By Sean Duffy
Better late than never is a common and popular phrase, mostly used to explain or excuse the absence of punctuality. The phrase is never more appropriately used then when it is describing my weekly primer for SOT’s Game of the Week. Sure, we are in Week 3 of the Northeast Ohio high school football season, and yes Sports on Tap has already given you the best coverage of the first two weeks of the 2018 season. However, we at SOT feel that it is our duty to get you properly prepared for our game of the week. How do we do that? Simple, each week we will give you a little tidbit that we believe will be an important factor for each team’s performance, and perhaps maybe the difference between victory and defeat.
So without further adieu we present the one thing to watch for in this week’s game of the week between the North Royalton Bears (2-0, 0-0) and the Highland Hornets (1-1, 0-0). A cross division match-up in the Suburban League with the Bears from the National Division travel to take on Hornets of the American Division.
First we start with the North Royalton Bears, two impressive offensive performances against North Ridgeville and Parma, One thing to look for in this weeks game for the Bears is consistent play by Junior QB Joe Marousek. North Royalton is an improving team and is positioning themselves to be a force in the National Division, Marousek is the key factor in that quest. Marousek’s play has been extremely efficient and potent, last week against Parma Marousek threw for 4 TD passes. Highland’s defensive game plan should be to get to Marousek early and often to limit his success down the field. If Marousek continues to play at his usual high level, it will be another impressive outing for the Junior QB.
Highland has had a bit of a up and down season so far in 2018. They were able to ride outstanding defensive and special teams performances to a week 1 victory against Brunswick. In week 2, they were defeated by a combination of great defense from their opponent Medina, and crucial offensive miscues, turnovers, and inconsistencies. One big thing to watch for from the Hornets is whether or not the offense can stay out of its own way and finish drives. In the last two games Highland’s offense has had opportunities to score but have been able to convert those drives to any points on the scoreboard. Last week against Medina, Highland was only able to convert 2 of 13 first down attempts, and only score 1 out of 4 red zone trips. Highland’s Jake Rogers is a talented weapon on all sides of the ball, especially special teams, but his abilities are being nullified on offense by the inconsistencies of the offensive line play, penalties that stall or reverse productive runs, and costly turnovers in the red zone. Highland has an opportunity Friday night against a really good North Royalton defense to get back on track offensively and play the kind of football we have come to expect from the Hornets in the past few years.
I am looking forward to a great match up between these two teams. It should be a great night for Suburban League action. Sports on Tap will be there to bring you all of the action as these two teams look to get victory before entering the conference portion of their schedule. We will have video highlights and a recap of the game once it is completed, and we will have live updates on social media.
Be sure to follow us on twitter @SOTPodcast for live updates from the game.
We will see you Friday night in Medina!