Eastern District contributor Kurt Stubbs II checks in with his weekly football updates, previews and predictions. Items of note…Steubenville is looking to set an OVAC record for consecutive regular season wins tonight (43) at East Liverpool; Dover is looking to rebound from its first 0-2 start since 1984; and Zanesville attempts to stop another losing streak, this one to Wheeling Park (W.Va.).
Faster than me throwing down a box of Cheeze-Its, Week 2 came and went. So, here we are looking at Week 3 and nothing seems set in stone.
The picks, as always, were outstanding with a record of (32-6) which brings my season total to (63-13).
Okay, enough pontificating, we will now move on to the meat and potatoes.
Who is Hot
-Zanesville Rosecrans makes the list again this week. The Bishops (2-0), who will make the playoffs, roughed up Portsmouth Notre Dame 36-0. It wasn’t Jordan Dillon this week, rather senior quarterback Beau Moyer and senior receiver Brad Tyo. The senior signal caller completed 12-of-16 passes for 159 yards and three scores. Tyo was on the receiving end of all three touchdown tosses and also caught four balls for 81 yards. Remember, Rosecrans should be 4-0 heading into its showdown with Buckeye Trail in Week 5.
-The Zanesville Blue Devils have it going under first-year head coach Chad Grandstaff. The Blue Devils used a running game that chalked up 377 yards and staunch defense to defeat bitter rival Newark, 32-6. The Blue and White ended a seven-year losing streaking to the Wildcats. Zanesville was led on the ground by senior running back Bryan Gaiters with 153 yards on 19 carries including an 86-yard touchdown jaunt. Senior Anthony “Antman” Chandler added another 115 on just six carries while junior Anthony Scott contributed 84 yards and two scores. The defense, which shut down Storm Klein a week ago, held the Wildcats to just 52 yards on 25 totes. Last year, Newark ran for 515 yards against the Blue Devils.
-The Malvern Hornets are off to strong start. Yes, this is a football column and not basketball. It may be football, but junior quarterback Tyler Tucci is leading the attack much like he does in hoops. Tucci tossed a touchdown to senior Zak Kapron and ran two interceptions back for touchdowns. The Green and White received 139 yards on 14 caries from David Alexander who also scored twice, while Jamar Stephens added 83 yards on nine carries and two trips to pay dirt. The Hornets racked up 460 yards of offense in the 52-22 win over Atwater Waterloo. Malvern, now 2-0, has a real good chance of being undefeated heading into a Week 7 showdown with Ridgewood. That game should decide the IVC championship, and determine if Malvern can run the table.
-Beallsville’s Eric Lucas was doing it all in a 49-0 triumph over Strasburg. The junior scored on a 66-yard pass from senior Kevin Stoney and had a 16-yard run to pay dirt. Also, Lucas returned punts of 52 and 44 yards for scores. Lucas helped the Blue Devils improve to (2-0), and to me it’s looking like another 10-0 campaign. This week against Bishop Donahue (WV) and Week 6 against Caldwell will be the only teams to challenge the Blue and White.
-After making the dreaded “who is not” list a week ago, the New Philadelphia Quakers appear on the top half this week. The Red and Black jumped out to a 17-0 lead just six minutes into its game against Carrollton. New Philly stretched the lead to 31-6 at half before Carrollton notched two scores in the second half to make the final 31-20. Junior Tyler Dummermuth returned to form with 194 yards on 18 carries with two TDs. Akron recruit, senior Jordan Miller, finished 8 of 12 for 138 yards and two scores. New Philly gained 420 yards on offense. In defeat, Ben Mallette rushed for 176 yards on 25 carries with two second half scores.
-Tri-Valley quarterback Cameron West was doing it with his arm and legs in the Scotties’39-7 win over John Glenn. West completed 17 of 22 aerials for 235 yards and two scores, while running for 121 yards on 15 carries with a trip to pay dirt. The Scotties have moved up to Division II, Region 7 this season, so things won’t be easy. Led by Akron recruit Adam Bice up front, the Scotties have two key match ups left on the schedule with New Lexington and Thornville Sheridan. Most likely, 8-2 will not get them in the playoffs.
Who is Not
-The Strasburg Tigers have fallen on hard times. The Orange and Black have mustered just six points thus far this season and have been outscored 100-6 in the first two games. Beallsville held Strasburg to just 63 yards of offense this past week.
