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Golden Bears out of quarantine in time for a tough test

NEW MANCHESTER — The Oak Glen football team has had a rough couple of weeks, and this week isn’t going to be any easier.

After not playing for the last two weeks due to COVID issues, Oak Glen is set to play high-powered Point Pleasant at 7 p.m. Friday at home.

“It has been tough,” Oak Glen head coach Ted Arneault said. “A few hours before we were scheduled to play Taylor Allderdice one of our kids tested positive, and we had to cancel that game. We had to quarantine the full team. I have been able to communicate with them. I have been able to send them workouts electronically, and the kids have been able to check in with me electronically about the workouts. Distractions like this are hard to overcome. 

“We have a lot of injuries. We have nine kids out. We are going to have to do a lot of shuffling around. We are going to have to put in a lot of hard work this week at practice to prepare for a pretty-good opponent in Point Pleasant.”

Oak Glen’s Week 3 game at Keyser was also canceled. The game will be the Golden Bears first on their new turf field.

“The kids are very excited,” Arneault said. “It has been a long time coming. It has been more than two months since we were able to practice on our field. It has been since the end of June. The kids are chomping at the bit. They are excited about getting the chance to play at home.”

The Big Blacks are 2-1 on the season, and Point Pleasant enters this game coming off of a 66-28 victory against Mingo Central Friday night at home. Greenbrier East defeated Point Pleasant, 32-22, in Week 1 at home, but Point Pleasant bounced back to defeat Gallia Academy, 26-22, in Week 2 at home.

“They are very similar to what we do on offense,” Arneault said. “They run a Wing T out of the shotgun. They do a lot of different things. Their quarterback runs some sprint outs. Their quarterback is a junior named Evan Roach. They have a really-good receiver in Gavin Jeffers. They are run-heavy. Trey Beck is a senior wide receiver they like to use. They distribute the ball to a lot of kids. I think their most dangerous player is their quarterback. He is a dual threat.”

Oak Glen defeated Weir, 35-20, in Week 1 in a game played Aug. 27 on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

The Golden Bears ran for 389 yards and four touchdowns on 54 carries in their win against the Red Riders.

“I feel good about our offensive line,” Arneault said. “We feel they match up well with them. We have a young offensive line with three sophomores, two juniors and a senior in the mix. Against Weir, we had to move two of our skill players to the offensive line. Our lack of depth there showed. This week, those two skill players are once again going to be on the offensive line. They are going to have to really prepare for all the challenges Point Plesant’s defense brings to the table.”

Oak Glen’s defensive line will play a vital role in trying to shut down Point Pleasant’s vaunted rushing attack.

“We are going to rotate guys in our defensive line,” Arneault said. “We use a three-man line. That helps out our depth by being able to rotate different guys into the game.”

The Big Blacks are going to attack the Golden Bears when the hosts are on offense. 

“Their defense is very aggressive,” Arneault said. “They run a lot of slants. They slant their defense in one direction. They play an odd front which means their outside linebackers are very aggressive. They are going to blitz. They vary their coverages. They want to be the more aggressive team. They want to fire off the ball before you do.”

Buck Franklin collected 118 yards on just five carries and a pair of touchdowns on the ground against Weir, Kholton Goodlin tallied 159 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and Matthew Greenlief finished with 96 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. In the passing game, Dylan Conley completed both of his passes, including a 23-yard touchdown to Greenlief.

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