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SV, Oaks, to begin SOC play

Forget the plot.

Thursday, September 21, 2000

Forget the plot. Merril Triplett has a different script to read.

When the Oak Hill Oaks play at Symmes Valley Friday, not only will it be the first Southern Ohio Conference, it will mark the return of Triplett to the school where he began his coaching career and led the Vikings their first state playoff berth.

But none of that matters to Triplett.

"My main concern is their speed," Triplett said. "All their backs have good speed. You focus on (brad) Carpenter and the other backs will hurt. They’re a well-balanced team in their backfield."

The Vikings balance had helped produce a 2-2 record, the same as the Oaks. But the Vikings offense isn’t the only area of speed that worries Triplett.

"They’re defense is fast. (Eric) Holland is a good linebacker and he’s a good blocker on offense. They really get to the ball," Triplett said.

The Vikings suffered a key loss of speed at defensive end last week when sophomore Joseph Patterson went out during a 42-12 rout of South Gallia.

Senior Adam Corn, junior Kent Shipley, and sophomore Nathan Pinkerman will rotate at end.

"We’ll probably do it by committee," Vikings coach Herb Conley said.

One thing the Vikes will have to do is line up toe-to-toe with the Oaks.

"They’re a typical Merril Triplett team. They’re going to be physical. Their backs run the ball hard and they play tough, hard-nose defense," Conley said.

The Vikings must concern themselves with senior running back Jerry Nichols (5-9, 185), and sophomore quarterback Tommy Triplett (5-9, 150).

"They’ll just line up and come right at you. We have to stop Nichols. He’s a very good running back. And (Triplett) is a running and passing threat. He’s a very good athlete," Conley said.

Oak Hill is coming off a stunning 23-22 upset of Wellston after losing 28-0 to Rock Hill. Conley said the two games were like night and day.

"Oak Hill was two totally different teams. They physically handled Wellston which was a much bigger team," Conley said.

"The key is up front. It’ll come down to whomever can block the best. We’re getting better, but we’re still not taking the strides we need to. Hopefully, we’ll take the big step this week. We have to play physical."