Big weekend on tap in Eastern District; a closer look at what to expect


Eastern District Football

Week 1 is in the book and it wasn’t without its highlights,
surprises, leg cramps and penalties. Eastern District correspondent Kurt Stubbs checks in with a look back at some of the region's top performances last week and what to expect in Week 2. Kickoff is near.  

Week 1 is in the book and it wasn’t without its highlights,
surprises, leg cramps and penalties. Personally, I ate well last weekend in
terms of high school football, viewing a game Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The picks went better than expected. The finally tally was
(31-7), which is good for 82 percent.

There is a lot of stuff to discuss, so I’m not going to
spend any more time rambling. I’m going to take a look at some of this past
week’s best and worst performances in “who is hot” and “who is not” followed by
a look at the statistical leaders from week one. Finally, an in-depth look at
some of the top match ups in the district along with a score prediction for
each game.

“Who is Hot”

-Junior Jordan Dillon of Zanesville Rosecrans was producing
in all aspects of the game. The 6-foot-1, 
185-pound junior ran for 116 yard on 15 carries and scored four
touchdowns. Dillon also kicked a field goal and booted five extra points, which
was good for 32 total points in the Bishops 38-13 victory of Tuscarawas Central

-Indian Valley’s junior quarterback Zach Baker threw four
TDs and amassed 152 yards through the air in the Braves 39-26 triumph over
Newcomerstown. The Trojans jumped out to a 13-7 lead, but the
Gnadenhutten-based school would follow with 26 unanswered second quarter
points. Senior Blair Emler was on the receiving end of three of those four

-The Zanesville Blue Devil defense was up to the challenge
against 1st team all-Ohio running back Storm Klein. The Blue and
White held the phenomenal junior to just 46 yards on 11 carries. However, Klein
did score on two short touchdown runs. Josh Bailey did manage to crack the
100-yard barrier with 105 yards for the Panthers. Too many missed
opportunities, bad field position, and costly turnovers turned into a 27-7
setback for the Blue Devils. Division I recruit Bryan Gaiters finished with 51
yards on 12 carries for Zanesville.

-Beaver Local, showing off its new spread offense, scored 40
first half points against bitter rival East Liverpool in the Beavers 47-8
victory. Under new offensive coordinator Jeff Bruno, 10 different Beavers
touched the ball on offense. Head oach Rich Wright has defeated his alma mater
eight times in the past nine years. 

-Buckeye Local, a team many thought to be basement dwellers
in the Buckeye 8 (including myself), played an extraordinary game against the
team many believed to be one of the best in the Eastern District in Martins
Ferry. The Panthers defense, led by stud inside linebackers Isaac Omaits and
Shane Bishop, held Purple Rider tailback Jeremy Murray to just 86 yards. The
junior only managed 43 yards up until the game winning drive. Murray carried it
seven times for 43 yards on the final drive including the game-winning
touchdown with under a minute to play to give the Riders a 17-14 win.

-Union Local senior Zach Gust didn’t disappoint. The
electrifying speedster “wowed” the crowd with a 90-yard kick off return for a
score and an 85-yard punt return for a six-pointer. Gust gained better than 250
yards of total offense in the Jets 35-21 victory over Meadowbrook.

“Who is Not” 

-The New Philadelphia Quakers came into last Friday’s game
against Canton Central Catholic with high hopes. The Quakers returned 17
starters including Akron recruit quarterback Jordan Miller along with two other
D-I in senior Bryant McKnight and junior Tyler Dummermuth. Those three mustered
just (266) yards of total offense, but 60 of those yards were on returns by
Dummermuth. Furthermore, the Quakers were blanked on the big board falling
(25-0) after 48 minutes of play.

-The Indian Creek rushing attack was totally erased by
two-time defending state champion, Steubenville. The Redskins rushed 26 times
for minus-19 yards, while only managing 57 yards through the air and just three
first downs.

