Brandon Phillips is the guy for Nelsonville-York. The Buckeyes put him in the slot to catch passes, the backfield to run the ball and he does all the kick and punt returns.
But in the waning moments of the first half in Nelsonville-York’s loss at Wellston on Friday, Phillips went down. The senior didn’t join the team in the locker room, but instead stayed out on the sideline to be tended to by medical staff. He then left in a silver Cadillac for his left ankle to be tested.
Without his go-to guy, quarterback Drew Carter and the rest of the Buckeyes offense struggled. Carter threw four interceptions in the second half, and the offense amounted to seven points.
If Phillips isn’t able to play this week against Meigs, Nelsonville-York will have to look for someone else to step up as the Buckeyes try to get their first win.
It will be tough to replace Phillips’ production, but Nelsonville-York still has weapons.
Senior fullback Colton Snyder will likely be one target for the Buckeyes offense. Snyder was one of the players who started seeing the ball more in the second half against Wellston. The senior mostly receives his carries in short-yardage situations, but he can also come out of the backfield for quick passes from Carter.
Ethan Gail is looking to put more of a mark on the offense as well this season. Gail had 23 catches for 320 yards last season as a junior. The now-senior is a tall, reliable receiver that can make big plays as a deep threat.
Zach Taylor was another player Nelsonville-York went to in the second half. Carter found Taylor on the sideline for a 16-yard gain on fourth-and-15 in the final quarter last week. That play put the Buckeyes in the redzone for their only touchdown of the game.
As a team, the Buckeyes are looking for consistency. In week one, the offense played well with 28 points, but the defense allowed 34. In week two, the roles were reversed. The loss of Phillips, who plays on both sides of the ball will make that search for consistency more difficult.
When Nelsonville-York returns home to play Meigs on Friday, it will need to take a step up as a team to replace the contributions of its most consistent player.