LEWISBURG (WVDN) – It is the time of year in high school football where each game becomes extremely important due to playoff implications and playoff seedings, and that will be the case when the Greenbrier East Spartans travel to Oak Hill this Friday, Oct. 7, to face the Red Devils.
Oak Hill is 3-3 on the year and has playoff aspirations of their own, but their inconsistencies have held them back a little bit. Of course, that could have something to do with the type of schedule they have played, which shows some of the tougher teams in the state on it.
The Red Devils lost to Independence 40-0 a few weeks ago, and just last week got blown out by Cabell Midland, 47-0. However, a 47-16 victory over Lincoln County and a 54-14 win against Ripley also jump off the page and prove that if they are clicking, Oak Hill can do some damage on the field. Throw in the fact that they have beaten the Spartans two years in a row—one of the Spartans two losses last year—and a rivalry is building quickly.
Oak Hill players to watch:
Running Back- J.D. Mauritz
Utility- Ethan Vargo-Thomas
Defensive Back- Elijah Gray
Running back- Omar Lewis
Mauritz has been good from his running back position for Oak Hill. The Red Devils run a wing-t offense and rarely throw the ball, but when they do, it usually catches the defenses off guard and goes for big yardage. Mauritz, who had 67 yards and a score against Ripley, and 78 yards and two scores versus Lincoln County, is a capable pass-catcher as well and provides a lot of difficulty for opposing defense. Vargo-Thomas has been at Oak Hill for what seems like a decade or more and has had a lot of success against the Spartans in the past. Last season, in the upset win, he had 87 yards rushing and 35 receiving and a touchdown. Against Lincoln County this year he racked up 97 yards and two scores and continues to be as efficient of a player the Spartans will face all year. He also had three TD catches against Ripley.
Oak Hill is averaging 22.5 points per game and allowing 24.
East is riding high following a convincing win over Hampshire. The Spartans led 10-0 early before letting the Trojans get on the board. From that point on, East rattled off 34 consecutive points en route to their second victory of the season.
The Spartans are led by the duo of Monquelle Davis and Ian Cline. Cline has rushed for 492 yards on 85 carries and has scored eight touchdowns. Davis has thrown for 435 yards and rushed for 302. He has three total touchdowns.
Lucas McCallister leads the receiving corps with 14 catches, 197 yards and a TD.
Keys to the Game:
Like it always seems to be each time the Spartans play, the deciding factor will come down to strengths against weaknesses. Oak Hill’s strength is spreading a defense out, having three or four options to run and run the football. In the Spartans three losses, they have not stopped the run efficiently.
However, in East’s two wins, they have not only stopped the run, but have also succeeded running it themselves.
Which team will play to their strengths the best? That will be determined this Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.