By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — The last time Bethel was undefeated going into its matchup against Covington, the Buccaneers won easily and started a seven-game losing streak for the Bees.
The last time Bethel defeated Covington was more than a decade ago.
Friday’s Week 4 Cross County Conference showdown promises to have a different look to it, though, as Bethel (3-0) has turned in three straight impressive victories, running coach Scott Clodfelter’s triple option to perfection. Covington (3-0), meanwhile, has abandoned the triple option under new coach Ty Cates, and instead has taken to the air with great effectiveness in three straight big win. The matchup at Covington highlights a number of intriguing Week 4 games.
In 2014, Bethel was 3-0 when facing 2-1 Covington — only to lose 41-7 and finish the season 3-7, while the Buccs managed to get into the playoffs at 6-4. The last time Covington lost to Bethel was a 21-7 Bee win in 2004.
Tippecanoe (3-0), meanwhile, will face an opponent it hasn’t ever beaten in 2-1 Trotwood. Last season, the Red Devils struggled to stop Ram running back Raveion Hargrove in a 33-19 regional semifinal playoff loss, and in the 2013 regional championship game, Trotwood outlasted Tippecanoe 25-7 thanks to a late game-changing turnover on a controversial play.
In another matchup of undefeated teams, 3-0 Troy Christian will host 3-0 Fairfield Christian. The Eagles have dominated all three opponents this season, with a 27-point win over Dayton Christian in Week 1 being the closest game they’ve played. And while the Knights have won all three of their games, they haven’t been as convincing — and they’ve come against teams with a combined record of 1-8.
The Miami East Vikings, meanwhile, are in the middle of a string of woeful opponents. National Trail, Ansonia, this week’s opponent Arcanum and next week’s Mississinawa Valley all have 0-3 records currently. Arcanum’s is slightly deceptive, though, with seven-point losses to Riverside and Tri-County North. If the Vikings face one test in this four-week stretch, it will be against the Trojans Friday.
Milton-Union will get the chance to bounce back from a 49-14 loss at Tippecanoe in Week 3, taking on Northridge to open Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division play. The Polar Bears are 1-2, defeating West Carrollton but losing big to both Bethel and Troy Christian. The Bulldogs will just have to hold onto the ball better after turning it over six times in the first half against Tippecanoe.
Piqua (1-2) will also get an opportunity to come back from a pair of consecutive losses, hosting 1-2 West Carrollton. Injuries hampered the Indians in a loss at Franklin last week, but they should have plenty of firepower still to take care of the Pirates.
Lehman got its first win of the season in Week 3 against winless Graham, and it will kick off Northwest Central Conference play Friday night at home against 1-2 Upper Scioto Valley.
And 0-3 Bradford will end a brutal four-game stretch to open the season at home against 2-1 Hillcrest Academy. Bradford has been outscored 133-21 in three losses — but its first four opponents have a combined record of 10-2.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.