Red-hot Huskies look to snap Bears’ streak
CADIZ — Oak Glen is undefeated heading into its match-up with Harrison Central Friday night, coming off passing one of its biggest tests of the season with flying colors in Week 7, a 44-7 blowout of a Toronto team that had been on a five-game win streak.
The Huskies, on the other hand, have been playing their best football in recent weeks, winning three of the last four to put it at 3-4 on the season. They defeated Catholic Central, 21-7, on Saturday after taking down St. Clairsville in a road upset the week before.
“Oak Glen is doing a fantastic job,” Harrison Central head coach Anthony Hayes said of the Golden Bears. “They are having a season for the years. They are performing well every week. They have a lot of outstanding skill on that team and weapons all over the field.”
“They are hot right now,” Oak Glen head coach Ted Arneault said of the Huskies’ recent success. “They have really impressed me the last two weeks taking care of business.
“Harrison has a nice crowd and a nice facility. It’s a good atmosphere, and it’s challenging to win there. It’s challenging to win on the road in general, but I think Harrison has a nice home field set up that gives them an advantage.”
One of the main reasons for the recent success has been Kobe Mitchell finding his game. The junior quarterback now sits third in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area in passing yards with 1,057 and 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He also has rushed for another 177 yards and three scores.
“They let their athletes loose,” Arneault said of what has made the Huskies successful. “They let Kobe Mitchell run the offense and find the holes (against St. Clairsville). He had time to throw the ball, so their offensive line has done a good job. He does a great job of reading the field. He is able to find holes in the defense. He has a nice touch when he throws the ball. If you lose track of him, he has great feet and can hurt you that way.
“Our defense steps up every week. It will be a challenge for them. We have played some good offensive teams the defense has stepped up appropriately, creating turnovers and allowing us to control the clock.”
“Kobe Mitchell is coming into his own and finding his stride a little bit,” Hayes said. “He is making the guys around him better in the skill positions, and our line has been taking care of him.”
He will have his hands full with the Oak Glen defense, which is the top such unit in the area, allowing 154.43 yards and 9.14 points per game.
“They get a lot of attention for their offense, but their defense is really good, too,” Hayes said. “It gets overlooked a little bit. The more I watch them, the more it stands out. They have big kids up front that can two-gap, and then their linebackers can run downhill. They like to force you into second-and-long, third-and-long situations.”
Oak Glen’s offense ranks second in the area, averaging 428.57 yards and 42 points per game. It is led by Hunter Patterson, who is one of the top rushers and receivers in the area, gaining 710 yards and 11 scores on the ground to rank third, and 502 receiving yards and five more touchdowns, also ranking third.
Nick Chaney is the area’s second-best passer, racking up 1,252 yards and 15 scores.
“We’re going to have to be mindful of our preparation this week and be mindful of the task,” Hayes said. “Some teams have that one big guy that you can prepare for, but they can come out one week and throw for 300 yards, and the next week they can run for 300 yards. They have weapons everywhere and can beat you many different ways.”
The Harrison Central defense allows 296 yards and 27.57 points, while on offense the Huskies compile an average of 278 yards and 22 points.
“Their defense has been good the last two weeks,” Arneault said. “Especially last week, they kept Catholic Central bottled up. They were able to keep St. Clairsville from scoring at will. Overall they have been really impressive. My hat is off to Anthony Hayes and what he been able to accomplish.”
(Grimm can be reached at email@example.com)