By Sean Duffy
It is week 7 in the 2017 northeast Ohio high school football season and the action is starting to really heat up. Teams are fighting for conference titles, playoff positioning, and for some to salvage a season for their departing seniors. Our game of the week has two teams at both ends of the season spectrum set to collide on Friday night.
The Aurora Greenmen are coming of a 34-7 loss to undefeated Barberton in week 6, Aurora is now 2-4 on the season and 2-1 in the Suburban American Division. The Greenmen’s hopes of making the playoffs are slim, an opportunity to repeat as conference champs will require help form other teams. Aurora’s situation is that they need to win out in order for both of those goals to be a realistic option.
The team they are facing week 7 is the undefeated Highland Hornets, 6-0 and 3-0 in the Suburban League American Division. The Hornets are coming off their worst game yet in the 2017 campaign, a too close for comfort 14-7 win over non conference opponent Green. The Hornets look to rebound in a big way and exact a little revenge on Aurora for last years loss, all in an effort to stay with Barberton as the only undefeated teams in the Suburban American Division.
Without further ado, I give you my three keys to our game of the week.
- Aurora’ s Defense needs it best performance of the season. Highlands offense is capable of putting up points in bunches at any point in the game. Aurora’s Defense needs to be focused on stopping the two headed monster rushing game that is Highland QB Matthew Earnest and RB Jake Rodgers. Offensively, Aurora will need other playmakers to step up and help out their star WR Gavin Blunt and back up QB Colin McNamara, who have carried the load for Aurora all season and opposing defenses know it.
- The Hornets need to limit turnovers and play sound fundamental football . Highland had a big problem last week against Green and it was the penalties and turnovers. Highland Turned the ball over 3 times in the first half, one turnover resulting points for the opposing team. They also committed a myriad of penalties that stalled offensive drives and extended drives for their opponent. Luckily a great defense and just enough offense was able to win that game. Another performance like that could cost the Hornets in this game.
- Highland’s star players need to continue their excellent performances . Highland’s team is experienced, motivated and most importantly talented. Matthew Earnest, Jake St. Louis, and Jake Rodgers are leading in all facets of the game. Jake Rodgers specifically has been a breakout player for the hornets not only as a running back, but also as a receiver, defender , and kick returner. Matthew Earnest and Jake St. Louis have proved a great passing combination for the hornets offense, and St. Louis is making impact plays defensively. It is crucial that these stars continue to shine and perform at a high level in this game.
It is clear that the talent and skill is firmly in favor of the Hornets. Aurora will need to play their best game of the year to pull off an huge upset on Friday night in Medina.
The Sports on Tap crew will be there to cover all angles, Rob will be bringing you video highlights, Josh will be on twitter giving live updates from the sideline, and yours truly will post a recap of the game with all the details of this Suburban League American Division showdown
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See you at the Hornet’s Nest!