Zanesville-Portsmouth, New Lexington-Morgan match ups highlight Eastern District slate in Week 4


Eastern District Football
Eastern District contributor Kurt Stubbs II checks in with his weekly
football updates, previews and predictions. Items of
note…Steubenville has won 43 straight regular season games; Bellaire is 0-3 for the first time since 1990; Dover is 0-3 for the first time since the 1940s; and Portsmouth travels to Zanesville for an SEAOL titlt.

Although the picture isn’t fully clear, there are some teams starting to merge to the forefront. Week 3 delivered some exciting contests, while still having its share of lopsided games.

Steubenville broke the all-time Ohio Valley record for most consecutive regular season wins with 43. Bellaire has started the season 0-3 for the first time since 1990, but that is nothing compared to Dover starting the season with the same mark. The Tornadoes haven’t been winless heading into Week 4 since the 1940’s.

The picks from last week were sizzling once again with a mark of (31-5). The season total is now at (94-18). That record is good for 84-percent. Don’t let all the anti-Guru fans tell you any different. This guy knows what he is talking about.

Week 4 is shaping up as a big week. Most teams will be starting conference play this weekend, which should make for some interesting match ups. Also, there are only 13 undefeated teams left in the Eastern District.

Who is Hot

– Nathaniel Haney of Shadyside was doing it all Friday night against Linsly (WV) in a 41-13 rout of the Cadets. Usually part of the vaunted Tiger passing attack, Haney was doing it other ways with the Tigers being limited to just three pass completions on the evening. The senior speedster intercepted a pass, returned a punt 54 yards for a score, and followed that by running back an 80-yard kickoff to pay dirt and then an 85-yard kickoff return for six points. Needless to say, it was a busy night for the youngster.

– Coshocton is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2003 season. By the way, the Red and Black went 11-2 and made the regional final that season before losing to Bellaire (21-7). How is Coschocton doing it this season? The Redskins are using a formidable running game that is racking up yardage in bunches. The scary thing is most of these kids are underclassmen. Sophomore Marcus Johnson led the way in a 27-20 win over West Holmes with 152 yards on 16 carries and two visits to the end zone. Junior Alex Hunt toted the rock 12 times for 103 yards, while sophomore Dom McCluskey ran nine times for 84 stripes. Bruising junior fullback Ian Chriman chipped in with 62 yards on 17 carries with one TD. Johnson has produced 336 yards thus far, while Chrisman is at 289. Furthermore, the quarterback Logan Huebner is also a sophomore. The future is bright.

– Cambridge sophomore Tyler Hardesty was thrust into a starting role when senior back Chad Teague suffered a high ankle sprain. The sophomore has answered with back-to-back 100-yard plus games. Hardesty ran for 161 yards on 19 carries with two six-pointers in a 42-7 win over Parkersburg South this past Friday. He also went over a 100 in a 22-19 win over Marietta the previous week. The Bobcats are 2-1 heading in to East Central Ohio League Play.

– Cameron West of Tri-Valley is becoming a regular on this list. It’s hard to keep him off when he continues to put up monster statistics. The senior quarterback ran for 115 yards on just three carries with two trips to “fun zone.” West completed 9-of-11 aerials for 271 stripes and three more scores. For the season, the athletic West has completed 70 percent of his tosses for 799 yards and eight scores. On the ground, the Scotty signal caller has amassed 320 yards on just 27 tries (11.9 per carry) while scoring five times. Don’t look for these numbers to slow down anytime soon.
An Ohio Valley record 43 straight regular season games, Bellaire
St.Clairsville and Union Local hooked up in the game of the week and didn’t disappoint. Both teams came in undefeated with St.Clairsville leaving 3-0 after a double overtime 27-20 triumph. The Red Devils jumped out to a 14-0 lead minutes into the third quarter with a smashing running game featuring seniors Kurtis Cullen and Anthony Vincent. The Red Devil line, which has two sophomores starting, paved the way by opening up gaping holes. Cullen rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries with two scores while Vincent toted the leather 22 times from his quarterback position covering 108 yards with two trips to pay dirt. However, the Jets would get it going through the air led by quarterback Jordan Barbina. The elusive junior made the St.Clairsville defense chase him all over the Belmont County Fairgrounds. Barbina completed 16-of-24 passes for 198 yards and three scores compared to two interceptions. He hooked up with classmate Kyle Blackman on two second half scoring strikes to knot the game at 14 and send it to overtime. The second Blackman six-pointer was on a fourth down and one-yard to go. Coach Cisar rolled the dice and Barbina found Blackman on a quick hitter. They traded scores in the first overtime with both teams failing on the point after. Cullen scored the only touchdown in the second overtime. The Devil defense intercepted a Jet aerial on first down and the game was over. St.Clairsville held Union Local to 21 yards rushing on 28 carries. Both teams are playoff worthy in Division IV, Region 15, but the computers must deem that way as the season plays out.

