After an initial week of mostly mismatches, Week 2 settles in with some revealing matchups from teams that already are… and some that want to be.
We hit 8 out of 10 last week, just missing Ansonia’s game with Riverside and that fourth-quarter thriller between Tipp and Bellbrook.
In particular, those two games turned out to be more revealing than the score. Ansonia could be what some in Darke County claim it to be, and in Tipp’s case, a quality win with 19 new faces may herald more than expected from the Red Devils in 2022. In any case, duly noted here. for the future and the games I profile on future pages… a better idea of what we have!
In Week 2, we see more of the real stuff: good teams facing a better challenge. Coldwater vs. Bellefontaine it’s instantly intriguing. Marion vs. McComb It has become a little school classic when they get together. can you say enough about Milton Union vs. Valley View? Y Troy vs Xenia gives us our first look at the Trojans with new trainer Troy Everhart.
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Thinking we can do better than 80% in week 2, the only way to catch big fish is to fish with big bait. And there’s nothing bigger than our top pick of the week.
milton union @ View of the Valley…Both teams had easy wins in Week 1, very predictable. And Valley View’s victory over Springfield Shawnee in previous years would have sent up a red flag. But Rick Meeks’ Braves are rebuilding after a 6-4 season. Milton faced no challenge with National Trail and used his 41-0 win as a simple tune-up for this week. Valley View will be looking to atone for last year’s loss to the Bulldogs, and their home environment in Germantown is daunting. But not nearly as daunting as Milton’s strike-happy offense with Michael Elam on the ground and Blake Brumbaugh in the air. Now, this won’t take Valley View by surprise, but as long as Milton can control the line of scrimmage with his big, experienced front line, he just might not make a difference. This game will tell you a lot about Milton Union, because VV will bring the house. Still, quality counts, and I think Milton, until proven wrong, has that kind of quality. Bulldogs, again… for a score!
Loramie Fort @ Versailles…Again, both teams had easy times in Week 1, and this is another irresistible friends and family matchup. Played at Loramie last year, the Redskins just couldn’t compete with the sheer reliability of Versailles. This year, it could be the other way around. The big play at this point is clearly on Loramie’s side with Caleb Maurer and receiver Logan Eilerman. But they’ll have to run it a bit for Versailles to respect their ability to do both. I think a lot of people are expecting a big drop from last year’s Division V champion team from Versailles, but really that may be a fact of experience over quality. They still have good people, and at home it’s still a daunting task to beat the Tigers. Wait Versailles to win the line of scrimmage for a close win over Loramie…by one score!
New Bremen @Lehman…Lehman is coming off a good early win over Lima Perry. New Bremen are coming off an even better opening win over Lima Bath. That said, Lehman’s first-year coach Kris Kash will be busier this week competing with New Bremen’s David Homan, one of the most dynamic players in the MAC both at quarterback and in the secondary. Lehman is clearly in rebuilding mode after years of declining numbers. And New Bremen is a playoff contender in Division VII and a threat to any of the conference’s big dogs on any given night. They can run the ball with Hunter Schaefer, and Homan will make a lot of plays on the ground and through the air. The Cardinals will be too much for Lehman and will win by multiple points.
Xenia @ Troy…The one thing Troy showed in new coach Troy Everhart’s debut as coach is that he believes in old-fashioned Trojan football. He runs the ball … at the rate of 330 yards and three different running backs with 90 or more rushing yards in a convincing win over Dunbar. Nick Kawecki and Jahari Wheeler hit a hundred each! Xenia had no problems with Beavercreek, but few do today. The Buccaneers racked up nearly 500 yards, but Troy’s defense will be much better. Likewise, Xenia will be a much better challenge for Troy, with running back Tre’Shaun Sanders (151 yards) and a passing attack that hung 190 yards. By comparison, Troy only had 40 against Dunbar, but he didn’t need to shoot. I saw Xenia last year against Tipp, and the Buccs had athletes. But they were actually a year away, particularly with the passing game. This is a huge step forward in competition for Xenia over the past week, and for Troy as well. I always question the preparation of secondary teams to defend the pass, and my hunch is that the Buccs’ passing game will end up being the difference in this game. Xenia… for a score!
