After two losses to start a six-game season, many teams would give up. The chances of giving up become even more likely after losing two seniors in the week before the third game.
Nelsonville-York didn’t give up, though, and instead had its best week of practice leading up to its best game of the season against Meigs.
Behind the senior leadership of Colton Snyder, Ethan Gail and Christian Wiseman, the Buckeyes are looking to resurrect their once-dead season. Head coach Rusty Richards has been pleased with the practices this season led by the captains.
“It seems like every week we’ve practiced better and better,” Richards said. “The attitude’s been great all year, these boys haven’t quit. I think that’s why we’ve finally seen progress last week against Meigs, the attitude in practice has been very good.”
It has been necessary for practice to be good. Nelsonville-York has yet to play a team that is under .500. That won’t change when it goes to Vinton County (2-1), whose only loss came in week one to Meigs.
“Sometimes when you look on and you’re going to have a real good season and you see an 0-6 team, it’s hard to keep the kids’ attention because they’re sort of looking past it,” Richards said. “With our schedule, very seldom can we look past anyone, so I think it helps practice.”
This week in practice, the Buckeyes have had a challenge in trying to prepare for the Vikings and even their record. Vinton County runs a similar offense to Nelsonville-York, by bringing in multiple ball carriers to stay fresh. It also has the advantage of a three-year starting quarterback.
Defensively, the Vikings bring heavy pressure on the quarterback, and will likely be going after left guard Nathan Martin, who stepped in last week after senior Dylan Mays went down in practice.
Nelsonville-York will have to run the ball nearly as effectively as it did last week, so that the defense respects the run and gives junior quarterback Drew Carter some time to throw. Carter bounced back last week and gained some confidence after struggling in the first two games.
Many quarterbacks might be upset about handing the ball off in 39 of 40 total plays, but Carter was loving it. And when he got the chance to start throwing the ball, he did so effectively.
“He was all smiles in the first half last week,” Richards said. “And when we did throw it, people were open because we just ran it about 20 straight plays.”
The Buckeyes will likely continue to roll Carter out, because he tends to throw better on the run. They also want to give him the chance to keep his options open if he can’t find a receiver and take the ball himself as he did for a touchdown last week.
Nelsonville-York wants to stick with what worked last week and establish the run game first. But they can throw the ball, too. It will probably need to do both to win its second game and even out its record on Friday.