Statistical Leaders for Week 1:

Rushing 150-Plus Yards for Week 1:

Jeff Hanselman (Wellsville/Sr.)- 14 for 211 (4 TDS)

Justin Gidcumb (John Glenn/Sr.)- 21 for 210 (TD)

Joey Wheeler (Shenandoah/Sr.)- 16 for 168 (2 TDS)

Devon Ludwig (Beaver Local/Sr.)- 10 for 160 (TD)

Justin Kaufman (Steubenville CC/Sr.)- 25 for 152 (3 TDS)

Receiving 100-Plus Yards:

Nathaniel Haney (Shadyside/Sr.)- 3 for 135 (2 TDS)

Wade Warner (Tri-Valley/Sr.)- 7 for 129

Passing 200-Plus Yards:

Cameron West (Tri-Valley/Sr.)- 17 of 28 for 303 (3 TDS/0

Tyler Rose (Bellaire/Jr.)- 21 of 45 for 229 (1 TD/3 INTS)

Billy Merryman (Shadyside/Sr.)- 9 of 14 for 222 (2 TDS/0

Cody Johnson (Shenadoah/Jr.)- 12 of 18 for 204 (3 TDS/0


A look at Week 2:

Tri-Valley (1-0) @ John Glenn (1-0): The Scotties and Little Muskies both rolled in Week 1
heading into this early season Muskingum Valley League showdown. The Scotties
were airing it out as usual with senior quarterback Cameron West leading the
way. West threw for 303 yards and three scores while playing without two of his
top targets, seniors Tyler Trout (lacerated liver) and Ryan Householder (broken
arm). However, senior Wade Warner snared seven balls for 129 yards. For John
Glenn, they were doing work on the ground, through the air and on kickoffs.
Senior Justin Gidcumb ran for 210 yards and a score. Moving forward, this game
will feature two of the best lineman in the state in seniors Adam Bice of
Tri-Valley and Joe Pachuta of John Glenn. Bice has verballed to Akron. To me,
this game will come down to Tri-Valley’s big play ability. Tri-Valley will have
the advantage through the air, while the Little Muskies should hold the edge on
the ground. They have an outstanding offensive line. I think this game comes
down to Tri-Valley possessing West. He will be the difference. I’m going with
the Scotties 28-17.

Shadyside (1-0) @ Monroe Central (1-0): In a match-up of small school powers, the Tigers will invade
Woodsfield to take on the Seminoles. Shadyside, the defending state runner-up
in D-VI, will be looking to win its third straight game over Monroe. The
Seminoles are trying to get back to their old ways by returning to the playoffs
for the first time since 2003. This is a big game for both teams especially for
Monroe. This could be the game that gets them back over the hump. The Noles
will use the running game with seniors Kyle Rader and Zach Ring along with
sophomore quarterback Derek-London Dierkes. The Tigers will answer with senior
trio, quarterback Billy Merryman, wide receiver Nathaniel Haney and running
back Dustin Sadlowski. Merryman threw for 222 yards and two scores, while Haney
caught three long balls for 135 yards and two scores in a 27-7 victory over
Toronto. Sadlowski ran for 103 yards with one trip to the end zone. This game
is going to come down to speed. Monroe doesn’t have very good overall team
speed, while Shadyside has mass quantities. The Tigers will run by the Noles en
route to a 27-13 triumph.

Beloit West Branch (1-0) @ Beaver Local (1-0): The Beavers intercepted star quarterback Steve McNeely seven
times last year in a 28-27 double overtime loss, but managed to score just one
time off those miscues.  This
season, however, may be different. The Beavers appear to have it figured out.
Beaver Local erupted for 47 points in their opener against East Liverpool. The
Red and White is putting one of its best defenses in school history on the
field along with maybe its most explosive offense. That is definitely saying
something as the 2003 Beavers averaged 44.5 points per game in the regular
season, while 2004 squad averaged 39.9 markers per outing. Those campaigns both
resulted in undefeated regular seasons. 
They now have the threat of pass with junior Shawn Mercer and senior
Ethan Russell splitting time as the signal caller. Seniors Devon Ludwig and
Mitch Thompson are getting it done on the ground. Ludwig rushed for 160 yards
on just 10 carries with a score. For West Branch, McNeely was very impressive
in the opener against Ravenna Southeast throwing for six touchdowns and 344
yards on 19 of 28 passing. Junior Jase Uyselt caught three aerials for 112
yards and all went for six-pointers. Chad Butcher hauled in five balls for 84
yards and a score, while Jeremiah James received seven pigskins for 90 stripes
and two scores. In this contest, look for Beaver Local’s physical advantage to
finally bring them a victory over the Warriors. The past two seasons the
Beavers have dominated the game physically, but came up on the wrong end of the
scoreboard. This season, they have the run, the new offense, and the threat of
a passing game. Oh, by the way, the defense is staunch. The Red and White need
this game desperately with maybe the toughest road stretch in the state on the
horizon with trips to Poland, Chardon, Steubenville and then Canton Central
Catholic in four consecutive weeks. I like Beavers in this contest, 34-20.

