Hopewell-Loudon at Northwood
2012: Hopewell-Loudon 1-1; Northwood 2-0.
Coaches:Hopewell-Loudon Jeremy Nutter; Northwood Ken James
Last year: Hopewell-Loudon 38, Northwood 7.
Outlook: After dispatching of Elmwood last week, the Chieftains face another challenge in their final week of non-Midland Athletic League play.
When asked if his team is focused on making sure it has a good record heading into conference play, Nutter simplified things.
"Biggest thing for our team is to go 1-0 this week," Nutter said. "Take care of Northwood and let the other things play out."
Things played out well for the Chieftains last year against the Rangers, but Northwood comes in with plenty of momentum after winning its first two games.
Northwood also employs a veer option, which is a little different than what today's defenses are used to seeing.
The key to stopping it, Nutter said, is staying assignment sound.
"They're very efficient at what they do, they've been running the veer option for a while," Nutter said. "We get in trouble when we start to worry about someone else's job. Know your responsibility, be disciplined in your reads and we should be OK."
Mohawk at Upper Sandusky
Records: Mohawk 1-1; Upper Sandusky 1-1.
Coaches: Mohawk, Erik Baker; Upper Sandusky, Jake Moyer.
Last year: Upper Sandusky won at Warrior Field, 35-21.
Outlook: Both teams started the season with convincing wins. And both teams are coming off bad losses.
Both coaches in this contest feel their true team lies in the middle.
"I think the truth lies somewhere in between. Week one we did some really good things and we did some things that needed to be improved on," Baker said. "The Wynford game that was a much better team than we played in week one. In a lot of ways, we improved but we gave up three big plays. I thought our pass protection against a much more physical team in week two was much better. Our run game was what we wanted to do. We represented ourselves pretty well versus what we did in recent years."
The Royals smacked Mohawk, 34-13, while Colonel Crawford stymied the Rams, 34-6.
"The game against Colonel Crawford was a head scratcher because the kids had a great week of practice and I thought they were ready for this one," Moyer said. "Once the game started, it was like an alien had come and stole their brains. I guess that responsibility falls on me. I guess I was fooled. I guess they weren't ready. Give Colonel Crawford some credit too. That quarterback can really fling the ball around."
Moyer may be in store some more head scratching this week as well as Mohawk has shown it doesn't have just one or two studs to try and stop.
"Drew (Loose) has a lot of speed. He's a very good runner. He proved that in both of the videos we watched as well," Moyer said. "But Erik has some pretty good runners and some pretty good receivers. The thing you have to know about Erik is that his kids are in shape; his kids are disciplined and his kids know how to get the job done."
It may be a little strange for Moyer to see a Loose under center too as he coached Drew's father when he played many years ago.
"His dad was intelligent and made a lot of good decisions and so does his son," Moyer said.
Baker said Tylor Pritchard will be handful.
"I think with this kid, they'll try to do what Wynford did with (Tyler) Brause and (Zach) Chatlain [in recent years]," Baker said. "The team we played in the first week, they ran only when everything else breaks down in the passing game. With Upper, Pritchard can both pass and run. And he's fast enough to hurt you with it."
The veteran Mohawk coach said to stop the Rams, his team has to play better defense and continue the positive results offensively.?The big thing is that we have to clean up our side of the ball. We can't continue to give up 200 plus yards passing and 150 or so rushing," Baker said. "Offensively, we're starting to get better. We have to continue to expand on that and keep spreading the wealth. We have to keep that team concept. We've had six or seven kids rushing the ball and five or six catching it. We have to keep spreading it around and not keeping it one dimensional."
Seneca East at Monroeville
Records: Seneca East 2-0; Monroeville 0-2
Coaches: Seneca East, Ed Phillips; Monroeville, Dan Periat
Last Year: Seneca East 33, Monroeville 7
Outlook: The Tigers opened up the season with a dominant defensive performance, shutting out South Central. Last week, the offense stepped up, putting up 40 points against Plymouth.
Phillips has reason to be pleased with how his team has opened up the season.
"Especially last week we put it together a little bit more," he said. "Both weeks we've been really solid on defense. The kids have gained a bit of confidence and played physical on the defensive side."
A potential issue arose when starting quarterback Ethan Caudill was injured in Week 1, but backup Jordan Phillips showed last week there was no issue as he ran and threw for more than 100 yards.
Caudill played two series last week throwing a touchdown pass, despite limited practice time. This week he's been getting more reps and Phillips expects both to get time against the Eagles.
