Buckeye, UL both seeking turnarounds
Two teams in desperate need of a victory are set to lock horns on Friday in Morristown.
The Jets, who’ve lost 24 of their last 26 games, including last week’s game at Indian Creek, will welcome Buckeye Local (3-3), which is coming off a 40-0 beatdown at the hands of Martins Ferry last week in Yorkville.
Both Mark Cisar and Phil Pest are looking at this week’s game in very similar manners.
“This is a winnable game for us, and I am sure Buckeye Local is looking at it the same way,” Cisar said.
You’re exactly right, coach.
“We know Union Local,” Pest said. “We know we have to take care of the ball, play better on pass defense and if we do that, it’s a very winnable game for us.”
In preparing for the Jets, Cisar came up with the same keys for success as he’s been stressing since week one.
“We need to run the ball a little bit; we need to get first downs and we can’t turn the ball over,” Cisar said. “When you’re playing as many young kids as we are, the recipe doesn’t change much from week-to-week. We need to run more plays this week. I think we only ran 39 plays last week, which is just not enough.”
While the Jets have leaned more to the run this season than probably in any of Cisar’s years at the Jets’ helm, Pest is preparing his team to defend the entire field.
“They’re not one dimensional,” Pest admitted. “And they have a number of players with talent. They still have the ability to stretch the field and they’ve got good size.”
The Jets’ offense is triggered by Gavin Porter. He’s passed for 581 yards, but he’s only thrown two touchdowns, but six interceptions.
The Jets’ ground game is led by Eric Dunfee with 209 yards and two touchdowns. Porter has added 169 stripes.
In the passing game, Kaleb McDiffit leads the way with 20 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Dunfee has caught 15 passes for 163 yards. Spencer Ware and Travis James have evenly divided 18 catches.
When the Panthers have the ball, they’re seeking more offensive balance. Pest is expecting to have Austin Marshall (69-289-td) back in the lineup after he missed the Riders’ game.
Andy Stock is another impressive back at the Panthers’ disposal. He’s ran for 177 yards.
“I knew they had a few kids missing last week, but they’re very athletic and they run hard,” Cisar said.
Leading the attack is quarterback Nathan Kirk. He’s thrown for 552 yards and six touchdowns, but he’s been picked off 11 times.
Buckeye Local’s leading receiver also caught the eye of Cisar on tape. That’s Shane Duncan, who has made 14 catches for 371 yards.
“It’s kind of late in the season to be changing things around, so we just have to get better at what we’re doing,” Pest said. “Union Local’s using multiple defenses and can really attack you from anywhere on the field.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Morristown.