• 45°

THE HUDDLE: Hornets, Panthers don’t expect anything new

With the start of Ohio Valley Conference play, teams are back in familiar surroundings in more ways than one.

One way, though, is knowing the style of your opponents, Chesapeake head coach Phil Davis said there is nothing new about what the Coal Grove Hornets will do Friday night when the Panthers host their rivals to start OVC play.

“Nothing seems to change. They’re typical Coal Grove team. They take the ball, hide it and keep it from you,” said Davis.

“Ball control has always been their deal. We need to get our defense off the field. We have to play hard the whole game and keep them from controlling the ball.”

Of course, Chesapeake is very familiar to the Hornets and coach Dave Lucas. The Panthers have several key skilled players returning including quarterback Aaron Donahoe who is the straw that stirs their offense.

“They’re explosive offensively,” said Lucas. “They can do some things. Their quarterback is a good player. He’s a three-year starter. They have an experienced fullback (Alex Wells). They have some experience (at the skilled positions).”

Although it is a league game and it is a battle for “The Little Brown Jug,” Lucas said pride also becomes a motivating factor.

“Every game is important, but when you play people you grew up with and friends, it puts more emphasis on the game. The kids know something is on the line now,” said Lucas.

Both teams come into the game with 2-3 records and each has let some games slip away due to mistakes.

“They could have won couple more games. They had some turnovers down close when they had a chance to score and couldn’t capitalize. They’re better than their record,” said Davis.

Lucas agreed the turnovers have been a thorn in the Hornets’ side, but he said “We’re gradually eliminating mistakes which allows us to get in the end zone.”

While both teams boast strong offenses, the difference could come on defense.

“Their secondary is experience and pretty good. Their defensive line is new but their linebackers are active,” said Lucas.

Davis praised the Hornets as well.

“They’re not bad defensively and their linebackers are pretty good. But they always pressure you up front and they’re pretty physical,” said Davis.

Coal Grove won last year’s meeting 28-6.