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Chesapeake, Portsmouth West to match size and strength

Chesapeake wide receiver Javon Thompson (3) goes up to make a catch for a touchdown over a Lucasville Valley defender in last week’s game. Valley won 30-22. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

CHESAPEAKE — The Chesapeake Panthers are going from one unbeaten Southern Ohio Conference team to another.

Last week the Panthers faced Lucasville Valley and lost 30-22. This week Chesapeake hosts the unbeaten Portsmouth West Senators (4-0).

Despite their similar records and conference affiliation, Chesapeake coach Andy Clark said there is a distinct difference between the two teams who are set to meet on Friday at Chesapeake.

“They’re two totally different styles,” said Clark. “Valley uses their athleticism and tries to spread you out. West stays in that fullhouse-T and tries to run right at you.”

Leading the West running game are halfbacks Adam Bricker (6-2, 195) and Kyle Auger (5-11, 190). The Senators also mix it up with fullback Justin Crace (5-11, 195) and quarterback Levi Ratcliff (6-3, 200).

“West presents a lot of problems. All their backs are about the same size and they all run very hard,” said Clark. “Auger and Bricker stand out. They have good speed. But the other backs are strong and run hard, too.”

The running game runs behind tackles Cody Bricker (6-1, 290) and Damian Savage (6-3, 240) as well as tight ends Alec Meeker (5-9, 210) and Zack Frye (6-4, 210).

“They’re big and strong up front. I feel that’s one of our strengths, but we’ll find out,” said Clark.

The Senators try to use the same size and power on defense to stop opponents, something they’ll try to do against the Panthers (3-1) who are looking for a win to boost their computer points total.

Cody Bricker and Savage are the tackles with Matt Bennett (6-1, 240) at the nose guard. Meeker and Phillip Carnes (6-0190) are the ends.

The linebackers are Josh Cooper (6-2, 235) and Frye while the secondary has Auger and Corey Summers (5-9, 185) at the corners with Ratliff and Adam Bricker the safeties.

“Defensive they have size up front. The nose guard and tackles are big and strong and hard to run on. The linebackers and defensive ends are pretty impressive,” said Clark.

“They don’t have (Jared) Pendleton at linebacker but they’re just as good only in a different way.”

Pendleton dominated for West last season at fullback and linebacker. Despite losing him to graduation, Clark said the Senators are improved not only from last season but since their opening game.

“They’ve got a good mix of size and speed. They don’t have one super player, but they have a lot of guys with good speed we have to contain. We have got some size and strength, but we have to use our techniques to play in there with them,” said Clark.