– Jonny Miller got the Barnesville Shamrock off the schneid much like a former Rocks tailback did during the 2005 season. The Green and Red came in with a 0-2 mark traveling to Caldwell in a game many thought the Redskins would win much like 2005. However, Miller had other ideas just like Bud Hines two years ago. Hines rolled up the yardage on the Redskins en route to the win. It turned out that win was the first of an eight-game winning streak for the Shamrocks. Although this Rocks team just earned its first victory (28-25) the situation is very similar. The senior compiled 235 yard and 28 carries accounting for three scores. Keep an eye on the Shamrocks as they travel to Old Washington to take on the undefeated Buckeye Trail Warriors. I smell an upset brewing.

– Martins Ferry junior tailback Jeremy Murray goes down with an ankle injury. Enter junior Rawn Driver and sophomore Pat Allen. Driver gallops for 143 yards on 17 carries producing a couple scores while Allen handled the rock an equal amount of times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the Riders are a very deep and talented football team. Ferry defeated previously unbeaten Harrison Central (28-6) to remain unblemished.

Who is Not

– Beaver Local, well known for being a physical and smash mouth outfit, was given a dose of its own medicine against Poland last Friday. Beaver Local has become more of finesse team with the new spread offense, which appears to be hurting them against their physically demanding schedule. Poland rushed for 395 yards on the Beaver defense on 52 totes (7.6 yards per clip), while the Red and White only managed 113 yards on the ground. Remember that this is a team on two separate occasions (2003 and 2004) that sent four individuals over the 100-yard mark in the same game. However, senior Ethan Russell did throw for 227 yards on 10 of 18 passing with one score. Senior Matt Clutter caught four balls for 129 yards and a touchdown. Who would ever think Beaver Local would throw for more yards in a game than it accumulated rushing? It doesn’t get any easier for Coach Rich Wright’s squad . It goes on the road this week to take on Chardon before traveling to Steubenville the following week, and finally on the road to Canton Central Catholic in week six. However, the Beavers come home week seven to host Youngstown East before heading to Ursuline in week eight. Wow, not enticing at all.

– Bellaire is 0-3 for the first time since the aforementioned 1990 campaign. The Big Reds first three games have been adversity filled with a side order of youth. The “All-American” town has undergone a rough start with illness, injury, and a bunch of inexperienced kids on the field. Turnovers have been issue in all three games, while stopping the run has been another. In a 22-20 loss to Buckeye Local this past Friday the Big Reds allowed the Panthers to control the game. The Rayland-based school ran the ball 62 times for 245 yards. Senior Danny Peddicord carried the pigskin 27 times for 175 yards and 3 trips to “fun zone.” The Big Reds, on the other hand, rushed 16 times for minus 10 yards. However, Bellaire is starting to get some of its players back, so things are starting look a little better. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Feller led a late comeback finishing 13 of 19 for 128 with a pair of touchdown tosses. Senior Nick Liberati returned catching nine balls for 113 stripes. Bellaire will host rival St.Clairsville this Saturday at Nelson Field. By the way, St.Clairsville hasn't beaten Bellaire since 1991.

