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Football preview: Waterford, Caldwell set for pivotal Region 27 matchup

Photo courtesy of Patricia Miller Waterford’s Jake Pantelidis (9) makes a catch during a high school football game against Shenandoah last week.

WATERFORD — All signs point to Friday night’s non-conference battle between Caldwell and Waterford being a great one as the two try to secure a home postseason game when the playoffs begin two weeks from Friday.

Both teams are currently in position to host a first round playoff game as the Wildcats find themselves ranked No.6 and the Redskins No. 8 in this week’s D7, Region 27 standings.

Caldwell got an unexpected week off last week when their game at Fort Frye was forced to be canceled due to COVID-related issues while Waterford edged Shenandoah 14-6 at home for their third straight win.

The Redskins, who had a four game win streak snapped in week number seven when they lost to Buckeye Local, are led by Cale Bender and Braxton Dudley.

The Wildcats stretched their current win streak to three games with last week’s win over the Zeps as they relied on senior quarterback Grant McCutcheon and running back Holden Dailey.

Dailey carried the ball 15 times for 63 yards in muddy conditions while also catching two passes for 83 yards from McCutcheon who completed 5-of-6 pass attempts for 115 yards and a pair of scores.

Last season in week number nine, after both teams had been eliminated from the postseason, Caldwell downed the Wildcats 22-19 in Waterford.

MARIETTA (3-5) AT CAMBRIDGE (5-3)

CAMBRIDGE — With a 3-5 record heading into the final two games of the season, the Jason Schob-coached Marietta Tigers would have to finish the season with wins over Cambridge and arch-rival Warren and get a little help from some other teams along the way to advance to the postseason.

The Tigers currently find themselves in the number 20 position in the latest Division III, Region 11 rankings and they would have to move all the way up into the 16th position or better to advance to the postseason.

Last week the Tigers were beaten soundly on the road by the undefeated Dover Tornadoes (49-0) but should have a much better chance Friday when they take on a Bobcat team that they defeated 35-21 a season ago.

Marietta has been led all season long by senior running back Zach Bartlett and he will likely get plenty of carries against a Cambridge team that downed Warren 42-10 last Friday night.

Cambrige comes into the game 5-3 on the season and currently in position to host a first round playoff game as they are ranked No. 8 in the D4, Region 15 standings.

Bobcat running back Caden Kenworthy had a monster game against the Warriors as he carried the ball 24 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns while Owen Feldner returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown.

WARREN (3-5) AT NEW PHILADELPHIA (5-3)

NEW PHILADELPHIA — After their loss to Cambridge last Friday night, the Warren Warriors find themselves clinging to the 16th and final spot in the D4, Region 15 standings with a tough one up next on the road Friday at New Philadelphia.

The Matt Kimes-led Warriors have dropped three of their last four games and will look to rebound against a New Philly team which scored a big 31-24 win over Marlington last Friday night.

The Big Blue defense will have to improve significantly after allowing Cambridge to score 35 points in the first half alone en route to a 42-10 loss.

Warren owns wins on the season against Belpre, River and Vinton County.

The Warriors lone touchdown last week came on a 24-yard pass from Trent Taylor to Dennis Pettey while Sam Perdue booted a 34-yard field goal.

The 2021 season has been a bit of a down one for the three-loss Quakers as they are currently ranked No. 13 in the D3, Region 9 rankings.

The Quakers downed Marietta 48-7 in their season opener, the same team the Warriors will close out their season ith next week at Don Drumm Stadium.

The two did not play in 2020.

FRONTIER (5-1) AT MONROE CENTRAL (3-4)

WOODSFIELD — Frontier took one giant step forward towards clinching a second straight post season berth last week with a 28-21 win over Magnolia and the Cougars would like nothing better than to take yet another huge leap when they travel to Woodsfield to take on long-time nemesis Monroe Central.

The Cougars find themselves ranked No. 7 in this weeks D7, Region 27 rankings with their only blemish being a week four loss on the road to Cameron.

Senior quarterback/linebacker J.D. Schmidt had an outstanding game last week for the Cougars against the Blue Eagles as he rushed for 140 yards and passed for 140 more along with making a huge interception to secure the win.

Fellow senior Tanner Bills was equally impressive as he tallied 100 yards receiving and rushing while scoring three times.

Monroe Central has a pretty special signal caller of their own in senior Malachi Rose-Burton.

Rose-Burton had a bit of an off game last week as the Seminoles lost to Barnesville (57-12) to snap a modest two-game winning streak as he completed just 5-of-14 pass attempts for 55 yards.

The Seminole QB did manage to rush for 83 yards and had a hand in both Monroe Central scores as he scored on a 13-yard run and connected with freshman Tucker Howell on a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Last season’s game was canceled and the two last met back in October of 2019 when the Seminoles dealt Frontier a tough 25-22 loss in the next-to-last game of the season.

BELPRE (2-6) AT EASTERN (2-4)

REEDSVILLE — Friday’s night’s loser between host Eastern and visiting Belpre will no doubt miss out on the 2021 playoffs while the winner figures to keep their slim hopes alive.

The 2021 campaign has not been a kind one to either school as both come into the game with just a pair of wins to their credit.

The two Tri-Valley Conference foes have a win against a common opponent as Belpre downed South Gallia 31-6 back in week number seven while Eastern snapped a four-game skid last week with a 46-0 win over the Rebels.

The Jimmie Bell-coached Belpre team has been led by sophomore quarterback Willis Starcher along with senior receivers Julian and Jordan Martin.

Last season in Belpre, Eastern rolled to a 34-7 win over the Golden Eagles.

BARNESVILLE (6-1) AT SHENANDOAH (2-5)

SARAHSVILLE — The Zeps have a lot of work to do and a very tough opponent to go up against Friday night when they host the Barnesville Shamrocks.

Shenandoah currently finds itself out of the postseason as they are ranked 19th in the latest D6, Region 23 standings after falling to a very good Waterford (14-6) team last week on the road in rainy conditions.

The Zeps got a third quarter touchdown pass from Nathan Van Fleet to Hunter Yates to pull within a touchdown and a two-point conversion of Waterford but could come no closer in the inclimate weather conditions as the Wildcats hung on for the win.

The only blemish on the schedule for the Shamrocks was a week three, 35-14 loss to Shadyside.

Last week Barnesviille rolled to a 57-12 win over Monroe Central for their fourth straight win.

The Shamrocks are currently ranked in the No. 6 spot in the D6, Region 23 standings.

Last year at home Barnesville scored a 22-8 win over the Zepplins.

MORGAN (2-4) AT MEADOWBROOK (6-2)

BYESVILLE — Despite losing a pair of games to Covid related issues and owning just two wins with two games to play, the 2021 has been an interesting one for the Morgan Raiders.

The Raiders surprised Warren with an early season victory and then traveled to New Lexington last Friday where they handed the Panthers a 42-32 loss, the first time Morgan had won at New Lex since way back in 1999.

Quarterback Levi Brown was impressive to say the least as he competed a blistering 16-of-18 pass attempts for 184 yards.

Running back Carson Copeland was equally impressive as he tallied 114 rushing yards on 29 touches while hauling in five pass receptions for 34 yards.

The Raiders, who are currently ranked No. 19 in the D5, Region 19 standings, would likely need an upset win over the Colts on Friday followed by a win in their season finale over Crooksville to qualify for the postseason.

The Colts come into the game controlling their own destiny after running off five wins in their last six games including last week’s 42-21 win over Coshocton.

Meadowbrook is ranked No. 6 in the D6, Region 15 standings.

Last season the Colts rolled to a 54-0 win over Morgan.

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