Shadyside welcomes Meadowbrook

SHADYSIDE — Mark Holenka will be the first one to tout the strides his Shadyside football team has made the last two weeks.

The veteran Tiger grid boss will also be the first to tout the tremendous challenge posed by this week’s opponent — Meadowbrook.

“I think they’re a very talented team and no doubt the best team we’ve faced so far,” Holenka said of the Colts, who visit Fleming Field on Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

“They’re very skilled and talented, especially at the skill positions.”

The Tigers and Colts have staged some dandies recently. Two years ago, Shadyside won 48-41. Last year, the Colts prevailed by the same score on their own turf.

With the weather being the way it’s been, with wet conditions and all, and with rain in the forecast for later in the week, Fleming Field’s natural grass surface might not be conducive for another shootout.

“I know Sean Grinch (Shadyside’s first-year defensive coordinator) does a good job with our defense and I’m sure we’ll be where we’re supposed to be,” he said. “Whether we can nullify (Meadowbrook’s offense) is yet to be seen.”

The Colts, coming off a playoff berth, started the season with consecutive road victories against John Glenn (OT) and Barnesville before allowing 49 points to unbeaten St. Clairsville in their home opener last Friday.

Meadowbrook also allowed 437 rushing yards, something Holenka hopes to exploit yet again this week.

“I think we’re getting better at running the football and, if that continues, that will help the passing game,” he said.

“The (offensive) line is growing and they’re getting better each week. That’s a tribute to the coaches.”

Connor Banco ran for 79 yards and scored three of the Tigers’ four rushing TDs last week in a 50-20 victory against Magnolia. It was Shadyside’s second straight week of scoring 50 or more points.

Shadyside did most of its damage through the air, though. Quarterback Anthony Coggins displayed veteran savvy throwing for 313 yards, 226 of it going to wide out Kelly Hendershot. He caught 12 passes, two for touchdowns.

“We have some nice skill receivers,” Holenka noted, “and Anthony is a year more mature.”

Meadowbrook has garnered experience is key spots, too, Holenka cautioned and he expects the Colts to come out with a chip on their shoulder after last week’s defeat.

Quarterback Davis Black directs the Meadowbrook offense, one that can strike at any time. Evidence of this came on Davis’ 83-yard TD strike to Brady Blattner that put the Colts up early against the Red Devils. Blattner finished with five receptions for 190 yards.

“With a team like that, you have to control the clock,” Holenka said. “St. Clairsville was the perfect team to do that.

“I think we’re improving week to week. We’re anxious to play the game. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”