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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week 5 Preview - Orrville vs Lexington

Who: Orrville Red Riders (3-1) vs. Lexington Minutemen (4-0)
Where: Lexington Stadium (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday September 19th, 7:30pm (Note later start time)

All Time Series: Orrville leads 5-4 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2007 (Lexington won 24-10)
Last Week: Orrville beat Clear Fork 29-13, Lexington beat Mansfield 34-6.

This is the 10th meeting between the two school, and this year may be the best (or at least most anticipated) of the series.

Lexington has cruised to a 4-0 record and the #6 ranking in the latest Division II AP poll. They also sit first in the Region 6 computer poll.

The Riders have reeled off 3 straight wins since an opening week loss to Canal Fulton Northwest, and are looking for that "big game" win that has eluded them as of late. Last week's big win over Clear Fork propelled the Riders into the top 8 of Region 13, currently sitting tied with Triway in 6th place.

The OCC driver's seat and a mountain of computer points await the winner. A win by the Riders may vault them into the top 3 of the loaded Region 13 race. A Lex win will cement their first place standing in region 6.

What Orrville must do to win: 49, 42, 42, 34. Those are Lexington's scoring output in their first 4 games. To have any chance at a win, the Riders must contain the Minutemen's high scoring offense. Lex boasts a strong back in Antonio Pickens (44 car. 366 yds and 6 TD) and dual threat QB in Courtney Avery (800 yds passing, 9 TD's, 70% completion rate) and two very capable receivers in Tyler Dickson and Michael Gallik, so it will be a huge task for the Riders to limit Lex's offense. A key will be containment, Riders must stay in their lanes and not overpursue, especially when protection breaks down and Avery scrambles.

On offense, the Riders must continue to be a balanced attack. Lexington is too talented of a defense to be beat with only the run or only the pass. Mansfield Senior had some success in running QB draw's, so Orrville's QB Joey Besancon will once again be called on to run and pass the Riders to victory. Lex's D is allowing just under 10 ppg.

Plain and simple, the Riders must be excellent on both sides of the ball.

What Lexington must to do win: The Minutemen have shown the ability to beat teams with the run or the pass, and this week they may run the ball until the Riders show they can stop it. In 3 of the first 4 games, the Riders have allowed more than 200 yds on the ground. The combination of Pickens and Avery may force Orrville to bring an extra defender near the line of scrimmage, potentially opening up 1-on-1 coverage on the outside.

On defense, the Minutemen may be wise to dare Orrville to beat them on the ground and drop an extra defender in coverage, or put a spy (Gallik) on Orrville's QB Besancon.

Key Matchups: A matchup of "do everything" players. Orrville Sam Miller and Lexington's Michael Gallik.

Gallik has scored a rushing TD, returned a kickoff for a TD, has multiple receiving TD's, averages nearly 15 yds per punt return, and handles kickoff duties for the Minutemen. He's tied with teammate Antonio Pickens for 2nd in the OCC in scoring (36 points) and also plays a hard-hitting safety on defense.

Miller, while not quite as impressive in the stats column, is of equal value to the Riders. He's one of the leading receivers in the conference, returns kicks and punts, and leads the conference with 3 INT's from his safety position.

I'm sure at some point in the game, these 2 great athletes' paths will cross on the field, and the player who has the best individual performance, may propel his team to victory.

Summary: This has all the makings of an early fall (even though it's not fall) classic. With the weather promising a crisp (and dry) night, field conditions should be perfect. The Riders must put together 4 quarters of quality football to come out on top.

Prediction: Head says Lexington, heart says Orrville.

(......puts on realist glasses......)
I think in the end, Lexington's depth will wear Orrville's two-way players out, and a few late scores will be the difference, 34-20 Minutemen.

(.....puts on Red Rider colored glasses.....)
The Red Riders announce to the OCC and Region 13 that they're a force to be reckoned with and shock the state ranked Minutemen.....27-24. Hoorah for Riders!!!

I'm torn.....OK, here goes.
31-20 Minutemen. Sorry Rider fans (myself included), I think we're going to have to play darn near perfect to win, and from what I've seen so far, we've not played close to perfect football. Yet. Consider this your motivation.

Prove me wrong.


Anonymous said...

Well researched and well written. Good stuff and a great blog.

-- Backpack, your Huddle friend

Anonymous said...

RedRider1, I just noticed something this morning: In your initial prediction (wearing realist glasses), you nailed the final score exactly -- 34-20.

Nicely done.

-- Backpack