Akron Buchtel – Wheeling Central Catholic Preview
Written by: Josh Funk on Monday, August 31st, 2009
The game: Akron Buchtel (OH Div. III, 0-1) vs. Wheeling Central Catholic (WV Class “A”, 1-0)
When: Saturday Sept. 5, 2009 @ 10:00 a.m.
Where: Wheeling Island Stadium, Wheeling, W. Va.
About the game: This is the inaugural game of a five-games-in-one-day event of the Wheeling Hospital’s Rally in the Valley (last year called the Friends of Coal Prep Football Classic). The event features 10 teams from three states in the “Friendly City” for what should amount to a great day of football.
About Akron Buchtel: The Griffins enter this matchup with Wheeling Central Catholic fresh off of a 42-20 defeat by traditional Ohio powerhouse Massillon Washington. If it offers head coach Ricky Powers any consolation, however, his Griffins did hold the Tigers to three fewer points this time around. Buchtel is coming off of a 5-5 season, a vast improvement from its 2-8 campaign in 2007.
This match-up with Wheeling Central Catholic replaces a game with Steubenville, a tradititional Ohio powerhouse, but it is not any easier of an opponent. After the WCC game, Buchtel plays Warren Harding. Talk about a murderer’s row of an opening three week schedule.
Buchtel lays claim to a pair of Ohio state football championships, won consecutively in 1987 and 1988, when Powers was its star running back. The Griffins, who have 12 appearances in the Ohio state playoffs, also finished as state runners-up in 1995 and 1996.
Key returners for Buchtel include quarterback/wide receiver Steven Parker and defensive back Johnathan Coleman.
About Wheeling Central Catholic: The slate is clean. No impressive winning streak. No state championship. No nothing, really, which is a rarity when talking about the Mike Young-led Maroon Knights. While the Knights do enter this game with a win in ’09, a 56-27 decision against Holy Trinity, it was the first time WCC had topped the 50-point mark in a game since the 2007 state championship game against Williamstown, a season in which Wheeling Central scored a whopping 700 points in 14 games.
The Maroon Knights are now 49-7 under Young, and won three straight Class “A” state titles from 2005 to 2007. WCC entered the ’08 season with a 33-game winning streak, which was snapped at 35 games by Shadyside, 22-14. Central Catholic also faced a humbling loss to Steubenville (47-22) and a narrow 14-13 loss to Williamstown in the state semifinals.
Wheeling Central Catholic returns starting quarterback Zach Hood (393 rush yards, 967 pass yards, 12 total TD) and linebacker Joe Neidhardt (57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries).
Expect Buchtel to score some points – the Knights’ defense has surrendered double-digit points to its last 12 opponents since a 21-0 shutout of Cleveland John Adams in the second week of the 2008 season.
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