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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 4: Lexington @ Orrville

Who: Orrville Red Riders (1-2, 0-0) vs. Lexington Minutemen (2-1, 0-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium - Orrville, OH (For our Lexington here for Map & directions)
When: Friday September 18th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Series is tied 5-5. (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Lexington won 34-20)
Last Week: Orrville beat Copley 32-13, Lexington lost to North Canton Hoover 41-20.
Coaches: BJ Payne is in his 4th season as Lex head coach, his overall record is 23-12. Doug Davault is also in his 4th season for Orrville, with an overall record of 24-12.

Not much needs to be said about this matchup (but that won't stop me)...this is one that both teams have had circled since the beginning of the season, and for the Riders, a game they've looked forward to since last season. Both teams come in talented, hungry and with something to prove.

How we got here.
Lexington lost their first regular season game since week 10 of the 2007 season, losing to North Canton Hoover by a score of 41-20. The loss snapped a 12 game regular season win streak, and was only the 5th loss in the last 26 games by a Payne coachd Lexington team. It took a Div. I power and the reigning Mr. Football in Hoober RB Erick Howard to slow the Minutemen, and Orrville can be sure that Lex will come into Red Rider Stadium with a serious chip on their shoulder.

The Riders notched their first win of the 2009 season, beating Copley 32-13 and will try to even their record at 2-2 and make an early statement in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. A win would also put the Riders back in the top 8 of region 14...something that seemed quite unlikely after an 0-2 start. A win would also give the Riders a huge momentum boost as they look at 2 straight road games (at Senior & at West Holmes).

Poison Avery.
As was the case last year, the key to stopping Lexington's potent offense begins and ends with senior (he's finally a senior!!) Courtney Avery. I remember watching Avery as a freshman have success agasint Orrville, and thought to myself "he's going to be a special player." Well, successful is almost an understatement when referring to Avery. He's the reigning OCC player of the year in both football and basketball (something that may never happen again) and is a commit to play for the University of Michigan. Avery is averaging 250+ all purpose yards per game (222 passing, 35 rushing). He's on pace for another 2000 yd passing season. The Rider defense will need to limit his effectiveness on "broken" plays and have a defensive spy on him (Chase Hoobler maybe?) the entire game.

Rider Skill.
Orrville is still defining their identity, but fans saw a glimpse of the firepower last week when they scored 25 first half points against Copley. Senior QB Joe Besancon will seek to lead Orrville's air attack, spreading the ball around to seniors Chase Hoobler, Sam Miller & Jordan Thomas. Dillon Corbet, Tre Simpson, Thirajn Pittman are threats out of the backfield.

Tradition never Graduates.
Lexington simply doesn't replace quality players like Pickins, Gallik and Dickson (the trio accounted for nearly 4000 all-purpose yards in 2008), but Mansfield Sr. transfers Kenya Coombs & Shaq Jefferson, and returning lettermen Brian Byrne (RB), AJ Beddow (WR) and Cody Hamilton (WR) are more than adequate replacements, and will certainly look led the purple clad Minutemen to their 3rd win of the season.

Let's Get Physical.
Lex has had some good teams over the years, but the missing piece to the puzzle may have been the hiring of BJ Payne as their coach. Coach Payne has brought an attitude of physicality, and a "hit or be hit" mentality to the Minutemen lately.

Payne played at Massillon and Mt. Union, so if nothing else, he knows the intensity it takes to be successful. If nothing else, a strong dose of intimidation may help a team, and if a team allows itself to be intimidated, they're already behind on the scoreboard before the first kick.

Lex will bring that style to Orrville on Friday night, and the Riders MUST NOT BE INTIMIDATED. Hit them back just as hard....who knows...maybe they wont hit as hard the next time.

In a former life, Coach Payne was a pro wrestler, maybe he knows a thing to two about "selling the sizzle." To me, his act is no act, he strikes me as a very aggressive coach that demands his kids reach their potential, and if they can do it with a tinge of aggression & craziness...all the better. His success in the past few years tells me all I need to know about the kids (and community) buying in to his philosophy.

Rider Redemption.
This matchup also provides a golden opportunity for the Orrville defense to reestablish themselves. For a defense as touted as this unit, their 27 points per game allowed is not exactly stellar, but one that HAS gotten better each week. A stout effort against the Minutemen will go a long way toward proving the 3-3-5 is effective at slowing the spread. We've already had 2 subpar defensive outings against spread teams, a 3rd would make me question the scheme's effectiveness.

This is a tough one...I really labored last season on a prediction, eventually settling on a 31-20 Lex win (it was 34-20 Lex). This year, I think homefield will provide the slightest advantage for Orrville.
31-28 Riders, but I think we will have to play a near perfect game for that to happen, and must match Lex's intensity. says Lex 38-21 (ouch!)
Akron Beacon did not have this game on their picks this week.
I'm guessing the Daily Record has Lex winning by a 6-3 vote.....and I know where 1 of those votes will come from. :)

Make sure to pick up the Friday Daily Record to unravel the mystery. Go Riders!!!

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