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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Week 10 Preview - Red Riders vs Generals

Who: Orrville Red Riders (6-3, 4-2) vs. Wooster Generals (6-3), (4-2)
Where: Charles W. Follis Field (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday October 24th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Wooster leads 50-38-9
Last Meeting: 2007 (Orrville won 14-0)
Last Week: Orrville beat Madison 41-7, Wooster beat Mansfield Senior 38-13.

This is the 98th meeting between these 2 rival schools, one of the longest in the state, and when you talk about Orrville versus Wooster, the old cliche of "you can throw the records out the window" is very apt. It truly does not matter if 1 team is undefeated and the other is winless, it typically has very little impact on this game. The game can be a season maker or a season breaker. It can win a league title or lose a league title. It can secure a playoff spot or eliminate a team from the playoffs.

The Riders have owned the series in the "playoff era" (1972 to Present) winning 23 of the 35 games between the school, including the last 3. The Riders are 4-3 at Follis Field since it's inception in 1994.

Quick History Note: Here's a picture of Charles Follis from 1899 surrounded by his Wooster High teammates. Even though it's Wooster, that's a pretty awesome picture. Check out an early version of shoulder pads on the 1 kid holding the sign. And the ball Follis is holding is looks much more oblong that footballs today. This picture was taken 4 years before Orrville and Wooster would square off for the first time.

Both teams enter the game with identical 6-3 records, and both teams mathematically still have a shot at making the playoffs in their respective regions....albeit a terribly small percentage. Drew Pastuer's (COW math professor) Fantastic 50 web site has the Riders with a 1% chance of making the playoffs and the Generals with an 8% shot.

As for the game itself, the Generals rely heavy on Senior running back Shawn Riley, the OCC's 2nd leading rusher with 1079 yds and 12 TD. He is also 2nd in the OCC in punt return yardage with 255 yds and a score. He is less than 100 yds away from gaining 1500 all purpose yards for the season.

The Generals complement Riley's running with a balanced passing attack. Senior QB Nick Allen has thrown for 1201 yds on the season, but only 5 TD's to 13 INT's. Allen's favorite target is sophomore Duke Price (24 rec. for 430 yds and 4 TD).

Orrville is led on offense by junior signal caller Joe Besancon, who leads the Riders in passing yards (1559 yds, 8 TD) and rushing yards (527 yards, 5 TD). Seniors Josh Graber (263 yds, 2 TD), Dee Miller (191 yds, 1 TD), junior Thirajn Pittman (164 yds, 3 TD) and freshman Mason Monheim are all viable options out of the Rider backfield.

The Rider defense has only allowed 152 points in 9 games so far, and barring a scoring outburst by the Generals, are poised to hold opponents under 200 points for a 10 game season for the first time since the 1999 season. The Rider defense is anchored by junior Chase Hoobler (114 tackles, 2 INT, 1 sack) and senior twins Angel (63 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) and Albert (66 tackles, 2 sacks) Kazim.

The Wooster defense is led by Ryan Huttinger (90 tackles, 2 INT and 1 sack) and Matt Kopina (69 tackles, 3 INT's).

Summary: Both teams have taken similar paths to this game. Both have beaten the bad teams on their schedule, and gotten beat by the good teams. I think this has the potential to be a very good game, with both teams playoff hopes almost invisible, all that's left is pride and bragging rights.

Prediction: A tight first half, but the Riders pull away late and beat the Generals 28-14. And for the 4th year in a row.....Rider fans will celebrate.

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