DUNCAN FALLS — It’s only Week 3, but stakes are high as Maysville heads to Philo in a Muskingum Valley League clash Friday.
The Panthers (2-0 MVL) have owned the rivalry recently, winning the past three games, including a 35-14 victory last season, while the Electrics (1-1, 1-0) are aiming to rebound at Sam Hatfield Stadium.
Crooksville (1-1, 0-1) heads to Tri-Valley (2-0, 1-0) and New Lexington (0-2, 0-1) entertains Morgan (0-2, 0-1) in other MVL action, while Sheridan (1-1) hosts Zanesville (2-0) in a nonleague battle to round out Friday’s schedule. All of those games kick off at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Rosecrans (1-1) visits Tuscarawas Central Catholic (1-1) at 3 p.m. and West Muskingum (0-2 MVL) welcomes John Glenn (0-2, 0-1) at 7 p.m.
Both teams had their struggles a week ago. The Maysville offense was inconsistent against New Lex, but coach Craig Clarke said he expects his team to learn from that performance.
“We have to tighten down some certain spots on offense,” Clarke said after the win over New Lex. “We have a lot of film to look at. We know that (Philo) will be ready to play us like they have the past couple of years.”
The Electrics had an up-and-down offensive performance against Licking Valley. The concerning part for Philo coach Dirk Lincicome was his defense.
That side will be challenged against the Panthers’ rushing attack. Maysville had run for 370 yards in two weeks, with senior back Chase Roberts churning up nearly 200 yards and accounting for five touchdowns.
“Our team has to grow up quick,” Lincicome said after the loss to Licking Valley. “Our defense has to improve, and we need to execute better. I like this team, and I know they will be ready to work.”
The Blue Devils and the Generals had offensive explosions a week ago. Zanesville topped Athens 55-0, and Sheridan defeated West M 48-6.
Zanesville coach Chad Grandstaff said his team had more opportunities than in Week 1 against Newark.
“We ran 35 plays against Newark, and we average 60,” he said. “We had 555 total yards so our offensive line was doing their job. It was a great team effort, and we got production from everyone.”
Part of the Blue Devils’ defensive success was reverting back to the 3-3-5 alignment. They limited the Bulldogs to 150 total yards a week after they scored 49 points in a loss to Logan.
“It’s always an impressive effort when you get a shutout,” Grandstaff said. “Changing defenses allowed our guys to react and let them play their game.”
Sheridan, despite injuries in the backfield, will use the running game to control the clock. Grandstaff said the key is keeping the Generals behind the chains.
“We have to win first down. We can’t let them have second-and-4 or third-and-2,” he said. “They’re efficient with what they want to do on offense. They’re going to run power, counter, stretch and trap so we have to stay disciplined. We also have to match their focus and intensity.”
Some of that focus was missing a week ago with 13 penalties against Athens. It remains an area of focus for the Blue Devils.
“We’re still having too many mental errors,” Grandstaff said. “It’s good to be aggressive, but you have to remain in the framework of the game. We have to clean that up.”