This week’s matchups

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Coal Grove at South Point

When you're hanging by a thread to making the playoffs and possibly getting a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship, the last team you want to see is the South Point Pointers if you're the Coal Grove Hornets.

The Pointers (4-4) have a variety of receivers and a quarterback who can throw the football, the two things the Coal Grove defense doesn't like to see.

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South Point has switched to a pro-style offense and is looking to be more balanced. Justin Thacker was moved from guard to fullback and Jude Crabtree and John Crager share the running back chores.

Workhorse tailback Justin Hyland has had back-to-back games of 50 and 58 carries for 400 and 281 yards. But this is game No. 9 and Hyland could be getting weary from the constant pounding of opposing defenses.

In the event Hyland does wear down, the Hornets (6-2) have other runners in Trent Blankenship and Gary Moore who have run well when called upon.

Both teams have had trouble stopping the opposition, so look for a high-scoring game.

River Valley at Fairland

Injuries are part of football. The bad part.

River Valley lost its leading rusher Chris Edwards the third week of the season and he was still the team's leading rusher heading into last week's game against South Point.

Edwards returned to the lineup and is expected to play against the Dragons. The Raiders 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the OVC.

While River Valley has their top runner back, the Dragons expect to be without leading rusher Adam Fuller for the second straight week due to a knee injury.

To make matters worse, one of Fairland's top defensive backs, Nolan Love, has been lost for the rest of the season because of an injury.

Edwards will team with quarterback Bryan Morrow and receiver Ryan Henry to present a balanced attack for Fairland to defense.

The Dragons have been more one-dimensional without Fuller. Quarterback Rich Staggs threw for 400 yards last week and wide receiver Sam Huff had 14 receptions for 241 yards.

East at Symmes Valley

If you can't have the brass ring, at least take the silver cup.

East and Symmes Valley are both 3-1 in the Southern Ohio Conference heading into Friday's game that will determine second place.

East (4-4) is led by running back Arthur Henderson who has put up big numbers all season against every team.

Hyland had 146 yards on 15 carries in a loss to Coal Grove and scored six touchdowns against Matewan, W.Va.

Symmes Valley (5-3) is battling for a playoff berth as well as second place.

The Vikings threw only six times last week but gain 114 yards.

If East tries to jam the line of scrimmge, look for Chris Cammp to go to the air.

Green at Oak Hill

Normally when you play a team that is winless and has given up nearly 50 points a game, you would feel pretty good.

But the Green Bobcats head coach Kevin Sheridan is on edge as he prepares his team for the Oak Hill Oaks.

Oak Hill, 0-8, has not only shown some improvement the past few weeks, but the offense has started to generate more points.

Unlike Green and Symmes Valley, Oak Hill managed to score against Lucasville Valley. The Oaks also lost just 14-6 to Portsmouth East two weeks ago. Last week, East beat Green 28-7.

Ironton at Belfry

This game could be play in an hour and a half including halftime.

Both teams run a power offense and pick their spots to pass. Belfry throws so little it makes Ironton' look like a West coast offense.

The Pirates new field turf stadium will be a welcomed change from the old stadium where fans not only sat on one side, but were right on top of the visiting team bench.

However, Ironton is 0-3 on field turf including a 17-7 loss at Jackson earlier this season, the Fighting Tigers only loss in eight games.

Belfry is coming off back-to-back Class AA state championship seasons. The Pirates lost just one game in those seasons and both to Ironton (28-0 in 2003 and 31-10 in 2004).

This is the final game in the series for now. Ironton, 11-1 against Belfry, enters the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League next year and won't be able to schedule the Pirates.