One of the area’s better football matchups in recent years will take place Friday evening in Minford, Ohio, as the Mighty Minford Falcons host the Oak Hill Oaks at Minford High School.
The Minford and Oak Hill series has seen multiple classics which often times can’t be decided in regulation minutes. In the past several years, the Oaks and Falcons have battled not only into overtime and double overtime, but have even needed triple overtime to decide which team would come out on top.
When Minford and Oak Hill meet Friday evening, both Minford coach Jesse Ruby and Oak Hill coach Nathan Dugan believe the 2016 meeting will look a lot like the close games of recent seasons.
“I think it’s going to be a close ball game,” Ruby said. “If you look at the last five years, every time we play each other it has been a tight ball game. We’ve had triple overtime games and double overtime games.”
Just as his counterpart believes, Dugan thinks the Week 2 game between his Oaks and Ruby’s Falcons will be another close game.
“I don’t see it straying too far from the past,” Dugan said. “It’s two teams that play a level of football that brings out, I think, the best of both of them.”
Since 2004, the two teams have met 11 times, including two meetings in 2010, a regular season game and a playoff game.
Minford holds the overall record against the Oaks in those 11 meetings, 9-2, with the Oaks walking away victorious in 2009, 20-14 and in the 2010 playoff game, 31-27.
More recently, the series saw Minford end up with a one-point, 20-19 win in 2012, a 14-point win in 2013, 30-16 and a 28-21 win in 2014.
Last year’s game between the Oaks and Falcons was delayed due to lightning and had to be resumed the following day. It also saw a Minford win, 29-15.
“The last four years it has been either an overtime game or a double overtime game, or it has gone right down to the wire.” Dugan said.
This year’s contest will have a little more meaning to it, as both teams finished last week in the loss column. The need for a win to equal out their record is expected to be a factor in the game for both teams with neither wanting to fall to 0-2 to start the season.
“I know both teams go into this game shaking their heads together after week one,” Dugan said.
In the season opener, both teams had issues with turnovers, which ultimately aided to their loss in their first game.
“It’s one of those situations where you’ve got to right the ship pretty quick,” Dugan said.
According to Ruby, for Minford to win, the Falcons will need to stop the Oak Hill inside run game.
“Oak Hill is big up front,” Ruby said. “I want to see our kids rise to the challenge of meeting their (Oak Hill) intensity, from the offensive line.”
Additionally, the Falcons will need to maintain their blocks on offense.
“We need to be able to use our skills to put stress on their defense,” Ruby said. “Whether that’s making good cuts, catching the ball with space and our quarterback making good reads on who to throw to.”
Friday’s game is expected to be quite a physical game from both coaches. With the increased physicality, also comes a more competitive game, in which Dugan knows fans tend to appreciate.
“When you have two coaching staffs that really respect each other and at the same time will do everything they possibly can to win this game; we pass it along to our kids and our kids, our players come out and represent where they are from very well,” Dugan said.
“That leads to what we hope to be a real fun game to watch,” Dugan continued. “They’re terrible to coach in. It’s the most nerve-racking thing in the world to coach in one of these games, because you know a missed call, or if you set your defense wrong one time, they could take advantage of it. It’s nerve-racking for us (coaches), but they’re really entertaining to watch.”
Going into Friday, Ruby acknowledged his team needed to match Oak Hill’s physical style or winning may be significantly more difficult.
“They’re a very physical football team,” Ruby said. “I’m looking for us to be able to, trying to see how our kids will respond to that. It’s something we have to do. We have to, if we’re going to beat this team, we have to raise to their physicality when they run the ball.
“I think it’ll be a pretty even ball game.”
Oak Hill visits Minford Friday evening, September 2, 2016. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext. 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.