Teams prepare to begin conference play

Published 3:20 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

The preliminaries are over. It’s time to get down to business.

Area teams in the Ohio Valley Conference and Southern Ohio Conference have completed their non-league games and now brace for their conference opponents.

Since most non-conference schedules are different, records are not necessarily a determining factor when trying to figure out who the best team is.

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So let the league games begin.

Green (2-3) at

Symmes Valley (4-1)

This game could be the first in a series of battles between the two teams.

Both teams are young and should be competitive next season as well.

“Green is young, but coach (Dan) Mercer does a nice job. They’re well-coached and you have to play well to beat them,” said Vikings’ coach Rusty Webb.

The Bobcats are expected to have only three seniors in their starting lineup. Despite having only four seniors starting on either side of the ball, the Vikings have a lot of experience in their lineup due to a flood of injuries last season that forced the younger players to step in and play.

Symmes Valley won last year 34-22, but Webb doesn’t foresee as high-scoring of a game this time around.

“Our defense has played well, but Green has played well defensively. Southern beat them 25-16 last week but Southern has a veteran team and Green hung right with them. This is a league game, so you know it will be tough,” said Webb.

Chesapeake (0-5) at

Coal Grove (4-1)

Coal Grove is off to its best start in years, but the Panthers have always been a thorn in their side.

The Hornets won last year’s meeting, but it was a struggle before they put the Panthers away 27-13.

The game will match the Hornets’ depth at the skill positions against the Panthers who were hampered by the flu last week that kept three starters out of the lineup and limited several others.

Chesapeake’s top offensive lineman and linebacker Brad Eldred was injured in week one and is lost for the season.

Coal Grove has had little trouble scoring. The Hornets are averaging 40 points a game and have been strong in the running game, passing game and special teams with two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

River Valley (0-5) at

South Point (0-5)

Something has got to give.

Both teams are inexperienced and in a rebuilding mode. The Pointers have been hurt by injuries but hope to be healthy for River Valley.

The Raiders haven’t won many OVC games. In fact, a win in week 10 last year over Rock Hill snapped a 21-game losing streak in the conference dating back to a win over South Point in 2004.

Tyler Smith heads the River Valley running game and leads the team in scoring. The Raiders offense features quarterback Jacob Brown and receiver Cody McAvena who click on a TD pass in last week’s 26-6 loss to Waterford.

It was the first touchdown by a Raiders’ player other than Smith.

The Pointers got a boost last week with the return of Doug Dillon. He joins Brandon Hedrick to give his team a one-two punch in the backfield.