September 13, 2013
PDT Sports Editor
Minford gets a chance to avenge a 49-27 home playoff loss to Piketon when the Redstreaks come back to town Friday night. There is only one problem — most of Piketon’s starters were seen wearing caps and gowns last spring in a celebratory fashion.
So, Friday night will be a matchup between an experienced Falcons squad and a different cast of characters for the Redstreaks.
“This is a totally different group of kids,” Piketon coach Tyler Gullion said. “They know their surroundings because they’ve been there but this is a totally different bunch. Most of these kids were watching the game on the sidelines last year. Now they are starting.”
Minford coach Brent Daniels isn’t interested in the revenge factor.
“We remember a little bit of last year, getting knocked out of the playoffs,” Daniels said. “We don’t look at this game any differently. Each game we play is the most important game of the year. This is the next game on the list.”
The Falcons (2-0) have outscored their first two opponents 74-6, which doesn’t surprise Gullion.
“They are a good team and they have everyone back,” Gullion said. “Daniels does a good job with them. They don’t have many weaknesses. You usually look for a weak link and try to attack, but they don’t have any.”
Other than a few turnovers and untimely penalties, Daniels is pleased with his team’s performance.
“We have to continue the way we are playing,” Daniels said. “We have to shore up a few things we have done wrong over the last two weeks but we are playing good ball right now.”
According to Gullion, Piketon (0-2) will have to be a disciplined football team Friday night. The Redstreaks cannot afford to have blown assignments offensively or defensively.
Against Minford’s Wing-T formation, Piketon’s defense will have to play sound, gap-control football. The defensive players will have to read their keys and fly to the football, Gullion said.
The Redstreaks have struggled to find consistency in their first two games.
“We have been inconsistent, which is normal for a young team,” Gullion said. “We played well in the first half against Waverly and we played well in the second half against Vinton County. Now, we have to put four quarters together, which comes with experience.”
Piketon lost their season opener to Waverly, 14-7, in a game where the Redstreaks led at halftime. Piketon lost to Vinton County, 34-20, in Week 2.
“They were in the game with Waverly,” Daniels said. “They had some bad breaks the last couple of games. They are not a bad squad, we are taking them seriously.”
Daniels is expecting a physical contest Friday.
“Gullion is a good coach,” Daniels said. “He is trying to get his team some experience. He’s doing the best he can. Anytime you lose that many starters, it’s going to take time to get the young kids up to speed. But he has them battling. They are a scrappy bunch.”
Gullion points to the mental aspect of the game has the major contributor to Piketon’s win-less start.
“We are missing way to many assignments,” Gullion said. “We play hard the whole time. We are just missing assignments that are killing us offensively and defensively. Whether it’s our defensive line getting to the right gap or running the wrong stunt, it’s just been a weakness right now.”
Despite the miscues, Gullion is encouraged by the progress of his young team.
“From Week 1 to week 2, we are getting more crisp at what we are doing,” Gullion said. “We are still missing to many assignments but it’s getting better.”
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Minford.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.