Hornets, Pointers meet in season-ending showdownPublished 2:04am Thursday, October 31, 2013
Coal Grove (4-5, 3-1) at South Point (7-2, 3-1)
The two teams met in the preview and the Pointers pulled off a surprising 14-0. But that was just a scrimmage and the two teams have played nine regular season games between the meetings.
It will be somewhat of a contrast in styles. Coal Grove is known for its punishing ground game with a trio of running backs in Isaiah Gunther, Sidney Tucker and D.J. Miller.
South Point likes to use a spread offense, something that has troubled the Hornets’ at times this season. Quarterback Gage Townson has a trio of receivers in Isaiah Jones, Audric Harlow and Josh Browning.
But each team has a wrinkle.
Coal Grove has been successful throwing the ball. Quarterback Jesse Rigsby threw for 185 yards last week in a 53-14 win over Chesapeake. He has a plethora quality receivers of his own in Conor Markins, Joe Akers and Sean Paulus.
South Point isn’t all passing. The running game has picked up throughout the season led by the emergence of James Leonard. Townson scrambles well out of the pocket and has had big games running the ball.
One of the keys will be how well the Hornets can run the ball to set up the pass as well or how well the Pointers can stop the run to create more opportunities for their offense.
Another key is the same as with any game: turnovers.
South Point has limited its turnovers this season, but the Hornets have had some crucial mistakes. Two big turnovers played a big part in the loss to Raceland and another turnover was key in the loss to Meigs. In fact, the Hornets turned the ball over several times in the OVC preview two-quarter game against South Point. Conversely, the Pointer have been good at converting turnovers into scores.
River Valley (1-8, 0-4) at Fairland (6-3, 4-0)
The top of the conference meets the bottom of the league.
Fairland can close out the season with a win and hope to enhance their playoff position. The Dragons are currently sixth in Region 17 of Division V and can make a move depending on how the teams ahead of them do in the final week.
River Valley has struggled to run the ball all season. The Raiders have turned to sophomore quarterback Dayton Hardway to generate some offense.
The game will be the final Ohio Valley Conference game for the Raiders who join the Tri-Valley Conference next year. The Dragons have already clinched at least a share of the title and can claim it outright with a win.
Symmes Valley (5-4) at Buffalo, W.Va. (0-8)
Making a long road trip for the final game of the season with nothing on the line can spell trouble.
But the Vikings have battled all season and always show a lot of pride. They are fortunate to be playing a winless team, but the Bisons like to spread the field and throw the ball.
However, the Bisons have been hurt by injuries and the quarterback is freshman Connor Fields (5-10, 132) who was 4-of-11 for 54 yards and a touchdown last week. Running back Jordan Tucker (5-7, 150) ran for 106 yards on 19 carries including a 51-yard scoring run.
The Vikings are 10th in this week’s computer ratings. Although not mathmatically elimiated, it is very doubtful they will qualify for the playoffs.
Rock Hill (1-8, 1-3) at Chesapeake (1-8, 1-3)
These teams mirror each other in more ways than their records.
Neither team likes to throw the ball and both have been hurt by injuries, especially Chesapeake.
The Redmen rely on the running of Chance Blankenship and Jonah Cox with LB Jordan Haiston a key on defense. Chesapeake gives the bulk of its running to Chad Meadows and Nate Smith.
Rock Hill has been competitive in its league games. The Redmen trailed Coal Grove just 21-13 going into the fourth quarter, they lost 45-36 to South Point and fell 27-0 to first-place Fairland last week, the Dragons lowest scoring output of the season.
Raceland (7-2) at Ironton (3-6)
This becomes the second straight must-win game for the Fighting Tigers and it will be against a team with more talent and skill than last week’s opponent Oak Hill.
Ironton must capitalize on its scoring opportunities. In last week’s 20-14 win over the Oaks, the Fighting Tigers had three more chances to score that would have made it an easy win instead of having to get a last-second touchdown pass from Tristan Cox to Joe Bowling.
Cox and running back D’Angelo Palladino will be the main focus of the Rams’ defense, so Ironton’s supporting cast must step up. Palladino ran for 146 yards and Cox 72 in last week’s win.