Friday’s encounter between the Notre Dame Titans and the visiting Green Bobcats has several interesting stories for both teams as they try to capture their second conference win of the season.
Both teams enter the game with identical overall records, 3-2, as well as conference records, 1-1. Each team has also lost and won a conference matchup.
The hosting Notre Dame Titans picked up their first SOC I victory of the 2016 season in a week 4 encounter with the Eastern Eagles in Beaver, Ohio. Last week, the Titans looked as if they would be cruising to another conference win as they played on the road against the Oak Hill Oaks, but instead saw their 21-point lead disappear in the latter moments of the game.
On the visitor’s side for Friday’s encounter, the Green Bobcats enter the week 6 matchup almost as a polar opposite of the hosting Titans.
During the first week of league play, Green suffered a loss to the East Tartans in Franklin Furnace. The following week appeared as if it would be a repeat, as the Bobcats trailed by 20 points at one point in the game, only to come back and defeat the Symmes Valley Vikings 32-28.
The win over Symmes Valley was the first conference victory for the Bobcats in 10 years, when they won two SOC I games in 2006.
“I think it’s going to be a good matchup,” Green football coach, Ted Newsome said. “There’s a lot of matching details between the two of us, which I found to be pretty interesting.”
Aside from interesting details between the two teams, Newsome has had a message for his Bobcats, that they have a job to do Friday night.
“We want to build on what we did last week,” Newsome said. “What we did was special and we were very proud of that and were proud of our kids’ efforts, but that was a game that we had been hoping for and looking for, to point to and say we beat a good, sound program.”
Newsome wants to use last week’s victory as not only a game the Bobcats can be proud of, but also use as a building block to lead to future wins for the program.
“We’re looking at it as an opportunity to take our program to another level,” Newsome said. “This next step is to beat a good football team that is well coached like Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame football coach, Bob Ashley, is happy to be home Friday evening, after the Titans haven’t seen played on their home field since September 2. Having not played at home in nearly a month, the Titans are eager to play in front of a home crowd, especially after several long journeys to road opponents.
Aside from playing at home, Ashley is also eager to get his team on the field as they try to correct the mistakes that ultimately cost them the game against Oak Hill.
“I told them we have to forget last week and focus on Friday,” Ashley said. “They’ve put in a great week of practice and are focused on their opponents, a well coached Bobcat team.”
Ashley said his team will need to do a better job of protecting the ball if they want to earn their second conference win of the season Friday night.
While forcing three turnovers in the first quarter of their game against Oak Hill, the Titans then fumbled the ball four times throughout the rest of the game, losing possession off all fumbles.
“You can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to defeat a quality team like Oak Hill,” Ashley said.
Protecting the ball will be a key element for the Titans to win, according to Ashley.
Ashley also noted the relief of playing at home for both the players and coaches.
“It’s going to be nice to just play at home and not be on the road again,” Ashley said. “We only have four home games this year and our seniors only have three games left at home, so it will mean a lot for them.”
Even though the game will be played at Spartan Municipal Stadium, Newsome will feel at home, technically as a visiting coach. The Bobcats coach may be one of the most familiar people with the field at Spartan Stadium.
“That is my home, that was my front yard my whole life. That’s where I played high school football. That’s where I played as a little boy,” Newsome said. “I grew up and the first thing I saw every morning was Spartan Stadium for my whole life until I left to go to college. To say it’s a special place to me is an understatement. I’m really excited to get back there and compete against the Titans in a place I consider one of the most near and dear places in my heart that there is.”
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext. 1930.