Vikings must stop skilled Bisons

Published 3:01 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Jim Walker


WILLOW WOOD — Not much seems to change in this matchup.

Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb is expecting much of the same when the Vikings host the Buffalo Bisons on Friday.

“They’re a typical Buffalo team like we’ve played in the past, they just have a little more size,” said Webb.

“They have very good skilled players. They always have good skilled kids. They’ll be a good test because they’ll be a state playoff contender (in West Virginia). We look forward to the challenge.”

Leading the Bisons’ list of skilled players is junior running back Dylan Lucas (5-10, 172) who was a wide receiver last year. He ran13 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns including an 80-yard kickoff return in last week’s 53-20 win over Parkersburg Catholic.

“He’s very athletic and has good balance. You won’t bring him down with an arm tackle,” said Webb.

The multi-set offense has Ethan Burgess (6-0, 182) back at quarterback. Behind him is fullback Jacob Hanshaw (6-0, 216).

“Burgess is a good athlete. We have to keep him in the pocket,” said Webb. “Hanshaw is a big kid and he’ll hit you.”

“They will pound it in side to make you honor it, but they like to run outside and they throw the ball well.”

The Bisons lost three seniors from last year’s 9-3 team that reached the state quarterfinals.

Also back is tight end Owen Tillis (6-3, 235), lineman Jacob Easton (6-3, 271) and receivers Ty Smith (5-10, 155) and Connor Fields (5-11, 147).

Buffalo will also have Dylan Slaubaugh (6-4, 194), Zach Boyer (6-4, 245) and Manny Savilla (5-11, 285) up front.

“Tillis is a nice tight end and a good defensive end. He’s very athletic for his size. Slaubaugh is an athletic kid, too,” said Webb.

“They have the majority of their team back. They had five or six freshmen who started on an 0-10 team and they went to the second round with freshmen and sophomores last year. Now they have them back as sophomores and juniors this year.”

Webb said the Vikings will have to play a solid, fundamentally sound game defensively in order to stop the Bisons.

On the other end, Webb said the Vikings’ offense must execute and not commit turnovers.

“We have to play very disciplined defense,” said Webb. “They have good team speed and they fly around to the ball. We can’t make mistakes and we have to take care of the ball.”