NEWTOWN – The Mingo Central High School football team is set to face off against their 2014 nemesis Wayne on Friday night.
After beating Nitro last week the Miners have jumped up significantly in the Class 2A standings. At mid-season the Miners are 3-1 overall. Their Week 4 bye week helped the Miners get over some injuries and get their head together after losing to Tolsia in Week 2.
Mingo Central has made it through the early season with a few problems but basically intact. All of their non-conference games are out of the way and the Miners now have nothing but conference games left to play.
The Miners beat conference rival Sissonville during Week 3 but lost to Tolsia during Week 2. They start on the conference trail with a record of 1-1.
The Wayne Pioneers have been a pain in the side of the Miners for a few years now. Last season, the Pioneers handed the Miners their only two loses of the season, once in the regular season and then Wayne knocked the Miners out of the playoffs. The Miners have not beaten Wayne since Mingo Central entered the Cardinal Conference.
“We are both very familiar with how the other team plays. They know what we are bringing to the game and we know what they are bringing to the game,” said Joey Fields, the MCHS Offensive Coordinator and assistant coach.
Wayne and Mingo Central were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, in the Cardinal Conference pre-season polls. Now both teams are tied for third place in the conference with a league record of 1-1.
Mingo Central head Coach Yogi Kinder has formed his fast-paced offense into a dependable weapon.
The defense, on the other hand, has a few areas that need improvement.
Kinder has stated numerous times the defense lacks the intensity they will need during the latter part of the season. The defense has some individual standouts but is not clicking as a whole.
Wayne has the same problem as the Miners.
They can produce offensively but have a hard time making defensive stops.
So far this season Wayne has scored 155 points offensively and has gained over 1,000 yards rushing.
They don’t pass often, but are accurate when they do.
Wayne has completed over 50 percent of their passes and scored six passing touchdowns so far this season, but they only average 80 yards a game passing. The Pioneers rely heavily on their two senior offensive producers, Cody Stiltner and Logan Queen, who have combined for 10 total touchdowns this season.
“We have seen the Wing-T offense that they run before. They always come prepared and we will be ready to match that,” Fields said.
Defensively, the Pioneers have allowed opposing teams to score 146 points and allow more than 300 yards rushing per game. Most teams they have faced so far this season are not as pass heavy as the Miners.
“Our strategy this week has been to either create or exploit the balance,” Fields said. “Wayne is the type of team that will always match you. If you have seven in the box they will have seven in the box. We will always be looking at ways to use that. They play a zone defense really well.”
The Miners have a sound rushing attack and are gaining ground with their passing game.
Quarterback Steven Hammond is nearing 1,000 yards passing this season. After four games, he has 864 yards through the air and has completed better than 50 percent of his passes. Tyler Grimmett has reeled in 10 passes for 336 yards and Deonte Joplin has rushed 53 times for 347 yards.
“This will be a very good game,” Fields said. “I believe it will come down to the offensive and defensive lines that will either win or lose this ball game.”
Wayne and Mingo Central are evenly matched.
The Pioneers’ weakness may be their pass coverage. hey haven’t allowed many passing yards but they have yet to face a team that will air it out like the Miners.
Tug Valley to
NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley High School football team is coming off of a tough loss at the hands of the Tolsia Rebels. Tug Valley had a lot of momentum heading into the game but couldn’t pull off a win on the road.
This week the Panthers will host Buffalo.
The Bison are undefeated through four games and could bring some adversity to Tug Valley.
Buffalo has a decent offense. They have a big offensive tackle who can really throw his weight around and they have a shifty running back and a quick receiving core. Their quarterback has a good arm but is unpredictable.
The Panthers, of course, have a solid offensive balance.
They pass as well as they run.
Tyler Conley has been the glue holding the wild spinning offense together.
Tug Valley relies on long passes and goal line running.
Conley has thrown for eight touchdowns and 573 yards so far this season.
Rushing touchdowns are evenly split between Corbin Oliver, Phillip Lucas and Jeremy Dillon, with Oliver leading the pack with 357 yards rushing.
Calvin Blankenship owns the receiving statistics for the Panthers with 393 yards receiving and four reception touchdowns.
Although the Panthers have proved they can score they have made their way to mid-season with defensive pressure. They have seven players with over 20 cumulative tackles and have a multitude of players with sacks and forced fumbles. Ike Starr provides the greatest backfield pressure with nine total tackles for a loss of yardage. Dillon and Blankenship both have defensive touchdowns.
The Panthers are fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball and remain involved throughout the whole game.
Statistically, these two teams match up very well.
Buffalo has a record of 4-0, winning two games on the road and two games at home. The Bison have scored 174 points so far this season and only allowed 60 points against them. They rank 41st in the state.
Tug Valley has a record of 4-1, after losing only one game to Class 2A Tolsia.
The Panthers have scored 189 points during the season and only allowed 87 points against them. The Panthers rank 30th in the state and 6th amongst Class A schools.
If the weather stays the same the Panthers will get to test out their new field in muddy conditions.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)