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Creek looks for another win over Potters

GOING DEEP - Gage Cline and the Edison football team hope to improve to 2-0 when they visit Conotton Valley on Friday. -Joe Catullo

WINTERSVILLE – After a tough loss in Week 1, Andrew Connor and Co. will look to bounce back against another familiar opponent in East Liverpool.

“We told the kids no one feels sorry for you,” the head coach said. “You have to pick yourself up and move on. If you keep thinking about the past, that’s not going to make things any better in the future. We had a good practice (Monday). I said it after the game, I’ve got to do a better job of having the kids prepared to play on Friday night.”

Indian Creek, who came up short to Cambridge in Week 1, has won all eight meetings with the Potters since 2012. However, a few of those games were extremely close, and Connor would be the first to say none of them were easy.

“They’ve been eight very good games,” Connor said. “Liverpool kids are tough kids, they play hard, they are fundamentally sound. It’s a good program, and coach (Josh) Ludwig should be very proud of it. Our kids have played against East Liverpool in junior high and high school. Every game has been very competitive.”

In the Week 1 loss, David Ferroni threw for 153 yards and a score – 113 of which and the score going to Sam Coleman (who also returned a kick for a TD) – and Matt Schaefer ran for 38 and a score, all things Connor’s club can build on.

“I think the biggest thing we can build on is our kids kept fighting,” he said. “We had a lot of kids in their first start. There were a couple moments of adversity in the game where we could have gave up and said we’ll get it next week, but we didn’t do that. It’s something to build on for us.”

East Liverpool enters the game 1-0, coming off of a 27-15 victory over rival Beaver Local in its opener. The Potters were led by Howie Williams with 110 yards and a score through the air and another 117 yards on the ground.

“Liverpool is excited right now — they have every right to be. They’re 1-0 and beat their big rival,” Connor said. “They are on an upswing. They’re very athletic, and their quarterback and tailback have a lot of speed. They’re big up front. Our first priority is to stop them from running the football. It’s an important game for us because it’s a Buckeye (8) North game.”

Oak Glen kicks off with road trip

POINT PLEASANT – Coming off a state semifinal appearance in 2019, Oak Glen makes a long trip south to begin its effort to build off of the breakout season with a trip to Point Pleasant.

“It’s a nice, long trip to start the year,” Oak Glen head coach Ted Arneault said. “It’s a measuring stick right off the bat because not only are you playing a good team, but you’re also going three-and-a-half hours away to play them on their field. We’ve only had one scrimmage, and we’re a week less of practice than we normally are going into a game.

“This is going to be an added test. It’s great preparation for a scenario where you might have to travel four or five hours in the playoffs.”

The Golden Bears return a lot of key pieces from the long playoff run a season ago, including quarterback Nick Chaney, speedsters Gage and Hunter Patterson and bruising back Paxton Shuman.

“I think there will be higher expectations, and there should be,” Arneault said. “We set higher expectations on ourselves. They way we have prepared, the way we expect to perform, our own expectation is to be better than we were last year.”

While Oak Glen went 12-1 in 2019, Point Pleasant was 4-4 and missed the postseason. Arneault, though, expects a challenge from the Big Blacks.

“They are a very underrated team,” Arneault said. “They missed the playoffs last year, which I think was only because they only had eight games on their schedule. They were a really underrated team that should have been in the playoffs last year. They return a lot of those players this year.

“They played Bluefield. They played tough, out-of-state games. I feel, looking at them on film, now that they have a more normalized schedule, that this is likely a playoff caliber team.”

Edison looks to build off opening win

BOWERSTON – The Edison Wildcats no longer have to hear about a losing streak thanks to an opening-night rivalry victory, 31-19, at Toronto.

Shane O’Brien and Co. look to keep the road momentum in Week 2 with a trip to Conotton Valley.

“Conotton Valley is a new team on the schedule for us,” O’Brien said. “There’s a little bit of a not-knowing factor there. My first impression of them is they have a really good running back and a really, really good running game. They have some size up front that is going to be a challenge for us.”

In the Edison win over Toronto, the ground game made all the difference, with Ethan Waggonner rushing for 64 yards and a score and Tyler Griffith – who also had a key pick-six – rushing for 32 yards and a touchdown.

“The main message this week is don’t be complacent,” O’Brien said. “We still have things we can improve on, and we have to be better.”

Conotton Valley opened its season with a resounding 41-0 victory over Beallsville.

“We’re both coming off wins and both should be very confident coming into this game,” O’Brien said. “It’s their senior night, so we know we’re going to get their best shot.”

Brooke set to begin

WELLSBURG – A season ago, Brooke and Hedgesville played in an instant classic at Brooke Memorial Stadium, with the Bruins taking a 45-44 win.

The teams will meet again Friday on the same field, each looking to start the season off on the right foot.

“I expect it to be another close game with them,” Brooke head coach Mac McLean said. “Usually the margin for error is very small in Week 1, and both Hedgesville and ourselves have not been able to scrimmage anyone because of COVID-19. Both teams are going to be in game situations for the first time on Friday night.

“The comfort that I take in that is the experience we have. I have a lot of starters back, and we’ve been able to lean on them.”

The Bruins went 3-7 in 2019, a positive step from a winless 2018 campaign. Hedegesville went 0-10 last season, with its closest chance at victory coming against the Bruins.

“Hedgesville, from what I’ve seen on film, has a big team,” McLean said. “They’ve got some size up front, and I’m not necessarily sure that was the case last year. They are big and young, and they have their quarterback back.

“They’ve got a new coach, and I expect them to be an improved football team. I think they come here Friday night with all the confidence in the world that they can compete with us.”

Panthers prowling for a bounce back

BELMONT – A season ago, Buckeye Local “reversed the curse” against Union Local in Rayland. This season, Roger Herbert’s club will simply look to bounce back from a disappointing opening week loss to Barnesville.

“We watched them on film, and they played a heck of a good game last week,” said Herbert, an alumni and former coach at Union Local. “They are a much improved football team, and this is going to be a big challenge this week. I know they will be ready to defend their home turf.”

In the 35-0 loss to the Shamrocks, the Panthers’ offense struggled to get much of anything going

“Unfortunately, we didn’t play very well Week 1,” Herbert said. “But, looking at the tape, there are a lot of things we can fix. A blown assignment here and there, we will go back to the drawing board at practice and get things fixed. There were a lot of self-inflicted things, but that is why this is the greatest team game because you play 11 at a time.

“Hopefully we can take advantage of the extra day off from starting on Thursday last week, and unfortunately for them, they lost a day getting bumped to Saturday.”

Union Local will be looking to break a streak of its own after going 0-10 in 2019 and dropping its opener at home to Monroe Central.

“We are excited to play them, I know Roger (Coach Herbert) personally and he is a great guy and has been and will be a big part of their turnaround,” Union Local head coach Bernie Thompson said. “They will come in here hungry. They have a nice defense and a new quarterback who will be a very good player.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sports writer Tracy Watson contributed to this story.

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