The #8 Hurricane Redskins head back on the road after a (1-2) home stand against 3 of the top 6 AAA programs in West Virginia. The drop off in competition may only be slight when the Redskins arrive in Parkersburg tonight to kick off versus the #12 Big reds who own the same 4-3 record as Hurricane.
The similarities between the two squads are many. The aforementioned identical records, and the obvious identical red and white school colors, each team has a balance offensive attack lead by a hard running tailback wearing #28.
When Redskin fans arrive tonight the may need to make sure they are rooting for the correct team when the see 428 in Red and white, or white and red breaking tackles on a tough run downfield.
Of course for Hurricane 328 is Christian Hill toting the pigskin. Hill is 3rd in the MSAC with 1021 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. His counterpart this evening on Parkersburg is Tyler Moler who is 6th in the Conference with 822 yards rushing and has doubled Hill's TD total with 12. The two have almost identical running styles and it will be fun watching these two tonight.
What more similarities? Let's look at the QBs. The Big Red's feature Kam Mace who is 4th in the MSAC with 1329 yards and 14 TDs. The Redskins counter with Nathan Roy, currently 6th inthe conference with 1176 passing yards and you guessed it also 14 touchdown passes.
Finally the top wide outs for each team tonight are the MSAC's two leading recievers ion the season. Parkersburg's Brandon Strange leads the conference with 633 yards and has caught 8 touchdowns. Hurricane's Dakota Williams in #2 with 597 yards in receptions and 7 TDs.
Coach Taylor agrees that the teams appear similar in nature. "Since we are evenly matched, the game as was last year's will be determined by turnovers. Parkersburg will throw the ball a lot and like us have a pretty good running back that gives defense fits if you dont slow him down early."
As far as turnovers are concerned the Big Reds' defense have picked off 15 passes the season. With that in mind Nathan Roy who has thrown only 2 interceptions in 7 games will have to remain stingy in that category.
Parkersburg's balanced offense has average over 400 yards per game and that has Hurricane's Defensive Coordinator Jason Pratt concerned. ""It wont be easy, but we are looking at getting back on track tonight." After lining up against the likes of Spring Valley, Capital, and Huntington in consecutive weeks, Pratt is looking forward to his stop unit rising to the challange and getting back to basics. "Tonight is a great opportunity to regain our identity of pursuing, creating turnovers, and being a great tackling team.'
The Series: Last year's 31-18 Hurricane win was the Redskins FIRST win EVER over Parkersburg!
Amazingly the teams have only met 5 times.
Hurricane is looking for the school's first victory at Parkersburg. The 1st two meetings were in 1988 and 1989 during the playoffs with Parkersburg dominating 58-7 and 56-7.
The teams did not meet again until 2005, when the first regular season game between the two was won by the Big Reds 41-14.
The next season the Redskins were competitive but lost at home 19-7
Notes: Bo Adkins made the list of MSAC Top receivers for the first time this week as his 262 yards were good for 14th in the conference.
Like opponents that Parkersburg has played:
Capital lost 40-21
Huntington lost 35-21
Woodrow Wilson won 34-8
Cabell Midland lost 63-35
Game time is 730pm.
There will be live radio coverage on 102 The River the IHeart station in Parkersburg.
Only 2 WV Gazette Mail expert gurus picked the Big reds to prevail. sadly one of the two is the former biggest Hurricane supporter Nick Scala.
Prediction: Hurricane has dropped 2 straight to 2 extremely talent teams In Huntington and Capital after walloping #5 Spring Valley. Although Parkersburg is better than last year and their first year Head Coach, Mike Byus, has done a super job, they are not in the same class as the aforementioned teams.
Hurricane must stop the trend of allowing huge plays by their opponents that has haunted them all season.
Let's look back on some of these:
Half back touchdown passes executed by TDs by Winfield and Paintville Ky.
Kickoff returns for touchdowns by Cabell-Midland and Woodrow Wilson.
A 65 yard TD run by Spring Valley on the first play from scrimmage in the 2nd half.
An 88 yard blocked FG returned for a TD by Capital.
And of course the back breaking 99 yard TD run by Huntington last week.
Had the Redskins eliminated these mistakes, the wins would have been more comfortable, and the losses, well who knows how different those games would gave ended up without these game changing plays?
This by no means will be easy. However the Redskins have proven themselves as a good road team, and are battle tested and ready. The offenses ARE eerily familiar, but I believe that across the board Hurricane has more talent on defense. Tonight they MUST start to play that way.
Hurricane enjoys the trip home heading south on I-77 tonight with a victory in hand!
Hurricane 38 Parkersburg 24