– The Dover defense was on its heels all night at the hands of Canton Central Catholic in a 35-14 setback. Central Catholic quarterback Joey Rhoads threw for 308 yards on 17 of 23 tossing. He completed 11 of his first 12. The Tornadoes gave up just over 500 yards of total offense. Dover is 0-3 for the first time since the 1940’s. However, the teams it has lost to are a combined, 8-1. Don’t be surprised to see the Tornadoes win at least six or seven league games.

– Tuscarawas Central Catholic is having all kinds of problems on defense. The Saints are now 0-3 and losers of 11 straight dating back to 2006. Furthermore, Central has lost 19 of its last 21 contests. The Saints are giving up 45.7 points a night thus far in 2007. The tough start continued this past Friday with a 57-28 setback to Atwater Waterloo. The Vikings put up huge numbers led by quarterback Dylan Warfluft who passed for 281 yards and ran for another 202. Cory Clause hauled in nine aerials for 183 stripes. In all, the Vikings gained 591 stripes. The score was locked up at 20 after 24 minutes, but Waterloo outscored the visitors 37-8 in the second half. Central quarterback Ryan Fondriest had a productive night, completing 15 of 33 tosses for 220 yards. Jordan Neidig was on the receiving end of five of those passes for 113 markers.

Statistical Leaders for Week 3:

Rushing 150-Plus Yards for Week 3:

Jonny Miller (Barnesville/Sr.)- 28 for 235 (3 TDS)
Bryan Gaiters (Zanesville/Sr.)- 28 for 229 (4 TDS)
Danny Peddicord (Buckeye Local/Sr.)- 27 for 175 (3 TDS)
Steven Spillman (Tusky Valley/Sr.)- 19 for 167 (2 TDS)
Joey Wheeler (Shenandoah/Sr.)- 29 for 162 (3 TDS)
Tyler Hardesty (Cambridge/Soph.)- 19 for 161 (2 TDS)
Doren Thomas (Indian Creek/Soph.)- 22 for 156 (2 TDS)
Marcus Johnston (Coshocton/Soph.)- 16 for 152 (2 TDS)
Josh Quinn (Meadowbrook/Sr.)- 14 for 150 (3 TDS)
Ben Mallette (Carrollton/Sr.)- 12 for 148 (3 TDS)

Receiving 100-Plus Yards:

Daniel Starr (River/Jr.)- 8 for 143 (TD)
Matt Clutter (Beaver Local/Sr.)- 4 for 129 (TD)
Nick Liberati (Bellaire/Sr.)- 9 for 113
Jordan Neidig (Tusky CC)- 5 for 113

Passing 200-Plus Yards:

Travis Mettler (Caldwell/Jr.)- 11 of 19 for 282 (2 TDS/ INT)
Cameron West (Tri-Valley/Sr.)- 9 of 11 for 271 (3 TDS/0 INTS)
Corey Lisowski (Dover/Jr.)- 18 of 31 for 262 (2 TDS/2 INTS)
Corey Fickiesen (Frontier)- 17 of 30 for 237 (TD/2 INTS)
Dylan Potts (River/)- 15 of 25 for 235 (2 TDS/ INT)
Ethan Russell (Beaver Local/Sr.)- 10 of 18 for 227 (TD/ 0 INTS)
Ryan Fondriest (Tusky CC)- 15 of 33 for 220 (TD/0 INTS)
Jordan Barbina (Union Local/Jr.)- 16 of 24 for 198 (3 TDS/2 INTS)

A look at Week 3:

