Oak Glen using long trip as preparation
HAMLIN — Oak Glen’s opponent this week may be winless, but that does not mean Ted Arneault and company are taking Lincoln County lightly.
“They are kind of in a rebuilding year, but they have played competitive games throughout the year, so they are still a dangerous team,” he said. “They are going to be a hungry squad on senior night looking for a win. They have been searching for a way to do that. We expect a tough football game against a team that is very motivated.”
Traveling nearly four hours away to play is an experience that could pay dividends for the 8-0 Golden Bears in a few weeks when the West Virginia Class AA playoffs begin. Even if Oak Glen finishes 10-0, a home playoff game will not be guaranteed
“It is going to be a good experience for our kids,” Arneault said. “There is always a possibility in the playoffs that you travel far distances, so having at least one experience where you get used to traveling and getting off the bus for a walk through and getting a meal on the road is going to a good experience to have if we have to go on the road in the playoffs.”
Oak Glen sports the top offense in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area, averaging 40 points per game and 423.63 yards per game. It is led by junior quarterback Nick Chaney, second in the area with 1,360 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The run game, though, is what Arneault expects to be key going forward. That is led by Hunter Patterson’s 801 yards and Paxton Shuman’s 567 yards.
“If we establish our run game and win the line of scrimmage,” Arneault said. “We would like to be able to control the clock. Our run game has allowed us to set the tone and control what tempo we want to be at. I think that is very important for the playoffs.”
On defense, the Golden Bears are also No. 1, allowing 162.88 yards and 10.63 points.
“If the defense keeps playing the way they have been playing since Week 1 — causing turnovers and not allowing the big play — we’ll be in good shape,” Arneault said.
Lincoln County averages 9.38 points for and 34.13 points against.
Barnesville at Toronto
TORONTO — The Red Knights enter their Week 9 meeting with Barnesville coming off a big win over Madonna and having climbed back to second in Division VII, Region 25. Toronto, which controls its own destiny according to Joe Eitel’s rankings, has a chance to add to its playoff points against the Division V Shamrocks.
“We had some success against Madonna,” Franke said. “We’re trying to keep our focus and take it one game at a time. Barnesville is obviously a bigger school than us, and they are going to be a physical team. They are the fifth Division V opponent we have on our schedule. We took care of business against three of them.
“It could allow us to get some quality second-level points.”
The Shamrocks, 4-4, average 22.75 points for and 28.38 points against. According to Franke, they like to run the ball, which provides his defense with a big test as the playoffs near.
“They are a big, physical football team. Their tailback is 237 pounds,” he said. “He is bigger than anyone we have on our defense. It definitely imposes some unique challenges. They are going to try to run the ball between the tackles and over power you.
“When you get into postseason play and the weather conditions start to shift, you have to be able to run the football. For us to be able to go up against an offense that prides itself on running the ball, it’s going to allow us to measure where we are at for challenges in the postseason.”
Led by junior quarterback Caleb Leasure, who has 1,142 yards and 15 touchdowns, the Red Knights rank third in the area with an average of 30.38 points per game and 346.38 yards.
On defense, the Red Knights rank third, allowing 201 yards and 14.38 points.
WELLSBURG — Brooke head coach Mac McLean sees Friday’s matchup with Buckhannon-Upshur as a meeting between two 1-6 teams in similar places — both looking to end the season on a high note.
“They are a team that is having the same kind of season that we are having,” McLean said. “They are a team that is trying to squeeze something out of the end of their season and coming up to Brooke County and getting a win would be a big thing for them. It would be great in the last few weeks if we could find a way to get a couple Ws and find something to springboard us into the offseason.
“It’s been two very difficult years in a row, but the one thing we have going for us is — other than our small group of seniors — most of the kids we have out there will be back. If we could get a couple wins that could mean a lot for us.”
The key to doing that will be getting improved play on the defensive side of the ball, where the Bruins allow 449 yards and 43.17 points per game.
“We have got to get something figured out on our defense,” McLean said. “We are giving up astronomical numbers week in and week out. The past three seasons, we have run three different defenses and we’re just not very effective at stopping the run. We have got to figure that out if we’re going to beat anybody.”
On offense, Brooke averages 15 points and 241.17 yards. Quarterback Johsua Shorts has 768 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Buccaneers average 14.29 points for and 42.86 points against.
(Grimm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)