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Little changes as Vikings face Oaks

WILLOW WOOD – Every year it seems like the same old story.

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

WILLOW WOOD – Every year it seems like the same old story.

When the Symmes Valley Vikings and Oak Hill Oaks hook up each year, it’s always an even matchup that has great ramifications toward winning the Southern Ohio Conference championship.

"This is the first league game for both of us and the winner of this game will definitely have a leg up in the SOC," Vikings coach Rusty Webb said.

"Oak Hill is big, strong, and physical, just like any Merril Triplett-coached team is. And they’re super on defense. They are better than they were last year."

Another thing that never changes is the homefield advantage, or lack of. The Oaks won 20-8 last season at Symmes Valley, and the Vikings won the previous year 14-7 at Oak Hill.

"I don’t think where we play really matters. These two team just get after each other. It’s always a tough, hard-nosed game," Webb said.

Something the Vikings must always contend with against Oak Hill is the fullback, and this year’s version is no different. The Oaks feature Tyler Evans, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior.

Complimenting Evans in the backfield is senior Zack Lester (5-9,170) and sophomore Adam Ison (6-0, 200).

"He’s got a big strong fullback, but he has a quick halfback (Lester) and a kid (Ison) coming on who can run over you or around you. Merril’s been using him more and more," Webb said.

"But to go with those backs, he’s got big, strong linemen, too."

The interior line is led by senior center Cliff McNeal (6-3, 250) who is a three-year starter. Also up front are juniors Jay Sharp (6-2, 280), Carl Miller (6-2, 250), and Jared Potter (6-0, 250), and senior James Chambers (6-3, 210).

The tight ends are Adam Conley (6-1, 160) and Ryan Daniels (6-2, 250), both juniors.

The triggerman in the offense is Tommy Triplett, a 5-9, 155-pound junior who is the son of the head coach.

"They’re still going to pound it at you, but with his son being a year older, he can throw it better so you can’t just sit on the run. You have to play both," Webb said.

Oak Hill is 2-2 on the season after falling 49-20 to Wellston last week. Symmes Valley is 1-3 after blasting South Gallia 48-0 last week.

Not only was it the Vikings first win of the season, but it also was Webb’s first career victory.