-The Barnesville Shamrocks, a team that lost a ton of talented seniors, is finding times hard in the early going. The Rocks have put up just seven points this season in losses to John Glenn and Meadowbrook. The Colts shut out Barnesville by a count of 22-0 to take the Bill Dowler Trophy back to Byesville. The Shamrocks have struggled on offense in their first two games, while turning it over five times this past week.
-The Wellsville Tigers, a team I thought had a good chance of running the table, completely laid an egg in getting shut out by rival Toronto (21-0). The Red Knights held Wellsville to less than 100 yards of total offense.
-The East Liverpool Potter offense has been almost non-existent the first two encounters. The Potters were held to just 55 total yards in a 56-0 defeat at the hands of Youngstown Ursuline. The Potters have been outscored in the first half this season, 75-0. The schedule doesn’t get any easier this week as they host Steubenville. Big Red will be looking for the Ohio Valley record for most consecutive regular season wins in a row (43).
-The Dover Tornadoes have started out 0-2 for the first time since 1984. It gets worse; the Tornadoes will be on the road this week to tangle with Canton Central Catholic. Central has knocked off New Philadelphia and Massillon Perry thus far by a combine score of 60-8. Look for Dover to improve this week once again, and then have a real good chance of winning its next seven in league play (ECOL).
Statistical Leaders for Week 2:
Rushing 150-Plus Yards for Week 2:
Tyler Dummermuth (New Philadelphia/Jr.)- 18 for 194 (2 TDS)
Ethan Russell (Beaver Local/Sr.)- 25 for 186 (2 TDS)
Ben Mallette (Carrollton)- 25 for 176 (2 TDS)
Wes Skinner (Harrison Central/Jr.)- 174 (2 TDS)
Justin Stoffer (Newcomerstown/Sr.)- 21 for 172 (TD)
Steven Spillman (Tuscarawas Valley)- 18 for 163 (4 TDS)
Clay Wilson (Garaway)- 159 (4 TDS)
Bryan Gaiters (Zanesville/Sr.)- 19 for 153 (TD)
Receiving 100-Plus Yards:
Matt Rinehart (Dover/Sr.)- 12 for 140
Sam Bond-Zielinski (Buckeye Trail/Sr.)- 6 for 134
David Thomas (Frontier)- 7 for 133
Jordan Barbina (Union Local/Jr.)- 6 for 104
Passing 200-Plus Yards:
Cameron West (Tri-Valley/Sr.)- 17 of 22 for 235 (2 TDS/0 INTS)
Brock Davis (Buckeye Trail/Sr.)- 13 of 23 for 230 (TD/0 INTS)
Billy Merryman (Shadyside/Sr.)- 12 of 21 for 211 (2 TDS/0 INTS)
A look at Week 3:
Union Local (2-0) @ St.Clairsville (2-0)
This will be a game of high magnitude at the annual Belmont County Fair. Union Local needs this game to get over the hump if its is going to march toward its first-ever playoff appearance. St.Clairsville will use this game as momentum heading into next week’s match up with Bellaire. The Red Devils, as most know, haven’t beaten the Big Reds in the last 16 tries which includes last year’s playoff game. Most people, when talking about this game, like to talk about the speed and athletes. In reality, this game is going to come down to the play up front. The Red Devils, in last year’s 35-18 win, dominated the line of scrimmage with Kurtis Cullen running for over a 100 yards in a back up role. After witnessing Union Local’s first two games, there are two things that stood out to me. One, they have trouble tackling. Two, they lack speed on the defensive line. The defensive ends were pushed down inside all night a week ago against Shenandoah, which allowed junior quarterback Cody Johnson to have his way scrambling. It ended up with several sacks, but with all the opportunities the numbers were low. If this happens Friday night, senior Anthony Vincent and junior Adam Shanks will feast at the quarterback position. Union Local has been pass happy thus far this season and has not established any type of running game. Coach Cisar knows he won’t be able to line it up and just pass on every down with St.Clairsville's defensive strength being in the secondary. Senior Dustin Hynes and Vincent are excellent with juniors Kaz Pata and Brody Call stepping up. Hynes and Vincent do a great job attacking the ball at its highest point, and come down with it more often than not. St.Clairsville, in my opinion, has struggled stopping the run thus far in the preseason and its first game. However, as stated above, the Jets don’t run the ball with any consistency. Without question, both teams have playmakers. Union Local seniors Zach Gust and Zach Azallion will be faster than anybody on the field, but the Red Devils did a nice job of taking Gust away last season with a big pass rush forcing the Jet quarterbacks into hurried decisions. The Jets threw three interceptions in the first half of last year’s game and the contest was over at intermission. Azallion, on the other hand, was able to get going on a big screen play that resulted in a trip to pay dirt. With all that being said, look for seniors Anthony Skrabak and Jake Antolak to control the line of scrimmage on offense for the Devils, and senior Johnny Earliwine and the defense will force a few turnovers leading to St.Clairsville’s 28-20 victory.
