Note: This sports preview appears in the Wednesday, Sept. 4 newspaper on Page B1.
There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that three of the four area teams suffered opening season losses.
But the good news is that there’s still nine more weeks of football left, which means there’s still a lot of good football that’s remaining to be played.
As all four teams gear up for week two and all hope to bring home a win, here are the week two game capsules.
Game of the Week
Jackson (1-0) at Athens (0-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Players to watch — Jackson: QB Jared Icenhower, RB Brice Graham, WR Tristan Prater; Athens — QB Joey Moore, WR Nate Trainer, WR Corbin Stalder
Jackson on offense: The offense is a work in progress. It wasn’t able to put together a touchdown drive without a turnover happening to set it up. Athens couldn’t stop Waverly running back Payton Shoemaker, who ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns so right there is a blueprint for what to do. Put the ball is your best player’s hands and let him operate. Jackson’s stable of running backs should have a field day if its half as successful as Waverly was.
Jackson on defense: Moore went 24-of-38 for 278 yards and three touchdowns. In other words, the Ironmen secondary better get ready to be tested because the Bulldogs are going to air the ball out. Moore also will tuck and run, as he did it 26 times against Waverly despite only getting 60 yards. That’s only 2.3 yards a carry, so applying pressure and getting Moore out of the pocket might be the best option.
Athens on offense: Much like Jackson’s offense, Athens was shutout in the second half and generated no movement. It’s up to the offensive line to keep Moore upright because Jackson will bring the pressure, especially with Moore flinging the ball all over the field to five different receivers. While the running game wasn’t featured, that needs to change for this one, just to mix things up.
Athens on defense: Jackson has four running backs at its disposal to take a ton of pressure off Icenhower, which was needed against Wellston. Because the offense is still working to find its footing and figure out what works best, that’s the time to blitz. It worked out in the second half for Wellston, and while Jackson will be more prepared for this one, not all offensive plans are solved in just a week.
Fairland (1-0) at Oak Hill (0-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Players to watch: Oak Hill — RB Triston Diltz, RB Noah Donley, RB Keaton Potter; Fairland — QB Max Ward, RB Michael Stitt, RB J.D. Brumfield
Preview: If you like teams that are offensively run dominate, than this is the game for you. Fairland had much more luck on the ground in its victory over Tolsia (West Virginia), running for over 200 yards behind Stitt and Brumfield, who each had two touchdowns. The Dragons also play backup quarterback Zander Schmidt, who is a run threat. Neither team had much success through the air, but a throwing screen play or two could make a huge difference. Oak Hill’s big problem was that it didn’t control the edges. If it does this week, it could add up to its first win of the season.
Vinton County (0-1) at Southeastern (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Players to watch: Vinton County — RB Jacob Wells, WR Zack Radabaugh, WR Zayne Karr; Southeastern — QB Lane Ruby, RB Mikey Nesser, RB Dalton Thurson
Preview: Revenge is on Southeastern’s mind after the Vikings escaped with a 1-point win last season. While it’s unknown if Braylen Damron or Bryon Brisker will be under center after Damron’s injury, there’s no mystery on Southeastern’s side. Ruby ran for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Nesser added 94 yards and a pair of scores. The Vikings are familiar with how explosive Ruby is, and getting into a shootout with the Panthers isn’t the best idea. Keeping the score low just like against Unioto and riding Wells’ legs should get the job done.
Wellston (0-1) at Piketon (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Players to watch — Wellston: QB R.J. Kemp, RB Rylan Molihan, WR Hunter Smith; Piketon — Piketon: QB Levi Gullion, RB Sammy Savage, WR Johnny Burton
Preview: Both teams couldn’t have had more polar opposite performances in their first game. Piketon had no problem scoring against South Point, racking up 31 points as Gullion threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Wellston’s offense didn’t score against Jackson and registered just a handful of first downs all night. But Wellston’s defense forced three turnovers, including one for a touchdown. Getting Smith involved down field early can open things up for the Golden Rockets, who beat the Redstreaks 48-14 last season.