Hartley-Watterson meet for first time since 1986; Eagles lead series 29-3

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Ja’Wuan Woodley has rushed for 1,811 yards and 25 TDs. (thisweeknews.com)

The Hartley football team is viewing its first matchup
against Watterson since 1996 as a measuring stick with anticipation that
coach Brad Burchfield describes as “off the charts.” The gap between the programs that occurred when
Watterson compiled a 29-3 record in the series from 1959-96 likely has
been bridged significantly. But how much…?


The Hartley High School football team is viewing its first matchup
against Watterson since 1996 as a measuring stick with anticipation that
coach Brad Burchfield describes as “off the charts.”

The two teams won state championships in 2010 (Watterson in Division
III and Hartley in Division IV), and both Burchfield and Eagles coach
Dan Bjelac agree that the gap between the programs that occurred when
Watterson compiled a 29-3 record in the series from 1959-96 likely has
been bridged significantly.

Still, Burchfield isn’t exactly sure how his Hawks will withstand
Watterson’s newest charge when they play host to the Eagles on Friday,
Sept. 28.

“They look like every Watterson team I’ve seen since I was growing
up,” Burchfield said. “They’ve got a storm trooper mentality with a lot
of people that are interchangeable. They run a lot of pistol stuff,
which is very downhill, and it’s a very physical style of play. What
they are on offense is what they are on defense, which I think is a huge
compliment to them.

“How it plays out is all speculation. We’ve gone 3-29 against them
all time, so are we that good yet? I think we certainly like where we
stand and there’s not been much to complain about, but you never know
who you are until you are faced with some adversity.”

Hartley, which is 5-0, has outscored its opponents 232-30 and was
ranked No. 1 in the Division IV state poll last week. The Hawks defeated
Proctorville Fairland 56-6 on Sept. 21 on the road.

Watterson, which received votes in last week’s Division III state
poll, fell to 3-2 with a 35-16 loss to visiting Cincinnati LaSalle on
Sept. 21. The Eagles went just 3-7 a year ago but opened this season
with three consecutive wins before falling to Cincinnati Winton Woods
21-14 on Sept. 14.

Three of the Eagles’ first five opponents compete in Division I and
two compete in Division II, while the Hawks’ first five opponents all
reside in Divisions III, IV or V.

Watterson quarterback Andy Elberson and a running back corps
featuring Cody Calhoun, DeAndre Golden and Walter Green has led the
offense. Elberson has rushed for 239 yards and four touchdowns and is
26-for-59 passing for 353 yards with one touchdown.

The Eagles had 231 total yards against LaSalle and trailed just 21-16 early in the fourth quarter.

Calhoun believes he might have suffered a mild concussion against
LaSalle but expects to play against Hartley. He also starts at strong
safety for a defense that has been led by lineman John Bogue, linebacker
Matt Stafford and back Mike Vlahakis.

Senior Andrew Lorenz, according to Bjelac, is having a standout season on both the offensive and defensive lines.

“It’s just going to be a big game,” Calhoun said. “We haven’t played
since 1996 and both teams won state championships a couple years ago.
We’ve been excited about this game all year.

“I think we’re getting better every week. We struggled a little bit
at stopping the pass against LaSalle, but in our first four games we
only gave up about seven or 14 points almost every game. I think our
defense has been doing a good job against the run.”

The Eagles’ defense expects to be in for one of its biggest tests of the season in terms of stopping the run.

Senior running back Ja’Wuan Woodley, who has verbally committed to the University of Toledo, has rushed for…CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE STORY

 

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