Area teams look to bounce back

By Justin Miller -

Urbana quarterback Preston Shields (pictured) looks to pass during last week’s game with Stebbins.

This week’s county prep football games are going to be a chance for redemption, as four out of five squads dropped last week’s contests.

At Urbana (1-1), the Hillclimbers go on the road to Greenville (1-1) – a bigger school anxious to give the maroon and white its second loss.

The Hillclimbers had trouble defending Stebbins’ triple-option attack last week, a problem that is likely due to a lack of experience and communication along the defense. With a little work, the young squad can improve in that department.

At Graham, the Falcons are working on playing better defense.

“We’re trying to clean up some coverage on the defense,” GHS Coach A.J. Woods said. “We’re trying to improve every day, even if it’s just one thing.”

Graham (0-2) will host Lehman Catholic (0-2) on Friday, and Woods knows his guys have to be prepared.

“We’re going to have to execute on all three sides of the ball – offense, defense and special teams,” Woods said. “It’s good to see the kids getting confidence in themselves. There’s no room to complain. We just have to get back to work.”

At West Liberty-Salem, the Tigers (0-2) are still looking to put up the squad’s first win of the season as they host Kenton Ridge (1-1).

“We’re just focusing this week on continuous effort to get better and hoping that gets us over the hump,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “You show them the things that they did well. Make them realize that those are two pretty good football teams we played.”

The Tigers have had a few communication issues early and have to clean up some fundamentals.

“We need to tackle better in space and sustain our blocks. If we don’t, Kenton Ridge is going to be very difficult to slow down,” McGill said. “I think the thing I’m most pleased with right now is the kids are playing hard. We’re not getting beat due to a lack of effort. The things we need to get better at are very fixable.”

At Triad, the Cardinals (0-2) are focused on getting something – anything – going after consecutive shutout losses to Indian Lake and North Union. This week, the Cardinals play Fairbanks (1-1) in a classic proximity rivalry that’s sure to please one fan base and leave the other bitter.

“I’m sure it’s going to be electric. Anytime you’re going to get to play a team that you’re this close with, those games are exciting,” Triad Coach Joe Cardinal said.

The Cardinals need to improve in all phases of the game, with an offense that needs to stay on the field and move the ball and a defense that needs to keep the scoring down.

“I think the defense can help the offense out and vice versa. You always do fundamentals first. You want to see eye focus in the correct spots. You want them to trust their reads,” Cardinal said. “If you get better at those, then as you go, it gets easier and easier. When you play as many guys as we do both ways, you’re really just helping yourself out.”

At Mechanicsburg, the Indians (2-0) rolled over another playoff contender last week in Riverside, proving that the team is for real again this season.

“When you go back and look at tape, every mistake comes back to a fundamental,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said. “We want to become perfect at blocking, tackling and taking care of the football.”

The Indians have Northwestern (0-2) this week, in a game that Forrest would like to see his team become more balanced in after they struggled to throw the football against Riverside.

“There’s a lot of moving parts to the passing game,” Forrest said. “But if you can get up on them early, you can get the running game going early and assert your dominance.”

Urbana quarterback Preston Shields (pictured) looks to pass during last week’s game with Stebbins. quarterback Preston Shields (pictured) looks to pass during last week’s game with Stebbins.

By Justin Miller

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