Football previews: Seven of Scioto County’s schools open their 2019 slate


By Jacob Smith - jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com



Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews dives for the end zone during the Pirates postseason game against Madison a year ago.

Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews dives for the end zone during the Pirates postseason game against Madison a year ago.


Photo courtesy of Terry Stevenson

Night two of the high school football season in Scioto County kicks off with the county’s seven teams (not named Portsmouth or Valley) playing non-league match-ups to start their season. Out of seven games in week one, five of those games are being played at the Scioto County team’s home field.

Rivalry match-ups, teams hoping to get back at their opponents after escaping with a win a year ago in these games: It’s all you can ask for when looking at week one games. Let’s get to the previews.

Wheelersburg @ Ironton

Talk about a colossal, much-anticipated game.

In their last eight match-ups, Wheelersburg has owned this rivalry posting an 8-0 record over the last six seasons including two postseason wins over the Fighting Tigers (2014 and 2015).

But this is a new season for both squads.

Ironton head coach Trevon Pendleton, entering his second year, has the Fighting Tigers in a position where many people believe they have one of the most talented rosters in Southern Ohio.

Junior running back/linebacker Reid Carrico jumps off the page as the most talented Tiger, but names such as Youngstown State quarterback commit Gage Salyers, Ashland (Ky.) transfer Junior Jones, and Seth Fosson have Ironton poised for what could be a special year.

Before that special year can take place, they have to go through Wheelersburg.

Yes, the Pirates are attempting to fill the void of their winningest class in school history (52-4 from 2015-2018). But that doesn’t mean coach Rob Woodward won’t have his guys ready to go.

If senior Makya Matthews is indeed the Pirates choice at quarterback, as one of the most talented players in Southern Ohio a season ago, his offensive production alongside the numerous weapons the Pirates have will be more than key in securing a victory at Ironton Friday night.

Rock Hill @ Minford

In their match-ups over the last two seasons, Minford has defeated Rock Hill by a total of eight points (27-20 in 2018, 22-21 in 2017).

New starting quarterback junior Elijah Vogelsong will be at the helm for the Falcons when their offense takes the field Friday night while running backs Ty Wiget and Andy Crank, and receivers Matthew Risner, Drew Skaggs, Tyler Miller, and a host of others make up the skill positions for Minford.

Rock Hill will likely run the ball a fair amount with three seniors who rushed for over 700 yards on less than 150 carries each a season ago returning in 2019: Logan Hankins (919 yards), T.J. McGinnis (809 yards), and Zak Adkins (775) yards.

KIPP Columbus @ West

After back-to-back postseason appearances, West’s 2019 campaign kicks off with what originally was supposed to a road game, but instead will be a home game against Knowledge is Power Preparatory (KIPP) Columbus.

In a six game season a year ago, KIPP defeated East 34-2 in their opening game before finishing their year on a five game losing streak.

West has the unfortunate duty of replacing seniors Dylan Bradford, Garrett Hurd, and Josh Berry: three offensive players who were key in their attack during their high school careers.

It’s believed that Bradford’s younger brother, junior Luke Bradford, will now assume the role of starting quarterback after Dylan’s graduation.

With a stout offensive line which includes senior Joe Igaz, West’s opening game will be a measuring stick for where they hope to be by season’s end.

Northwest @ Southeastern

The first game of the Bill Crabtree area in McDermott begins with a road trip to Chillicothe Southeastern. In their season opener year ago, Northwest fell at home to Southeastern 34-0.

Senior quarterback Lane Ruby will undoubtedly be a name to keep an eye on for the Panthers. During his junior season, Ruby rushed for nearly 1500 yards and was responsible for 27 touchdowns.

For the Mohawks, this game will be the first varsity experience that many of the 44 underclassman of the 58 total players on their roster will see in their high school careers.

Sophomore running back Brayden Campbell rushed for over 600 yards in limited time during his freshman season and will be a weapon the Mohawks lean on heavily during their opening game.

Southern @ Notre Dame

In the last two meetings between these two programs, Southern has outscored Notre Dame 77-12. The Titans will attempt to flip that script Friday night at historic Spartan Stadium.

Coming of a stellar sophomore season in which he rushed for over 1200 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, junior Logan Emnett will head the Titans backfield as they hope to right the ship against the Tornadoes. Junior Jake McGuire will take over as the quarterback for the Titans after Caleb Nichols, last year’s starter, was required to have surgery that will keep him sidelined as the signal caller this season.

With a bigger roster than they’ve had in their last few years, Notre Dame will hope to challenge Southern on every possession and begin their 2019 season with a win.

Dohn Community @ Green

Green began their historic season a year ago with a 54-14 win over Dohn Community, a result Bobcat fans are hoping repeats itself in 2019.

Green’s eight man senior class led by quarterback Trevor Darnell and all-district defender Caleb Derifield is more than capable of helping Green reach that peak.

And not to mention all-district junior Lonnie Smith who will assume the lead running back position for Green in 2019 along with his regular linebacking position.

Waterford @ East

In head coach Matt Miller’s second season at the helm, the Tartans of East will open their 2019 season hosting Waterford. The Wildcats of Waterford defeated East 55-0 a season ago in both teams’ opening game.

After playing his junior season at quarterback, senior Chase Coyle will transition back to running back and will be the anchor of the Tartans offense this season.

Now back with the Tartans after playing his junior year at Notre Dame, senior all-district performer during his freshman and sophomore seasons at East Braidan Haney will hope to make as strong of an impact on the field as he did during his first stint in Sciotoville.

One thing to keep an eye on in this game: Who will Miller choose to man the quarterback position? Two freshman, Austin Baughman and Landehn Pernell were mentioned in the preseason as competitors for the starting job.

Wheelersburg senior Makya Matthews dives for the end zone during the Pirates postseason game against Madison a year ago.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2019/08/web1_matthews_madison.jpgWheelersburg senior Makya Matthews dives for the end zone during the Pirates postseason game against Madison a year ago. Photo courtesy of Terry Stevenson

By Jacob Smith

jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at jsmith@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved