Nearing the midway point of the season, the Champaign County football landscape is beginning to take shape.
At Urbana, the Hillclimbers (1-3) are coming off a blowout loss to Benjamin Logan in a CBC crossover game. With unbeaten Indian Lake coming to town Friday night, Urbana needs to play much better to avoid a repeat.
The Lakers feature returning CBC/MRD Offensive Player of the Year Alex Jacobs at quarterback.
Jacobs and the ILHS offense have been making mince meat out of defenses, while the defense is clamping down on everyone. In the entire CBC, no team has allowed fewer points or scored more than the Lakers.
At Graham, the Falcons are facing a Kenton Ridge team (2-2) that is averaging just 18 points per game. Graham has given up 50 points per game so far en route to an 0-4 start.
“You don’t want to be in this situation at all, but our schedule has been tough,” GHS Coach A.J. Woods said. “League games haven’t started yet, so we’re looking forward to getting after it at KR.”
Woods is focused on getting his guys ready to play every week, as well as teaching them how to deal with adversity.
“We take our stretching and conditioning very seriously. You’re still playing football. We’re working that toughness in at Graham,” Woods said. “We talk a lot about life lessons. Sometimes in life, you’re going to be 0-4.”
At West Liberty-Salem, the Tigers (2-2) have what amounts to a playoff game with Greeneview (3-1) this week.
“I really look at this game as two teams who are about as mirror-image as you can get,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “This game is going to come down to who can take care of the football and eliminate mental mistakes.”
The Tigers have really begun running the ball well over the last couple of games and the defense is starting to come around.
“We really started implementing a ball security session every week. We really just preach quality techniques and hope that carries over,” McGill said.
The Tigers finally started back to school this week, so McGill hopes his guys begin adjusting to the new sleep and diet routines that started last week.
Finally, the Triad and Mechanicsburg rivalry comes to life this week for its 2016 rendition at Triad.
“Whenever you see Mechanicsburg and Triad in the same sentence, it gets your heart pumping a little faster,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said. “We’re going to get their absolute best.”
The Cardinals (0-4) know they can learn from this contest with the unbeaten Indians, even if they don’t win.
“We’re just excited to have an opportunity to play in a game like this,” Triad Coach Joe Cardinal said. “Those games are always fun. Add to that, that it’s a rivalry game and it’s right down the road and it’s even more exciting.”
The boys in purple are on a mission – one that could end up with new hardware in the trophy case. But they need to stay focused and avoid hiccups to accomplish that mission.
“That’s a great challenge of coaching kids that have had a lot of success,” Forrest said. “There’s a way champions live their lives. Every day is a challenge to us, because we’re definitely not there yet.”
Cardinal’s boys will be doing their best to keep the M’burg line in check and hang with their state-ranked rival.
“We’re starting so many sophomores, it’s nice to see those guys improving,” Cardinal said. “We’re going to take some lumps from those senior-laden teams.”