By Drew Terhall
We have officially reached the halfway point of the football season. Five weeks are in the books with five more to go for the regular season.
There is one very important match up this week. Versailles High School hosts Marion Local, a game that will have implications on the MAC standings and playoff standings. In the most recent state high school football polls, Marion Local was voted number one in Division VI. Versailles was voted fifth in the same division.
The Tigers can’t afford another loss this season. It’s a must win for Versailles to keep their MAC championship hopes alive.
There’s still some time left for teams to turn their season around. Even if a playoff spot seems out of reach, the second half of the season can help build up a program. There’s no reason to throw in the towel halfway through the season.
With that in mind, here is what to look out for in this week’s slate of games.
Twin Valley South (2-3) vs Ansonia (4-1): Running game
Ansonia is coming off a close loss to Tri-Village and will look to bounce back in a big way. The running game wasn’t the issue against the Patriots. They rushed for 323 yards as a team. Exzaviar Moody had 197 yards rushing with two rushing touchdowns.
The only anomaly from the game was quarterback Ian Schmitmeyer had 17 pass attempts in the game. Schmitmeyer had 15 attempts in the first four games total.
Being a little more pass happy wasn’t the issue as well. However, I expect Ansonia to go back to the basics against a good rushing defense in Twin Valley South. The Panthers allow 80 yards rushing per game. This is the type of game for Ansonia to lean on their bread and butter to get back into the win column.
Arcanum (2-3) at National Trail (4-1): Rushing defense
The Trojans just finished taking on another team that loves to run the ball in Tri-County North. They held Tri-County North to 187 yards rushing as a team.
On a yards per game basis, Tri-County North runs for 332.3 yards each game with National Trail at 310.4 yards per game. However, National Trail has found the endzone more averaging 36 points a game. They are coming off a 71-0 win over Dixie where they ran for 309 yards as a team.
Arcanum will have to get their run defense in order again to get the win. The National Trail defense is tough, but they will have a better chance at the win if they can corral the rushing attack.
Greenville (0-5) at West Carrollton (0-5): Offensive attack
Look for the Green Wave to make this game a high-scoring affair. West Carrollton averages 9.6 points a game. They have struggled on offense this year. They were held scoreless in two games so far this season.
Greenville can take advantage of that by forcing West Carrollton to keep up with their offense. Brock Short has been dominant so far, having 990 rushing yards already on the season. The next best rusher is Trei’Shaun Sanders from Xenia with 834 rushing yards this season.
The offense will get Short the ball in many different ways. Their other play-makers, like quarterback Evan Manix and running back Ryan Crampton, should have a chance to shine. After scoring 21 last week, they could double that score this week.
Preble Shawnee (3-1) vs Mississinawa Valley (1-4): Ball security
Mississinawa Valley played a better game last week after their 69-0 loss to Tri-Village. They lost to Twin Valley South, 28-14, but they were able to move the ball.
Chastan Daniels returned and went 17 for 34 with 237 yards and two touchdowns. However, he did have four interceptions. If they want to defeat Preble Shawnee, they will need to take care of the ball better.
Preble Shawnee will feature a balanced attack. In their last game on Sept. 9, quarterback Brody Morton threw for 265 yards and the team rushed for 156 yards. It will be tough to stop them consistently.
The Blackhaws will more than likely have to keep pace with them on the scoreboard. In order to do that, you need to have as many possessions as possible. If Mississinawa Valley can keep the ball and at a minimum give their defense a chance with no short fields, they can win the game.
Tri-Village (4-1) at Tri-County North (1-4): Rushing defense
As mentioned before, Tri-County North loves to run the ball and Tri-Village gave up 323 rushing yards to Ansonia last week. Granted, it’s hard to shut down the Ansonia rushing attack. But, it could be a problem for the Patriots in the future.
Moody leads the conference in rushing yards with 738. Just behind him is Tri-County North’s running back Colten Vanwinkle with 734 yards. It will be back-to-back weeks facing a very good running back.
This game could be a confidence booster for the run defense. The offense will continue to roll, but it’s up to the run defense to step up and get a complete team win.
Marion Local (5-0) vs Versailles (4-1): Complementary football
This was going to be one of Versailles toughest games on their schedule. It might be a little tougher now that Marion Local defeated New Bremen last week, 38-16. The Tigers lost to New Bremen two weeks ago.
Versailles will need to have all units clicking to get the win. The offense will need to find ways to move the ball and avoid turning it over. The defense will need to capitalize on any mistakes the Marion Local offense makes to help the offense. Special teams will need to avoid making mistakes and get favorable field position for both of the other units.
It might not be pretty, but if everyone is working together to help each other out, Versailles will put themselves in a great position to win the game.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]