Bellaire set to begin final season in Buckeye 8 Saturday

For Bellaire head coach Jose Davis, it’s time to look forward, not backwards.

Yes, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from last Saturday’s 46-29 loss to Route 7 foe Shadyside. But Davis said his players need to be quick studies then move on.

”It was an emotional game and emotional week,” he said. ”We have to move on to Edison. It’s Homecoming week and we have to get back to the task at hand.”

The Wildcats will invade Nelson Field at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for Bellaire’s third home contest of the season. Home hasn’t been sweet so far for the Big Reds (1-2) as it’s only win has come on the road at John Marshall in Week 2.

Edison marks the start of the the final run through the Buckeye 8 for Bellaire. It’s leaving the league following the 2013-14 school year.

And, so far, the league is loaded. There are four unbeaten teams – Martins Ferry, St. Clairsville, Union Local and Indian Creek. Then there’s the Wildcats, sitting one game back with two victories, the latest coming last Friday night at Weir.

So, Davis knows if Bellaire wants to be in the thick of the conference race a victory Saturday would be a good place to start.

”We try to approach every week as a new season,” he said. ”We can’t move on to Week 5 until we get Week 4 out of the way. That’s the approach we take.”

Bellaire’s calling card is it’s offense, led by quarterback Spencer Badia. Badia, who became just the eighth OVAC signalcaller to throw for 6,000 yards, is the point of emphasis for first-year Edison head coach Derrick Stickles.

”In order for us to slow down Bellaire offensively we have to do a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback and stay disciplined in the secondary,” said Stickles, the former Oak Glen and West Liberty State College standout.

”Bellaire throws the football all over the place, so if we have breakdowns in the secondary they will score.

”Everyone has to do their job.”

The big news out of Nelson Field last week, though was Shadyside’s ground game. The Tigers amassed more than 450 yards and Davis said a repeat performance can’t happen Saturday or the rest of the season.

”We have to find some way to get better and get stops at critical times,” he said. ”To give give up 450 yards rushing is unacceptable. We need to correct that.”

Turnovers have also been an issue in the Big Reds’ two losses.

”When you turn the ball over, you don’t give yourself much of a chance to win.”

Edison has a solid running game of its own, led by Russell Shannon. Shannon ran for 187 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries against the Red Riders.

”Just like every week we have set our expectations high for our players,” Stickles said. ”So, yes, we will be expecting a big game out of Shannon, but we set our expectations high for all of our kids, so we will be looking for everyone to produce this week.”

While Edison has struggled recently, Davis said you can throw the records out the window.

”Every year since I’ve been here it’s been a one-possession game,” he said. ”And I don’t expect anything less than that this week.”

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