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Staying out in front

To know me is to love me. Okay, so they don’t love each other. And knowing each other so well only makes things harder.

The Rock Hill Redmen and Chesapeake Panthers know each other well, especially since they run the same offense and defense.

Redmen head coach Todd Knipp did his student teaching under Chesapeake head coach Phil Davis and current Panther assistant Andy Clark began his teaching career coaching under Knipp.

“The similarities in offenses and defenses mean both teams know what gives the other team trouble. It should be interesting,” said Knipp.

Davis discounted the familiarity between the two teams and focused on execution.

“They don’t make very many mistakes. They don’t beat themselves,” said Davis. “They’ve been opportunistic. They take advantage of other people’s mistakes.”

While the teams are similar in some ways, there are different in their status coming into the Ohio Valley Conference game.

Rock Hill is 6-1 and 2-0 in the OVC. Chesapeake is struggling. The Panthers are 2-5 and 0-2 in the league.

Knipp expects Chesapeake to come out fighting.

“Our last three games against them have been barnburners. They’ll be fired up and ready to play. They’re well coached and they’ll be prepared,” said Knipp.

“We talked to kids from day one to approach it one game at a time. Our concentration is on Chesapeake. If we don’t take care of business this week, the rest of them don’t mean a whole lot.”

Davis said Rock Hill’s size and strength are a key concerns, but three straight games may be an even bigger obstacle to overcome.

“They don’t change anything defensively. They’re physical and don’t give up big plays,” said Davis.

River Valley at Fairland

Fairland (3-4, 1-1) is another team that must win to keep pace in the Ohio Valley Conference title chase.

The Dragons have been about to score and River Valley (1-6, 0-2) hasn’t had much luck stopping anyone.

The Raiders did throw a scare at Rock Hill two weeks ago and Fairland can’t afford to get caught looking back at Rock Hill and ahead to South Point.

Symmes Valley

at Oak Hill

Symmes Valley is doing its own version of “Stayin’ Alive” with a trip to play the Oaks.

The Vikings are 2-5 but 1-1 in the Southern Ohio Conference. The Vikings need to win their final two SOC games and hope for East to lose at least once.

“This is a huge league game. We still give ourselves a chance to win the league, so there’s still a lot to play for,” said Vikings coach Rusty Webb.

Oak Hill (2-5, 0-2) has been inconsistent, much like the Vikings.

“They’re young team. They’re about as young as we are,” said Webb. “They run the ball well and throw the ball well. They put a lot of pressure on your defense.”

The Oaks offense centers around quarterback Jesse “James” Slone, a gun-slinging passer who is ahead of his years, according to Webb.

“(Slone) for a freshman iss very poised and mature. He does a nice job of running their offense. Even though he’s a freshman, he doesn’t throw many interceptions,” said Webb.

“They’ve moved the ball on everyone and they’ve been able to score on everyone,” said Webb. “One of the keys will be who has the least amount of turnovers.”