PDT Sports Writer
There are few occasions in which one team’s offensive style is a twin of another team’s attack.
That’s the best way to describe the offenses for both Portsmouth and Wheelersburg as the two Scioto County foes duke it out Friday night at the Trojan Coliseum.
Both teams will bring high-powered, balanced offenses into the third week of the season. The Pirates come into the contest looking for their first 3-0 start since 2008 after last week’s 39-20 home win over Coal Grove. The Trojans gave Jason Sparks his first victory at the helm with a 35-21 result over West.
Wheelersburg coach Rob Woodward understands one of the first keys to slowing down the Portsmouth offense is senior quarterback Brandon Wedebrook, who was 7-of-13 passing for 144 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in last week’s win.
“Wedebrook does a very good job of orchestrating the offense,” Woodward said. “They have a lot of weapons in (Darion) Robinson, (Alex) Dickerson, Johnnie Charles runs very hard, (Khalil) Lattimore and (Sky) Oliver are all good receivers that at any point in time, can really pose a threat to you.”
In the case of Robinson and Dickerson, Woodward believes the combination of their speed and Wedebrook’s arm can make it difficult on defenses.
“We’ve just got to make sure that our defense is sound and set in terms of being able to recognize what keys that we can find, read and contain the football,” Woodward said.
One change Woodward has noticed in this opponent from years past is their ability to buy in to this new coaching staff’s system.
“Anytime as coaches, we want to try to work to get kids to buy in to whatever system that we adopt,” Woodward said. “They seemed to be really bought in to this system, executing on each of the offensive plays and defensive plays as well in terms of the ways that they attack.”
The Pirate offense is centered around senior signal-caller Eddie Miller, whose arm is just as dangerous as his legs. Through two games, Miller is 28-of-43 passing for 435 yards with seven touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, he leads the team with 176 yards on 21 totes with three scores.
“He’s a stud, if he can’t run it, he can throw it,” Sparks said. “If he can’t throw it, he can run it.”
However, Sparks feels the cog to the running attack is Camron Parsley, who has proven to become a solid blocker as a tight end or as a fullback.
“It doesn’t matter who they put in the backfield, when they’re running behind (Parsley) when they move him to fullback…they’re going to run behind (him) because he can play,” Sparks said.
When airing it out, Miller has relied on classmate Dylan Miller, who has been targeted 17 times with 12 catches for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Although credit isn’t given to them as much as they should, Woodward feels the consistency displayed by his offensive line has been one of the pleasant surprises through two weeks.
Turnovers may also decide the outcome of the contest. The Trojans are minus three in turnover margin while Wheelersburg holds a plus two margin in the category.
Another number that has been of concern has been penalties. The Pirates come into the contest having committed 14 penalties for 164 yards while Portsmouth has been guilty of 15 infractions for the length of a football field.
The Pirates have won the last five meetings between the two rivals, including last year’s 43-13 victory at Ed Miller Stadium. Woodward, who is 5-0 against Portsmouth, has been in Sparks’ shoes when it comes to coaching his first game in this rivalry. As the years progress, Woodward feels the motivation to play in this game has not changed.
On the injury front, the only major news coming out of either camp is that Sam Robinson’s upper-body injury is rehabbing on schedule and he should be ready to suit up for Wheelersburg within a few weeks.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.