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Turnovers key to playoff game for Panthers, Indians

Chesapeake Panthers’ quarterback Casey McComas (4) rolls out as he looks to throw. The Panthers play at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Lucasville Valley in the Division VI Region 21 playoff quarterfinals. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Chesapeake Panthers’ quarterback Casey McComas (4) rolls out as he looks to throw. The Panthers play at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Lucasville Valley in the Division VI Region 21 playoff quarterfinals. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

CHESAPEAKE — Coach Andy Clark has a message for his team: hold onto the football.

Clark has been making his team aware of the importance of not fumbling the ball or throwing interceptions as the Chesapeake Panthers prepare to meet the Valley Indians at 7 p.m. Saturday in Lucasville in the Division VI Region 21 quarterfinals.

“We can’t turn it over. That’s been a problem for us but we’ve worked on it a lot more,” said Clark.

Turnovers could be extra crucial considering the match-up of teams who mirror each other.

Both have high-scoring offenses and stingy defenses, so Clark doesn’t want to give the Indians and extra advantages.

Chesapeake has scored 332 points and allowed only 107. The Panthers have on shutout and five teams have scored in single digits.

Lucasville Valley (8-1) has scored 315 points while the defense has been touched up for 130 points in nine games.

“It’ll be speed versus speed,” said Clark.

Valley quarterback Bryan Rolfe was 73-of-120 for 1,501 yards and 19 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He ran 56 times for 185 yards and two scores.

Running back Blake Howard leads the team with 540 yards on 80 attempts with 11 touchdowns. He has caught 32 passes for 525 yards and three TDs.

Howard has also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and one punt for a score.

“(Howard) has stepped it up the last three games for them. Rolfe is the best passer we’ve seen,” said Clark.

Other key weapons are senior receiver Bryce Romanello with 10 catches for 270 yards and four touchdowns — he missed four games with an injury — and Derek Burk has 15 receptions for 363 yards and six touchdowns.

Chesapeake (8-2) counters with a quarterback of its own in Casey McComas. The junior signal-caller has rushed 102 times for 780 yards and 11 touchdowns while completing 23-of-40 passes for 429 yards and six scores. He has thrown just one interception.

Leading the Panthers’ ground game is senior fullback Maccoy Brown with 807 yards on 107 attempts and he has seven touchdowns.

Freshman Ty Wilcoxon has 65 carries for 503 yards and four scores and junior J.W. Bartrum had 475 yards on 69 tries with nine touchdowns.

The Panthers got a boost last week when their fastest back — sophomore Cecil Fletcher — returned from a broken foot injury sustained in the preseason.

“(Fletcher) is getting better,” said Clark.

Senior linebacker Drew Wolford spearheads the Valley defense. He has 70 tackles despite playing the last seven games with a dislocated shoulder.

Linebacker J.T. Ward leads the Indians with 80 tackles.

Chesapeake’s lockdown defense is led by senior linebacker Brad Meadows with 113 tackles — four for a loss — and three interceptions. Senior defensive tackle Jacob Johnson is second on the team with 66 stops with seven for a loss.

McComas and Wilcoxon also have three interceptions each.

Clark doesn’t want the game to come down to intangibles.

“We can’t have things go their way like they have the last few games. They’ve returns a punt for a touchdown, they had a scoop and score (fumble recovery), a touchdown pass that bounced off someone’s head, just crazy things,” said Clark.

Chesapeake’s opponents have a 43-56 record and Valley opponents have a combined mark of 47-43.

 

Chesapeake Panthers Offense

Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.

WR Austin Oldaker 10 5-11 175 Sr.

Austin Browning 6 5-11 155 Fr.

LT Jacob Johnson 60 6-01 215 Sr.

LG Seth Marlowe 54 5-10 160 Sr.

C Brendan Meadows 52 6-00 205 Sr.

RG Chandler Sexton 51 5-08 205 Sr.

