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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2011 Week 4 Preview - Orrville vs. Lexington

Who: Orrville Red Riders (2-1, 0-0) vs. Lexington Minutemen (2-1, 0-0)
Where: Red Rider Stadium
When: Friday September 16th, 7:00pm

All Time Series: Orrville leads 7-5. (Click here for detail)
Last Meeting: 2010 (Orrville won 21-14)
Last Week: Orrville lost to Copley 13-7 (OT), Lexington lost North Canton Hoover 32-0.

Coaches: BJ Payne is in his 6th season as Minutemen head coach, his overall record is 34-21. Doug Davault is also in his 6th season for Orrville, with an overall record of 44-19.

Radio: WQKT 104.5 FM will carry the game. Click here a little bit before 7pm Friday to listen live.

Before we get to this week's preview, just one final word on last week's loss to Copley. That word is UGLY. Don't think I'm breaking any new ground in saying that. It was a bad loss, not in the terms that it ruined our playoff chances or cost us a league title, because it was neither of those things. It was a loss, in week 3 to a strong opponent. What made it bad, was that it was nowhere near the performance that a team of our ability should be putting forth on any given Friday night. Between penalties, turnovers and a struggling offense, it's a game that left a real bad taste in the mouths of fans, players and coaches.

Hopefully the game served as a wakeup call that we can't be our own worst enemy and continue to make mental mistakes, and hope for a big play to bail us out time and time again. Great teams don't win that way. They go out and TAKE the game from their opponent.

On the bright side, our defense put forth a great effort. I'd like to think that if we can hold a team of Copley's offensive capability to one touchdown and an overtime score, we can do that versus most any team we'll face the rest of the way.

Now on to Lexington.....

Five Things to Watch

1. Who Responds Better. Lexington dropped their first game of the season to North Canton Hoover last Friday, by a 32-0 score. They also had fits with turnovers, losing 4 on the night (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions). Lexington QB (and University of Buffalo commit) Collin Michael has thrown for right around 450 yards on the season (about a 50% completion rate), but only managed 67 yards passing against the Hoover D last week.

This would be classified as a big game for both teams, and coming off stinging losses last week, both will be motivated to get the bad taste of a loss out of their mouths.

2. OCC Opener. To make the stakes a little higher, it's also the lid-lifter of the Ohio Cardinal Conference portion of the schedule. Remember, it was Orrville who was picked by a panel of local media to win their first ever outright OCC title, so the target will be square on the backs of the Red Riders for the next 7 weeks.

With Ashland seemingly struggling (0-3 record, giving up 40 points per game), it's seems to suddenly be a wide-open race in the conference, so whichever team can come to play for the next 7 weeks can capture the championship. The winner of this game will be one step closer.

3. Jekyll & Hyde Offenses. Orrville put up 52 points in it's week 2 win over Triway...then just 7 against Copley. Lexington tallied 44 points against Shelby, but was shutout last week against Hoover. Both teams faced much stiffer competition in week 3 than in week 2, but it probably has each side's fanbases wondering which offense shows up Friday.

4. Red Rider win streak. Orrville has won the last 2 meetings between the two programs, and 6 of the last 8 going back to 2003. The offense has averaged nearly 36 points a game in those 6 wins.

5. The Riders have a chance to hold their 3rd straight opponent to 13 points or under. If they succeed this Friday, it will be the first time that's happened since the 1995 season. That defense held opponents to an average of 9.46 points per game that season. Our defense has given up a true average of about 16 points per game, but if you take out special team's points scored against us, and the one interception returned for a TD by Triway, our real points allowed is 11 points per game.

Should be a very interesting game. One team is going to walk away from Red Rider Stadium with a 2-game losing streak and lots more questions than answers. It's homecoming and I think the Riders are ready to play this one after last week...but the same could be said of Lexington. So who really knows.

I like the Riders defense, but the offense has to put points on the board. I think we get back in the win column, but this one will have it's typical tense moments that Lex/Orrville games have had over the years.

Predictions says Orrville by 12, but that was through Week 2's games. Could have changed after last week. says Orrville wins 28-20.

  • Just read today that Lexington will open the 2012 season by visiting the Massillon Tigers. What a way to start the season.
  • Friday's halftime show will feature the kickoff of Orrville's Character Education Week.
  • An update on the new (yet-to-be-completed) scoreboard. The top piece of the scoreboard was due from Florida two weeks ago, but will not be shipped until the first part of next week. It should be ready for the Ashland game in week 7. Frustrating obviously, but what can you do?
  • The playclocks on either end of the field were not operational last week due to a glitch in how the two clocks communicate with each other. That is supposedly being fixed this week. Fingers crossed it may be operational for this week's game.
  • A few people have remarked that the non-lit areas of the scoreboard were hard to see after sunset. A solution is being sought, and most likely will involve mounting lighting brackets on the bottom of the scoreboard to shine back on the advertiser panels. No timeline has been set on this improvement.
  • Personally, I had a blast running the graphics part of the new scoreboard and look to improve it each week. If you have any suggestions on how to better Orrville-ize the graphics, feel free to share in the comments section or through e-mail. I know the "Make Some Noise" animation was blue and gold, and that just doesn't fly in Orrville. Working on changing those colors, but it's not a quick process. Give it time and I'll make it look as good as I can.
  • If you're a smartphone user, there's a couple of apps that can get you lots of out of town scores on Friday nights. First is the app. It's mainly Stark and Summit Co. scores, but I've seen Orrville scores on their list. They update it constantly on Friday nights. The other is the app. They're out of Mansfield, and a great source for OCC scores. Just use the search feature in your phones app store and you should easily find both.
  • Of course, if it's Orrville scores and updates you desire, be sure to follow me on twitter (@RedRiderSports) or on the Red Rider Sports Blog Facebook page. With my new duties with the scoreboard, I'm not able to send out lots of updates. I'll still try to send our quarterly updates, but other than that, it's hit and miss.
That's it. Go Riders!!!!

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