Martins Ferry, Union Local set to renew acquaintances Friday
Neither Martins Ferry nor Union Local could spend much time dwelling on their respective outcomes last week.
There’s just not time for that in the Buckeye 8.
The Purple Riders lost at Harrison Central (34-12), the Jets played very opportunisticaly en route to snapping their 22-game losing streak by virtue of a 13-12 victory against Edison and their respective rewards is a date with one another at the Dave Bruney Football Complex Friday night.
Cisar admitted that he spent a little bit more time enjoying the Jets’ victory last week than he usually does, but who can blame him?
“It’s just a great relief for the kids and the coaches,” Cisar said. “We don’t have to hear about (the streak) or talk about it anymore. We can get it out of our minds and just move on and focus on playing football.”
The Purple Riders, meanwhile, returned to work earlier this week seeking to rebound from their first setback of the season and veteran head coach Dave Bruney didn’t need a long look at the film to pinpoint an area where his team needs to improve.
“We have to rush the football better, and I am sure we’re capable of that,” Bruney said. “This is a fun league with a lot of good teams and we’re looking forward to getting back on the field this week.”
Unlike most years under the Cisar watch, the Jets’ defense is drawing more of the attention than the offense.
“We’ve played well defensively,” Cisar noted. “Actually, our defense has given our offense plenty of chances to score with decent field position, but we’ve made too many mistakes offensively with either turnovers or penalties. We’re going to need our defense to come up big again for us if we’re going to have a chance.”
The Purple Riders turned to the air last Friday as junior Eric Flowers assumed the controls on a full-time basis because of an injury suffered by Tyler Strama during the victory at Ridgewood.
“A lot of our passing was an extension of the running game with the shorter throws,” Bruney said. “We would like to throw around 20 or 22 passes. We think that would be a good number.”
Flowers has completed 35-of-50 aerials for 450 yards and three scores. His top two targets have been senior standout Cody Schau (28-450-5td) and junior tight end Robert Vargo (19-213-td).
“They’ve got playmakers and great team speed,” Cisar said. “Our first thing is we have to stop the run and we’ve not done that against them in the past and we think they’ll try to run the ball right at us.”
On the ground, Brandon Laughman is the Riders’ leading rusher with 196 yards and three touchdowns. Marcus Sutton has accumulated 144 yards and scored twice.
“Union Local has had guys step up and play well defensively,” Bruney pointed out. “Their defense really led them to that win last week by forcing turnovers. They’re playing hard and anytime you do that, you have a chance.”
The Jets’ offense has struggled to score all season as evidenced by the fact that its scoring just five points a game.
Union Local quarterback Gavin Porter has completed 46-of-96 passes for 384 yards and a score. He’s been picked off five times. Kaleb McDiffit (16-153-td) and Eric Dunfee (8-97) are the top receiving targets.
Dunfee is also the team’s leading rusher with 150 yards and a score.
“Martins Ferry’s defense is very good up front, at linebacker and their secondary has speed,” Cisar said.
Vargo is a talented defensive end. Sean McGee and Zach Coole lead the way at linebacker. Cisar had high praise for Schau and Jack Fitch in the secondary.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.