Chesapeake-Fairland rivalry peps things up

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2001

No matter what you try to do to avoid it, nothing works.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

No matter what you try to do to avoid it, nothing works.

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Trying to downplay the Fairland-Chesapeake football game doesn’t work. Just as Fairland Dragons coach Bryan Ward or Chesapeake Panthers coach Phil Davis.

"Things pep up a little bit no matter what happens the week before. There’s something going on every day, " said Ward. "The players, the students, and the community get into it. The kids intermingle most of the time. They get along everywhere but on the field. It’s a major pride thing and bragging rights."

Davis said his staff tries to downplay the game to avoid distractions and too much emotions. But his efforts don’t always work.

"We’ve taken the attitude lately not to get way up or way down and have a similar frame of mind for each game. This is a league game and league games have special meaning, but this is Fairland-Chesapeake and it’s a big game."

Oh yes. This is an Ohio Valley Conference game.

Fairland is 2-4 overall but 0-1 in the OVC, so this is a must-win for the Dragons in order to stay in league contention. Chesapeake is 4-2 and playing its first league game.

Fairland had six turnovers last week in a 42-8 loss to South Point. Turnovers have plagued the Dragons all season.

"If we hold onto the ball, we compete. You can’t win games if you turn it over six times. And it hasn’t been just one person," Ward said.

"We’re going to have to play awful well and we have to play mistake-free football. Chesapeake has a lot of speed. Both Hunt kids (Michael and Cody) can run exceptionally well and (Tommy) Hill throws the ball pretty well."

Davis agreed that the Dragons have self-destructed all season.

"They’ve definitely hurt themselves with turnovers. They had problems against Minford and the same thing happened with South Point. They didn’t have any turnovers against Meigs and had a good ball game. They should have beat Tolsia but turnovers beat them," said Davis.

"They’re a better football team than their record."

Even if Fairland holds onto the ball, Davis thinks the difference in the game will come down to the interior line play.

"One of the keys will be the offensive and defensive lines. They want to take the ball and keep it. If they don’t turn it over, they can be effective. We have to stop them on defense and move the ball on offense," Davis said.

In the other Ohio Valley Conference game, Rock Hill (1-5) hosts South Point (4-2). Coal Grove (3-3) has a non-league game at home against Ironton.

Hornets head coach Nick Miller said his team is aware of Ironton, its 6-0 record, No.1-ranking in the Associated Press poll, and No. 1 in the computer playoffs.

"We know Ironton has a good team and is ranked high," said Miller. "We respect them, but we’ll just try and do better. We want to improve. We just want to come out and play hard. This is a conference game and we need to win it."