said. “I wasn’t even sure what the losing streak was. We just want to take care of our business this week.

“I think Buckeye Local is a team that’s improving. They’re a team that has made tremendous strides. We’re not taking them any more lightly or seriously than the last two opponents. We’re taking them seriously and as a major opponent.”

The Panthers are following a similar path, falling to Martins Ferry 47-0 in the opener and 35-7 to undefeated Union Local last week. Not much improved from the first week to last, but head coach Roger Herbert is seeing progress in a few areas.

“I thought we played really well in Week 1 against Martins Ferry,” he said. “Last week we brought in a new quarterback in Seth Richardson. He’ll be our starter again this week, so we need to protect him more a little bit. I feel like we should have played better last week. We’re progressing like I thought we would. It’s still going to take time to get our continuity down.”

Richardson was 6-of-10 for 68 yards and one interception against Union Local. He also rushed eight times for 12 yards. Facing a team that allowed 115 points in two games may be what the doctor ordered.

“Seth might be our smartest football player. He’s very intelligent,” Herbert said. “He’s a guy who will one day probably be a coach. He puts the guys in the right spot. He commands the offensive line well. The kids have confidence in him, and I think he’s pretty confident himself. Seth’s really taking on the offense.”

The Golden Bears are also facing a quarterback dilemma. They knew since the beginning that freshman Nick Chaney would be a factor and the starter. They just didn’t know how much they would need to rely on him.

Arneault hoped to play Chaney and junior Hunter Skeeles simultaneously, depending on the situation at hand. With Skeeles breaking his left arm in the opener, it’s all up to Chaney from here on out.

“He’s pretty much all that we have right now,” Arneault said. “Freshman Gage Patterson, who actually caught a nice pass against Catholic Central, is our backup quarterback along with being a receiver. We do have another quarterback, and that’s his older brother in Jackson Chaney, but he’s still learning.”

Chaney was 18-of-40 for 264 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions on Saturday. He also recorded two 1-yard touchdown runs.

“A lot was put on his shoulders last week,” Arneault said. “You don’t always ask a freshman quarterback to throw the ball 40 times in a game, but Catholic Central has a very good run defense. We had to rely on our quarterback and receivers to give us production. They were able to capitalize on a lot of opportunities.”

Two guys Chaney targets are junior Ethan Travis and sophomore Michael Lemley. Travis caught seven passes for 146 yards against Central, while Lemley hauled in four passes for 46 yards.

“Watching them on tape, I thought they spread the ball around pretty well,” Herbert said. “They obviously like their big receiver (Travis). He’s a pretty good athlete. No. 15 (Lemley) is another athlete we’ll have to keep our eye on. I think we can match up with them. As long as we can run the ball and control the clock, we could make a good game out of it.”

Arneault agrees that Lemley has been a nice surprise to this point. Lemley, though, may be playing hurt Friday after sustaining an ankle injury last week. He is listed as probable.

“He’s coming along pretty well,” Arneualt said. “I’m expecting him to be back against Buckeye Local. He’s been a fun surprise on both sides of the ball, actually on all three sides of the ball.”

The Panthers and Golden Bears are not looking at each other’s 0-2 marks. They just want to begin a trend of 1-0 weeks starting Friday night. Although it won’t be easy, it is their best opportunities to this point.

“We had a lot of turnovers in Week 1, which prevented us from capitalizing,” Arneault said. “I think we took advantage of turnovers in Week 2, which led to good drives that was hard to do in Week 1. That’s certainly a positive.”

“Defensively we should match up okay,” Herbert said. “I think we’re pretty solid up the middle. I actually like our team speed, so we should match up well with their spread offense. Our defense is still playing aggressive.”