The East Liverpool Potters are truly back in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, as they play the first of four consecutive OVAC teams, beginning tonight when they host Wheeling Linsly. While East Liverpool never left the OVAC, by competing in the Metro Athletic Conference in 2006-07 and 2007-08, they didn't' see very much of their downriver colleagues.
That changes starting this week. Oak Glen visits Patterson Field next week for the final home game of the year, before the Potters hit the road, traveling to Wheeling Park, John Marshall and Columbiana County rival Salem to close out the 2008 campaign.
Coming off a 34-3 loss to Maple Heights last week, East Liverpool will try to post their first win of the season tonight when versus the Cadets. The Potters are 0-5 on the season, while Linsly (1-3) picked up their first win of the season versus Kiski 19-12 last Saturday.
The Potters did their best to keep Maple Heights' explosive offense in check. There were two costly breakdowns, one a 38-yard passing scoring pass and the other, a 79-yard punt return for a score with 8:37 remaining in the third quarter, putting Maple Heights up 20-3.
"We had guys around him, but we didn't make the play," said Potter head coach Pat McNicol after the game. "You have to make that play. We let him break containment and take off."
Offensively, the Potters have continued to struggle, being outscored 142-51 on the season. For Weeks 2-5, the difference is 113-29. The Potters have only gained 202 yards in total offense combined for the past two weeks. That is resulting in the defense having to spend too much time on the field.
Versus Maple Heights, the Potters' defense only allowed their guests 211 yards in total offense.
A bright spot on offense for the Potters last week was sophomore fullback Tyler Austin, who churned out 45 yards on nine carries.
"Tyler did a real nice job for us," McNicol said. "He stepped up and played."
A small private school in Wheeling, Linsly runs most of their offense from the shotgun so that they can utilize the talents of senior quarterback Chris Kiedaisch. Kiedaisch was 11-for-17 for 104 yards versus Kiski. He also had two huge completions on their on winning 11-play, 85-yard drive in the fourth quarter. With two starting receivers out with injuries, Kiedaisch completed passes to six different receivers, including Pat Milton, who pulled in five passes. Mike Fahey (6-3, 205) , a three-year starter, had two catches.
By spreading the field, Linsly is able to utilize sophomore tailback Phil crie's abilities to run the ball. Acrie (5-10, 175) carried 16 times, picking up 186 yards. He had a big 38-run on Linsly's 85-yard drive. He also returned a punt 50 yards for an apparent score, but a penalty nullified the score. Utilizing two sidecars at times in their shotgun package, enables senior Ethan Jones to also tote the ball. Jones, who is a three-year starter at linebacker, gained 30 yards on seven carries.
Linsly is not particularly deep on either of their front lines, meaning that as the game wears on, depth could be a problem for the Cadets.
Wide receiver DeMarr Moulton, who is the fastest player on the Linsly team, missed the Kiski game with an ankle injury. A three-starter at cornerback his status is unknown for tonight's game.
Tonight's game will be podcast live on the internet on www.pottersportslive.com. The video should be available for viewing by late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The video will be on the site for 365 days.