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Redmen-Hornets key rivalry week

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

It’s rivalry week in the Ohio Valley Conference.
With eight teams this year in the league, the schedule was adjusted so that teams would play their rivals the final week of the regular season.
The schedule features the Fairland Dragons at the Chesapeake Panthers, the Rock Hill Redmen visiting the Coal Grove Hornets and the Ironton Fighting Tigers traveling to play the Portsmouth Trojans.
The newest member of the league is the Gallipolis Blue Devils who have no real history with the South Point Pointers. But with both teams coming into Friday’s game with identical 0-9 records including 0-6 in the OVC, this could become a budding rivalry because of how hard the teams will play in order to remain out of last place.
Fairland is 3-6 but 3-3 in the OVC. The Dragons have played well the second half of the season including last week’s 34-22 upset of the Coal Grove Hornets.
Chesapeake (8-1, 5-1) has always played the Dragons tough, even when the Panthers are underdogs.
They will be favorites this time but don’t expect a letdown. The Panthers are looking for a win to secure a home game in the first round of the Division VI playoffs.
And don’t forget that since this is rivalry week, the Panthers are still hoping to get some help and earn a share of the OVC title.
Ironton is 6-3 overall but 6-0 in the league. An Ironton loss and Chesapeake win would leave the two teams tied for the league championship.
Speaking of the playoffs, Coal Grove (5-3, 3-3) has lost two straight and it appeared they were out of the playoff picture in Division VI. But that is not the case.
The Hornets need at least two teams ahead of them to lost this weekend and all the games could be considered toss-ups.
The Symmes Valley Vikings will celebrate Senior Night as they host the Northwest Mohawks (1-8, 1-4).
The Vikings (2-7, 0-5) would like nothing better than to get their first league win and go into the offseason on a positive note.
Symmes Valley is a young and inexperienced team this season and hampered by injuries. But they are getting healthy and could us the balance of their running and passing game to beat the Mohawks.
In other games, Green hosts Oak Hill, Portsmouth Notre Dame hosts Sciotoville East on Saturday in a battle for first place in the SOC 1, Minford visits Lucasville Valley, Portsmouth West goes to Wheelersburg, and Linsly Academy travels to Beaver Eastern.