It’s showdown time in the OVC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2000

In a four-game league schedule, every game looms big.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

In a four-game league schedule, every game looms big. But this game may rank as huge for the South Point Pointers and Chesapeake Panthers.

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Not only is first place in the Ohio Valley Conference at stake, but so is any playoff hopes as the Chesapeake Panthers (5-2, 1-0) visit the South Point Pointers (5-2, 2-0) Friday.

"We’re both sitting in the place where we have the most bonus points, so it’s an important game in that respect. It’s pretty definite that if you lose, you’re not getting in. And with the league, every week you’re playing for the league championship. This is as big as it gets," Chesapeake coach Phil Davis said.

South Point could put itself in the driver’s seat with a win since the Pointers would have just one game left. But head coach Brent Terry knows it won’t be easy against the Panthers who have won two straight league titles.

"They have a quality football team. I really like the quarterback (Luke Beach). He does a really good job with their offense. (Josh) Waugh is an outstanding runner and plays well on defense. He’s an all-around football player," said Terry.

But it may be the defensive side of the ball that gives the Pointers the most fits. Zeb Best, who was out two weeks with an injury, came back last week. Up front, Jason Ellis and Noah Phillips give Chesapeake a strong interior line.

"Best gives them some punch up the middle on offense and makes you respect him. You have to stop him between the tackles," Terry said. "Defensively, he’s a really good tackler and has a real good feel for the ball.

"Offensively, we have to control Ellis and Phillips. If you don’t block them, you’ll never get a play off. They’re standout players in the conference. If we don’t block them, it’ll be a long night."

Davis has plenty of concerns of his own. The Pointers are led by quarterback Jarrod Smith who has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards in six games and 14 touchdowns. He threw for a school-record five TDs last week in beating Rock Hill 44-13.

"They’re playing well. They’re doing a lot of things well and Smith’s a good quarterback. They have talented people on the perimeter and they have three good running backs," said Davis. "(Justin) Eaches is underrated. (Shane) Holsinger makes a lot of plays for them, and (David) Chapman is a better runner than he gets credit for."

Davis thinks the key for the Panthers is to hold onto the ball, especially after six turnovers in last week’s 17-0 win over Fairland.

"Our kids have to play well, keep them from making any big plays, and let the guys up front decide it a little bit," said Davis.

Terry said the Pointers must take a different route than last week.

"We’ve got to keep them off-balanced and not throw it all the time. They’re so good on offense, we have to keep them off the field. And our pass protection will be a key," Terry said.

In other games, Coal Grove is at Fairland in an OVC clash, Rock Hill hosts Portsmouth, Portsmouth East is at Green, Northwest is at Wheelersburg, and Symmes Valley visits Portsmouth Notre Dame on Saturday.