Following last week’s road win at St. Paul, a thrilling 41-35 overtime victory at Whitney Field, the Roughriders find themselves in an equally as big matchup on Friday against Crestview.
The Cougars enter the game at 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Firelands Conference, facing a Western team that is 7-1 (5-0). A win by Western clinches at least a share of the program’s first league title since 2012, and the sixth all-time.
The ‘Riders have already unofficially clinched a playoff spot and sit atop Division VI Region 22 entering the game. And though they are likely at home in Week 11 on Nov. 8 regardless, a win would remove any doubt.
Meanwhile, Crestview is looking for a win to force a tie atop the standings with a game left between the ‘Riders, Cougars — and potentially St. Paul. The Cougars also enter the game just on the outside in ninth in Region 22, and a win certainly would vault them up several spots.
Crestview also has five FC titles, with its last coming in 2011. The Cougars won, 21-7, at South Central last week in a game that featured all the scoring in the first half.
“Crestview is very big and physical up front, a well-coached team that we’ll have to be ready for,” Western coach Ty Stevenson said. “They are real physical and do things well — they can throw and run it both with success.”
Sage Baith paces the Cougars with 101 rush attempts for 688 yards and 9 TDs. Quarterback Ross Kuhn is 44-of-94 passing for 762 yards and 6 TDs. Defensive tackle Caden Hill has 63 tackles — including 22.5 for loss.
“Their defense is very good and physical up front,” Stevenson said. “It will be another test just like St. Paul and Plymouth was.”
Western is led by running back Cody Benesh, who has 1,708 yards and 24 TDs to lead the FC in both categories. Jude Muenz is 79-of-129 passing for 1,031 yards with 6 TDs, with JJ Weisenberger catching 31 of those passes for 413 yards and 2 TDs.
Benesh paces the Western defense with 69 tackles, with Dalton Webb adding 15 tackles for a loss.
South Central (4-4, 2-3) at Plymouth (6-2, 3-2)
PLYMOUTH — The Big Red hosts this rivalry game still in the playoff picture in Div. VII Region 26.
Plymouth’s lone two losses are to a pair of 7-1 teams in Western Reserve (24-22) and St. Paul (34-8). The Big Red won at Monroeville last week, 42-28, to assure themselves of a winning season for the first time since 2014 – also the last and only time they reached the state playoffs.
Plymouth is currently No. 11 in the region, but will need to win Friday and next week at Crestview and hope for some help along the way. Plymouth is paced by running back Lukas Montgomery (90 attempts, 604 yards, 6 TDs)
Meanwhile, after a 4-1 start, the Trojans enter the matchup having lost three straight games to Western, St. Paul, and last week’s 21-7 loss vs. Crestview.
Mapleton (1-7, 1-4) at Monroeville (1-7, 0-5)
MONROEVILLE — The Eagles seek their first FC win of the season against a Mapleton team that won its first game of the season last week.
The Mounties trailed visiting New London, 6-0, in the third quarter last week. But a 53-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard TD run from QB Gage Scurlock gave Mapleton a 7-6 lead it held onto the rest of the way.
Monroeville is coming off the 42-28 loss to the Big Red last week. However the Eagles are hoping they found something down the stretch of the loss. They trailed 42-7 after three quarters, but managed to score three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Those 3 TDs in the fourth quarter alone equal the Eagles’ highest scoring output in any of their previous four FC games.
Edison (5-3, 2-1) at Vermilion (0-8, 0-3)
VERMILION — The Chargers will be heavy favorites in a road SBC Bay Division game, and it’s a game they need to remain on the cusp of state playoff contention.
Edison is ninth in Div. IV Region 14, just behind both Clyde (5-3) and Bellevue (5-3) in seventh and eighth. Those two U.S. Route 20 rivals will play next week, ensuring a loss, and both have difficult games against Norwalk and Sandusky on Friday.
While the Chargers are busy scoreboard watching, they will look to avoid the upset bug against a Vermilion team that hasn’t scored a point in over a month — and have just one touchdown period in their last seven games.
Jacob Brewer paces the Edison offense with 748 yards and 9 TDs on 97 rush attempts, with QB Thomas Simon adding 417 yards and 2 TDs on the ground while throwing for 363 yards and 3 TDs through the air.
Aiden Hayward (65 tackles) and Joe Stoll (61 tackles, 4 sacks) pace the Chargers on defense.
Willard (0-8, 0-3) at Oak Harbor (8-0, 3-0)
OAK HARBOR — The winless Crimson Flashes will be heavy underdogs against one of the top teams in Div. V on Friday.
The Rockets — ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press state poll — had their closest game of the season last week in a 19-point win (33-14) over Edison. They are outscoring teams 354-65 through eight games, an average score of 44-8.
Willard is coming off a 63-28 home loss to Port Clinton last week. Quarterback Cooper Parrott is 77-of-178 passing for 951 yards and 8 TDs, with Hayden Meisner his top target with 29 catches for 404 yards and 2 TDs.
Linebacker Jon Rothhaar has 85 tackles and one sack on defense for the Flashes.
Sandusky (6-2, 2-1) at Bellevue (5-3, 1-2)
BELLEVUE — Two SBC Lake teams in playoff contention will meet at the Bellevue Athletic Facility on Friday.
The Blue Streaks (6-2, 2-1) are third in Div. III Region 10, while the Redmen (5-3, 1-2) are eighth in Div. IV Region 14.
Bellevue won last year’s meeting in Sandusky, 19-10. The Redmen are led by dual-threat QB Keegan Ray, who has thrown for 1,024 yards and 8 TDs and ran for 688 yards and 9 TDs.
Caleb Marshall leads the SBC Lake in receiving yards (26 catches, 573 yards, 9 TDs), while linebacker Jack Howey has 66 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Sandusky is led by running back Terion Stewart (1,118 yards, 18 TDs).