Improving Panthers set to take on angry Blue Devils

September 11, 2018

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — Chesapeake comes in with confidence off a victory. Gallia Academy enters with anger off a loss.

The Panthers (2-1) and Blue Devils (2-1) meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Chesapeake’s Phil Davis Field for their Ohio Valley Conference high school football opener with different attitudes.

Chesapeake was dominant last week, building a 42-0 halftime lead on its way to a 49-0 triumph over Symmes Valley (2-1). The Panthers ran for 266 of their 295 yards and held the Vikings to 70 total yards, 63 on the ground. The performance was Chesapeake’s best after opening with a 40-12 loss at Oak Hill and following with a 21-13 victory over Alexander.

“We executed better, we blocked well and the backs ran hard,” Panthers coach Andy Clark said, noting that his team was healthier than in the first two games.

Gallia Academy lost 15-9 last week at Jackson, which rallied with a 17-play, 99-yard drive after the Blue Devils fumbled with 9:04 remaining in the third quarter. Quarterback Justin McClelland appeared to have broken the plain before the ball came loose on the second-and-4 run, but officials ruled it a fumble that the Ironmen recovered.

Jackson coach Andy Hall said the play made a difference in the game.

“That was obviously a huge defensive stand,” Hall said. “If they go up and score, then we’re in an uphill battle going into the fourth quarter.”

A mad Blue Devils’ team is not something anyone wants to face. Gallia Academy beat Meigs 47-34 and River Valley 46-0 before losing at Jackson. Gallia Academy features plenty of weapons, headed by McClellan out of a spread attack. Senior Cory Call at wide receiver and Boo Pullins at running back are formidable players. Pullins also leads a quick defense that has been stingy all season.

Chesapeake will need to tackle well, something Clark has emphasized since last season.

The Blue Devils, too, must play strong fundamental defense, as Chesapeake quarterback Austin Browning is one of the premier players in the area. A four-year starter, Browning is a heady player who is a threat to run or pass.

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