Big plays will be critical in Bellaire vs. JM

Both Jose Davis and Rick Goodrich have been stressing to their teams all week that it’s only week two.

Coming off opposite results, Davis has had to get his Bellaire Big Reds back on the ground, while Goodrich, who is in his first season at John Marshall, has been trying to pick up his Monarchs, before they embark on their trip to Nelson Field Saturday afternoon.

Those sorts of emotions happen when a young team rallies from a 23-point deficit to win, 44-42 such as Bellaire did last week at Steubenville Central or when a club drops a 39-7 setback like the Monarchs did to Cambridge.

“I hope our kids realize some of the young potential they have and also you must play a complete game,” Davis said. “It was certainly a tale of two halves with good and bad. The bad was the first half, but we have a good mixture of young kids and veterans that will hopefully get the guys grounded. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

The Monarchs allowed more than 400 yards of offense, including 334 yards on the ground, last week to the Bobcats, who are Goodrich’s former team.

“I am glad to have that game behind us for many reasons,” Goodrich said.

While it might not have showed up on the scoreboard or stat sheet, Goodrich has seen steady improvement.

“We’re getting better, but the average fan might not be able to see that yet,” Goodrich said. “We were better Friday than we were in a scrimmage. We just need to continue to improve. I know (Cambridge) scored a lot of points, but I thought our defense played pretty well, but we have to limit the big plays.”

Limiting the big plays against the Big Reds will be a must if Goodrich and company are planning on snapping their 11-game losing skid and four-game slide to the Big Reds in the series.

“This will certainly be a different type of game planning week for us,” Davis said. “We have to be ready for entirely new looks on both sides of the ball, so we’ll have to improve in all aspects of the game.”

For the Big Reds, it all starts with talented junior quarterback Spencer Badia. Coming off an all-Ohio campaign as a sophomore, Badia threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns as he orchestrated a game-winning drive in the game’s wanning moments.

“Badia is a tremendous quarterback,” Goodrich said. “They’ve got a lot of good athletes and they get them in space to make plays. People were trying to tell me Bellaire was down or whatever, I am not sure what those people consider down, but the Bellaire I watched last week, and on film, isn’t down.”

Badia’s favorite target against the Crusaders was classmate Nick Patrone, who hauled in 15 passes for 160 yards and the game-winning touchdown as the clock turned to all zeros.

Other Big Reds’ weapons on offense include: Quinton Crosby, Hunter Westlake, Logan Koshenka and Nick Maffe.

The key for the Big Reds is on the defensive side of the ball, according to Davis.

“We can’t afford to get into shootouts week in and week out,” Davis said. “We have to get better defensively because we can’t bank on a rally for putting up all kinds of yards each week. Our defense held Steubenville Central scoreless for the final 18 minutes of the game, which is what gave us a chance.”

John Marshall’s offense accumulated just 155 yards of total offense and 101 of that came through the air.

Jeremiah Fromhart is the Monarchs’ quarterback. He completed 7-of-28 passes last week. The team’s leading rusher is R.J. Kibert, who gained 37 yards. Evan Magers led the receiving corps with 44 yards.

“We had the ball inside the 10 four or five times and couldn’t score,” Goodrich lamented. “We need the attitude that someone is going to make a play. We’re a work-in-progress. We need to get better each day and each week.”