Western Reserve can take another big step this week

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 6:12 PM

COLLINS — Fresh off a huge road win at South Central last week, the Western Reserve football team is in position for several notable things in Friday's Firelands Conference game vs. Monroeville at Bachelder Field.

First, a win by the Roughriders (5-1, 3-0) puts them in position to play in a huge game on Oct. 26 at St. Paul. Second, the 'Riders can all but unofficially clinch a state playoff spot in Division VI Region 22, where they enter the game second in the region — 5.4-plus points ahead of teams ranked eighth-11th.

The Eagles (1-5, 0-3) are looking for their first FC win of the season, while also attempting to snap a four-game losing streak. Since blasting Portsmouth Notre Dame (0-6) on Sept. 7, the Eagles are averaging just 12.2 points per game in four losses to Margaretta, South Central, New London and Crestview.

Running back Cody Benesh leads all area rushers with 186 carries for 1,256 yards and 17 TDs for the 'Riders. Quarterback Jude Muenz is 57-of-98 passing for 707 yards and 4 TDs, with JJ Weisenberger as his top target (21 catches, 268 yards, TD).

Monroeville’s Ricky Ringer has 77 carries for 466 yards and 5 TDs.

Monroeville won last season's meeting over the 'Riders at Marsh Field, 46-23.


Willard (0-6, 0-1) at Edison (4-2, 1-0)

MILAN — The Chargers are another area team that can play themselves into a huge matchup next week with a league win on Friday.

Edison enters the game as the eighth team in Div. IV Region 14, and make the trip over the Thomas Edison Bridge next week to face unbeaten Oak Harbor (6-0, 1-0). The Rockets are at Huron on Friday in the biggest game in the SBC Bay Division.

The Chargers trailed by a point entering the fourth quarter of last week's game at Port Clinton, but a pair of TDs gave them a 28-14 win over the Redskins.

Edison’s Jacob Brewer leads the Bay Division in rushing yards (714) on 89 attempts. He has 8 TDs on the ground as well. Quarterback Thomas Simon adds 367 yards and 2 TDs rushing and is 19-of-34 passing for 229 yards and 2 TDs.

Linebackers Aiden Hayward (59) and Joe Stoll (53) are third and fourth in the Bay in tackles, respectively.

The Chargers and Flashes played each other in 2016 and 2017, both in Milan, as Edison won easily by scores of 41-14 and 39-16.

Willard enters Friday on an eight-game losing streak dating back to the 2018 season. It lost 45-6 last week at Huron.

For the Flashes, QB Cooper Parrott is 55-of-128 passing for 684 yards with 6 TDs. Hayden Meisner has 22 catches for 331 yards and a TD, and linebacker Jon Rothhaar is second in the league in tackles with 59.


New London (1-5, 1-2) at Crestview (4-2, 2-1)

OLIVESBURG — The Wildcats had a rough game last week against visiting Plymouth, as they fell behind 40-0 in the first half of a 53-14 loss.

New London had snapped a 21-game losing streak the week prior with a 33-21 win at Monroeville on Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, the Cougars bounced back from a 14-6 home loss to St. Paul on Sept. 27 by routing the Eagles last week, also at home, by a 41-14 score. Crestview is 11th in Region 22, so every win is also critical for the Cougars.

Peyton Wilson is 88-of-154 passing for 1,120 yards and 9 TDs to pace the ‘Cats. His top target is Parker Ruble, who has 26 catches for 471 yards and 6 TDs. Jacob Allen adds 24 catches for 217 yards and a score, while Jaden Keys has 14 catches for 231 yards and 2 TDs.

Chase Clouse paces the New London defense with 56 tackles.


Mapleton (0-6, 0-3) at Plymouth (4-2, 1-2)

PLYMOUTH — The Big Red had lost their first two FC games to St. Paul (34-8) and Western Reserve (24-22).

But they got back in the win column — and the playoff hunt in Div. VII Region 26 with the win at New London last week. Though they likely have to win all four of their remaining games, the Big Red at the very least are in the conversation as they check in at No. 12 this week in the region.

Plymouth will be the favorites at home against the winless Mounties, as a victory tonight will assure the Big Red of at least a .500 season with another three weeks remaining.


Bellevue (4-2, 0-1) at Perkins (3-3, 0-1)

PERKINS TWP. — The Redmen got the start it needed and wanted against state-ranked Norwalk last week, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first eight minutes.

But the Truckers took control from there, as Bellevue also lost its starting quarterback and running back to injuries in the 45-21 loss.

Bellevue also slipped to 11th in Region 14, and likely needs to go at least 2-2 over the final month to reach the state playoffs. That will be no easy task, as after the Pirates, the Redmen still face Tiffin Columbian (5-1), Sandusky (5-1) and Clyde (5-1).

But the Redmen cannot overlook the Pirates as the road team. Last season, it was 3-win Perkins leaving Bellevue with a surprising 17-14 win.

Keegan Ray, who left last week’s game in the second quarter with an injury, paces the Redmen with 761 yards and 8 TDs passing and 530 yards and 8 TDs rushing.

Caleb Marshall has 22 catches for 461 yards and 9 TDs for Bellevue, while Jack Fitzgerald adds 11 catches for 199 yards and a TD.

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