"(Caudill) didn't get a whole lot of practice last week, but we wanted to get him in the rhythm," Phillips said. "Both are practicing this week and we expect to use them both."
In the Eagles, Phillips sees what he calls "a traditional Monroeville football team." However, there are some new wrinkles in this year's version.
"They're good up front offensively and defensively," Phillips said. "Defensively they're putting a little more pressure on in terms as blitzing than they have in years past.
"They run ball well. They also have a sophomore quarterback that has a very good arm and he's got some good targets to go to on the outside with a pair of 6-foot tall receivers."
Phillips believes the key relies on his defense bottling up the Eagles.
"We need to be sound defensively," he said. "We can't allow them to get any big plays on offense. Make them work for everything they get."
Lakota at Cardinal Stritch
Coaches: Dave Vodika, Lakota; Jim Kubuske, Cardinal Stritch.
Records: Lakota 1-1; Cardinal Stritch 1-1.
Last year: Lakota beat Cardinal Stritch 34-26.
Outlook: It took the entire first half of the first game before Lakota found any offensive rhythm, and despite a loss in the opener, the Raiders carried that momentum over into a 27-0 win last week against Cardinal Stritch.
Now, after equaling last year's win total, the Raiders have a chance to learn something new: how to keep winning.
"This is another transition we're making. To win one is a great thing. To win two is to forget about last week and get on with the next one. That's something our kids haven't seen," Vodika said. "It's a growth process for us. The celebration's over with, let's get on with the work.
"We definitely took steps this week, but if we're moving in the right direction, we've got to take steps Friday," he said.
Most of those steps Friday will come trying to stop a power running game.
The Cardinal suffered a lop-sided loss last week to Woodmore, but enter looking to turn things around and avenge last year's loss to Lakota with a run-first attack.
"No. 1, I think that they're a physical team. Their linemen are toe to toe and they run a real physical Wing-T," Vodika said. "It's just a pure power team and you better be ready to come and match up with that power team, but not fall asleep either."
In that regard, both teams are similar, but that's something Vodika would like to change a bit.
The Raiders rolled up 343 rushing yards last week, with quarterback Kody Brewer running 11 times for 166 yards. However, the pass game has been more miss than hit this year, and even though Lakota leans to the run, Vodika said the aerial option must remain viable in order to have success.
"We're still not connecting yet, but for us, we've got that Wisconsin run mindset of 65 to 35 run to pass. But to be really good, you've got to be good at the other 35 percent," he said.
"It's just a progression. (Brewer) just ran so well. On passes and options, he just played so well," he said. "If we can get that other phase going, we can be clicking offensively.
"We're anxious for the game and we're anxious for the next step and win two in a row," Vodika said, "but that's a lot easier said than done. That's our concern this week."
Toledo Scott at Carey
Records: Toledo Scott 1-1; Carey 1-1
Coaches: Toledo Scott Michael Daniels; Carey Todd Worst
Last year: Carey 38, Scott 0.
Outlook: Justin Meek went for rushing 92 yards in last week's win over Bluffton, and Worst expressed confidence in the back when talking about this week's game with Scott.
"Justin's a good player," Worst said. "This year he had a really good winter ... he has confidence."
Worst said it was important to nab the season's first win.
"It was good to get the win," he said. "Our team needed that."
Against Scott, Worst said ball security will be key.
"I think they're really athletic, tough to match up man for man against them," he said I think if we can keep ball when we have it, play keep away [we'll be fine]."
Buckeye Central at Plymouth
Records: Buckeye Central 1-1; Plymouth 0-2
Coaches: Buckeye Central, Jason Ratliff; Plymouth, Mike Genders
Last Year: Buckeye Central 41, Plymouth 12
Outlook: With so many newcomers to Buckeye Central's starting lineup, mistakes were going to be made. However, according to Ratliff, too many mistakes were made last week against Mapleton and as a result, the Bucks fell to the Mounties 36-32.
"Too many mistakes were made; too many letdowns at bad times," Ratliff said. "Up front on the offensive line and defensive line we didn't do things we were taught to do. In the secondary we had breakdowns in coverage, things you can't do in a football game."
Buckeye Central will try to fix those mistakes this week against a Plymouth team that's coming off a 40-21 lost to Plymouth. However, Plymouth's strength lies in an area which poses a problem for the Bucks.
"Plymouth has a very big and aggressive offensive and defensive line," Ratliff said. "That causes us some concern since we've struggled up front."
To get back in the win column this week, Ratliff said execution will be key.
"Our biggest thing right now is we need to do things the right way," he said. "We need 11 guys on the field doing their job all the time."