Harrison Central (2-0) @ Martins Ferry (2-0)
The Buckeye 8 Conference is producing big games in Week 3. Along with the contest mentioned above, the Huskies and Riders combine to form the two best games in the district for this week. Harrison Central, led by its head coach Martins Ferry graduate Justin Kropka, will bring its explosive offense to Purple Rider Stadium to take on his former coach Dave Bruney. Kropka not only played for Bruney he also coached for him several years. I see this game coming down to one factor, and that is defense. Whenever people talk about big games that feature offense a defense steps up and takes the game over. This time, it will be Martins Ferry’s defense. The Riders possess a much better defense, while both teams come in with potent offenses. I understand Harrison held Claymont and Rootstown to just 13 combined points, but watch for Harrison’s lack of a run defense to be glowing on Friday night. The Huskies had a hard time stopping Linsly (WV) running back Chidozie Oparanozie, who is big, bruising, and fast. Junior Jeremy Murray has been held in-check for the most part this season, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say he breaks out in a big way. With both teams being led by a majority of juniors, this should be a feature match up for years to come. Both teams also have strong underclassmen. Look for this to become a huge rivalry thanks to the Buckeye 8. I’m going with the Purple and White by a count of 35- 13.
Zanesville (1-1) @ Wheeling Park (WV) (2-0)
The Blue Devils have lost to the Patriots of Wheeling Park the last three years, but if last Friday’s Zanesville performance is any indication they are ending losing streaks in a hurry. The Blue and White ended a seven-year drought to Newark a week ago. This is a different Zanesville team than in year’s past. This squad is built around speed, which is a Wheeling Park weakness. Yes, the Park has a huge offensive line, but not a problem for a defense of Zanesville that shuts down the run. It went blow for blow with a Licking Valley line in week one that is very good, and no doubt better than Park's line. Look for seniors Bryan Gaiters and Anthony “Antman” Chandler to have big nights with their speed. Zanesville will shut down Park’s running game and force them to pass. Don’t be surprised if the Blue and White score a touchdown on defense. Zanesville will win this game comfortably, 28-7.
Steubenville CC (2-0) @ Wheeling Central (WV) (1-0)
Last season, Steubenville Catholic suffered one of its worst defeats in the head coach Greg Bahen era at the hands of Wheeling Central. The Crusaders were defeated on their own field (42-8) in a game that wasn’t that close. This year, the majority of those players are back from Wheeling Central’s 2006 state championship team, while a lot of those Crusader players are a year older. Steubenville Catholic has used a bruising running game to get out of the gates at (2-0). Led by senior Justin Kaufman, who has rushed for 268 yards on 43 carries in two games with five touchdowns, the Crusaders will try to control the clock. Senior quarterback Brian DeFranco has been very efficient, which should help in controlling the game. Wheeling Central, on the other hand, may be better than last year. The Maroon Knights rolled over Oak Glen (WV) in their opener by a count of 69-7. It scored 49 first half points led by seniors quarterback Alex Pelechutte, tailback Chris Martin, wingback Chris Klemm, and junior fullback DeVaughn Gordon. On defense, the Maroon and White are led by seniors Josh Contraguerro and Daniel Gordon at linebackers. Contraguerro is a four-year mainstay while Gordon is one of the best around. Wheeling Central can run, throw, block, defend, and get it done on special teams. They really don’t have any weaknesses for a small school. This game may be closer than last year, but the Crusaders defense has given up too much yardage and too many points for me to consider them in the win column. Wheeling Central rolls on by a 35-7 score.
