GREENVILLE – In Ohio, every game is important during the high school football season no matter if it is the opening game of the season, the last game of the season or one in between such as tonight’s matchup with Greenville and Chaminade Julienne.
The two undefeated teams will square off at 7 p.m. tonight at the home of the Eagles as part of the Thursday Night Lights event sponsored by Fox 45/ABC 22 in Dayton.
“Every week, especially in Ohio with the way the postseason works, you have to get those wins against quality opponents to help build your computer points base,” Greenville coach Aaron Shaffer said. “It’s not the end of the world type thing, but these are the kinds of games you really have to go win if you have aspirations of playing in Week 11.
“We’ve talked with our kids a little about how it is kind of like a playoff game, but not really,” he continued. “It’s a points game. Whoever wins is going to gain some nice points early on which helps build your points base. It’s an important game no doubt, but it’s not end-all, be-all.”
Chaminade Julienne coach Marcus Colvin agreed.
“This game is as important for us to win as it is for Greenville,” Colvin said. “You always want to do well in the non-league games before you get beat up in league games. We talk about taking it one week at a time and this has been a good plan for us. Getting to 2-0 isn’t easy for any program. Getting to 3-0 is even harder, especially when you have the challenges that Greenville will present to us.”
The Eagles were a playoff team a year ago, while the Green Wave has not seen the postseason since 1996. While this game will have an impact on the playoffs, no one is really worried about that in Week 3.
What they have been worried about is the shortened week of practice due to the game being on Thursday night. Both teams played last Friday night, but while Greenville was able to complete its game, CJ was postponed and had to finish on Saturday. Add to that both schools having this past Monday off for Labor Day, and then an additional day off for Greenville on Tuesday due to a power outage, and it has been an unusual schedule to say the least this week.
“It hasn’t really changed us a whole lot other than maybe losing that completely off day,” Shaffer said. “Our kids came in on Sunday and we did our scout meetings, watched film and did some walk-through stuff.
“Then Monday, which is normally our scout day, everything just bumps forward a day,” he continued. “I think the kids handled the holiday well, and the extra day with the power outage. It’s probably not the worst thing for them this week with the shortened week to get to stay off your feet a little bit and not have the stress of coming to school. They’ve handled it well. We’ve had a great week of practice.”
“We have had a very busy week,” Colvin said. “We had our game postponed last Friday to Saturday night and therefore lost a whole day. I understand Greenville did not have school on Tuesday, but we did.
“Both teams are battling the heat during this short week as well,” he continued. “Regardless of all the adversity, I think both teams will be excited about the opportunity to play on Thursday night.”
The Eagles are a similar style of offense as Greenville, Shaffer said. Through the first two games, CJ junior quarterback Ryan Minor has completed 29-of-38 passes for 505 yards, 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Minor has two main targets in Colin Downing (9 catches, 129 yards, 2 TDs) and Dominic Wilcox (8 catches, 183 yards, 4 TDs). They also have two running backs with more than 100 yards each in the first two games. Marquis Henry and Quincy Johnson have combined for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“They are going to be athletic,” Shaffer said of the Eagles. “Offensively, they have some weapons, so they like to spread you out. They have an athletic quarterback who is a transfer from Stebbins. Our kids actually played against him last year. He’s an athletic kid who runs around well.
“They have a couple of decent running backs too, then they have a big 6-foot-3 kid at H-back/Tight End who runs well for his size,” he added.
Comparatively speaking, the Green Wave have junior Tyler Beyke under center, who has completed 18-of-26 passes for 249 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Marcus Wood has been his main target with 9 receptions for 145 yards and all 3 touchdowns. Greenville’s running attack is led by Landon Eldridge, who ranks second in rushing in the Greater Western Ohio Conference after two weeks. He has 38 carries for 396 yards and 8 touchdowns. Beyke has added 124 yards rushing and Di’Maurye Ewing has 103 yards on the ground. He and Beyke each have a rushing TD.
“Greenville looks very well coached and very confident,” Colvin said. “They have executed very well offensively, especially in the run game. Their defense is very opportunistic, doing a great job of bending but never breaking and getting key turnovers at certain points of drives. I have been very impressed with them on film. They are big, long and strong kids who play very hard. They will present us a huge challenge.”