Shadyside (3-0) @ Wheeling Central (WV) (2-0)
The Tigers of Shadyside will visit Wheeling Island for the second straight season to take on the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights. A year ago, the Tigers led 10-0 only to watch the Maroon Knights score 20 unanswered for the victory. Shadyside would bounce back and reach the Ohio Division VI state finals, while Central ran the table and won the West Virginia A title for the third consecutive season. The 2007 version of this game should be interesting. However, the Tigers haven't enjoyed much success against Central in recent history. I’m pretty sure of two things. Shadyside won’t be able to stop Central’s offense, and the Knights will have trouble covering the Tiger passing attack if the line can hold up. The Maroon Knights are clicking on all cylinders and appear better than they were last season. They have a ton of options that need to be accounted for. Senior quarterback Alex Peluchette has thrown for 262 yards with six “tuddies” and one pick. Peluchette is a three-year starter. Senior speedster Chris Klemm has rushed for 168 yards on 13 carries with a score. The Knighs have won 21 consecutive games overall and 13 regular season wins in a row. Coach Mike Young’s bunch is averaging 52.5 points a night. Seniors Billy Merryman, Nathaniel Haney, and Dustin Sadlowski have spearheaded the Tigers. The three-headed monster has led the Tigers to an undefeated start. The Tigers are averaging 34.3 points per outing while only giving up just 20 points on defense. Look for Wheeling Central to win this game with its experienced offensive and defensive lines. Central will rack up near 250 yards rushing and it will be pressuring Merryman all night long on defense. Personally, I don’t think Shadyside will be able to hand Central’s pass rush. That will be the difference in the game. Look for the Maroon and White to force a few turnovers and win its 22nd in a row, 28-14.

Portsmouth (3-0) @ Zanesville (2-1)
This is the Southeast Ohio Athletic League opener for both schools, and it has all the makings of a dandy. Portsmouth comes into the game averaging 45.3 points per game to go against a stingy Zanesville defense. The Trojans virtually stole a victory from Wheelersburg last Friday in Portsmouth. The Pirates were trying to run out the clock, nursing a 20-19 lead when they fumbled. The Trojans, in turn, took possession and marched down the field for the game winning score when senior all-everything quarterback Shane Porter hit junior receiver Malik White for a 5-yard score with 10.9 seconds remaining on the clock for a 27-20 final. For the game, Porter was 18 of 30 for 181 yards and two scores, while running for 63 markers on 16 tries. His favorite target is White who hauled in 12 balls for 129 stripes and a score. Wes Jordan can also get it done on the ground. For Zanesville, it answers with an explosive running game and a staunch defense. Senior Bryan Gaiters ran for 229 yards and four trips to pay dirt in a 27-7 win over previously unbeaten Wheeling Park (WV). This game appears extremely tight on paper. Portsmouth will give Zanesville a different look for the first time this season. The Trojans pose a threat to run or pass. However, Zanesville combats with a ton of speed. The Trojans have a long bus ride and a very fast Zanesville team to contend with so I will say the Blue Devils squeak by, 21-20.

Tuscarawas Valley (2-1) @ Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (3-0)
PAC-7 play opens up with a big early season match up featuring the Trojans of Tuscarawas Valley and the CVCA Royals. The Royals were roughed up 40-14 by the Trojans last season, but still managed to sneak into the playoffs at 8-2 before losing to eventual Division IV state champion Cardinal Mooney in round one, 28-0. Tusky Valley also made the playoffs a year ago. The Royals will bring their rushing attack led by junior John Pettigrew. The 5-ft-9 and 180-pounder rushed for 274 yards on 21 carries in last week’s 31-14 triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas. To go along with selling hot dogs at half, Pettigrew threw a 32-yard touchdown pass. For the season, he has 477 yards and four scores. He is aided by senior back Jared Kusar with 179 yards on 40 totes with six trips to pay dirt. The Trojans counter with seniors Steven Spillman, Sam Gergley, and Pat Kane. Spillman has amassed 442 yards on the ground thus far in 2007 with seven scores. Kane has completed 18 of 41 aerials for 303 yards with four touchdown strikes to like amount of interceptions. Personally, I like Tusky Valley’s balance. I think it is a more complete football team. The Trojans may not completely shutdown the running game, but they will limit the big yardage. Everyone knows about Spillman, but look for Kane to be the difference in this encounter. Look for Kane to toss two or three scores and Spillman to break a 100 on the ground once again. Trojans win 35-28.

