FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Dragons look to bounce back vs. Corry; 3 at home Friday
If you’re looking for varsity football action in Warren County this Friday, you’re in luck.
Three county teams are at home on Friday night, with Warren hosting Corry in the Route 6 rivalry, Eisenhower welcoming Conneaut in a non-region showdown, and Youngsville taking on winless Seneca at Mike Shine Field. Sheffield plays on Saturday afternoon, as they look to remain undefeated in the AML North and control their playoff destiny, at Port Allegany.
It’s quickly becoming “do-or-die” time for the 2013 season, and don’t expect to see any local teams looking past Week 7.
Corry (1-5) at Warren (4-2), War Memorial Field, 7 p.m., Friday
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Dragons, but it’s been an even tougher season for Corry. The Beavers started the 2013 campaign 0-5 before defeating winless Seneca in Week 6, and they’re hoping to make the best of Warren’s two-game losing skid this Friday night. Senior quarterback Nathaniel Smith is 44-of-122 for 750 yards and five touchdowns through the air, and he is also Corry’s leading rusher with 372 yards and three touchdowns on 69 carries.
“We’ve practiced all week on getting back to basics and applying those fundamentals that we used to start our season 4-0,” said Dragons’ coach Greg Latimer. “(Corry) has several different sets and formations – mostly a spread offense similar to what Warren ran in years past. Once again, we need to stop the ground game, win the battle on the line of scrimmage, and keep our offense on the field.”
The Warren offense is led by quarterback D.J. Fehlman, who is 60-of-97 for 1,010 yards and 16 touchdowns on the year. Tanner Stanz is the leading target at receiver with 18 catches for 296 yards and nine touchdowns.
Last year’s meeting: Warren 42, Corry 18.
Conneaut (3-3) at Eisenhower (5-1), Eisenhower High School,
7 p.m., Friday
Eisenhower will take a break from its 12-game Region 2 win streak to take on the Conneaut Eagles in a non-region match-up at ‘The Pasture of Pain.’ Conneaut is just 3-3 overall and 1-3 in Region 1, but has won back-to-back games over General McLane and Mercer.
Hunter Merritt ran for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries in last week’s win, and can line up at either quarterback or running back as needed.
“They run the ball in the spread option very well,” said Ike coach Jim Penley. “Their quarterback is a tremendous athlete, even though he’s only a sophomore. The line is big and physical. If we can control the line of scrimmage we can have some luck stopping them, but if we don’t it will be a tough game.”
For the Knights, senior quarterback Rob Wilston is 36-of-76 for 751 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, and has 338 rushing yards on 93 carries. Alex Johnson has gained 595 yards on the ground and has racked up nine total touchdowns on the year.
“Some teams play their best when ahead, and when pushed they start to unravel. This team is the opposite,” said Penley of his 5-1 Knights. “They only get tougher with the situation. I hoped we could be here. I knew it would be tough, but yes, I thought if we grew and worked hard we could be here.”
Last year’s meeting: Conneaut 41, Eisenhower 21.
Seneca (0-6) at Youngsville (0-6), Youngsville High School, 7 p.m., Friday
The Eagles lost to Union City in a battle of winless teams last week, but they’ll get another shot at it Friday night when the 0-6 Seneca Bobcats visit Mike Shine Field. Seneca has been shut out in four of its six games, and has scored just 20 points this year. Running back Adam Fish is the leading offensive player with 86 carries for 327 yards.
“We are continuing to focus on getting better with every play,” said Youngsville coach John Victor. “Last week, we played one of our better games physically, but the mental game gave us problems. Mental toughness is our objective for this week. Many underclassmen have been playing each week and we continue to grow as a football team. It’s that growth that makes me feel more positive about our future.”
Jake Lauffenburger has completed 41 out of 97 passes for 423 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles including a 15-of-30, 201 yard performance last week against Union City.
Last year’s meeting: Seneca 40, Youngsville 6.
Sheffield (4-2) at Port Allegany (1-5), Port Allegany High School, 1:30 p.m., Saturday
What a difference a year makes.
In 2012, Port Allegany was the class of District 9 while Sheffield battled through a 3-7 season. Now, the Wolverines find themselves in the driver’s seat of the AML North with a 3-0 league record while the Gators are in a tie for last place after losing much of last year’s team to graduation. Despite a 1-5 record, Port has been competitive in every game with the exception of a 54-0 loss to Kane in Week 2. Jordan Seefeldt has taken over head coach Michael Bodamer’s pass-heavy offense, and is 67-of-144 for 787 yards. Cory Burr is the leading receiver with 28 catches for 432 yards, and Tyler Shaffer has rushed for 460 yards and four touchdowns on 71 carries.
“Port is not having the season they hoped for, which makes them hungry and dangerous,” said Sheffield coach Dave Fitch. “We will continue to work our ground game and attack the areas we feel are vulnerable. We cannot allow them to hang around or mount big drives that keep our offense off the field.”
Sophomore running back Jereek Jackson has 437 yards and eight touchdowns on 53 carries for the Wolverines this season, and torched the Otto-Eldred defense for 127 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as well as a 60-yard touchdown reception last week.
“If you look at how our season started – which was us ‘getting down’ during the first game and letting the wheels come off – to now, if we get behind we stay focused and fight back, it tells you the maturity of our team,” added Fitch. “These kids have put in many offseason hours preparing for this ride and none of them want the bus to stop now.”
Last year’s meeting: Port Allegany 69, Sheffield 30.