Brock Netter, Staff Writer
BAINBRIDGE — Inside the Scioto Valley Conference, it doesn’t get any bigger than Friday’s game between Southeastern and Paint Valley.
Both teams are undefeated in conference play, both teams are playoff bound barring a miracle, and both teams possess weapons on each side of the football.
|All-Time Postseason Record
|Consecutive Playoff Appearances
|28-21 win over Unioto
|Last week’s results
|34-0 win over Zane Trace
The Bearcats have won six of the last eight matchups between the two, (2010, 2017) as two of the last three meetings have been decided by eight points or less.
To those who plan on attending the game, get there early and pray for a parking spot. Tailgate if you have to. Considering what’s on the line, you can expect a standing room only crowd.
Here’s a preview of SOSA’s Game of the Week.
PAINT VALLEY BEARCATS (7-1)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Iann Crockell (QB), Lane Mettler (RB), Cruz McFadden (WR)
As if Paint Valley hadn’t suffered enough this season, it unfortunately suffered another huge blow to the offense in its victory over Zane Trace last week as speedster Brayden Ison went down for the year with a torn ACL.
However, the show has to go on and the Bearcats still have plenty to play for. If there’s one thing SVC fans know all too well, it’s to never bet against head coach Pete Hollon.
The Bearcats scored three rushing touchdowns last weeks, all from three different running backs. They’ll need every guy to turn their game up a notch to replace Ison’s productivity.
Iann Crockell has played four weeks under center and has gotten more comfortable by the rep. His arm could be the difference in a Bearcat victory.
He has the advantage of throwing to do-it-all receiver Cruz McFadden, who’s been nothing short of spectacular this season.
Southeastern is going to load the box to try and stop the run, so pop passes and play action may keep the Panthers guessing and could get the job done.
In the three games against teams with winning records (Marion Pleasant, Adena and Newark Catholic), the Bearcats’ defense is allowing 26 points per game … The Bearcats are also 2-1 in those games, meaning they’re battle-tested … Paint Valley won last year’s meeting with Southeastern, 35-27.
SOUTHEASTERN PANTHERS (8-0)
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Lane Ruby (QB), Mikey Nusser (RB), Dalton Thurston (RB/WR)
The Panthers have been waiting for this game all season, but almost got caught looking ahead last week in a close, come-from-behind win over Unioto.
Trailing Unioto 21-6, it took Lane Ruby going all … well … Lane Ruby, in the second half for the Panthers to the tune of 181 yards and three touchdowns. That allowed SE to escape the Shermans’ upset bid and remain unbeaten on the season.
It’s no secret that Ruby is the engine that drives the Panthers’ train. He is a home run waiting to happen with elite speed that can outrun nearly anyone that’s chasing almost anywhere in Southeastern Ohio.
This is a game where the stable of backs the Panthers have can leave their mark as the Bearcats’ defensive game plan surely surrounds keeping Ruby from getting to the edges.
Southeastern has faced one team with a winning record, which was a season-opening 36-7 victory against Northwest … Since then, the Panthers have ran away from teams, scoring at least 28 points in every game this season … the Panthers’ opponents’ combined record this year is 24-40 … the Panthers’ last four opponents have a combined record of 8-24
BOTTOM LINE …
Two things are up for grabs in this slugfest: a chance to win an outright SVC championship and the chance to win the No. 1 seed in the Division VI, Region 24 playing rankings. As of now, Southeastern and Paint Valley are No. 1 and 2 in the region.
While both teams will still most likely host playoff games, win or loss, it’s still nice to have bragging rights for a calendar year.
Be ready for a hard-hitting, back-and-forth ballgame that could be an instant SVC classic. Bainbridge will be rocking.