Archbold @ Saint Henry…A game that was added to St. Henry’s schedule after its contract with Fort Frye was terminated last year … presumably because of the distance. The irony of it… Archbold is a little closer, but clearly just as big of a challenge and much bigger than Covington in Week 1. Archbold is picked to win the competitive Northwest Ohio Athletic Conference, and he’s coming from a impressive opening victory over Genoa. The Blue Streaks will clearly have a numerical and experience advantage, with 21 seniors on their roster, and they used that with a strong passing game from quarterback Cade Brenner last week for a 35-14 win. I think St.Hank will be fine, but I think they will need some time. Archbold won’t give it to him. Blue Streaks for a couple of scores.
Cold water @ bellefontaine…Unsurprisingly, Coldwater came out and crushed a rebuilding Kenton last week, setting up this matchup with pass-happy Bellefontaine and much-talked-about quarterback Tavian St. Clair. St. Clair was 20 of 27 for 170 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Sidney. But the Chiefs showed they can be more than one-dimensional with running back Chris Fogan gaining 217 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Coldwater is back in Division V this year, Marcel Blasingame made an auspicious debut at quarterback last week, and this week will be a big step up in the competition. Not much has been said about the Cavaliers this offseason, and 37-2 over Kenton isn’t enough. Surprising, but Bellefontaine can be as athletic as any team Coldwater sees until they play Marion Local in Week 10, and this will be my opening surprise for the season. I think the Chiefs can make a statement here. I think they win, by one score.
oak wood @ Northcrest…Northridge has athletes and the confidence to tear apart a dubious Dixie team 51-0 last week. Oakwood has a better win under their belt over Mariemont, but the Lumberjacks are coming off a 4-7 season and Mariemont won’t have the kind of team speed that Northridge possesses. It’s still too early to know for sure, but the Polar Bears have enough talent at their skill positions to threaten any team on their schedule in 2022, including Milton Union. I said threaten, not hit. They narrowly lost to Oakwood last year late in the game, and at home I think Taron Hill, Jayden Kelly and Jeremy Henry make an early statement in the Three Rivers Conference. If they avoid turnovers and bad penalties…I like polar bears, a lot.
Carrollton West @ Piqua…I swore three years ago never to take the Pirates for granted again after they pulled off the biggest upset of the year in 2019 with a 39-34 win over Piqua, throwing for 411 yards to do it. It probably surprised Bill Nees too, and I’m pretty sure it won’t happen again, at least this year. The Pirates gave up 62 last week to Miamisburg, while Piqua posted an opening victory over Belmont, 55-0. Piqua housewarming, and they will protect the house, as it says on the jerseys. Trust it. Indians by at least three scores.
tip @ Sydney…A game we’ve struggled with over the years, it always seems like Sidney plays hardball with Tipp, at least when we’re there. Tipp’s 14-10 victory over Bellbrook caught us off guard, because who would have thought all those new faces would come together so quickly against an opponent who beat them twice last year? Unsurprisingly, Tipp’s defense was ahead of his offense last week (215 total yards), and I wouldn’t expect anything to change this week. Sidney is athletic on offense with Isaiah Foster, Jy Foster-Wheeler and Julius Spradling, but Charlie Burgbacher is an expert at countering the other team’s best weapons. You could expect a close game, again, but Tipp’s offense will be a better week … and Charlie’s defense will be well prepared, as usual. I think… red devils, for a scoreme.
McComb @ local marion…For some reason, the news this week has been that Marion didn’t look too daunting on offense against Division III Wapakoneta. This sucks at people spoiling for 12 titles, because I think you have to give Div. VI (Marion) some credit playing Div. III (Wapak). Wapak is going to win a lot of football games in 2022, and Marion quarterback Tate Hess was making his maiden trip behind center.
And if it’s true that the Flyers will have a hard time shooting the ball this year, so what? That defense will keep them in plenty of games until they find out, having held a much larger Wapak team to 169 yards and 7 points. That will come in handy since McComb posted 54 at Galion last week, but that’s not like trying to score at Marion Home this week. Galion, by the way, is a Division IV team that lost six of its last seven games in 2021 by an average of three touchdowns. McComb is coming off a 9-1 season in which his only loss came to… you guessed it, Local Marion, in a 10-0 shutout in Week 2. A clue? McComb’s quarterback, Grant Dishong, threw for 271 yards and 5 touchdowns and only completed 11 passes, but I imagine he’ll see more pressure than he did against Galion. Good matchup, and the kind that Tim Goodwin enjoys before he enters the MAC game next week. I think Marion benefited more from beating Wapak than McComb did Galion, and I think Marion is 2-0 with a two-point win.