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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Week 1 - Orrville Red Riders @ Northwest Indians

Who: Orrville Red Riders (0-0) vs. Northwest Indians (0-0)
Where: Smilek Stadium - Canal Fulton
When: Friday August 22nd, 7pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 19-5
Last Meeting: 2007 (Northwest won 21-14)

Although Orrville holds a commanding edge in the all time series, it has been a very even matchup since the series resumed in 2005, with Orrville winning 2 of the 3 meetings. All three meetings have were not decided until the 4th quarter, with the 2005 game going into overtime.

Northwest is coming off a 12 win season that saw them advance to the regional finals, while Orrville is coming off a 6-4 season.

What Orrville must do to win: The Riders must pull off a diffucult feat of beating a solid opponent while at the same time, answering some questions on the offensive side of the ball. Simply put, talent is going to have to surface for the Riders to pull off the victory, no matter how pretty or ugly it looks. Big plays and turnovers will be key for both teams, but especially for the Riders, who will be breaking in many new skill players as well as a brand new defensive scheme. Many Red Riders will play both ways so conditioning will be important too.

What Northwest must to do win: Protect the ball, control the line of scrimmage, and not let Orrville's big play ability change the course of the game. The Indians strength will be their run attack, but don't be surprised to see them test Orrville's DB's early.

Key players: Orrville's Chase Hoobler and Northwest's Danny Beers. Hoobler anchors the Riders revamped defense and figures to be part of every play from his middle linebacker spot. Beers will be the focal point of the Northwest running attack, and will have a big line opening holes in front of him.

Summary: This matchup has become a week 1 classic and offers a boat load of computer points to the winner. This is a great matchup for fans of high school football, but it would be nice to see this game played later in the season once each team has had a chance to get their feet under them.

Prediction: Both teams struggle early but the Riders eek out a win on a late field goal, 24-21.

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