FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Ike lone home game in Week 2

The opening week of the 2013 high school football season came and went, leaving teams with an idea of where they stand against the opposition and what adjustments need to be made.

Warren County squads went a combined 1-3 last weekend against some tough non-region opponents. This week, league play starts for three of the four local teams.

Youngsville travels to Iroquois, Sheffield visits Elk County Catholic, Eisenhower plays host to Maplewood, and Sheffield visits Elk County Catholic in District 10 Region 2 and District 9 Allegheny Mountain League action, respectively. Meanwhile, Warren ventures out of District 10 territory to take on District 9’s Clarion-Limestone.

Warren (1-0) at Clarion-Limestone (0-1), Clarion-Limestone High School, 7 p.m., Friday

The Dragons were the only county team to earn a win in their season opener, as they defeated the East Warriors by a score of 21-20 in a non-region game at War Memorial Field.

This week’s opponent is Clarion-Limestone, which Warren routed 83-12 in the second game of the 2012 season. The outlook isn’t much better for the Lions in 2013 after suffering the worst loss in school history last week, 74-0, against Clarion High School.

Despite the lopsided score, Clarion-Limestone did put up 190 yards of total offense, led by Chase Alcorn’s 74 yards on 21 carries.

Warren saw a balanced ground attack against East with Cody Gunn, Luke Wortman, and quarterback D.J. Fehlman each taking an equal share of the carries. Fehlman also threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns, both to junior receiver Tanner Stanz. The Dragons did turn the ball over six times in that game, and that’s a stat they would like to see reversed this week against the Lions.

“We have learned to believe in each other as a team, never stop competing, and to overcome adversity – turnovers,” said Warren coach Greg Latimer. “Our team performance was pretty much what we expected as a staff – missed blocking assignments, completion of pass routes, not running the correct gaps/holes, and missed tackles. We will continue to improve as a team and work on becoming one unit.”

Last year’s meeting: Warren 83, Clarion-Limestone 12

Youngsville (0-1) at Iroquois (0-1), Iroquois High School, 7 p.m., Friday

After suffering a 42-0 non-region loss in their opener against Fairview, the Youngsville Eagles will open Region 2 play on the road against Iroquois. The Braves didn’t fare much better in their season opener, losing to Harbor Creek by a score of 30-0.

The lack of scoring from both teams is interesting, considering last year’s meeting between the two ended in a 46-41 shootout in favor of the Eagles. Running back Brandon Roda returns from that Iroquois team after rushing for 738 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Though primarily a running team, the Braves also return starting quarterback Dylan Carpin.

Last year’s meeting: Youngsville 46-41

Sheffield (0-1) at Elk County Catholic (0-1), Elk County Catholic High School, 7 p.m., Friday

The Sheffield Wolverines are looking for win number one after being held to just 51 total yards in last week’s 34-6 loss against Kane. The offense needs to do a better job moving the ball against Elk County Catholic, which is coming off a 28-21 loss against Smethport.

The Wolverine defense had some trouble stopping the pass in week one, and will have to watch out for the quarterback-receiver combo of Andrew Gebauer and Ryan Childs for Elk County. The Crusader duo connected six times and once for a touchdown in last week’s loss to the Hubbers. Gebauer finished the day going 11-of-18 for 187 yards through the air, while Jonathan Dippold rushed for the Crusaders’ other two touchdowns while taking most of the carries out of the backfield.

“We talked a lot about the mental side of football and when we get down on ourselves it affects our ability to play to our potential,” said Sheffield coach Dave Fitch. “Obviously week one did not go as planned but you have to be able to let go and move on and continue to work and improve every week to achieve the goals you worked to set in the off season. This week will be a good test to judge our team’s character and my money is with my players and coaches to turn things around and play to our capabilities.”

Last year’s meeting: Elk County Catholic 18, Sheffield 0

Maplewood (0-1) at Eisenhower (0-1), Eisenhower High School, 7 p.m., Friday

Following a season-opening loss at the hands of Mercer in 2012, Eisenhower rattled off five straight wins before going on to an 8-2 regular season mark and a Region 2 title.

The Knights, which dropped last week’s season opener to the Mustangs by a score of 41-13, are hoping history repeats itself as they take on region opponent Maplewood Friday night in the county’s only home game.

The Tigers have graduated most of their key players from last year’s team that went 2-8, and don’t return a single player who rushed for more than 25 yards or caught more than five passes in 2012.

Ike running back Alex Johnson picked up 99 yards and both of his team’s touchdowns on the ground along with two receptions for 65 yards in the season opener. Quarterback Rob Wilston added 58 rushing yards on 15 carries and completed five passes for 90 yards.

“Any time you play a south team you are playing one of the best teams in D-10,” said Ike coach Jim Penley. “Mercer returned most of their team, and it showed in the third quarter. We played tough until half, and then in the third we just got beat up front. I was happy with the offense which was nearly averaged 10 yards a play, Alex Johnson rushed for 98 yards, and Robbie (Wilston) 77, mostly in the first half, but we need to improve on defense so we can get the offense on the field more the 35 plays. We need to develop an more intense attitude on defense, one that was missing in the second half of last week. But the guys physically played well with Mercer, which is the biggest thing to take from it, they are tough and big up front.

“We need to continue to improve on offense, and develop an attitude on defense,” said Penley. “Maplewood is a tough team up front, with some nice young athletes in the backfield. If we are not disciplined on defense, they can pick up some yards.”

Last year’s meeting: Eisenhower 48, Maplewood 19