CAREY — After closing out the season against each other the last two years, rivals Carey and Mohawk will open Midland Athletic League play at C.D. Wentling Field on the opening night of MAL play Friday.
After losing their opening game against Upper Sandusky, the Blue Devils have won two straight. The Warriors, on the other hand, have lost two straight after winning their season opener.
Carey has been led by its defense, which ranks as the top one in the MAL. The Blue Devils have given up just 159.0 yards per contest, including only 80.3 per game on the ground. Upper Sandusky scored 26 points in the first week against Carey, but the Blue Devils have managed two straight shutouts since.
The Blue Devils have forced eight turnovers, including seven interceptions.
Mohawk’s defense ranks last in the MAL, giving up 369.0 yards per game. The team’s rush defense is last at 194.3 yards per game and 5.8 yards per attempt. The Warriors have caused eight turnovers.
The Warriors, though, rank as the better offensive team through three games, ranking third in the league at 353.7 yards per game.
Quarterback Andrew Loose has completed 50.9 percent of his passes for 388 yard and three touchdowns with three interceptions. He also leads the team in rushing with 241 yards.
Grant Price has added 140 yards rushing, while Gunnar Johnson has rushed for 92 yards.
Mitch Parker has caught 17 of Loose’s 29 completions for 281 yards and three touchdowns.
Carey’s offense ranks seventh overall in the MAL at 258.7 yards per game with most of that on the ground. The Blue Devils have averaged 213.7 rushing yards per game.
Quarterback Matt Holsinger leads Carey with 234 yards, while Justin Meek has added 144 rushing yards. Austin Tschanen has rushed for 125 yards.
Holsinger has attempted only 18 passes, completing eight of them for 135 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.
Galion at Upper Sandusky
Upper Sandusky wanted to make a statement in its season opener and did so by beating Carey, 26-12. It has a bigger chance to do so in its North Central Conference opener against Galion.
The Tigers’ defense has been hard to penetrate, allowing just 212.0 yards per game. Add in Galion’s potent rushing attack on offense and it makes a tough combination to beat.
Despite a slow start in the first game, David Nay has rushed for 294 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Dareian Watkins has added 107 yards and two touchdowns.
However, Galion has struggled to put the ball up in the air when needed. Watkins has completed just 44.8 percent of his passes for 168 yards. Austin Prosser has been the main target with six catches for 105 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Tylor Pritchard has keyed Upper Sandusky’s offense with 443 passing yards and 280 rushing yards. He has nine touchdowns overall with three interceptions.
Donald Barth has carried just 15 times but has managed 137 yards on those attempts for an average of 9.1 yards per rush. He has added 12 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Tristan Reichelderfer has made 12 grabs for 126 yards.
Defensively, Upper Sandusky has given up 339.0 yards per game.
Through two games, Reichelderfer and Pritchard led the Rams in tackles.
Nate Cass leads Galion with 35 tackles, while Mike Hollis already has four and a half sacks.
Kickoff at Upper Sandusky is set for 7 p.m. Friday.
Wynford at Buckeye Central
NEW WASHINGTON — Both Buckeye Central and Wynford made it to the state tournament in football last season, but both teams lost many key seniors from those highly successful teams.
While the Royals have managed to push their regular season winning streak to 61 games, the Bucks struggled in non-league play, dropping their last two games, 36-32 at Mapleton and 13-6 at Plymouth.
The Bucks have been successful at running the ball with Michael Adkins powering the way. He has 534 yards and seven touchdowns already this year.
But quarterback Grant Loy has completed just 11 of 42 passes for 268 yards and one touchdown with five interceptions. Players other than Adkins have scored just two touchdowns.
Buckeye Central has given up 316.7 yards per game on defense.
Adkins (26), Bryce Christy (25) and Jordan Herrnstein (25) lead the Bucks in tackles.
Unlike Buckeye Central, Wynford has found balance in its offense. Quarterback Brock Williamson has thrown for 464 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. He has added 191 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Corey Brown has carried 36 times for 269 yards and three touchdowns, while Adam Hartz has caught 11 passes for 290 yards and four scores.
On defense, Wynford leads the NCC in fewest yards allowed at just 175.7 per game. Teams have managed just 2.6 yards per rushing attempt against the Royals.
Linebacker Garrett Shutler has a team-best 30 tackles. Deric Skidmore has made 24.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Buckeye Central.
Riverdale at Lucas
LUCAS — Both Riverdale and Lucas will try to establish the run game when they meet Friday.
The Cubs lead the NCC in rushing with 852 yards and 11 touchdowns. They feature two of the NCC’s top nine rushers, led by Nick Swainhart, who has totaled 506 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Levi Harris has added 239 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
Quarterback Cole Barrett, though, has completed just 5 of 15 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Riverdale also prefers to grind out offense on the ground with 479 yards rushing on the year. Seth Knoll has 158 yards rushing, while Josh Bushong has added 146 yards in only two games.
Like Barrett, Riverdale quarterback Dillon Farrow has struggled, completing 12 of 47 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Defensively, Lucas has given up 323.0 yards per game and Riverdale has allowed 363.3 yards.
Knoll is tops on the Falcons with 26 tackles, while a trio of tacklers have made most of the Cubs’ stops: Harris (27 tackles), Dominick Strassell (26) and Alex Sauder (26).
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lucas.
By LONNIE McMILLAN