ASHLAND — Now that the monkey is off its back, Ashland can get down to business.
Fresh off last week’s 35-17 win at Mount Vernon, the Arrows will host Madison at Community Stadium on Friday with a chance to move to 2-0 in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
Ashland dropped all four non-conference games and, coach Sean Seder said, the frustration was beginning to mount.
“Going 0-4 sucked, but we talked to the kids about how good the teams we played were,” Seder said after last week’s win. “We reminded the kids that if we played an easier schedule we wouldn’t be sitting there at 0-4.
“Everybody understands that, but 0-4 is still 0-4.”
With the expanded playoff format this fall — the top 16 teams in each region advance — Ashland still finds itself in postseason contention. The Arrows are 20th in the Region 10 rankings and with big points games coming up in the final four weeks of the regular season, there is still plenty to play for, including an OCC championship.
“In prior seasons we’d be out of the playoff hunt already,” junior receiver and defensive back Jonathan Metzger said. “With six conference games, we’ve still got a lot to play for.”
Madison (0-3, 0-1) at Ashland (1-4, 1-0): The Rams restarted their season last week after taking two weeks off because of COVID within the program and suffered a 40-7 loss to Ohio Cardinal Conference-leading West Holmes. Quarterback Hunter Hutcheson scored Madison’s lone touchdown on a short keeper in the first quarter to make it 7-7, but that would be all for the Rams offensively. Running back Zane Wynn rushed for 122 yards on 18 carries while Hutcheson completed 7-of-14 passes for 94 yards.
The Arrows picked up their first win of the season at Mount Vernon as receiver Jonathan Metzger had 13 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. The junior has 33 catches for 439 yards and two TDs on the year. Quarterback Landon McFrederick has completed 84-of-148 passes for 871 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore running back Cayden Sports has rushed for 334 yards and four touchdowns on 66 carries. Defensively, Navy recruit Kadin Schmitz leads the way with 57 tackles. Senior defensive back Braylen Hider has 46 tackles. Metzger has a team-high three interceptions.
Ottawa Hills (4-1) at Crestview (5-0), 5 p.m., Saturday, Ashland Community Stadium: The Cougars added Ottawa Hills when New London announced in early-August it would transition to eight-man football. The Green Bears are coming off a 49-0 win over Hilltop and have won four straight games after dropping their opener to unbeaten Gibsonburg. Ottawa Hills is averaging 44.3 points a game in its last three games. The Green Bears limited to Hilltop to 64 yards of total offense. Quarterback Chase Miller tossed a pair of touchdown passes, while Blake Gnepper and Reddick Pillarelli each ran for a pair of scores.
Crestview remained undefeated with a 37-0 win over Monroeville. Running back Connor Morse rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns and now has 760 yards and 14 TDs on 106 carries for the season. Quarterback Hayden Kuhn completed 11-of-14 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns, two to Gabe Smedley. Kuhn has completed 34-of-48 passes on the season for 722 yards and nine touchdowns. Smedley has a team-best 12 catches for 219 yards and three scores, while Adison Reymer has nine catches for 224 yards and three TDs. Defensively, Morse leads the way with 53 tackles from his defensive back spot. Defensive end Owen Barker picked up his sixth sack of the season last week and has 33 tackles on the season. Mason Ringler has four sacks. The Cougars allow just 138 yards a game and have forced six turnovers.
Chippewa (3-1, 1-0) at Hillsdale (2-3, 1-1): Chippewa quarterback Christian Moyer rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in last week’s 21-14 win over Smithville. Moyer has rushed for 200 or more yards in all four of Chippewa’s games this season. Running back Aidan Hanna rumbled for 56 yards and two touchdowns for the Chipps.
The Falcons gave up 451 yards, including 302 yards on the ground, in last week’s 42-7 loss at Norwayne. Junior safety Max Vesper leads the defense with 39 tackles and picked off his fourth pass last week. Linebacker Jax Rogers has 36 tackles and two interceptions while defensive back Caden Fickes has recovered two fumbles. Offensively, dual-threat quarterback Jake Hoverstock has rushed for 289 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries while completing 20-of-32 passes for 184 yards and three TDs. Presley Lewis has carried the ball 55 timers for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Zeigler is Hillsdale’s top receiver with 10 catches for 144 yards. Carter Brightbill has eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns.