PDT Sports Contributor
When the East Tartans and the Green Bobcats met earlier this season, the two teams provided the fans with an offensive exhibition that will not be forgotten by those who saw both East and Green play back in September.
Both teams will be looking to carry their offensive performances from that contest over to Friday night’s affair as the Bobcats and Tartans will square off again in a battle to keep from finishing at the cellar of the SOC I standings.
The game will indeed be a rematch of two offenses that have been up and down this year. Both offenses were hot when East and Green met on September 13th, as the teams combined to score 79 points, 57 of which came in the opening half.
When the dust settled, it was the Bobcats that rallied from a 30-14 deficit near the end of the second quarter to defeat the Tartans by a final score of 41-38 after stopping the Tartans in a goal-to-go situation to end the game.
However, the tide has changed for Green ever since they defeated East earlier in the year, as the Bobcats have dropped their last five games. Green has only scored 52 points combined in those contests – a shade over 10 points per game – in the process.
Green’s latest defeat came at the hands of the Notre Dame Titans last Friday night. The Bobcats allowed Jack Kayser and Dakota Smith to run for 312 yards and six touchdowns on just 13 combined totes.
Green coach Dan McDavid said that the Bobcats have to be more physical and be the better team from start to finish.
“We looked at the stats from last week and from what we totaled up, Notre Dame scored once every 3.2 plays,” McDavid said. “We have gone back to the drawing board this week and have worked on coming out ready and being the more physical team as well as the more aggressive team.”
One thing has remained constant throughout the year for the Bobcats and that is the production of Levi Mollett. Mollett ran for 147 yards and two scores on the ground and also added a 78-yard kick return for a score to lead the Bobcats to victory in the first meeting against East.
Mollett’s special teams’ mastery has continued throughout the year, as evidenced by his 88-yard kickoff return touchdown last week against the Titans.
“Levi’s done an excellent job for us all year long,” McDavid said. “He’s played hard all year long. Even though Notre Dame was beating us pretty bad, he was still out there playing and trying to get extra yards for us. He has played and led like a senior should.”
The Tartans, meanwhile, earned their second victory of the season by defeating Bellaire St. John Central 48-21 last Saturday in Bellaire.
To avenge the early season loss against Green, Todd Gilliland mentioned that the Tartans will have to limit their mistakes.
“(There are) a lot of things that we need to improve on from the last time we played,” Gilliland said. “On special teams, we cannot allow them to return two kickoffs for touchdowns. That was the difference in the game right there. Then, we struggled to tackle in the open field. We allowed them to get some big plays at some key times.”
East will use a myriad of different running backs, as Justin Bowen, Akia Brown and Chadd Haddix will be among the backs used in order to keep the Bobcat offense off of the field.
Brown, a freshman, ran for 155 yards on 31 carries (an average of exactly 5 yards per carry) and added a touchdown against a stout Symmes Valley defense two weeks ago.
Gilliland is pleased with how the running backs have performed this season and says that they have all stepped up at different times during the year.
“They have all played various roles throughout the season and in each game, they have shared the load,” Gilliland said. “They’ve all done a great job and Jeremy Toller has also stepped in and done a great job blocking for us at the fullback position.”
McDavid says that the key to the Bobcats’ success will be starting the game off fast and controlling the game from the outset, while Gilliland said that the Tartans will need to control the time of possession and limit turnovers in order to have the best chance of winning.
This Friday’s game will count toward the SOC I standings, as the first meeting between the two this season was billed as a nonconference matchup.
UNDER THE LIGHTS:
PDT Sports Report
Oak Hill at Ironton
Oak Hill travels to Ironton for its last road contest of the regular season. The Oaks are 7-1 on the season including a 3-0 mark on the road.
Oak Hill is coming off a 26-7 victory against Symmes Valley. The Oaks have allowed 71 points on the season, which includes holding the last three opponents to single digits. Aside from the 30-16 loss to the Minford Falcons, Oak Hill has only allowed one opponent to reach double figures on the scoreboard, while recording two shutouts earlier in the season.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers spent the last two weeks traveling to Columbus. Ironton, 2-6, dropped both contests by a score of 92-14, including a 54-0 shutout against Bishop Hartley. The Fighting Tigers’ two wins came against the Russell Red Devils and Amanda-Clearcreek in the second and third weeks of the season.
Notre Dame at Symmes Valley
The Notre Dame Titans take a 6-2 record on the road as they travel to Symmes Valley who has a 5-3 record with all five wins coming at home.
Notre Dame is in the second game of a three-game road trip to conclude the season. The Titans took care of business against the Green Bobcats, winning 64-6 in Franklin Furnace. Notre Dame has lost two of its last four games. In those two losses, the Titans scored a combined 13 points. In the past two victories, Notre Dame put 120 points on the scoreboard.
The Vikings have had a Jekyll and Hyde type of season. In Symmes Valley’s five home wins, the Vikings scored 180 points while limiting opponents to 49 points. In Symmes Valley’s three road defeats, the Vikings have scored 26 points while allowing 68 points.
Minford at Waverly
The Minford Falcons travel to Waverly to face the Tigers Friday night.
Minford has a 6-2 record but are losers in two of their last three games. The Falcons lost a 35-28 affair at West before losing at home contest against Wheelersburg 42-13 last week. With a home game against Valley on the horizon, Minford needs a victory against Waverly in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Tigers enter Friday’s game with a 2-6 record. Waverly has dropped four games in a row including shutout defeats against Valley and Wheelersburg. Waverly has allowed 304 points on the season, which includes a 48-point victory over Alexander.
Portsmouth at Warren
The Portsmouth Trojans travel to Warren looking to break a three-game losing skid.
Portsmouth, 2-6, is coming off a 26-19 loss at Jackson. In two of the three recent loses, the Trojans have allowed over 50 points, which is highlighted by a 55-49 defeat at home against Gallia Academy. Portsmouth ends the season with a home game against Chillicothe Huntington.
The Warriors, 3-5, are coming off a 31-21 road win at the aforementioned Blue Devils. Warren is 1-3 at home with the lone win coming against Parkersburg South.
Paint Valley at Piketon
Piketon goes into its matchup with Paint Valley with a 3-5 record.
The Redstreaks are coming off a 63-28 loss at Unioto. Before the road defeat, Piketon had two straight victories against Huntington Chillicothe and Zane Trace, including a 55-26 victory in Huntington. The Redstreaks will end the season with a home date against Southeastern.
The Bearcats enter Friday’s matchup with a 6-2 mark. Paint Valley has dropped its last two contests by a total of nine points. On the season, the Bearcats have scored 278 points while allowing 126 points.