“Both teams have the same goal at this point in the season,” Indians coach Darren Crabtree said. “It’s going to be important to come out and play well early because Waverly is relatively young at some positions and the longer they stay close or play well, they’re going to gain confidence.”
The high-powered Valley offense has averaged 425 yards of total offense in its five victories. The smallest margin of victory this season for the Indians has been eight (30-22 win Week Four over Chesapeake).
Valley is coming off a 41-8 home win last week over South Point while the Tigers were doubled up 42-21 last week at Athens. While the team is young, Crabtree said Waverly cannot be taken lightly.
“Offensively they do a nice job of trying to spread you out and they like to throw the football quite a bit,” Crabtree said. “(Trevon Bolin-Hitchens) at quarterback has played a lot better the last two or three weeks and they’ve caught the ball better.”
The running game will be the key to the contest. Senior tailback Luke Keller has rushed for 692 yards on 60 carries and 11 rushing touchdowns.
Not only is he a threat on the ground, he can also do damage by catching the ball. After five games, Keller has 16 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns
“We’ve relied on him very heavily the first five games,” Crabtree said. “… He’s been our go-to guy.”
Last season, the Indians shut out Waverly 54-0. If Valley wins and West defeats Minford, a battle of two 6-0 teams will take place next Friday in Lucasville with command of the SOC II up for grabs.
East at Oak Hill
September 26, 2008.
That was the last time the Oak Hill Oaks lost a game to an SOC I opponent. That 21-13 defeat came at the hands of the East Tartans, their opponents tonight at Davis Stadium in Oak Hill.
East coach Todd Gilliland believes a win over the two-time defending SOC I champions will go a long way in determining who wins the conference this season.
“The first league game of the year, it’s kind of just like the first game of the year,” Gilliland said. “You’re wanting to set the tone for the rest of the season.
“We know Oak Hill is going to be a tough match-up for us. You can put their record aside, they’ve played a really tough schedule this year and they’ll be looking at it the same way we are, looking at getting that first league win so we’re expecting a really tough game (tonight).”
It is the first conference game for the Oaks (0-5) under coach Randy Homa. Oak Hill will look to send its Homecoming crowd home with its first victory of the season.
The Oaks, who dethroned East for the SOC I crown two seasons ago, have won 11-straight conference games since the loss at Allard Park in Sciotoville.
Zane Trace at Piketon
The Piketon Redstreaks (2-3, 1-1) will look to make it two-straight in Scioto Valley Conference action tonight when they host Zane Trace for Homecoming.
Piketon is coming off a 49-26 win last week at Huntington. The Pioneers (2-3, 1-1) are coming off a 35-7 home loss last week to Adena.
Although it’s Week Six, the winner of this contest could pick up a boost in the race for playoff positioning in Division IV, Region 15. Currently, Zane Trace is in 15th while the Redstreaks are 18th.
Piketon won last year’s meeting 36-19.
Green at Symmes Valley
Green(3-2) will make the long trek out to Symmes Valley(4-1) to open the SOC I schedule against the Vikings tonight.
According to Green coach Dan McDavid, the distance will not bother his team.
“I think our kids have turned into road warriors with all the places we’ve been recently,” McDavid said. “We try to keep the same routine every week and we won’t be changing anything this week.”
What McDavid and the Bobcats do hope to change is their offensive consistency.
“We want to be in situations were we are able to pass when we want to pass and not be forced into situations where we have to pass,” McDavid said.
Defensively, the coach wants his players to play with a chip on their shoulder.
“We need our guys to play their positions and run to the football and be angry when they get there,” McDavid said.
Symmes Valley coach Rusty Webb knows the SOC opener will be a bruising one.
“They are a physical team and will line up and hit you and then throw the ball some,” Webb said. “The key for us, just as it always is, is controlling the ball and controlling the clock. If we limit our turnovers we should be in good shape.”