Brock Netter, Staff Writer
PIKETON — It’s very rare when there’s so much on the line in Week 1 of high school football season. But 2020 has been a rare year.
Nonetheless, we’re just happy football is being played. No matchup inside of the Scioto Valley Conference is bigger this week than Unioto traveling to Piketon.
It’s a contrast of coaching experience. Piketon coach Tyler Guillion has been at Piketon for over 15 years. Meanwhile, Friday will mark the football coaching debut for Unioto’s Matt Hoops.
Who will get a leg up in the race for an SVC championship?
Here’s a preview of SOSA’s Game of the Week:
|0-3||All-Time Postseason Record||1-2|
|5-0 (171-80)||Last five years’ results||0-5 (80-171)|
|47||Last year’s score||7|
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Levi Guillion (QB), Johnny Burton (WR), Camren Loar (WR)
The experience factor is on the Redstreaks’ side, following a 4-6 season last year.
Junior quarterback Levi Guillion is back under center after throwing for an area-high 2,311 yards alongside 19 touchdowns in 2019. He also returns as the only player in Piketon’s backfield who scored a rushing touchdown, following the departures of Austin Henderson and Sammy Savage.
While the running back situation figures itself out, the ‘Streaks’ top three receivers are back in Johnny Burton, who led the SVC is receiving yards with 639, Camren Loar and Chris Chandler. Throw in Brody Fuller, and Piketon arguably has the deepest receiving corps in the SVC.
The question has always been around their defense and if they can stop anybody else from scoring. The offense can put up points, but it does no good if the defense can’t stop a nosebleed. Remember, it allowed 36.1 points last season, despite scoring 28 points per game.
Numbers never lie.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Isaac Little (QB), Byrd Green (WR), Lucas Hanes (K)
On the flip side, and countering Piketon’s experience, history is on Unioto’s side.
Despite the Shermans missing the playoffs last season, they have won their last seven games against the Redstreaks … a trend they aim to continue.
A lot of new players for the Shermans will make a name from themselves with a large senior class who did most of the heavy lifting last season gone.
However, quarterback Isaac Little is back after throwing for 735 yards in his first-ever season as a signal caller. His top target, Byrd Green, returns after catching three touchdown passes and aims to have a bigger role in a new system.
Freshman kicker Lucas Hanes could be the X-factor, depending on how efficient Unioto’s offense can move the ball down the field. Every point will count in this one.
While the Shermans’ offense has been middle of the road primarily, their defense has been stingier and more resistant as they allowed just over 20 points a game last season.
Piketon’s offense against Unioto’s defense: something has to give.
BOTTOM LINE …
Both teams have been pegged as the top choices to knock off preseason favorite Adena to win the SVC, which makes this season opener that much more important.
Both teams will score, should the rain hold off. It’s just a matter of who gets that one stop in crunch time.