Week 8 is already here. It feels like Crawford County just kicked off the high school football season, but it is almost over. As it stands, if the season ended today, three area football teams would be in the playoffs and one is sitting right on the fringe.
Expect that to change after Friday.
Here is a preview of Week 8:
Buckeye Central Bucks (5-2, 3-2) at Colonel Crawford Eagles (6-1, 4-1)
Both teams would be playing in Week 11 if the season ended before this match up. The Bucks were on a roll and seemed to be a lock for the playoffs, especially after beating Upper Sandusky. But a tough loss to Carey and the recent slide of Seneca East has put a damper on the Bucks’ playoff hopes.
A very tough matchup with Colonel Crawford and a hosting of N10 leading Wynford in Week 9 has the Bucks in a must-win mentality. More than likely, they will need to win one of the next two in order to secure a spot in the playoffs. Currently the Bucks are sitting at fifth place in the Division VII Region 24 playoff standings. Another loss could drop the Bucks out of the top 8, but a win against the Eagles or Royals could propel them to a lock in the playoffs.
As much as a win would help the Bucks, a loss could hurt the Eagles. Colonel Crawford owns the third seed in the Division VI Region 20 playoff standings. Although Buckeye Central is a quality team, a loss does not do good things in computer points.
Expect the Eagles to exploit the Bucks defense, especially in the run game. Will Kirkpatrick continues to own the top spot in the N10 rushing stats with 1,049 yards on the season. The Bucks better get used to seeing No. 5 holding the football. Blake Treisch will also be featured in the back field alongside Kirkpatrick.
Bucks quarterback Grant Loy will be looking to build on his Week 7 performance of 208 passing yards and four touchdowns. He will be testing the air early and often with Cody Roberts out for the season. Athen Moyer filled in perfectly against Bucyrus, but a better defense could spell trouble. The battle for Ohio 602 should be interesting.
Carey Blue Devils (3-4, 2-3) at Bucyrus Redmen (1-6, 0-5)
The Redmen continue to struggle with special teams play. Last week they gave up two special teams touchdowns, a kick off return and a blocked punt. The week before, the Redmen gave up kickoff return and blocked punt touchdowns as well.
It is, no doubt, a rebuilding year for the Redmen and there will continue to be major bumps in the road as the players learn the ropes of high school football. Friday night will be another learning game.
Carey will be physical and look to overpower a much younger opponent. The key for the Redmen will be to nix the special teams touchdowns and stop the Blue Devil run game. Carey is not a dominating offensive team so if the run game can be stopped, the Redmen have a chance. Only if they can find the end zone on a very good defense.
To do so, the Redmen will rely on Damon Parsell to build on an impressive individual performance a week ago. The sophomore accounted for more than 200 yards of total offense during his first full game at quarterback. He made some youthful mistakes, but it is expected.
Upper Sandusky Rams (3-4, 3-3) at Wynford Royals (6-1, 5-0)
This contest was marked on the calendar as soon as the schedules were released. With Upper Sandusky’s inaugural N10 season, the Week 8 matchup against Wynford was looked at to be a huge contest to determine the N10 standings.
The Rams, however, have had a roller coaster season that has resulted in a sub-.500 record and a not-so-important matchup with Wynford in Week 8.
The Royals are just too good. The offensive line is dominating the line of scrimmage and it is allowing Zach Hoffman and Nick Looker to run wild. The emergence of Cole Fortner during last week’s drubbing of Seneca East has provided opposing defenses with another weapon to worry about coming out of the backfield. Fortner ran for 110 yards on just four carries and scored two touchdowns during the royals Week 7 victory.
Looker and Hoffman tallied 171 yards rushing a piece. The Royals will continue to do what has made them successful all season long, run the football. If Upper wants to make this a contest, it will start in the trenches.
Galion Tigers (5-2) at Fairbanks Panthers (0-7)
The Galion Tigers refuse to not make things interesting, it is just not their style. Week 8 should not be much of an interesting contest.
The Tigers are sitting at 10th in the Division V Region 16 playoff standings. This contest will not be much of a boost in the playoff hopes, but the Tigers must take care of business.
Chase Cooke turned in his best performance of the season last week with close to 200 yard passing and a touchdown. But, just when the Tigers seemed to be on the ropes, they turned to the Crawford County leading rusher, Drake Barnett. Barnett scored three times in the third quarter last week to help the Tigers come away with a win. Look for Barnett to have a hay day against the Panthers.
Fremont St. Joseph Crimson Streaks (0-7) at Crestline Bulldogs (0-7)
Someone has to win Friday night. The Bulldogs are hoping they will not be the ones with a goose egg in the win column anymore.
If the Bulldogs want to be that team, they are going to have to rely heavily on JR Wolfe. Wolfe has stepped in and provided the Bulldogs with a solid option at quarterback for the next two years. Tyler Sipe has come into his own as the go-to option at wide receiver.