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Line play to be key when Harrison hosts Bellaire

THE BELLAIRE defense has been solid this season. Bradley Kosky (16) is shown here tackling a Toronto player for a loss. Also pictured is junior Joey Lewis (15), who has been a solid contributor in the first two Big Reds’ victories on both sides of the ball.

As it pertains to Friday’s game on the turf at Wagner Field in Cadiz between Harrison Central and Bellaire, both coaches agree with the biggest key.

Like most football games — regardless of level — whichever team can establish and maintain the line of scrimmage to win the battle in the trenches has a great chance of coming out on top.

Both Huskies head coach Anthony Hayes and Big Reds boss Mark Spigarelli know saying it and doing it are completely different things.

“For us, it’s the same things that I’ve been preaching,” Spigarelli said. “We have to be more physical (than Harrison Central) and make more plays on offense.”

Hayes sees it that way, too.

“It’s going to come down to who wins the battle up front,” Hayes admitted. “Plus, whichever team tackles the best and takes care of the ball will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.”

Indeed.

Both teams, thus far, have been able to execute those keys for success to a tee and it’s led to a 2-0 start for both clubs.

The Big Reds are coming off a 47-20 drubbing of Toronto, while the Huskies went on the road to Buckeye Trail and pulled out a 21-14 victory.

“We came away very pleased (after the Toronto game),” Spigarelli admitted. “Our offensive line did a super job and it’s really gelling quite nicely. I am also pleased with how we caught and distributed the ball. We need to continue that to be successful.”

On the other side, Harrison Central overcame some adversity in terms of field conditions and some injuries to get it done in Old Washington.

“I think that experience of playing in a tough environment against a pretty good team are things that are going to help us moving forward,” Hayes explained.

The Big Reds off to an undefeated start probably hasn’t come to a big surprise to many people. Count Hayes among those from the tape and homework he’s done this week.

“Bellaire can make a lot of wins look easy because they’re that good of a team,” Hayes said. “Their interior line, on both sides of the ball, stands out with some of those guys it feels like they’ve been playing like 15 years. Plus, I think this is by far the most athletic Bellaire team I’ve seen in quite a while.”

The Big Reds get it done with a backfield that features junior quarterback Jake Heatherington, who had a solid game last week. He’s thrown for 198 yards on 18-of-29 accuracy. He’s thrown three touchdowns.

The unquestioned leader for the Big Reds — on both sides of the ball — is senior Colt Sechrest. The Youngstown State commit has rushed for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s caught five passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Joining Sechrest in the three-headed running back monster are Brayden Roth (18-162-2TD) and Joey Lewis (20-131-2TD).

Junior Ray Ray Pettigrew is the top option at wide receiver and had a touchdown reception a week ago.

On the other side, the Huskies offense has showed no signs of slowing down without Kobe Mitchell at quarterback. Hayden Cassidy has stepped into the quarterback role and been solid thus far, completing 26-of-41 for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns.

“Coach Hayes does a super job with offense and they’re doing a lot of the same things they did with Mitchell because they have most of his weapons back,” Spigarelli said. “They have some nice-sized kids who are really nice luxuries at receiver with a really impressive playmaker in (Trevor) Carman.”

Carman has caught eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Senior Jonathan Vermillion has seven receptions.

Nathan Bertolino is the Huskies leading rusher. He’s accumulated 207 yards in two weeks and had a 150-yard effort against Claymont.

Freshman Mykel Quito has been impressive as a ball carrier, too.

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