RT Brad Meadows 50 6-05 220 Sr.

TE Blake Ashworth 28 5-10 205 Sr.

WB J.W. Bartrum 8 5-08 155 Jr.

Cecil Fletcher 9 6-00 160 So.

WB Ty Wilcoxon 22 5-11 175 Fr.

FB Maccoy Brown 35 5-10 205 Sr.

QB Casey McComas 4 5-09 155 Jr.

PK Wesley Stephens 3 6-03 135 Sr.

 

Chesapeake Panthers Defense

Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.

DE Seth Marlowe 54 5-10 160 Sr.

DT Chandler Sexton 51 5-08 205 Sr.

DT Jacob Johnson 60 6-01 215 Sr.

DE Brendan Meadows 52 6-00 205 Sr.

Maccoy Brown 35 5-10 205 Sr.

ILB Brad Meadows 50 6-05 220 Sr.

ILB Dakota Clark 58 5-09 165 Sr.

OLB Shamarr Morris 7 5-06 145 Jr.

OLB Will Scott 34 6-00 170 Jr.

CB Casey McComas 4 5-09 155 Jr.

CB J.W. Bartrum 8 5-08 155 Jr.

FS Austin Browning 6 5-11 155 Fr.

P Will Scott 34 6-00 170 Jr.

 

2015 Results

Chesapeake 56 Oak Hill 6

Chesapeake 9 Alexander 3

Chesapeake 25 Symmes Valley 14

Chesapeake 20 Rock Hill (OT) 27

Chesapeake 54 Vincent Warren 6

Chesapeake 35 South Point 0

Chesapeake 36 Fairland 6

Chesapeake 49 Portsmouth 18

Chesapeake 14 Ironton 21

Chesapeake 34 Coal Grove 6

Record: 8-2

 

Lucasville Valley Indians Defense

Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.

DE Brice Romanello 24 6-01 200 Sr.

DT Heath Greathouse 76 5-11 225 Jr.

DT Tye Steward 70 5-05 215 Sr.

DE Gavin Yazell 74 6-00 222 Sr.

OLB Kenny Williams 4 6-00 160 Sr.

ILB Drew Wolford 45 6-01 235 Sr.

ILB J.T. Ward 21 5-09 160 So.

OLB Sam Basham 38 5-11 200 Sr.

CB Bryan Rolfe 11 6-02 190 Sr.

CB Dylan Howard 27 6-00 165 Sr.

FS Blake Howard 23 5-11 165 Sr.

P Bryan Rolfe 11 6-02 190 Sr.

 

Lucasville Valley Indians Offense

Pos. Player No. Ht. Wt. Gr.

TE Brice Romanello 24 6-01 200 Sr.

LT Blake Brewer 56 6-03 224 Sr.

LG J.D. Dejarnette 57 5-10 205 Sr.

C Nathan Riehl 64 6-02 230 Jr.

RG Gavin Yazell 74 6-00 222 Sr.

RT Jordan Spradlin 55 6-04 295 Sr.

WR Kenny Williams 4 6-00 160 Sr.

SE Derek Burk 13 5-08 160 Sr.

FB Drew Wolford 45 6-01 235 Sr.

Sam Basham 38 5-11 200 Sr.

QB Bryan Rolfe 11 6-02 190 Sr.

RB Blake Howard 23 5-11 165 Sr.

PK Bryan Rolfe 11 6-02 190 Sr.

 

2015 Results

Lucasville Valley 33 Portsmouth 0

Lucasville Valley 47 Coal Grove 14

Lucasville Valley 35 Piketon 8

Lucasville Valley 28 Raceland, Ky. 22

Lucasville Valley 55 Sciotoville East 15

Lucasville Valley 35 Waverly 14

Lucasville Valley 30 Portsmouth West 8

Lucasville Valley 13 Wheelersburg 35

Lucasville Valley 41 Minford 14

Record: 8-1 (3-1 SOC)