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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week 7: Ashland @ Orrville

Who: Orrville Red Riders (4-2, 3-0) vs. Ashland Arrows (5-1, 3-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium, Orrville (Click Here for Map & Directions)
When: Friday October 9th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Ashland leads 10-8-1 (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2008 (Orrville won 21-0)
Last Week: Orrville beat West Holmes 42-0, Ashland beat Mansfield Sr 24-7.
Coaches: Doug Davault is 27-12 in his 4th season as Rider coach. Scott Valentine is in his 8th season as Arrow head coach, his overall record is 59-25.

Radio: Game will be aired live on WQKT 104.5, online at

The Riders and Arrows meet for the 15th time in a very evenly matched rivalry dating back to 1995. Here's some series history between the 2 schools.

  • In Orrville wins, they average 30 points per game, in Ashland wins, they average 26 ppg
  • In Orrville losses, they average only 8 points per game, in Ashland losses, they average 11 points per game.
  • Ashland has won 3 games at Red Rider Stadium, Orrville has won 4 games at Community Stadium in Ashland.
  • Each team has shut out the other twice, and the last 2 games in the series have ended in shutouts, with each team claiming one.
This years installment of the rivalry is shaping up to be one of the more anticipated in series history. Both teams come in with a 3-0 record in the OCC, and both teams come in ranked 5th in their respective region's computer points (Ashland in Region 5, Orrville in Region 14). So not only are there league implications, there are also playoff implications in this matchup.

Each team comes in with boasting a potent offense and stingy defenses. The Arrows do most of their damage through the air, led by junior QB Marcus Fuller. He leads the OCC in passing (1440 yds, 12 TD) and his 2 favorite targets, junior Chris Thomas and senior Matt Smith each come into the game with 358 receiving yards a piece, and 7 of Fuller's 12 TD passes. The Arrows average a shade over 100 yds rushing per game, led mainly by Matt Dilgard (304 yds) and Chris Thomas (181 yds).

Thomas may be the Arrows most dangerous athlete. Between returning kicks, receiving yards and rushing yards, the junior has 734 all-purpose yards on the season.

The Riders will seek to continue their success on the ground behind junior tailback Tre Simpson. Simpson has ran for 100 yds + in each of the past 4 games, vaulting him to 2nd in the OCC behind only Jordan McCune of Clear Fork. It's the first time the Riders have had a runner compete for the OCC rushing title, and has given the Riders what may be a missing piece to a successful league run, and potential post season run. Simpson enters the game with 635 rushing yards on the season to go along with 11 TD.

While not as prevalent in recent years, the Riders still have the air attack if needed. Senior QB Joe Besancon has a lot of targets, led by seniors Sam Miller, Jordan Thomas and Chase Hoobler, along with juniors Max Pirman and Cody Rice.

Both teams defenses have been solid this year, with the Arrows allowing less than 4 pts per game over the last 4 weeks, while the Riders have only 9 points per game over the last 4. Over the past 12 quarters, the Riders have only surrendered 2 TD's (both by Lexington in week 4).

The weather may play a large factor Friday night. Currently, the forecast says rain, and that favors Orrville (for a change). But no matter who it favors, poor conditions can slow either team, and turnovers and special teams play become even more important.

Predictions - Ashland 24-21 - Ashland by 1
Akron Beacon Journal - Orrville 3-1
Wooster Daily Record - guessing 6-3 Orrville

Mine: I think the Riders have the edge. Senior night, home field, and a style more suited to the expected weather/field conditions. The absence of a reliable (but improving) kicking game worries me....but hopefully it wont come down to that.

Riders 27-21. A late defensive stand seals the deal for the Riders.

Lastly, here's a link to a project commemorating Ashland's 100th season of football. A page dedicated to every team during that 100 years. What a piece of web history. Interestingly enough, this is Orrville's 100th season of football, but you wouldn't know it if I hadn't mentioned it several times on this site.

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