Coshocton (2-0) @ West Holmes (2-0)
This game features two teams that were a mystery before the season started. After two weeks, Coshocton has an established running game while West Holmes has won a couple games over teams that won’t produce winning records (Wooster Triway and Warsaw River View). The team from the Ohio Cardinal Conference (West Holmes) has won two wild games thus far with both coming down to the final minutes. Sophomore Brandon Mackey had a big night in the win over River View this past week with 81 yards on 17 carries and a 29-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown was the first of his career. By the way, he also had an interception that sealed the game with around three minutes remaining on the clock. The Knights are led by seniors quarterback Matt Mishler and running back Scott Gonzalez. The senior signal caller has thrown four touchdowns compared to zero interception and 228 yards. Gonzalez has rushed for 129 yards on the ground with one touchdown rushing and one receiving. Senior Matt Neil has 6 catches for 80 yards and two scores while running for 51 yards on 10 carries and a trip to pay dirt in the 20-13 win over River View. Coshocton will counter with a vaunted running attack led by junior Ian Chrisman and sophomore Marcus Johnston. Chrisman and Johnston both went over 100 yards on the ground in their 30-25 win over rival Ridgewood last week. The powerful Chrisman has two 100-yard games totaling 227 yards on 35 carries and three scores, while Johnston has produced 184 yards on 26 totes and three scores. Honestly, I think the Redskins are a better team and they have played better competition thus far. They will win this game with their rushing game. I like the East Central Ohio League (Coshocton) to come out on top in this contest, 28-14.
The Rest of the Slate:
Tri-Valley 48 @ Maysville 7
Cameron West and the Scotties have another huge week.
West Muskingum 6 @ Morgan 20
The Raiders need this game to stay undefeated heading into next week’s game against New Lexington
Parkersburg South 20 @ Cambridge 32
The Bobcats will use their physical running game led by senior Chad Teague and sophomore Tyler Hardesty.
Marietta 10 @ New Philadelphia 28
The Quakers roll into ECOL play.
New Lexington 56 @ Philo 12
The Panthers have too much firepower for the Electrics led by running back Will Hicks.
Carrollton 20 @ Claymont 8
This should be a physical battle.
Beaver Local 24 @ Poland 22
Coach Wright will have the Beavers ready, knowing this is huge computer points.
John Glenn 33 @ Crooksville 7
The Little Muskies bounce back after last week’s throttling by Tri-Valley.
Bellaire 26 @ Buckeye Local 14
The Big Reds finally cut down the turnovers and get a much-needed win.
Dover 14 @ Canton Central Catholic 21
Central Catholic has rolled to a 2-0 start with two big victories over Philly and Massillon Perry.
Steubenville 49 @ East Liverpool 0
Big Red breaks the Ohio Valley record for most consecutive regular season wins in a row with 43.
Edison 14 @ Weir (WV) 7
This game is toss up, but the Wildcats have played a lot better thus far.
Oak Glen (WV) 7 @ Indian Creek 35
The Redskins take out their frustrations of a 0-2 start.
River View 20 @ Ridgewood 21
This game will be closer than many believe.
Garaway 7 @ Tuscarawas Valley 35
The Trojans have too much on the ground led by senior Steven Spillman.
Sandy Valley 0 @ Indian Valley 28
The Braves bounce back after getting drubbed by Tusky Valley a week ago.
Meadowbrook 20 @ Shenandoah 21
Both teams have lost to Union Local, and this may be the best contest of the weekend.
Newcomerstown 20 @ Federal Hocking 22
Justin Stoffer has been excellent at running back, but the bus ride will be a long one. However, I won’t be surprised if Newcomerstown wins.
Frontier 6 @ Buckeye Trail 42
The Warriors tune-up for a tough three-week stretch (Barnesville, Rosecrans, and Shenandoah).
Monroe Central 6 @ River 20
River has a better offense and that will be the difference.
Warren 8 @ Fort Frye 10
This one will be ugly.
Barnesville 22 @ Caldwell 18
The Caldwell Redskins remember 2005. Rocks start 0-2 then upset Caldwell en route to winning eight in a row.
Lisbon David Anderson 20 @ Wellsville 28
The Tigers rebound after a disappointing performance a week ago.
Linsly 27 (WV) @ Shadyside 28
Can Shadyside finally stop a power running game (Chidozie Oparanozie)? Doubtful, but they do score enough to win the game.
East Canton 7 @ Malvern 21
The Hornets are gearing up for a week seven match up with Ridgewood.
Conotton Valley 14 @ Bridgeport 27
Both are undefeated, but the Dogs are a better football team.
Beallsville 27 @ Bishop Donahue 14
Donahue isn’t a bad team with quarterback Michael Angalich, but Beallsville has too many weapons.
Strasburg 0 @ Rosecrans 24
The Bishops are my surprise team thus far. They continue the Tigers woes.
Toronto 28 @ United 7
The Red Knights are coming on strong especially after last week’s win.
St.John 0 @ Weirton Madonna (WV) 41
The Irish are improving, but still struggle on game days.
Tuscarwas Central Catholic 19 @ Atwater Waterloo 20
The Saints will struggle all season.
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