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Area teams’ backyard brawls highlight week’s games

The backyard brawl.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

The backyard brawl. When schools of close proximity clash, tempers rise and the action is intense. Such is the case this Friday when the Rock Hill Redmen play the Oaks at Oak Hill and the Chesapeake Panthers visit the Symmes Valley Vikings.

Generally, the Rock Hill-Oak Hill game is decided by a touchdown or less. Oak Hill is more than a touchdown favorite this season, but the rivalry is expected to shrink that margin.

"It’s always a great game for the fans and players and murder for the coaches," Rock Hill coach Bob McCollister said. "It’ll come down to the last minute again. That’s what we’re expecting."

Rock Hill, 1-1, blanked Vinton County 20-0 last week and Oak Hill spanked Unioto 36-6. Rock Hill is a young, inexperienced team compared to the veteran Oaks.

"This is a typical (Oaks coach) Merril Triplett team. They’re big and physical. They won’t finesse you. They run right at you. They play good, old-fashioned football. (Triplett) is going to focus on execution and we have to be ready for that," McCollister said.

Playing against a physical team could become a problem for the Redmen who are predominantly a sophomore-junior team.

"This is something we’re going to find out. We’ll find out as we go what we’re good at and what we’re not. It’s going to be a good test for us," McCollister said.

Oak Hill is led by junior quarterback Tom Triplett, son of coach Triplett, junior fullback Tyler Evans (6-3, 205), and senior running backs Zack Lester (5-9, 165) and Justin Bloomfield (6-0, 175). McCollister hopes the Redmen skilled personnel can match the Oaks.

"Usually, speed and finesse teams scared us in the past. We used to have big guys. But we’ve got a lot of skilled players this year. We’re in an unfamiliar territory."

There’s more than pride at stake for the Panthers and Vikings. Neither team has been able to taste victory in two games this season, something that is very unusual for both teams.

Chesapeake coach Phil Davis said getting a win may hinge on what happens early in the game.

"Something good has to happen to us or them early," said Davis. "We each need some confidence, although we felt like we did play well last week. We played great defense last week, but the offense has to come around."

Vikings coach Rusty Webb said the hunger for victory should create a high-charged game.

"You’ve got two teams that need a win. I expect there will be some hitting. These are two hungry teams that need a win," Webb said.

Chesapeake lost 10-9 to Wayne on a last-second field goal. Conversely, the Vikings were suffering a second straight shutout loss.

"They run up and down the field but don’t score," said Davis. "They got inside the 10 three different times and didn’t get anything. And they always play us tough."

Although the Panthers don’t have a Robby Isaacs or Josh Waugh caliber player, Webb said the Panthers still have some solid players such as linebacker Jesse Ansell, running back Luke Beach, and quarterback Tommy Hill.

"They still have good skilled people. They have a solid team and they’ve played some tough competition. We’ll have to play well to win. We can’t let them have the long runs or the long passes," Webb said.

The Vikings are learning to play without Brad Carpenter this season. Becoming more balanced offensively has been the Vikings game plan.

"They’re going to play hard, so we’d better play hard for four quarters," said Davis.