Morgan (3-0) @ New Lexington (3-0)
The unexpected versus the expected is Morgan and New Lexington. Most football pundits knew the Panthers would be good again even with the loss of some talented players, but few expected the Raiders to be off to such a hot start. Or maybe they did considering the three teams Morgan has defeated are a combine 0-9. However, the competition hasn’t been much better for New Lexington. The Panthers have secured victories over teams that are a collective 1-8, and narrowly escaped Duncan Falls last week with a 22-20 win over Philo. Morgan uses the wing-T, which is powered by seniors Jordan Nichols, Cody Bragg, and junior Cody Monhollen. Nichols owns back-to-back 100-yard games, while Monhollen ran for 93 markers on just eight carries in a win over West Muskingum (27-14). Bragg contributed 59 yards on 10 carries in that same contest. Nichols is looked upon for the big play and he has delivered thus far. He is tall for a running back with deceiving speed due to his long strides. The Panthers counter with a little bit of run and a like amount of pass. Sophomore Clint Cannon runs the offense as he has passed for 325 yards on 25 of 36 passing with six scores and no interceptions. Cannon also gained 100 yards on the ground in last week’s victory. His main target is junior Brett Wycinski. The 6-foot-2 receiver has hauled in 13 pigskins for 190 stripes and two trips to pay dirt. When they go to the ground it’s senior Will Hicks and junior Joey Hollingshead carrying the load. Hicks has 262 yards producing two scores, while Hollingshead has contributed 259 yards and 5 six-pointers. Hicks stepped in week one and rushed for 193 yards on 28 carriers in a 27-0 win over Fairfield Union when junior stud running back R.J. Starkey went down with an ankle injury early in the second quarter. Starkey was about 80 percent of the Panthers returning offense from a year ago. Look for senior Josh Conrad to have another big game at linebacker. The 6-foot-1 and 240-pounder is a four-year starter at center. This game comes down to a couple factors. New Lexington is well balanced, and they know how to win. I think they will shutdown Morgan’s running game. Look for the Panthers to play a lot better than they did against Philo and win this game by a couple scores. New Lexington wins at home 21-7.

St.Clairsville (3-0) @ Bellaire (0-3)
Why did this game make the list when Bellaire is 0-3? It’s simple. St.Clairsville hasn’t beaten the Big Reds in its last 16 tries, which spans 15 years of misery for Red Devil fans. Bellaire defeated the Devils twice last season (25-21 in week four and 49-21 in week 11). Many football junkies in the Ohio Valley believe this will finally be the year the Devils end what has become known as “the streak.” St.Clairsville has put together three straight wins to open the season with a double overtime victory coming last week against rival Union Local. However, St.Clairsville doesn’t see a 0-3 mark while preparing for the Big Reds rather they look at the schedule and it says Bellaire. In my opinion, that may be a problem. They put a lot of stock into this game, and in a lot of cases it has hurt them for the remainder of the season. For instance, last year St.Clairsville lost to Bellaire in week four in a heartbreaker, but bounced back to beat Wheelersburg on the road the following week. Even though it won that game it never appeared to be the same team the rest of the season. The Devils were throttled by Martins Ferry (47-7) in week eight and lost to a 3-7 Harrison Central squad in week 10 on the road, 12-6 before being torched by the Big Reds in the playoffs. However, that playoff berth was the school's first since the 1989 campaign. With all that being said, this has been their best chance to win in quite some time. Probably since the 2000 season when they were defeated 14-7. St.Clairsville had a lot more talent that year, but faltered. When looking at the two teams it appears the Belmont County seat has the advantage in almost every category. Oh, except for one and that is knowing how to win a big game. This is a statement game for St.Clairsville regardless of Bellaire’s record. If the Red Devils are ever going to officially get over the hump and solidify themselves as a top team for years to come they need this win. If they get this win the curse will be released. St.Clairsville has a lot of talent on the way, so there could be many more wins over Bellaire to come in the future if they can get this game. If not, it may be another 15 years. Look for the aforementioned Cullen and Vincent to take advantage of a Bellaire team that has trouble stopping the run. Seniors Anthony Skrabak and Jake Antolak will lead the way in what should be a statement performance by these two individuals. If one is traveling to this game expecting a blowout you will be fully disappointed. This game is going to be tight with the Red Devils needing to make a play late. Chuggy Horn made a play for the Big Reds against Magnolia a long time ago to change their program; will someone step up for St.Clairsville? Devils end “the streak,” 24-21.

