Two teams headed in opposite directions meet tonight at Maysville Athletic Complex.
Maysville (4-1, 6-1), winners of five in a row, host Sheridan (3-2, 4-3), which has lost three straight, as the Panthers look for their first win against the Generals in more than 30 years.
Elsewhere in the Muskingum Valley League, Crooksville (1-4, 3-4) travels to New Lexington (2-3, 4-3), Morgan (0-5, 1-6) visits West Muskingum (0-6, 0-7) and Philo (6-1) welcomes River View (3-4) in a nonleague game.
Rosecrans (3-0, 6-1) hits the road with a trip to Marietta (0-2, 1-6) in the East Central Ohio League.
Sheridan at Maysville
The Panthers sit fourth in Division III, Region 11 and are in unchartered waters, looking for the school’s first postseason berth. First-year coach Craig Clarke, who has experienced playoff runs with Coshocton, is keeping the focus simple for his players.
“We have taken an approach to focus on Friday night,” Clarke said. “Sheridan is a big game, and we are focused on them. The postseason will go where it goes, and we will worry about that at the end of the season.”
Maysville’s rise can be attributed to several factors. Senior leadership and learning how to win have been two keys to the Panthers’ success.
“Our seniors have bought into our concept the game is not over until the final whistle blows,” he said. “Winning close games have given us confidence. It has been building every week.”
Balance has been another key. Jordan Hayes leads the running attack with more than 650 yards, and C.J. Harris has added another 400 yards rushing to go with 10 total touchdowns, five on the ground.
Jacob Miller has been steady at quarterback, completing 23-of-55 passes for 307 yards, and Justin Wilson leads a solid group of receivers with 18 catches for 193 yards and four touchdowns.
“We don’t rely on one guy, we do it as a team,” Clarke said. “(Our offense) has taken what the defense has allowed us. We’ve been able to run on the perimeter and throw the ball. Our guys have bought into the team concept.”
The Panthers aren’t in a position to overlook the Generals, who had been shutout in back-to-back games. Clarke has reminded his team Sheridan can break out of its slump at any time.
“Sheridan is capable of big plays. We have to read our keys and play assignment football,” he said. “Defensively, we had done a nice job of running to the ball and tackling. We need to keep playing together as a team, and hopefully, that works for us again .”