Intriguing matchups in Week 3


By David Fong

dfong@aimmediamidwest.com

MIAMI COUNTY — Last fall, the 10 area football teams finished the season strong, sending a record seven teams — Troy, Tippecanoe, Milton-Union, Miami East, Troy Christian, Covington and Lehman — to the playoffs.

Things also got off a hot start last year, as six teams — Troy, Tippecanoe, Milton-Union, Bethel, Covington and Troy Christian — all were 2-0 after the first two weeks of the season.

The local teams aren’t off to quite as promising a start this year, as only two — Tippecanoe and Bethel — are 2-0 to start the season.

Of course, with eight weeks left to play in the regular season, it’s way too early to start making postseason plans just yet, but it’s certainly something to keep in the back of your mind as the season usually goes by in the blink of an eye and Week 10 will be here before we know it.

Before we can worry about any of that, there’s the matter of tonight’s (and tomorrow’s) Week 3 contests. Here’s a look at tonight’s local games (not including Troy, whose match-up against Bellefontaine was featured earlier this week) — and Saturday’s Lehman game:

Northmont (1-1) at Tippecanoe (2-0)

Tippecanoe has things up and running — literally, as the Red Devils had run the ball 104 times on offense, while attempting just seven passes — through its first two games of the season. Tippecanoe hasn’t thrown the ball much yet this year — but it hasn’t really had to, considering it is averaging 294.0 rushing yards per game. The Red Devils likely will face their toughest competition yet this year, as they jump up two divisions to take on Division I opponent Northmont.

Northmont made the playoffs every year from 2005-08, but has had losing seasons — in, fairness, playing against a loaded Division I schedule — the past three years. So far this season, Northmont lost 45-36 to Winton Woods and beat Fairfield 28-21.

This promises to be one of the most intriguing matchups tonight as the Red Devils look to further make a name for themselves playing against a much bigger school.

Northridge (0-2) at Troy Christian (1-1)

Troy Christian rebounded from a Week 1 loss to Dayton Christian with a thorough 45-6 win over Bradford in Week 2. The key for the young Eagles — who return just one healthy starter from last season — will be continuing to grow and make progress every week. This week, they will return home — the Eagles play six home games this year — to face a Northridge team that has been outscored 104-28 in its first two games against Bethel and West Carrollton.

National Trail (1-1) and Miami East (1-1)

Miami East played Lehman tough in the first half last week, but ultimately fell behind and never could catch up in the second half. This week, the Vikings open Cross County Conference competition against National Trail. The Blazers opened the season with a 32-14 loss to undefeated Preble Shawnee, but came back to knock off winless Arcanum 15-10 last week.

Northwestern (2-0) at Milton-Union (0-2)

A pair of familiar faces will be the sidelines for both teams in this one. Milton-Union is coached by Milton grad Mark Lane, who went on to play college football at Wilmington, while Northwestern is under the direction of first-year head coach Shane Carter, a Troy High School graduate who played college football at Wisconsin.

Ultimately, however, the game will be decided by the players on the field. Milton — which started 2-0 each of the past two seasons — is looking to turn things around after losses to very good Miami East and Oakwood teams to open the season. Northwestern already has doubled its win total from last season (1-9) with victories over Southeastern and Northeastern.

Bethel (2-0) at Tri-Village (1-1)

Bethel has looked as good as any team in the area through the first two weeks of the season, blasting Northridge 63-22 in the opener and following that up with an impressive 45-15 win over Dayton Christian last week. Consistency will be the key for Bethel this season, as the Bees opened last season 3-0, but then lost its next three — then followed that with a four-game winning streak to close the season. At 7-3, Bethel finished ninth in its region, one spot away from a playoff berth.

This week, the Bees travel to Tri-Village for their CCC opener. The Patriots began the season with a 45-8 win over Jefferson, then lost 41-19 to Dixie last week.

Fort Loramie (1-1) at Covington (0-2)

Yes, Covington is 0-2 for the first time since 0-2 — but that tells only part of the story. Covington’s losses have come against undefeated Midwest Athletic Conference powers St. Henry and Minster, the Division VII state runner-up last season.

The Buccaneers will look to get things back on track this week as they open CCC play against conference newcomer Fort Loramie. The Redskins lost 20-0 to Minster in the season opener (Minster beat Covington 28-0 last week), then beat Greenon 54-16 last week.

Franklin (2-0) at Piqua (1-1)

After opening the season with an easy 50-12 win over Meadowdale, Piqua gave state power Trotwood-Madison all it could handle in a 42-35 loss that wasn’t decided until the game’s final minutes. The Indians will look to bounce back this week against Franklin, which beat Carlisle 47-14 and Edgewood 49-21.

Last year, Franklin defeated an injury-depleted Piqua team 30-6. While its still early in the year, with both of these teams competing in Division III, Region 12, it could have huge playoff implications down the road.

Mississinawa Valley (0-2) at Bradford (0-2)

Bradford has struggled through its first two games of the season, losing 48-0 to New Bremen and 45-6 to Troy Christian. The Railroaders open CCC play against Mississinawa Valley, which lost 28-20 to Union City (Ind.) and 30-0 to New Bremen.

Graham (1-1) at Lehman (1-1)

Lehman will move up three divisions to play Division IV Graham in a Saturday night contest. After falling 27-21 in overtime to Fort Recovery the first week of the season, Lehman defeated Miami East 31-14 last week. Graham lost 28-27 to West Liberty-Salem the first week of the season, then beat Springfield Catholic Central 54-20 last week.

Contact David Fong at dfong@aimmediamidwest.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong

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Anthony Weber | Troy Daily News Bradford’s Dialaquan Millhouse (5) tries to stiff arm Troy Christian’s Ben Schenk (9) last week.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_170901aw_bFORD_5_3_TC_9-1.jpgAnthony Weber | Troy Daily News Bradford’s Dialaquan Millhouse (5) tries to stiff arm Troy Christian’s Ben Schenk (9) last week.

Steve Egbert | AIM Media Miami East’s Justin Brown (10) attemps to drag down Lehman’s Brandon Barhorst last week.
http://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2017/09/web1_SDN090417FridayLights1.jpgSteve Egbert | AIM Media Miami East’s Justin Brown (10) attemps to drag down Lehman’s Brandon Barhorst last week.
Local teams play tonight, Saturday