Ridgewood (1-0) @ Coshocton (1-0): The Redskins are looking to avenge last year’s 10-7 defeat
at the hands of the Generals. Coshocton has lost two of the last three to its
rival. The Red and Black is coming off a 20-13 victory over Johnstown
Northridge, while Ridgewood throttled Crooksville 31-9. The Redskins grounded
it out with junior fullback Ian Chrisman rushing for 102 yards on 21 carries
and scoring twice. Sophomores’ Dom McCluskey and Marcus Johnston rumbled for 71
and 56 yards respectively. The Generals, like their opponent, used the ground
game. Junior Derrick Young toted the rock eight times for 114 yards and a
touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Jake Conrad contributed 86 yards on 11
carries and a trip to pay dirt. Senior Eric Pitcher was good for 83 yards on
just seven carries with a score. The actual game itself, well, it should be a
grounded it out style contest. These two teams appear to be evenly matched, but
I’m going to give the edge to Coshocton having a little more experience. Look
for a low scoring game with the home team coming away with a 14-7 triumph.

Caldwell (1-0) @ Buckeye Trail (1-0): The Caldwell Redskins are coming off a hard fought 14-7
victory over Federal Hocking, while Buckeye Trail erased a 12-7 deficit to beat
Massillon Tuslaw 22-12. Caldwell rushed for 207 yards as a team led by senior
Derrick Hesson and junior Nathan Abbott with 55 and 84 stripes respectively.
The Warriors will counter with a little bit of both (running and passing).
Trail ran for 276 yards as a team with senior Steve Beros leading the way with
67 yards on 16 totes. Senior fullback Daniel Starr aided with 50 yards on eight
carries. Senior quarterback Brock Davis tossed the ball around for 174 yards
including two scorers to just one interception. Sophomore Bobby Beros received
one of those aerial scores covering 55 yards, while senior Sam Bond-Zielinksi
was on the receiving end of the other from 22 yards out. Zielinski, in all,
caught three for 51. Buckeye Trail made a statement last week coming from
behind over a very good Tuslaw outfit. Honesty, the Warriors posses too much
talent and firepower for the Redskins. The Blue and White appear to be on a
mission, and this is just another step along the road. Coach Randy Thompson’s
bunch cruise to a 34-7 victory.


The Rest of the Slate:

Newark 28 @ Zanesville 14

St.Clairsville 14 @ Buckeye Local 0

Cambridge 19 @ Marietta 21

Carrollton 7 @ New Philadelphia 21

Claymont 13 @ Weir (WV) 12

Avon Lake 38 @ Dover 20

Martins Ferry 42 @ Edison 7

Harrison Central 34 @ Rootstown 6

Indian Creek 12 @ Centerburg 20

Morgan 28 @ Crooksville 0

Philo 16 @ Warren 8

West Holmes 20 River View 21

Tuscarawas Valley 27 @ Indian Valley 12

Sandy Valley 6 @ East Canton 7

Akron Buchtel 7 @ Steubenville 24

Bellaire 20 @ John Marshall 28 (WV)

Maysville 7 @ Sheridan 20

Barnesville 13 @ Meadowbrook 21

Union Local 34 @ Shenandoah 14

New Lexington 48 @ West Muskingum 12

Canton Timken 6 @ Garaway 15

Newcomerstown 7 @ Berlin Center Western Reserve 28

Belpre 12 @ Fort Frye 7

Wellsville 35 @ Toronto 21

Beallsville 33 @ Strasburg 7

Portsmouth Notre Dame 7 @ Rosecrans 30

Bridgeport 28 @ Clay-Battelle (WV) 12

Akron East 7 @ Steubenville CC 27

Conotton Valley 34 @ St.John 7

Waterford 8 @ Frontier 6

Atwater Waterloo 0 @ Malvern 41

River 19 @ Magnolia (WV) 18

Berne Union 16 @ Tuscarawas CC 14           


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