Panthers, Redmen get fresh start as OVC begins

Published 6:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2010

It was the late John Lennon who once sang the song, “Starting Over.”

That’s exactly what the Ohio Valley Conference teams will be doing when league play gets underway Friday night.

Both the host Rock Hill Redmen and Chesapeake Panthers are 0-5 against their non-league schedule, but teams all start fresh and on equal terms as far as records.

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“That makes this first week in the league pretty important. Everyone is looking for a win. It’s going to be a dogfight every week,” said Panthers’ coach Phil Davis.

Rock Hill coach Todd Knipp echoed the sentiments. He said teams can develop a positive attitude.

“The big key who can jump out and take an early lead and cut loose and play. It’s a big game for both of us for multiple reasons,” said Knipp. “In league play anything can. It all depends on how you match up and how injuries figure in.”

Both teams have been plagued by injuries all season but are getting healthy heading into conference play. In fact, Friday’s game will mark the first time the Redmen will have their original starting lineup since preseason.

“The good thing about the injuries is that a lot of our younger guys got some valuable experience,” said Knipp.

Davis agreed that injuries could be a key in determining the team that will win the conference.

“The games are about match-ups and injuries make a difference in how teams match strengths and weaknesses,” said Davis.

Rock Hill lost 33-0 at Wheelersburg last week while Chesapeake fell 34-6 at Portsmouth West. Despite the losses, both coaches saw some positive signs.

“We were able to run the ball. We needed to be able to do that,” said Knipp.

Davis said his team “gave a good effort. We didn’t play that well, but we game effort.”

Rock Hill won 34-6 last year and Davis acknowledge his team was pushed around. Knipp doesn’t see that happening this year.

“They have good size up front and they’re kids are pretty physical. They’ve played pretty well the past two weeks. They don’t turn the ball over and they’re skilled kids are getting better,” Knipp said.

Even though the teams had similar non-league opponents, Davis said it was hard to judge the teams by scores.

“The two teams are pretty close. It’s hard to compare what you do against other teams because what you do is different,” said Davis.

“Last year they ran the ball right at us last year and we didn’t do a good job with it. We need to play four quarters and not make mistakes.”