NEWTON FALLS vs. CHAMPION
When: 7:30.Where: Champion High Stadium.Last meeting: Champion won 28-21 last year.Newton Falls (2-2, 0-1 Trumbull Athletic Conference) scouting report: One thing is certain about the Tigers, they're better than last year's team. Newton Falls likes to run and tailback Marty Hutchinson has close to 300 yards rushing and five touchdowns in the past two games. Look for quarterback Tom Nemet and running back Nick Smith to also carry the ball. Newton Falls and Champion have both played JFK and Jackson-Milton and if those games are any indication, the Tigers have the edge. Newton Falls lost by just two points to JFK (20-18) while Champion lost by 32 (35-3). The Tigers beat Jackson-Milton by 35 (42-7) and Champion won by 27 (34-7).The coach says: "We need the win and we're going to need help after that [to stay in the TAC-8 race]. It was an intense game in the fog [last year]. It's going to take discipline. We're going to have to be able to line up to all their various formations and going to have to prevent the big play. We've been able to control the line of scrimmage in the last four games, even in our losses we controlled the line of scrimmage." -- Marc Bjelac.Champion (2-2, 0-1 TAC) scouting report: Champion lost its conference opener to Liberty, 35-29. The Golden Flashes fell behind 19-0, forcing quarterback Brian Smith to throw 26 times. Smith completed 13 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, but running back Adam Wargo was held to 40 yards. Smith's favorite targets are wide receivers Max King and Craig Allen. If the Golden Flashes are going to be successful offensively against Newton Falls, they'll need to get Wargo going early. On defense, Champion needs to do a better job defending the run -- they gave up over 300 yards on the ground against Liberty.The coach says: "The good thing is the Champion boys didn't quit; there is fight in them. We have to play four quarters of football. [Last year against Newton Falls] We fumbled six punts in the fog. We need to come out on the first snap like we have the capability of. They have one of the best 2-2 teams around. We need to control the ball into the fourth quarter and keep it close." -- Greg Lazzari.
CRESTVIEW vs. EAST PALESTINE
When: 7:30.Where: East Palestine High Stadium.Crestview (3-1, 1-0 Tri-County League) scouting report: The Rebels won their league opener last week, 14-7 over Leetonia, by breaking an overtime jinx. Having lost the past four overtime games, Crestview got a 2-yard touchdown run by senior Matt Thompson and a pass-breakup by senior Joe Leskosky to preserve the victory. Defensive tackles Nate Martin and Evan Shield along with linebacker Chris Walton were standouts for the Rebels. Running back Josh Louk and quarterback Seth Antram were other bright spots for Crestview in the narrow win.The coach says: -- "They got us last year so our kids are pretty focused. We had a last-second win over Leetonia last year and came into this game a little flat. East Palestine is on the rise. They run a spread offense and you have to be assignment sound. We have the same bumps and bruises as everybody else." -- Paul Cusick.East Palestine (3-1, 1-0 TCL) scouting report: East Palestine is also coming off an overtime victory, 20-14 over Columbiana. The Bulldogs' defense secured the victory when it stopped Columbiana on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Junior J.D. Powers had scored East Palestine's touchdown on a 20-yard run in overtime. Junior quarterback Smitty Kendrew was impressive, completing 9-of-18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He's adapting to the Bulldogs' no-huddle offense. Senior linebacker Steve Clark is the team's leading tackler. Junior lineman Adam Harvey will miss the game due to a concussion.The coach says: "We took care of business [last week] and we're back in the fire again this week against Crestview. This game last year [East Palestine's 21-14 win] was the turning point for our program. They were ranked high in the state and undefeated in the league. We won three in a row. These were big steps for our program because we had been down for a while. We've handled adversity well all season, and that's going to be the key again." -- Brian Blevins.
-- Vindicator staff report