Connor: Ferry excelling ahead of Friday’s game
WINTERSVILLE — Andrew Connor thinks the Martins Ferry team his Indian Creek Redskins will see on Friday night is peaking at the right time. What the Purple Riders have done the last two weeks backs that up.
After a 1-3 start, Martins Ferry has handled Harrison Central and East Liverpool at home in back-to-back week to get back to the .500 mark. Connor knows the Riders, who sit 17th in Division V, Region 17, are looking to climb even further up the standings when they visit Kettlewell Memorial Stadium.
“I think they are playing their best football right now,” Connor said. “Right now Martins Ferry is excelling at the right time of the year. They are well-balanced offensively right now. They run the ball very well and they have a very good quarterback. Ferry has always had toughness.
“Coach Chas Yoder does a very good job. He played there and he understands first-hand what Martins Ferry football is. When you get to this point in the season, you rely on what you do best and Martins Ferry is doing what they do best.”
The Redskins sit 5-1, good enough to hold the fifth spot in Division IV, Region 13.
“This time of year, everyone is kind of looking at positioning and where they are at,” Connor said. “Every game has added importance. There is more urgency. It’s the same for them as it is us.”
Indian Creek has the sixth-ranked offense in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area, averaging 284.67 yards and 28.5 points per game. It is led by quarterback Sam Mazar, who has 467 yards and three touchdowns passing and another 239 yards and five scores rushing. Trevor Fante ranks second in the area among running backs with 596 yards and nine touchdowns.
“On Friday night, we have to get off to a fast start,” Connor said. “We want to play physical football and stay ahead of the chains. Something we’ve gotten better at is not hurting ourselves. We want to go out and keep building on what we have been doing.”
That unit will face a Ferry defense that allows 19.17 points on average, but has yielded a total of just 20 combined in the last two victories. On offense, the Riders average 28.17 points, facing a Creek defense that is third in the area allowing 197.33 yards and 7.67 points per game.
Beaver Local at
YORKVILLE — After playing three of the last four games on the road, Roger Herbert and his Buckeye Local Panthers are glad to be back at home on Friday night, hosting Beaver Local.
“I made a comment last week that it feels like we’ve hardly been (at home) this year,” he said. “Getting back to our place is nice. It makes things easier for the kids. Having three of the next four here at home is very welcoming for us.”
The Beavers enter the game ranked 12th in Division IV, Region 13 and sit 3-3. They are a familiar opponent for the 1-5 Panthers.
“We’ve seen some film on them and I think coach Mike McKenzie does a really good job,” Herbert said. “They just played a real tough Bellaire team and they had some success against them. A couple of mistakes kind of hurt them. They have some good athletes we are going to have to slow down and some experience back. It’s going to be a big test for us.
“Their ability to run the ball is a challenge, but they can throw the ball, too, and they will spread you out and run the ball. We have to make tackles in space. Their versatility makes them tough to prepare for.”
Buckeye Local is averaging 147.17 yards and 11.17 points on offense, led by Seth Richardson’s 350 passing yards and two scores and Charlie Smith’s 130 yards rushing and two touchdowns, facing a Beaver Local team that gives up an average of 21.17 points per game.
On defense, the Panthers give up 341.5 yards and 38.67 points, while the Beavers score an average of 24.83.
“We have to make some plays and we’ll be OK,” Herbert said. “I think we’re a lot more competitive in games than sometimes the final score indicates.”
Edison at East Liverpool
EAST LIVERPOOL — The Edison football will look for its first win on the road at East Liverpool on Friday night.
The Wildcats, 0-6, fell at unbeaten Oak Glen in Week 5 and will look to bounce back, while the Potters dropped a tough decision at Martins Ferry.
East Liverpool is in desperate need of a win, sitting 16th in Division IV, Region 13 at 2-4.
Edison’s offense, which averages 171.83 yards and 10.17 points per game, is led by freshman quarterback Gage Cline, who has thrown for 343 yards and two scores along with six interceptions since taking over. Tyler Griffith leads the ground game with 313 yards and three scores.
The East Liverpool defense allows an average of 16.33 points. On defense, Edison yields 340.17 yards and 44.17 points, while the Potters score an average of 21.83 points.
Brooke on a bye
WELLSBURG — The Brooke Bruins will take their scheduled bye week this week, sitting 1-5.
The Bruins have been battling some key injuries in recent weeks, so the bye comes at a good time to get healthy for the final few weeks of the season.
To this point, Joshua Shorts has thrown for 710 yards and nine scores to lead the Bruins offense, while Max Camilletti has 203 yards and an average better than five yards per carry despite battling injuries. Camden Bates has 319 receiving yards and four scores.
Brooke averages 16.8 points for and 43.8 points against.
It faces John Marshall, also on a bye this week, on Oct. 18.
(Grimm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)