When Cambridge head coach Rick Goodrich rolled into town nine years ago, he had heard of the Guernsey County Super Bowl. After dropping a 26-22 decision at Meadowbrook in his first season (1999) with the Bobcats, he knew just how much it meant to both sides.
Friday, he will try to make it eight straight wins over the rival Colts.
On Friday night in Byesville, Goodrich will try to guide his Bobcats (6-3, 4-2 East Central Ohio League) past the rival Colts for an eighth straight season. The longest winning streak in the series for Cambridge is 12 games (1970-71, 1975-77 and 1982-88).
Goodrich said losing that first year was painful because he had to hear about it for the next 365 days. He also admitted that the game is bigger than any other on Cambridge’s schedule because of the closeness of the two communities.
“The proximity of the two schools and communities…you just look forward to this rivalry regardless of the records,” Goody noted. “It’s great bragging rights for the kids. They’ll talk about this Friday for the rest of their lives and it does have a lot of meaning for a lot of people. As a coach, I’m just glad to be a part of it and we’ll have our kids ready to face Meadowbrook. It has been nice to be on the winning side because losing this game does sting. We’re all looking forward to it. It’s just really a nice way to end the season.”
Stopping the Colts (3-6, 2-4 ECOL) will involve trying to shut down their running game. Junior Josh Quinn leads the MHS ground attack with 664 yards and 11 touchdowns on 141 carries. Sophomore Josh Riggans has added 246 yards and three TDs. Junior signal caller Kiefer Watson has also been dangerous on the ground as he has rushed for 175 yards and two TDs. He is also 26-of-73 for 327 yards and a TD with four picks.
Goodrich said Meadowbrook’s offense, which has averaged 15.3 points this season, is capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Goody also praised the Colts’ defensive unit.
“There’s no doubt…you can’t look at Meadowbrook’s record,” Goodrich commented. “They had every opportunity to beat Coshocton and should have. They’ve also played a lot of other teams tough. Offensively, they’re good at moving the ball. They can run the option really well. They have some good running backs. Whoever they have at quarterback…they’re all very athletic and quick. You have to account for their quarterback.
“They probably have the most aggressive defense we’ve seen. Their linebackers are good. We really like (Brock) Miracle. (Seth) Barnett and (Adam) Eagleson) are both studs up front. We really like their ‘D’ line. It’s a very athletic group. They play with a lot of passion and desire. They’re scrappy kids that have won two out of their last three games and are coming in with some momentum. We’re going to have to earn every thing we can get,” Goodrich added.
Cambridge is led on offense by sophomore Tyler Hardesty, who has 1,174 yards and 14 touchdowns on 239 carries. Senior fullback Kirk Wetherell is the second leading rusher with 208 yards and three scores on just 32 attempts.
Senior quarterback Vince Daugherty has also been impressive this season. He is 50-of-96 for 654 yards and three touchdowns with just two interceptions. He also has one rushing touchdown. Daugherty’s favorite target through the airwaves include Wetherell, who has a team-high 13 catches for 159 yards and two scores; senior tight end James Beatty, who has nine grabs for 211 yards and one touchdown; and sophomore Zach Freeman, who has reeled in eight balls for 84 yards.
Meadowbrook head coach Mitch Bendle said his Colts will be facing a difficult opponent, one that averages 22.0 points per contest.
“They’ve really got their offense going the last couple of weeks,” Bendle stated. “They’ve been playing good ball. They won at New Philadelphia and followed that up with a win over Claymont. They’ve been building momentum as they go.
“We know it’s going to be the same Cambridge football team that we see every year…they’re going to run the football as many times as they can. Hardesty has done a great job in there at tailback for them. Wetherell has also got some carries and he’s a big strong running kid. They’ll also mix the play action pass in there. Daugherty is a kid that has a strong arm and can throw it when they have to. Our goal is that we’ve got to be tough at the line of scrimmage and make sure we tackle at the line of scrimmage,” Bendle added.
Although spoiling Cambridge’s slight playoff hopes (the Bobcats are No. 10 in the Division III, Region 11 computer ratings entering Friday’s contest) would be nice, Bendle said his kids haven’t talked too much about it.
“Our motivation is that Cambridge is coming to our place this year,” the MHS coach commented. “They’ve got a very good football program. We’re just looking to get a win so we can finish the season winning three out of our last four. Sending our seniors off on a good note would be nice.”
Cambridge won last year’s meeting at McFarland Stadium, 27-0. The Bobcats lead the all-time series, 26-7.