Week six sees the conference in full bloom, a few suspicious clashes, and some revealing contests that will no doubt answer the question… competitor or contender?
A solid week of picks in week 5 allowed us to correctly pick nine of the ten games we picked (43 out of 50 for the year), losing only in the Northridge-Riverside game. We chose Riverside because “Ridge has struggled on the road the past few years, but Bob Smith’s polar bears have proven their athleticism is enough to not only beat the odds now, but also a solid opponent.
This week the conference game is full screen in MAC, TRC, MVL and GWOC. And as the clashes start to wind down between the top teams and the rest of the field – frankly, we could use a few good games – there are a few that are worth the time and a few dollars to watch personally. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.
One is Versailles against New Bremen in the MAC.
In one of Thursday’s MVL (Miami Valley League) games, Tipp welcomes Xenia within the friendly confines of City Park Field, and the Red Devils are one of the region’s booming teams, appearing to be making progress every side of the ball each week. .
And at the Three Rivers Conference (TRC), that same Riverside who was upset last week has to surrender to Troy Christian, who lost to league leader Milton Union last week, 29-9. Interesting.
These are some of the games we will be covering this week, sponsored, as always by the Nidec / Minster Corporation, in Minster, where opportunities and talent combine to create a great career relationship. To verify Nidec in person or online by clicking on their Friday Night Picks ad.
Now it’s time for the games:
Northridge @ Covington …Bob Smith was always talented at Northridge (3-2), but playing in the SWBL all these years against Carlisle and Franklin was no easy task. Now, in a more balanced competitive scenario, polar bears begin to perform better against teams of their size. Covington (1-4) earned his first victory last week, a 26-21 verdict over Bethel, and should play with a little more confidence and urgency. But the running game and the size of the Bears will be too much for young Austin Morgan Buccs. Northridge secures a second straight road victory… by a few scores.
Riverside @ Troy Christian…A tough game to pick as this is a pair of 3-2 teams that suffered defeats in Week 5. Riverside will once again have to deal with solid running play and physical strain as they go. saw him last week at Northridge; and if Steve Nolan has everyone healthy in his backfield, TC should be able to control the clock and the pace of the game. Without a doubt, Milton Union are the first team in the Three Rivers conference this year, but the Eagles are our pick at this point to claim the second chair. They will be physical and a little more balanced than the Pirates, and we think a two point winner.
Miami East @ Union milton…Staying in the TRC, this game represents one of Miami County’s best rivalries over the years, when East and Milton traditionally opened up the seasoned game. East is in solid rebuild mode, while Milton is 4-1, placed ninth this week in Region 16, Division IV, and has far too many “Dogs for the East” to tame this year. Great atmosphere in Milton, however, no matter who they play. Bulldogs, by three or more scores.
Strong recovery @ Saint-Henri...Someone suggested “what Fort Recovery, and what St. Henry” on this one, and that’s a fair point. Recovery looked excellent in early wins against Wayne Trace and Urbana, then backfired against Coldwater, Anna and Versailles. St. Henry, likewise, had impressive victories against unimpressive teams, while losing to Fort Frye and Marion Local, one they should have won and one they could have won. The Redskins have a dominant running game with senior Owen Lefeld, however, and are expected to give him about 25 times on Friday. If they do, they earn two points against Fort Recovery.
Cold water @ Anne …Staying at the MAC, the last time Coldwater went to play Anna was in 2019 and came home with one of his most forgettable results in program history. The Rockets strangled Coldwater that night, 49-8, and Cavalier coach Chip Otten has an elephant’s memory for minutiae like that. To be precise, they ruled out Anna the following year (2020) 40-0, but it was at home. Coldwater was barely crushed by Delphos St. John last week in a game many believed to be taken for granted. And Anna had her worst outing of the year at New Bremen, where nothing went well in a 48-13 loss. Anna will play better this week, but I don’t expect a better result. The Cavs will remember it …and win by three scores.
Sidney @ Troy…I really don’t like these Thursday games because they are finished by the time we publish this page later Thursday night, but for the local interest in 45373 this is a “must see” game for Dan Gress and the Trojans. They’ve struggled with consistency this year, trying to replace too many key components of last year’s squad, and Sidney isn’t a gift… athletic enough to give anyone their spot on any given night. But then again, which Troy, and which Sidney shows up? We think the best Troy who won consecutive games (Stebbins and Fairborn) to gain confidence. If they show, I think they go 3-2 for the year …by a score on Sidney.
Xenia @ Tip…Another Thursday night game, just in case the world ends before Friday I guess. Tipp is the best team here, but Xenia may be the most athletic. That said, the Buccaneers barely squeaked against Greenville last week, while Tipp is in the middle of an impressive and dominant four-game winning streak – Sidney, Butler, West Carrollton and Stebbins. Tipp’s attention to detail and discipline is usually a one-score advantage over anyone, and it will be again. They’ve won those four in a row against questionable opponents, but there’s absolutely nothing in doubt that Tipp is a build-up program. The Red Devils go 5-1 by two points on Xenia.
National trail @ Arcane…You won’t hear of this one on Sports Center on Friday, but it’s interesting to us as it’s the last tune-up for Arcanum before meeting Tri-Village and Preble Shawnee in the following weeks – the two best. games, and the two most threatening teams, on their 2021 schedule. Arcanum is undefeated, scores plenty of points on the arm of quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer, and Schondelmyer is on track to throw around three thousand (three thousand yards) for the season. Trail (2-3) won’t threaten him, but Tri-Village and Shawnee will be very careful… and they will threaten Schondelmyer and the Trojans. Arcane by four partitions.
New Bremen @ Versailles…Finally, a game that most believe will say a lot about how far New Bremen can go this year after winning the Division VII title last year and then graduating the senior core of that championship squad. On the other hand, the Cards have done quite well, scoring four out of five wins, and they are improving with each passing week, much like Tipp City. Versailles, likewise, is 4-1, and should probably be 5-0… their only loss to Marion Local. The Tigers are bigger, stronger, and honestly have more weapons at this point, running and passing. Entertaining, and don’t be surprised if Bremen pushes things forward. But if Versailles is to achieve any destiny this year, it has to win games like this. Two-point tigers.
As a farewell this week, Lou Holtz once said that if you want fewer injuries in football… All you have to do is take off the helmets and players will play with a little more forethought and caution.
I love Lou Holtz, of course, but here is proof that he has never seen a rugby match, where there are no helmets, no protection! Our gratitude to reader Dan Burcham for sharing this tweet from the Pat McAfee Show.
– Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 19, 2021