East Liverpool Potter fans will be seeing another "Almost Heaven, West Virginia" sign, this week as the Potters travel downriver again this week, to the home of the Jamboree to face the Wheeling Park Patriots.
The Potters beat country music star Brad Paisley's alma mater, John Marshall, last week in Moundsville, by a 26-0 tune. The Patriots (5-1) were singing proudly after their win over the number-two ranked team in West Virginia 43-7, Bridgeport. This is not the Bridgeport across the river from Wheeling. This particular Bridgeport is over in the Morgantown-Fairmont part of the Mountain State.
After some heart-breaking losses, the Potters have beat the drum twice in the last three weeks, chorusing wins over Wheeling Linsly and John Marshall around a loss to Oak Glen. This is the fourth week in a row that the Potters have played a West Virginia team. It is also the second of a three-game road stanza to wrap up the 2008 campaign.
"We're road warriors now," said Potter head coach Pat McNicol with a chuckle. "It's a challenge, playing on the road, but I think we're up to the challenge."
The Potters have been enjoying crisp, somewhat shorter practices as they tune up this week.
"They have been pretty jovial this week," said the Potter mentor. "We have been making adjustments in our gameplan from week to week. This time of year, you don't want to beat them into the ground."
In regards to this week's gameplan, McNicol said, "We just want to grind it out and shorten the game. We think we can be physical with them. They are very quick and have very good team speed. We are planning on forcing them to balance their defense, which will allow us to attack where we want to, which is right up front. We need a real big game from the guys up front."
McNicol praised the offensive front wall for their work against John Marshall, saying, "Our offensive line set the tone for us early versus John Marshall. Our defense, as a whole unit, pitched a shutout. They played very well."
The Potters rushed 44 times for 209 yards (4.75 yards per carry). John Marshall was only able to garner 36 yards rushing on 26 carries. That averages out to just under 1.4 yards per carry. Park was playing a different song, as they rushed for 301 yards on 33 carries (9.1 avg.) versus Bridgeport. They also held Bridgeport, which is one of the top rushing teams in the state of West Virginia to 194 yards rushing on 42 carries (4.6 avg.).
Park's only loss thus far was to Steubenville 41-7. Steubenville beat the Potters 45-14 in Week Three.
The Potter jayvees shut out their John Marshall counterparts 28-0 this past Monday. Quarterback Carl Baker was praised by the Potter coaching for directing sustained scoring marches, which ate up yardage and time.
Bob Mackall and Cole Potts were each credited with a sack. Freshman Dennis Jones had an interception. Assistant coach Alfred Johnson was pleased with the play of defensive end John Earl Smith. The scoring was spread around as Tyler Reed, Kyle Weyand, Andrew English and Alex Morris all dented the scoring column. Placekicker John Baker was 4-for-4.
Tonight's game will be podcast live on the internet on pottersportslive.com. The video should be available for viewing by early Saturday morning. The video will be on the site for 365 days.