UL, Creek both seeking to snap losing streaks
When Union Local opened the season with a victory at Monroe Central, head coach Bruce Stiles viewed it as a signature triumph for the program.
If the Jets (3-3) are to get to where the want to go – the Ohio Division V playoffs – Stiles knows they will need a few more. What better place to start than at 7 p.m. Friday when his alma mater plays host to Indian Creek in another tough Buckeye 8 encounter.
“If (the players) give that extra effort there are some possibilities there at the end of the season,” Stiles said. “I hope we can accept the challenge.”
After starting the season 3-0, which included the surprising 14-13 victory in Woodsfield on opening night, the Jets have stumbled, losing three straight to Harrison Central, Edison and last week to Martins Ferry.
Still, Union Local is in 12th place in Region 17 and with this week’s game against the Redskins and a remaining slate that includes the likes of Shadyside, Bellaire and St. Clairsville, the possibility is there to make something.
And that’s all Stiles is asking for, a chance.
“If we can step up, great things can happen,” he said.
The Jets are going up against an Indian Creek squad that has dropped two straight after starting the season with four straight victories.
The Redskins were blanked at St. Clairsville, 21-0, two weeks ago, and returned home last week and lost to Bellaire for the first time since 2010, 31-13.
Inconsistency was the word of the night from Creek head coach Andrew Connor as Bellaire passed from 225 yards and rushed for another 212.
It’s no secret the running game is Indian Creek’s bread and butter. And last week Bellaire was able to get a handle on it. Blake Roar carried the ball 17 times for 66 yards, while Michael Puorro ran 10 times for another 43.
Stiles said knowing what the other team is going to do has its pluses and minuses.
“It makes it a little easier as far as schemes, but, as a team, they are very big and physical and it creates a lot of problems,” he said. “They are very basic and they do what they do and they do it well. Our job is to be able to step up and stop them.
“They are very consistent with their running game. They like to march the ball up and down the field.”
Stiles said, for the first time in a few weeks, the Jets enter a game relatively healthy.
“We’ve got to get back to basics and concentrating on the basic things,” he said. “The biggest thing lately is we haven’t been finishing drives.”
The latter reared its head in last week’s loss. There was also a period where the Jets lost their focus and Ferry took advantage and blew the game open. Stiles said his team can’t afford to have those mental lapses the rest of the season if it wants to get to where they want to go.
“The biggest thing is to get back to basics and get our confidence back,” he said.
Jake Leishman paced the Jets’ offense week with 70 yards rushing.
“I saw a lot of positives (last week),” Stiles said. “I think, for a while, we played pretty good football. We just shot ourselves in the foot with some damaging mistakes and kind of lost our composure at times.”