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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Week 9 Preview - Orrville vs Mansfield Madison

Who: Orrville Red Riders (5-3, 3-2) vs. Mansfield
Madison Rams (2-6, 1-4)
Where: Orrville Red Rider Stadium (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday October 17th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 22-15-1 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2007 (Orrville won 28-21)
Last Week: Orrville lost to West Holmes 19-17, Madison lost to Lexington 48-15.

This is the 38th meeting between the 2 schools, making it the 3rd longest rival in terms of games played against each other. Only Wooster and Wadsworth have faced the Red Riders more than the Rams (the combined games between Millersburg High and West Holmes total 84, but in terms of games against 1 school, Wooster is first, Wadsworth is 2nd and Madison is 3rd).

The Riders have won 4 of the last 5 meetings, including the last 2, both by 7 points.

Both teams come in licking their wounds. The Riders lost to West Holmes, and their playoff chances took a serious hit, while the Rams were the latest victim of the Lexington Minutemen.

The Rams are a run first team, having 2 backs over the 400 yd mark on the season. They also have 1 receiver of 400 yds as well, so they are not afraid to throw the ball.

The Rider offense has struggled in the past 2 weeks, failing to score more than 20 points in either game. One bright spot in last week's game was the seeming emergence of senior Josh Graber as the feature running back, who posted 117 yards on just 8 carries, and is averaging 8 yards per carry for the season, only Pickens from Lexington is averaging more yards per carry. It will be interesting to see if Graber is given more carries in an attempt to jump start the offense.

The Riders may be without senior DB and kicker Aaric Milligan who left the West Holmes game early with a leg injury.

Both teams have plenty left to play for, and this series has produced some very memorable games, it will be interesting to see how the Riders respond and if they are ready to put last week behind them, and if Madison can again play the Riders tough and hang around until the 4th quarter.

Summary: The Riders can still make the playoffs given they win their last 2 games and get some help. A loss to Madison would end the season and be indicative of a team that's given up. I have plenty of faith in the coaches and the players to motivate themselves to come out and play hard.

Prediction: The Riders get back on track and build some momentum toward a week 10 matchup with Wooster with a 29-15 win.

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