Friday night brings a matchup of No. 1 team and a winless challenger.
The Valley Indians visit the Wheelersburg Pirates this week. It has been a very different season for these two squads. Valley comes into the contest 0-8 while the Pirates stand at 8-0 and remain one of the top teams in southern Ohio.
Valley also averages a hair under 10 points a game while Wheelersburg averages a little bit over 40. But, the Indians look to shock the Pirates at their place, just as they did in 2014 when Wheelersburg was also No. 1 and lost to Valley 10-7.
Valley is coming off a 49-21 loss to Pikeville last week, although Indians coach Darren Crabtree isn’t disheartened by the defeat.
“Our kids played better the last few weeks. We’re just trying to build off of some of the momentum we gained from the way we played last week.”
He credits the team’s progress to his linemen stepping up on both sides of the ball. Valley features several new faces up front, but coming off of a good week of practice, the team feels the pressure is all on the other sideline to perform this week.
Being able to play free and loose with nothing to lose, Crabtree is depending on his young guys in the secondary this matchup to help contain a Wheelersburg offense that has an arsenal of weapons.
“We’ve always been a defensive minded team that doesn’t really go into a game or situation trying to shut down one particular player. They’ve got a number of great athletes on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest thing is to recognize; they give a number of formations and try to confuse you a little bit and out man you. I think it’s more important for us to recognize what they’re coming out in, and they do a fast paced no huddle offense at times. We need to make sure we’re properly aligned before the balls snapped to give us our best chance to try and stop them,” Crabtree said of trying to contain the many weapons of the Pirates offense.
As for the offensive side of the ball, the Indians credit last week’s scoring to a balanced attack. They are coming off of scoring 21 points, their best output all season.
“One key from last week, even though we lost to a good Pikeville team, was that we were able to run the ball for the first time in a few weeks. Our quarterback really came into his own as well,” Crabtree exclaimed on his team’s offensive strategy.
Much like Valley, Wheelersburg will focus defensively more on the formations of their opponent than any key players in particular.
“Really it’s more about what Valley does with their schemes, it’s something that they’ve been very good at. It’s very simple sets and plays that they run, they’ve just always had players that can execute,” Pirates head coach Rob Woodward said about his defenses game plan for the Indians. “That’s what we’ve got to prepare ourselves for.” If the Indians can come out and execute as balanced an offense as they did last weekend, they could definitely pose issues for the Pirates’ attempt to maintain their perfect record.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Wheelersburg looks to maintain the balanced run-pass attack they have established this season. Look for them to come out and showcase the weapons they have in multiple different schemes Friday night on their home field against the Indians.