The Rest of the Slate:

West Muskingum 7 @ Tri-Valley 42
The Scotties are rolling. Look for West to put up more huge numbers.
Beaver Local 21 @ Chardon 17
Coach Wright never loses three consecutive.
John Marshall 19 @ Buckeye Local 21
I don’t know why I’m taking the Panthers, but that is what my gut is telling me.
Indian Valley 14 @ Cambridge 35
The Bobcats roll in their ECOL opener behind Hardesty in the running game.
Marlington 17 @ Carrollton 7
The Dukes remain unbeaten.
Claymont 0 @ New Philadelphia 35
The Mustangs are short-handed and the Quakers are hitting on all cylinders.
River View 6 @ Dover 42
The Tornadoes take out their frustrations of a 0-3 start.
East Liverpool 13 @ Campbell Memorial 28
The battle of two 0-3 squads. The Red Devils are a better team.
Steubenville CC 24 @ Edison 17
This game will be closer than most believe.
Shenandoah 22 @ Harrison Central 27
Maybe the most evenly matched game of the night, but take the Huskies at home.
Indian Creek 21 @ Union Local 34
Union Local will have trouble stopping the run, but the Jets have too much speed.
Maysville 0 @ John Glenn 28
The Little Muskies pound the rock for their third win.
Sheridan 28 @ Philo 7
Adrian Balser returned last week with a 100-yard game, and look for more of the same.
West Holmes 20 @ Wooster 35
The Generals have two losses to teams that are a combine 6-0.
Coshocton 22 @ Meadowbrook 21
The Redskins seem to own the Colts.
Sandy Valley 14 @ Conotton Valley 6
This is a tough one to pick. The Cardinals have played better competition.
St.Joseph’s Collegiate (NY) 6 @ Steubenville 35
The beat goes on for Crimson and Black. The number will be 44 after tonight.
Linsly (WV) 7 @ Martins Ferry 42
The Cadets take an Ohio beat down for the second straight week.
Ridgewood 21 @ Garaway 14
This should be a pretty good football game, but the Generals are a little better.
Newcomerstown 10 @ Strasburg 7
Somebody has to win. The Trojans could win this game by far more than three behind Stoffer.
Barnesville 28 @ Buckeye Trail 27
The Rocks come to Old Washington and steal one. Barnesville has owned Trail.
Fort Frye 13 @ Waterford 14
The Wildcats win the battle of the Hocking River.
Monroe Central 6 @ Caldwell 12
The Redskins bounce back from a tough loss to Barnesville last week.
Wellsville 27 @ Western Reserve 24
The Tigers will have a chance to put up some points on a team that just gave up 56.
Beallsville 48 @ Cameron 7
This will be another decisive victory for the Blue Devils who have won 13 consecutive regular games.
Rosecrans 39 @ Miller 14
The Bishops will be undefeated heading into next week’s showdown with Trail.
Valley (WV) 0 @ Bridgeport 34
The Dogs remain unbeaten for another week.
Frontier 7 @ Tyler Consolidated 21
Tyler will be too much for the young Cougars.
Malvern 56 @ Tuscarawas CC 7
The Hornets keep on rolling behind quarterback Tyler Tuccis and running backs David Alexander and Jamar Stephens.
River 54 @ St. John 6
The Irish are improving, but the Pilots are a playoff caliber team.
Oak Glen (WV) 7 @ Toronto 28
The Red Knights are up and down, but it’s their week to be up.

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