RITCHIE WILL PROVIDE ANSWERS - Red Devils Face Rebels Tonight

(09/03/2004)

By Gaylen Duskey

realfang@citlink.net

Calhoun's crushing 75-18 victory over Gilmer County brings up a few questions as the Red Devils prepare for tonight's game (at 7:30) at Ritchie.

For instance, is Calhoun really that good? Is Gilmer really that bad? Is Ritchie (a 31-10 loser to St. Marys last Friday) really as bad as the 50-0 loser it was to Calhoun last year?

The answers (1) probably not; (2) maybe and (3) probably not.

Calhoun will probably not run up 75 on Ritchie County or anyone else this season.

That is not to say the Red Devils shouldn't have a potent attack (especially the running game) and a pretty decent defense.

But the 75 against Gilmer came on a bizarre set of football circumstances which all went Calhoun's way.

First of all the Red Devils small and inexperienced offensive line was able to push Gilmer's defense off the line of scrimmage.

Secondly the Titans' linebacking corps did not tackle well. Thirdly Calhoun has a lot more speed than Gilmer and when a Red Devil runner got a step on the Titan defender he was gone as witnessed by the large number of long touchdown runs. And, finally when Calhoun got up by enough points that Gilmer saw it wasn't going to win some of the players seemed to turn their attention towards Pocahontas County (Gilmer's next opponent).

So the football gods all conspired to make last Friday's game a 75-18 debacle instead.

But what about Ritchie? Are the Red Devils going to destroy them as they did Gilmer?

To think so would be to believe that all the bizarre circumstances that game together last Friday night would come together again. It could happen, but it certainly is not likely.

Still Calhoun has outscored Ritchie 128-13 the last three seasons.

This year Calhoun has unleashed an awesome running game led by senior Justin Price who had three touchdowns and 177 yards rushing in three quarters of play at Gilmer.

And Paul Goodrich in his first start as a running back hit the century mark with 103 yards against the Titans.

Add to that the effectiveness of Mike Batten both running and running the veer and the running game is capable of making problems.

Oh, yes, Batten has shown the ability to throw the ball two with a pair of touchdown passes - to Tyler Shartiger and Chad Conley - in the season opener.

Tonight the Red Devils should get a better test than they did in the opener.

The following week they travel to Doddridge, a team that made the playoffs last year, for an even tougher test.

Then reality sets in with games against Clay, Williamstown, Wahama and Roane. Should the Red Devils roll through those games then scratch the part about them "probably not" being as good as they looked in the 75-18 win at Gilmer County .


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