It may seem like a distant memory, but at one point and time Owen Valley had a stranglehold on WIC football opponents, winning 21 straight conference games from 1999 to 2002. In recent years however it's Northview that has turned the tables and taken control, winning 20 straight contests. But the Patriots are in town tonight with designs on putting a halt to that streak.
Last week, Owen Valley moved to 2-0 in the WIC with a 34-21 win over Edgewood in a game highlighted by a school-record 101-yard interception return by the Patriots' Jeff Wilson. That play turned the momentum on a dime when the Mustangs were threatening to tie the game early in the second half. The runback gave Owen Valley a 21-6 lead and control of the game.
The Patriots relied on a heavy dose of Andrew Hershberger to pick up the victory.
The diminutive back, listed at 5'6, 160 pounds, got the call on 38 runs for 240 yards Friday night behind an offensive line that shoved the Mustangs around.
The Knights will have their work cut out for them in the trenches considering Northview didn't have a lot of success running the ball when they faced the Mustangs. Stopping the Patriots' run game has to be a focus in tonight's contest as well as getting Jered Timm and Kade Baker some space to run themselves.
Quarterback Caleb Whitman had his best passing game of the year last week, throwing for 190 yards, 158 of those yards went to Timm who scored three times.
Obviously, Timm won't be a secret as Owen Valley reviews film, but the Knights continue to expand the playbook for the offense as their players gain experience. Northview needs to continue finding weapons to be successful as teams try and take away Timm from the passing game until other players start beating them.
Zach Kirby and Tyler Coltharp could be those players as Kirby hauled in two passes for 33 yards in the game and Coltharp has proved to be a target in the redzone.
The Patriots have Justin Mosier behind center, but he's coming off a game in which he completed just four-of-16 passes for only 46 yards of offense while having a pass intercepted. Look for the Knights to try and lock up Hershberger and Dillon Shedd (seven carries, 30 yards last week) in the backfield and force Mosier to try and make plays. The Knights dominated the line of scrimmage last week versus Sullivan in a shutout. The Knights allowed less than 100 yards of total offense, including just 67 rushing yards overall. Their pass rush also was the best it has been all season so look for Northview to pressure Owen Valley in the backfield with consistent blitzes on third down.
The battle for a 3-0 WIC start and control of the conference race is up for grabs tonight and with Homecoming this evening, a win is imperative for the Knights.